Empire Of The Sun Interview
We talk lightbulbs, prophecies, Fleetwood Mac and fried cheese with the strange duo
Empire Of The Sun brings together Nick Littlemore of house outfit Pnau and his fellow Aussie Luke Steele- who was previously in The Sleepy Jackson.
The bands psychedelic sci-fi influenced album is one of the best debuts of 2009 and features the big single Walking On A Dream
In one of the most surreal experiences of MTVs career we met the duo while they were in full costume. That means massive head-dresses, pastel tunics, and tribal face paint!
Sadly we werent allowed to film the encounter or take photos but read on to find out what happened
MTV: When did you two meet and how did you bond?
Nick: We met in 2000 when we were introduced by a mutual friend who worked in music and is now an architect. We met at a bar and at the time Luke used to carry a suitcase everywhere he went.
Every day it would have different stuff inside it. One time it had cigarettes with girls names on and another time there were lightbulbs connected by wires.
The first day we met we worked on 5 songs together and we did one track on the Pnau album. It was so obvious that we needed to make a body of work together.
What inspired you to make the album?
Luke: The deficiency in music. Theres not enough good songs and not enough inspiration. We had been setting up a studio in Manhattan and working in Mexico for inspiration.
When I was 15 I realised the only way to get out of town was to make music. This is music of the spheres- an odyssey.
What studios did you record in?
L: In The Bong in the ghetto in Sydney. It made for very intense recording sessions.
How did your musical influences feed into the album?
Nick: What weve said a few times before is that everything else weve done was an apprenticeship but there was a joint love of the classics. 1975 was a key year for us with Fleetwood Mac and 10CC. That era was the peak in songwriting and production- before more technology came in.
How important is the way the band look compared to the sound?
Luke: Its 50/50 between style and music. Music is invisible until a colour is painted on it. The other 50 per cent is important and makes it more powerful.
Nick: It would be untrue to us if we were in suits or casual clothing. We dont let people take photos because we prefer artists renditions. Image seems to be something thats less and less important- but we are storytellers.
And you seem to have put a lot of effort into the videos...
Nick: Luke and I both went to art school and we werent gonna be bastardised and make a bad video, We wrote a narrative for the band and we need to fulfil the prophecy. We filmed the new video in Mexico- its like the best place in the world.
Luke: It was indescribable. The tacos and fried cheese are amazing and there are like 100 types of chilli.
Who designs and makes the outfits?
Are they inspired by a particular tribe or culture?
Nick: They are inspired by existence- both ancient and modern.
Are you going to play any live dates?
Luke: Around August-September there will be a live show in the UK and it will be colossal.
Tell us about the single Walking On A Dream?
Nick: It was written in Western Australia. Perth is the most remote city in the world. At the time my girlfriend was lost in the jungle in Brazil. It was really weird and I couldnt get through to her.
Luke: Oh yeah I remember that, on the day we recorded it.
Nick: We needed to achieve ever lasting hope and that song is surely it.
Walking On A Dream is out now