Empire of the Sun
About Empire of the Sun
Between their deeply immersive sound and otherworldly visual identity, Australian electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun feel blissfully self-contained. Luke Steele (born in Perth in 1979) and Nick Littlemore (born in Sydney in 1978) had already found success with The Sleepy Jackson and PNAU respectively, but their team-up for 2008’s Walking on a Dream vaulted them to the next level. The title track introduced this project’s flair for cosmic theatre and reeling falsetto, reshuffling just the right nostalgic cues into euphoric dance-floor catnip, while the acoustic-guitar gait of “We Are the People” evoked the folky twang of Steele’s former band. Tapping epic sci-fi cinema and New Age-y vistas as inspiration for their costumes, make-up, and music videos, the duo remain instantly distinctive. Their firm grasp of the grandiose extends through 2013’s Ice on the Dune, with the openly anthemic chorus of “Alive” ideal for music-festival sing-alongs, and the soft-rock dreamscapes of 2016’s Two Vines. Empire of the Sun’s lush fusion of widescreen production and romantic songwriting has led to collaborations with Wiz Khalifa and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, plus individual work with JAY-Z and Beyoncé for Steele and with Elton John and Robbie Williams for Littlemore.