As Itch-E and Scratch-E, Paul Mac and Andrew Rantzen were the inaugural winners of the ARIA Award for Best Dance Release in 1995.
Mac’s acceptance speech is one of the most memorable moments in ARIA history. “This track was made at home in a bedroom, so anybody can do it,” he said, before shouting out “all the DJs who play it, all the public radio stations, all the ravers, all the ecstasy dealers.”
Mac’s gratitude for “all the ecstasy dealers” was bleeped out on the live broadcast, but the speech became notorious nonetheless. According to the Who is Daniel Johns? podcast, the incident made Johns eager to meet Mac. Mac then remixed Silverchair’s ‘Freak’ in 1997 and the pair released a five-track collaborative EP, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rock, in 2000.
Johns and Mac’s partnership flourished even further with the formation of the band The Dissociatives in 2003. The Dissociatives’ self-titled debut album came out in 2004 and won ARIAs for Best Cover Art and Best Video.
A couple of weeks ago, Mac joined hosts Gavin Scott and Robbie Molinari on the podcast A Journey Through Aussie Pop. There he explained that the ARIA speech – which notably did not thank anyone from the music industry establishment – was a reaction to the poor treatment of dance music by the industry at large.
“I just felt that the music industry here just did not understand what you needed to do to nurture dance music to make it reach a wider amount of people,” said Mac (via NME). “They just did not get it.
“So, that speech was a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to them because it was like, ‘Come on, this is amazing. [There’s] this whole flourishing subculture built on an ideology and an enthusiasm of real love.’”