Luke Steele and also Nick Littlemore appear, because that now, to be able to work together again as realm of the Sun. They developed their spectacular dreampop band virtually 10 year ago, through extraordinary global success. Yet it has never to be easy between them.

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Back in 2007 one remained in Perth – that was Steele, from a storied west Australian musical family – and also the other, Littlemore, remained in Sydney. Currently both live in Los Angeles, still really separate however also, in their own weird way, back together.


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Empire of the Sun"s Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore: separate however together.Credit:Pitch Pic

Steele is based in a lavish pocket of Santa Monica, through the beach. He has two young children and has a studio nearby. Littlemore is in Hollywood, in a beautiful home with a splendid garden and a residence studio. "I'm life in paradise here, basically," that says.

Both are wealthy, urbane men, in various ways. They are generous through their time however largely unaware of each other's movements. They space as different as two an imaginative partners could possibly get: Steele distant and also often inattentive but driven to make music constantly v whoever take away his fancy, Littlemore highly engaged and also intellectual yet captive to what the calls his recent "spiritual awakening". Realm of the Sun, that says, has bebrickandmortarphilly.come Steele's vehicle, no his -- "it is his raison d'être" - yet he's happy to stay involved, come a point. He functions quietly on tiny side-projects, yet he also stays in the market to earn millions creating music because that brickandmortarphilly.commercial pop stars.


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Success and a brand-new album haven"t brickandmortarphilly.come conveniently for the record stars: Luke Steele.

At one allude during one afternoon in addition to Steele – very first in his seaside studio, thick through Nag Champa smoke and a vast blue decision underneath his brickandmortarphilly.computer monitor, and then in a swank penthouse restaurant nearby – the flamboyant, elusive performer defines a an excellent Empire that the Sun record as having actually the "classic 3 plot points. Whatever going great, something falls apart, climate it has to be every brought ago together through the storm."

So it is v these two. Your relationship has actually been tumultuous. In 2009 Littlemore didn't speak come Steele for 5 months. Then in 2013, Steele said, it to be "heartbreaking" that his friend and collaborator wouldn't tour through the band. Littlemore "wouldn't obtain out of bed for much less than $1 million", Steele said. "He said to me 'when there's real money on the table give me a call.' If $1 million for five shows is not genuine money i don't understand what is."

There space two various other Australians in "the band" – Peter Mayes, who made tight, rhythmic run music in Pnau through Littlemore, and also Jonathan Sloan, a producer in his very own right who has long collaborated through both. Yet it is the two frontmen who room the public face and even despite at first Steele seemed confused that his companion was often missing, he is reconciled to it now.

"It's a weird band," that says.


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Luke Steele performs with realm of the sunlight at the Hollywood Bowl.Credit:EMI Music

Littlemore writes all the text for realm of the Sun, and also a good deal the the music. New album Two Vines is out at the finish of this month, their third, but he still won't tour. He has actually a habit of going AWOL to do various other things (an whole Cirque de Soleil production last year, as musical director, for example) at will.

He is complimentary to carry out that the course and also he is a smart, exciting guy who follows projects intuition – he has actually his very own record brand now, releasing experimental music. It's unusual, however, to check out two people in together a close collaboration exist so far apart yet still able to do music that at its an extremely best deserve to reach the transcendence and hypnotic, dream-like quality they strive for.


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Luke Steele of realm of the sun at the electrical Daisy Carnival in brand-new York this year.Credit:Kyle Dean Reinford

Behind the scene they are managed by different brickandmortarphilly.companies – Littlemore by Elton John's Rocket Music and Steele by Winterman and Goldstein who also look after ~ the Avalanches. First album Walking top top a Dream, in 2008, has sold nearly 2 million copies throughout the world and also won eight ARIAs. Castle have had actually top 10 singles in six countries. Australia is a strong market for them, but so room the UK, the USA. Progressively they do an extremely well in Asia, including in India and China; a Australian band, nominally, that have damaged borders and exported their strange visions as efficiently as a corporation.


Their story has actually those 3 plot points that Steele recognises in the documents they make: the rise, the fall, and also the climb again, through obstacles. Their connection is unstable and volcanic.


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Luke Steele together frontman that Perth popular music outfit The Sleepy Jackson.

"There was stress and anxiety from work one," Littlemore says. He met Steele 12 years earlier while working on a Sleepy Jackson (Steele's Perth-based artrock band) record. "Touring and also awards reflects – I constantly feel unworthy. For this reason hyped up. Rather meaningless. The gratification from playing live with realm in those stadiums, I'm sure it's great. That is going to walk on. It have the right to feel prefer the biggest time of her life yet something about always feels to me that isn't completely valid."

He explains their link by citing the artist J.M.W. Turner that in the early 1800s would certainly strap self to the mast that a ship in order to better paint storms. "Draw a storm while experiencing it," says Littlemore. "The key on the dragon being flown into lightning – brickandmortarphilly.come top top lightning! strike us!' That's what keeps me and also Luke brickandmortarphilly.coming ago to work-related together, the lightning strike, you might get burned, there's constantly tension.


"But we constantly understood the music superceded ours egos and our an individual relationship. If we have the right to make other beautiful, it's worth it."

He adores Steele's dramatic, enraptured voice. It keeps that brickandmortarphilly.coming earlier and dressing up in the outlandish Avatar meets Ming the Merciless trademark outfits for the photoshoots, then disappearing as soon as more: "When the puts the boy in there which he often does, it's heartbreaking and also special. It's incredible once he sings – at ideal it deserve to be a vessel for light."


Pnau"s Pete Mayes and Nick Littlemore.

Luke Steele works tough on his singing. Pinned increase on the walls of his small studio a couple of blocks native Santa Monica pier room handwritten tutorials. He supplies these to remind himself to reach because that the stars. "MAKE the BEAUTIFUL," claims the largest.

His father rick is a provided Perth blues musician; his sister Katy is in the band tiny Birdy and his brother Jake likewise played in Sleepy Jackson. "Dad has actually been 45 year on the road," he says. "He knows literally thousands of songs." The first one he teach Luke to play on etc was Jessica by the Allman Brothers.


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Empire of the Sun have actually released their brand-new album, 2 Vines.

Both he and Nick Littlemore are purists, and perfectionists. Littlemore's two brothers room producers and also musicians too. Together with Pnau he has likewise had the band Teenager, with Ladyhawke, and also has created music because that Robbie Williams and also Groove Armada.

Interestingly both say precisely the very same thing in precisely the exact same words around what they space trying to attain with their music: they room trying come suspend belief, essentially, and make miscellaneous other-worldly. This works sometimes but not all the time; Two Vines is their ideal album yet, way better than the last (Ice top top The Dune) and more cohesive than the around the world acclaimed Walking on a Dream.


"Life is chaotic," they both tell me, separately. "We desire to do songs that are three minutes of beauty come take people away indigenous that."

A evaluation of a present in London from previously this week noted that Ian sphere from Gomez was standing in because that Littlemore top top stage and also described the show as a "post-apocalyptic psychedelic adventure" fronted by the self-proclaimed "Emperor Steele", heralded on stage by dancers dressed as swordfish v light sabres.


Nick Littlemore at occupational in the recording studio.

The trouble now, Steele admits, is the feels underused. V him and Littlemore making Empire's music – with Mayes and Sloan in the elevator – the hasn't got sufficient to do, or therefore he thinks. He plays me several of the projects he has been functioning on to to fill the regarded void; a new Sleepy Jackson record and a phenomenal sounding task with Daniel Johns the silverchair.

When two of his heroes died this year – David Bowie and also Prince – it threw the headlong right into yet more of a production binge, inspired by lock but additionally because he came to be frightened that wasting time.


Empire that the Sun"s Luke Steele.

This highly productive phase has also been moved by relocating to Los Angeles five years ago, where he feels right at home.

"The level of artistry right here is the highest possible it gets. We've excellent so countless sessions, pop creating sessions, working v Pharrell, Beyonce. You have no selection but to step up your game. I remember Pharrell informing me to focus on the vision and also on working hard, then once in a while stop and look over your shoulder and also see how far you have actually brickandmortarphilly.come."

In 2014, that says, that all got too much, even for him. Ice on the Dune, a harder-edged electro record, huge in the American EDM scene and also described by Steele at the time as far better than Random access Memories by Daft Punk, was out. It was high in the popular music charts in countless countries. Realm of the sun were then asked to soundtrack Dumb and also Dumber To, a blockbuster Jim Carrey brickandmortarphilly.comedy film.

"Exhausting. Us basically wrote eight entire albums that were sandwiched down to 10 minutes."


Then he started gaining hassled by those who manage his affairs for a new Empire the the sunlight record. The 4 members composed with few of LA's finest, including Fleetwood Mac guitar player lindsay Buckingham, who signature sound remains on among Two Vines' highlights, To she Door. Additionally on board by now were 2 members the Bowie's Blackstar band, pianist and arranger Henry Hey and bass player Tim Lefebvre and also guitarist Wendy Melvoin, who was in Prince's band.

"But it every stopped," says Steele. "We gained exhausted. The record brickandmortarphilly.company retained calling saying 'what's that going to take it to acquire you ago into the studio?' I stated 'well, you're gonna have to take united state to Hawaii."

Next minute – Hawaii. In an old, run-down yet wonderfully located beachfront studio Kanye West offered to document My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. "It had that tropical feeling, we were swimming a lot," states Littlemore. "Luke was surfing. I discovered a Japanese chef. It was choose a much-needed reward."

One night, states Steele, castle were invite to a party in ~ a beach residence on the north Shore in ~ the famed Pipeline wave. The home was populated by a bunch of professional surfers that it turns out were component of the legion that what the band contact "Empyreans" – mad empire fans that travel about the people to concerts dressed together their favourite Luke Steele incarnation.

"Imagine," the says, "a bunch of difficult Hawaiian surfers, singing your songs, painted blue."


Littlemore remembers lock were every in Hawaii as soon as David Bowie died. They left the studio, can not to work. The first songs he wanted to hear to be Sound and also Vision and Golden Years since he considers lock the great artist's many beautiful.

Yet his idea – his layout – because that Two Vines was about welbrickandmortarphilly.coming a brand-new ecological era to Earth. Plenty of have thought in the previous that empire of the Sun gained their surname from the J.G. Ballard novel that the same name. They didn't – that publication is his autobiography – but the concept of plants talking over the planet and creating a supernatural new lifeforce is a very Ballardian, near-future theme.

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"I had a vision," states Littlemore, "that brand-new York was taken over by plants and we returned to nature and the world again became a harmonious place to live. It to be the finish of the universe and all the was left to be love." He states his spirituality awakening through meditation and deep spiritual believed manifested, recently, in Buddha revealing himself in his Hollywood garden. Littlemore says he is the middle of a "very profound" time of his life. "I prefer to carve the end details that those things I have actually witnessed whether it is in my waking life or dream life – I happen to think our dream life is more than necessary than anything."

This, the says, is one of the vital junctions where he and also Steele have brickandmortarphilly.common ground. Transcendence v music, parallel universes, unbrickandmortarphilly.common thoughts. The idea that life is a dream, or dreams are life.

"This a recurring motif between us," the says. "We always connected on that. Imagination and also dreams and also how much you have the right to go through it."