Empire of the Sun (band)
|Empire of the Sun|
|Genres||Electronic, synthpop, electronic rock, new wave, EDM, alternative rock, glam pop|
|Labels||Capitol, Virgin, Astralwerks, Virgin EMI|
|Associated acts||The Sleepy Jackson, Pnau, Teenager, WZRD, Daniel Johns, Icona Pop|
Empire of the Sun is an Australian electronic music duo from Sydney, formed in 2007. The band is a collaboration between Luke Steele of alternative rock act The Sleepy Jackson, and Nick Littlemore of electronic dance outfit Pnau. Their 2008 debut album Walking on a Dream brought the duo international success and has been certified double platinum in Australia and gold in the United Kingdom (UK). The album provided a number of internationally charting singles including "Walking on a Dream" which peaked at number ten on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and reached number sixty four on the UK Singles Chart, and "We Are the People", which peaked at number fourteen on the UK Singles Chart.
The duo's second album Ice on the Dune was released in June 2013 preceded by lead single "Alive" on 16 April. The band are signed to EMI/Virgin. A live-band, fronted by Steel, has performed internationally and is known for its flamboyant appearance and elaborate stage-sets. The duo have won a number of Australian music awards.
- 1 History
- 2 Name
- 3 Style
- 4 Awards and accolades
- 5 Discography
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 Live performance band members
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore met in 2000 after being introduced by Steele's A&R executive, Simon Moor, in a bar in Sydney. Both were at the time signed to EMI and had already been working on different projects. Over the years that followed, the two collaborated on a number of occasions. Littlemore helped write the song "Tell the Girls That I'm Not Hangin' Out", which appeared on The Sleepy Jackson's 2003 debut album, Lovers, and Steele had some artistic input in Littlemore's 2006 art-rock project Teenager. After a falling out over the song on Lovers the co-operation ceased for a while, with Littlemore commenting "I’m a very intense person and I take things to heart".
The two reconvened in 2006 to work on two songs for the Pnau album that was released in late 2007. They collaborated on the tracks "Freedom" and the opener "With You Forever" where Steele supplied the vocal. This prompted a change in direction for the band who began to craft a work more vocally-centered album featuring guest performances. A track-by-track analysis of the album Pnau revealed that writing of "With You Forever" with Luke Steele inspired Littlemore's band to begin work on a collaborative project. Littlemore said, "We fell in love with music again with [With You Forever]; I think this is [Pnau's] first great song." The release of Pnau brought an interest from Elton John, who signed Littlemore to his management company.
The new project began to develop under the working title of "Steelemore" as a collaboration between Steel and Littlemore, with Pau partner Peter Mayes listed as a producer and occasional co-writer. As Steele was living in Perth and Littlemore was in Sydney the two spent time writing songs separately while meetings occasionally in Sydney to decide on the musical direction and style. When they had accumulated enough material Mayes and duo began to record the album throughout 2007 with the assistance of Jonathan Sloan.
2008: Walking on a Dream
While the record had been largely recorded and mixed, the self-titled Pau album took precedence for Littlemore and Mayes in the first half of 2008. After the summer, the duo put out the title-track "Walking on a Dream" in anticipation of the album's release. It appeared in digital format on 30 August 2008, and received airtime on Australian radio and reached number ten on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart. A second single, titled "We Are the People", was released on the 30 September and peaked at number twenty-four in Australia. The album Walking on a Dream appeared on 3 October 2008 and debuted at number eight on the ARIA Albums Charts, peaking at number six. The duo embarked on an international promotional tour in support of the album that was released in Europe in February/March 2009 followed by a North American release in April of the same year. While the project had initially been conceived as studio-only, the growing success brought "an audience [to which] we felt a duty to be good to them". Upon their return to Australia Steele began to prepare for a live debut of the band at the Parklife Festival in September/October 2009. The headlined three shows, described as a visual "overload [where] giant graphics swam and spun over the stage as costumed dancers writhed to the beat and Steele on a pedestal onstage, [wearing] a gigantic metallic headpiece and his usual ‘Ming The Merciless' robe". A third single, "Standing on the Shore" was released in June 2009 while a remixed version "Without You" was released as the album's fourth single the following September.
Littlemore decided to opt out of performing with the band live, citing 'I’ve always felt that once you make a record it’s not yours anymore'. Steele gave the impression that his partner left the band in September 2009, however, Littlemore resurfaced in the following month, citing his production work and a project with Cirque du Soleil as the reason for the lack of communication. He divided his time between the UK and Montreal while working on other creative commitments. Steele continued to perform live with the band at a number of Australian outdoor events. Towards the end of 2009 the band received a number of ARIA Awards for Walking on a Dream, including Best Album of the Year.
The band performed as a co-headliner at the touring Future Music Festival around Australia in February/March 2010. The band made their international debut at the Vivo Latino Festival in Mexico City in April of that same year. They moved to Europe for the summer festival season where they performed at among others Glastonbury and Rock Werchter. The band made their american debut at the Lollapalooza festival. In October 2010, "We Are the People" was used as the soundtrack for a Vodafone TV commercial in Germany and subsequently topped the German Singles Chart. In November 2010, Littlemore indicated that he had "talked to Luke (Steele) the other day; we're doing a new record. We've already written a couple of tunes. You know when it's right I guess". In July 2011, Littlemore announced that the band had gone into the studio at the end of June to begin working on a second Empire of the Sun album while he confirmed would "come on board this time, actually come together and tour". As recording continued, Littlemore continued to have Pnau related commitments, releasing the album Soft Universe in 2011 and the Elton John remix album Good Morning to the Night in 2012.
2013: Ice on the Dune
For much of 2012 the duo and their collaborators spent time recording material while Steele and the band retired from touring. On 11 March 2013, the band revealed a trailer for their second album entitled Ice on the Dune directed by J.D. Dillard and confirmed the release date as June 2013. The lead single "Alive" was released on 16 April and on the same day, the album was made available for pre-order on iTunes. The single has moderate success in Australia and Europe. On 18 April 2013, the Farrelly brothers announced that the band would score Dumb and Dumber To. Ice on the Dune was released on 14 June 2013 in Australia and New Zealand.
Steele received global media attention following an interview he completed with music publication NME in August 2013 at the Sziget Festival in Budapest. During the interview, Steele compared Ice on the Dune with Daft Punk's 2013 album release Random Access Memories, stating: "They had a great marketing campaign, but we’ve got better songs." In 2014 the band performed at the Coachella Festival, headlining the Sahara Tent.
"Alive" was used in the introduction video for Google I/O 2013. It was also played within the introduction video of the new Yahoo! logo on 5 September 2013, played over the end credits of the 2013 film Paranoia, and featured in the movie Dumb and Dumber To. "Alive" was also a featured song on the soundtrack of EA Sport's FIFA 14.
A new album was touted for release in 2015, but when asked by SFStation if a new release was 'in the pipeline', Luke Steele replied, "Not yet. I think the record has been pushed back. We’re just gonna keep riding it until Christmas. But yeah, there’s always the odd collaboration here and there. Nothing imminent at the moment." 
Although the name of the project has been attributed to the 1984 novel of the same name by J. G. Ballard, Littlemore denied this and offers an explanation, saying, "the name comes more from the idea of (and you'll see this in the ongoing videos) the fact that we're traveling around the world going to all the places of empires of the civilization where the sun has been a theme of worship. It's not based on the Ballard novel nor the Spielberg film of the same name".
The band employs elaborate stage sets and headdress, which reflects the duo's background in visual art. Littlemore explained that "we did see Alejandro Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain and it influenced the way we could think about visualization". However, he emphasised that the inspiration came from various sources.
Awards and accolades
"Walking on a Dream" was nominated as "Song of the Year" at the 2009 Australian Performing Rights Association awards.
Empire of the Sun were nominated for six awards at the 2009 ARIA Awards. They were nominated for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Best Pop Release, Best Selling Single and Best Selling Album, winning all but the Best Selling awards. Steele also performed "Walking on a Dream" at the event. Empire of the Sun also received an additional five nominations—Producer of the Year, Engineer of the Year, Best Video and Best Cover Art—as part of the Artisan Awards section of the 2009 ARIA Awards, and won all but two of these awards.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Walking on a Dream||6||22||27||60||31||17||70||37||15||19||—|
|Ice on the Dune||
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Walking on a Dream"||2008||10||8||82||55||8||16||29||14||21||64||
||Walking on a Dream|
|"We Are the People"||24||16||—||1||23||19||—||—||20||14|
|"Standing on the Shore"||2009||—||63||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Half Mast (Slight Return)"||2010||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Alive"||2013||22||63||32||39||39||—||94||—||25||83||Ice on the Dune|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|"Breakdown"||2008||Available on iTunes Australia as an exclusive bonus album track.||N/A|
|"Etude"||2009||Available on Nokia Music Australia as an exclusive bonus album track.|
|"Romance to Me"||Available as a free download for members of the official Empire of the Sun forum.||"We Are the People"|
|"Girl"||Available on the deluxe 2-disc edition of Walking on a Dream, released on 20 November 2009.||"Without You"|
|"The Dream Time Machine" (WZRD featuring Empire of the Sun)||2012||WZRD|
|"The Thrill"||Wiz Khalifa|
|"Walking on a Dream"||2008||Josh Logue||Filmed in Shanghai, China.|
|"We Are the People"||Filmed at Mina, Nuevo León, and Xilitla, San Luis Potosí in Mexico.|
|"Standing on the Shore"||2009||Filmed at Lancelin, north of Perth, Australia.|
|"Without You"||Filmed at FOX Studios, Sydney, Australia.|
|"Half Mast (Slight Return)"||2010||Nash Edgerton||Filmed in New York City, United States.|
|"Alive"||2013||Charles Scott and Alex Theurer||Filmed at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, United States.|
|"DNA"||Emmett Malloy||Filmed in San Fernando Valley, California, United States.|
|"Celebrate"||2015||Empire of the Sun||Filmed at Noryangjin Marketplace and Jongno Gwangjang Marketplace, Seoul, South Korea|
Awards and nominations
The ARIA Music Awards of 2009 nominations were announced on 8 October 2009. Empire of the Sun received the most nominations of any artist, with a total of eleven. The winners were announced on 26 November 2009 with Empire of the Sun winning in seven categories.
The nominations for the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 were announced on 28 September 2010 and the winners were announced on 7 November 2010. The final nominees for the ARIA Music Awards of 2013 were announced on 14 October, as well as the nominees and winners for the Fine Arts Awards and Artisan Awards.
|Year||Recipient / Nominated work||Award||Result|
|2009||Walking on a Dream||Album of the Year||Won|
|Highest Selling Album||Nominated|
|"Walking on a Dream"||Single of the Year||Won|
|Highest Selling Single||Nominated|
|Best Video (directed by Josh Logue for Mathematics www.xy-1.com)||Won|
|"We Are the People"||Nominated|
|Empire of the Sun||Best Group||Won|
|Best Pop Release||Won|
|Empire of the Sun and Donnie Sloan with Peter Mayes||Producer of the Year||Won|
|Aaron Hayward and David Homer from Debaser||Best Cover Art||Won|
|Peter Mayes||Engineer of the Year||Nominated|
|2010||"Half Mast"||Best Pop Release||Nominated|
|Walking on a Dream||Most Popular Australian Album (Fan-Voted)||Nominated|
|Accidents Happen soundtrack – Luke Steele, Empire of the Sun and The Middle East||Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album (Fine Arts Award)||Nominated|
|2013||Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune||Best Group||Nominated|
|Best Pop Release||Nominated|
|Aaron Hayward and David Homer (Debaser)||Best Cover Art||Won|
|Peter Mayes||Engineer of the Year||Nominated|
|Luke Steele, Nick Littlemore, Peter Mayes and Jonathan Sloan||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|Year||Recipient / Nominated work||Award||Result|
|2010||"We Are the People"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Luke Steele, Jonathon Sloan, Nick Littlemore – Empire of the Sun||Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year||Won|
|"Walking on a Dream"||Dance Work of the Year||Won|
Live performance band members
- Luke Steele – lead vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Nick Littlemore - vocals, keyboards
- Surahn Sidhu – guitar, backing vocals, percussion
- Tony Mitolo – drums
- Calligeros, Melissa (28 February 2010). "Between the raindrops, the festival raged on". smh.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Burr, Mike (8 April 2009). "Empire Of The Sun: Interview". prefixmag.com. Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
- Nelson, Jenny (18 February 2009). "Empire Of The Sun Interview". clashmusic.com. Clash Magazine.
- "The Sleepy Jackson's Luke Steele Returns With New Band". NME. Time Inc. (UK). 24 September 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Empire Of The Sun". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Sendra, Tim. "Ice on the Dune - Empire of the Sun review". allmusic.com. All Media Network, llc. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- Bella, Sarah (11 April 2013). "Empire Of The Sun To Release New Single ‘Alive’ Next Tuesday". mostix.com.au. Moshtix Pty Ltd.
- Brandle, Lars (28 November 2009). On The Rise, Australian Sales Edge Out Of The Red. Billboard Magazine (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.).
- Robert Copsey (20 June 2013). "Empire of the Sun interview: 'We want Vegas show with elephants'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- Lee, Chris. "Coachella 2014: Empire of the Sun brings pomp and circumstance to the rave tent". Los Angeles Times (in en-US). ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- "ARIA Noms + Fine Arts & Artisan Winners". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 14 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "APRA History". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 May 2010.
- Collins, Simon (26 September 2009). "Man of Steele". The West Australian (West Australian Newspapers Ltd).
- McGee, Linda (8 April 2009). "Empire of the Sun interview". RTE. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
- "Sleepy Jackson, The - Lovers at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- "Teenager Bound and Gagged Press Release Copy at Discogs". Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- Treuen, Jason (4 February 2008). "Rolling Stone: Pnau interview". jasontreuen.wordpress.com. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- "Pnau - Hyperactive". www.music-house.co.uk. Hyperactive. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
- "Pnau.net Track by Track Analysis at Web Archive.org" (PDF). Web Archive.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Elton John Loves PNAU". Crushable. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- White, Caitlin (4 June 2013). "Interview: Empire of the Sun's Luke Steele on "Ice on the Dune," Working With Jay-Z, and His Thoughts on Daft Punk". Pigeons and Planes. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "Planet Notion » Interview: Peter Mayes of Pnau". planetnotion.com. The Random Agency. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- Hardaker, Tim (14 August 2008). "Nick Littlemore & Luke Steele team up". fasterlouder.com.au. Fasterlouder Pty.
- "Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- "Discography Empire Of The Sun". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Hubbard, Michael (28 June 2013). "Interview: Empire Of The Sun". musicOMH. OMH. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- "Parklife 2009 lineup announced". thevine.com.au. Digital Media. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- Valenzuela, Jonathon (4 October 2009). "Parklife 2009: Empire Of The Sun, Metric, Lady Sovereign". Time Out (Time Out Group Ltd.).
- "Empire Of The Sun - Standing On The Shore". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- "Empire Of The Sun - Without You (New Version)". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- Michaels, Sean (1 October 2009). "Empire of the Sun's 'missing' member resurfaces". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- McNamara, Tim (26 November 2010). "Littlemore discusses Empire sequel and Pnau's "emotional" new album". The Music Network. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015.
- "One sleep until Full Noise fest". themorningbulletin.com.au. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- McMaster, Matt (26 November 2009). "Foreshore Summer Music Festival all set for Saturday!". fasterlouder.com.au. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- ARIA Music Awards of 2009 - Winners & Nominees
- Noakes, Maria (1 March 2010). "Future Music Festival 2010 Perth show review". theaustralian.com.au. News Limited.
- Hernandez, Daniel (April 2010). "Intersections: On my first Vive Latino *". danielhernandez.typepad.com. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
- Holliday, Josh. "Empire of the Sun interview - Virgin.com". Virgin.com. Retrieved 2015-09-08.
- Struyf, Herbert (4 July 2010). "Review: Empire Of The Sun op Rock Werchter 2010 (Pyramid Marquee) ★★½". humo.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 2015-09-08.
- Young, Alex (28 April 2010). "Empire of the Sun announces debut North American shows". consequenceofsound.net. Retrieved 2015-09-08.
- "Discographie Empire Of The Sun" (in German). charts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Empire of the Sync reign in Germany - Artists - The Music Network". themusicnetwork.com. Peer Group Media. 11 November 2010. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015.
- Craddock, David (16 July 2011). "Empire of the Sun get busy on second album". Perth Now. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- Adams, Cameron (28 July 2011). "Album review: Soft Universe by Pnau". heraldsun.com.au. NewsCorp.
- "Sir Elton John and Pnau top album chart". BBC News. BBC. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- Minsker, Evan (11 March 2013). "Empire of the Sun Announce New LP, Share Epic Album Trailer". Pitchfork Media.
- Locker, Melissa. "11 Best Music Videos of 2013 (So Far)". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
- Italian peaks
- Farrelly Brothers (18 April 2013). "Empire of the Sun will be doing the music for Dumb and Dumber To. Check out the first single of their new album". Farrelly Brothers on Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "iTunes - Music - Ice on the Dune by Empire of the Sun". iTunes. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- Tom Mann (15 August 2013). "Luke Steele vs Daft Punk: "We’ve got better songs"". Faster Louder. Faster Louder Pty Ltd. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "Empire of the Sun Say New Album Is 'On God's Timetable'". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "Interview: Empire of the Sun Walk on a Dream to Bill Graham".
- Phares, Heather. "Empire of the Sun Biography". allmusic.com. All Media Network llc. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "Going Far Out With Empire of the Sun | SPIN". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- Youngs, Ian (5 December 2008). "BBC Sound of 2008: Empire of the Sun". BBC News website. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- "Kings of Leon top Triple J's Hottest 100". 25 January 2009.[dead link]
- "Discographie Empire Of The Sun" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Discografie Empire Of The Sun" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Discographie Empire Of The Sun" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Discography Empire Of The Sun". irish-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Discografie Empire Of The Sun" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Discography Empire Of The Sun". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Empire Of The Sun". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Empire Of The Sun". Billboard. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Empire of the Sun)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
- "2009 Certification Awards – Gold". The Irish Charts. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- "Gold & Platin" (in German). IFPI Austria. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Awards 2011". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- "Italian single certifications – Empire of the Sun" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 29 November 2013. Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Empire of the Sun in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
- "Breakdown" exclusive bonus album track iTunes Store. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
- Romance To Me free mp3 Official Empire of the Sun website
- "Watch Empire of the Sun Become Aliens In ‘DNA’ Video". radio.com. CBS Radio Inc. 5 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- WALKING ON A DREAM WITH 11 ARIA NOMINATIONS! << Empire of the Sun
- ARIA Music Awards of 2010 - Winners & Nominees
- "Nominations for Song of the Year - 2010". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 27 May 2010.
- "2010 Winners - APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 24 June 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Empire of the Sun.|