Empire of the Sun's Luke Steele: "Progress Is the Law of Heaven"
Hey, you party people. Yeah, you.
It's almost time for Ultra Music Festival again. And guess who's back to blow our minds? Why, it's our favorite Aussies, Empire of the Sun's Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore.
They dazzled the Ultra crowd in 2011, playing tracks off their debut album, Walking on a Dream. And now they're returning for UMF 2014 with their exciting sophomore album, Ice on the Dune.
We here at Crossfade recently caught up with Luke to talk pop stars, writing, film, and what to expect from this year's Empire of the Sun show.
Crossfade: How are you today?
Luke Steele: Yeah, good. Second coffee.
I've been on a coffee kick lately. But it's bad, because then I can't sleep at night.
Girls are like that. I need about 20 to get by. [Laughs]
So this will be your first time back in Miami since Ultra in 2011, right?
Yeah! Well, I did some writing down there with the band for the last record. It was fun.
A lot of people like to write and record here, but not actually play here.
I don't know why not. Why wouldn't they? It's so nice down there, so warm and balmy. Yeah, it's beautiful.
True. What was your experience like performing at Ultra?
I loved it. It's kind of, like, the loudest festival I've ever performed at. It seemed like the PA was tuned about 20 decibels louder than any other PA, which was cool. I'm surprised they had the license to have it that loud, but I'm cool with it. [Laughs] Yeah, I loved that. The production at Ultra is kind of ridiculous. Pretty over the top. I definitely like it.
How do you think your live show has changed since the last time you were here?
You know, we kind of began with a pretty elaborate project. We wanted everything to hit all the senses. There was gonna be animals, different things and different dimensions happening, but you start to realize that it'll cost about a million dollars each show, so you have to kind of figure out how to make it work. But this next round, we've added bigger stairs and bigger dance moves. Started to make it more like a movie.
There's a strong narrative with the debut that continues into this latest album. Could you tell us about that?
A lot of it is really just escapism, sort of like an exploration of the imagination. Or a dream. Or it's love.
We started writing screenplays, like, as a kind of mental right of way. We sort of set out across the world, we'd go through all these different towns. But yeah, there's always that running alongside the actual songs.
Do you plan on doing anything further with those screenplays, as far as actual production?
Yeah, the idea is to do the feature film. It just sort of needs to be done in its own time with the proper director. Kind of a big deal, making a movie. [Laughs]
That's a big project.
Yeah, but that was always the way we approached it. You know, screenplay, three acts, it sort of always seemed to work well for us.