Empire of the Sun: "Our show's a feast for minds, ears and hearts"
What’s On has Empire Of The Sun interview as we look ahead to Sandance, Atlantis The Palm, October 10, also featuring Clean Bandit, De La Soul, Rudimental.
Australian electronic music duo Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore bring their brand of blissful psychedelic-pop to Sandance. Their flamboyant performances – not to mention their outrageous fashion sense – have wowed audiences worldwide with huge hits like We Are The People, Walking On A Dream and Alive. What’s On chats to lead singer Luke Steele AKA The Emperor ahead of next month’s performance.
For those in the Middle East’s that’s unfamiliar with your band can you describe EOTS’ music and where you draw inspiration from? I was taught by my father who’s a musician and he said to me that “you have three minutes to try and tell the world a story”. Do it well. I grew up with John Lennon, Carole King and James Taylor and that’s pretty much where Empire begins. We try to make good songs that tell great stories.
Your song Walking on a Dream was a massive success and it was played everywhere. What was it about that song do you think that resonated so well with people around the world? It was a simple song; a beautiful track with a great melody and beautiful lyrics. It’s about when two people become one. There’s so much vision, so many good things about unity, marriage and happiness in that track. We (Nick Littlemore) both came from our respective bands hoping to create a band that was positive, authentic, and sing about the good things.
The clothing you wear is pretty awesome and out there. Where did the concept for these outfits come from? We love cinema. But, it’s always the actors that get all the good clothes. We wanted a piece of that. Musicians are always on the side. We wanted all the other fun things too. We’re just as good as them.
You’re second album Ice On The Dune supposedly took a while to finish, are you pleased with the final result? Any favourite tracks? Yeah of course, we really happy. I’ll never release anything I’m unhappy with. One of my favourites is Concert Pitch. I wrote that when I was right in the thick of it, in Manhattan. I was touring the last record and I jumped in the studio singing the first line I don’t want to be so complicated. I was with my wife and daughter and, you know, I was torn between being this rock star and a family man. And it’s a mind-switch thing that I must constantly deal with. But yeah, that was a really strong song for me.
Aside from your own stuff, are there any bands you’re personally really into at the moment? I’m so out of touch with what’s going on. I don’t even know where to look. I practically grew up in a blues club and people used to give me mixed tapes to listen to, and no one does that anymore. I say to people ‘make me tape’, but no one does.
How about we make you a mixed tape of local talent here in the UAE and pass that to you while you’re here? Ah, yeh that would be awesome, hey?! I’ll give you my address. Please, please do that!
We will, we promise. Speaking of Dubai. Will this be your first time here? Anything you hope to do while you’re here that What’s On can hook you up with? Camel-riding? A trip up the Burj Khalifa? A taste of true authentic hummus? (Laughs) All of that would be great! This will be my first time and I’m really excited and I’d love to experience as much as I can.
It’s seems the set, stage, costumes and theatrics takes about as much precedent as the songs themselves. Are Dubaians to expect the same from your show here? Yeah definitely. We take all our shows pretty seriously. Any opportunity to perform in front of a new audience, we take very seriously. We film every show and we look back to ensure we keep enhancing. My wife is the Creative Director and we push on and try to progress. The whole show will be a feast for the minds and ears and heart.
What are you hoping for in terms of the Dubai crowd? I’ve never hoped anything from a crowd. I am but a humble performer. The crowd is the crowd just living their lives. As my father says, it’s your job to win them them over.
Empire of the Sun performs at Sandance on October 10. Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, 3pm to 3am, Dhs295. Tel: (055) 2004321. Taxi: Atlantis The Palm. sandance.ae
*Download the Ice on the Dune album here.