IT’S a balmy New York evening when we pin down Pnau and Empire Of The Sun electronic whiz Nick Littlemore roaming the streets of the Big Apple.
The Los Angles-based artist is on the east coast recording music at the famed Power Station studio, formerly known as Avatar. It’s hallowed turf where the likes of John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Madonna and David Bowie have recorded.
Littlemore’s in great spirits and waxing lyrical about the artists he’s been working with – Brooklyn rapper Latasha Alcindor and Virginian jazz singer Judi Jackson.
“She [Latasha] is an incredible talent and probably one of the most prolific writers I’ve ever met,” Littlemore says.
Littlemore also lets slip that Latasha will appear on the next Pnau album. Yes, that’s right. Plans are already well advanced to follow the Sydney electronic three-piece’s comeback hit Changa, released last November.
Changa, which spawned the dance floor favourites Chameleon and Go Bang, ended a six-year break between albums and five-year absence from the stage.
“We usually have five years in between, but I feel like now we have a moment where the audience want to know what we’re doing on a grander scale, so we’re trying to stay on that,” Littlemore says.
“The new album started out quite disco, but it’s now merging with old-school acid house and dance music in general and other influences, it’s a really wild ride. It’s quite coupled with the last album.”
Littlemore and his Pnau collaborators Peter Mayes and brother Sam Littlemore hope to have their sixth album released by Christmas.
Having turned 40 two months ago Littlemore understands he holds a cherished position; to still be producing hip music and attracting a young fan base, despite Pnau rising out of Sydney’s mid-90s acid and house scene.
“It’s been such a blessing for us to find a new audience as well as the dedicated audience we’ve had for some time,” he says. “It’s a real privilege to have young people find us and dance to our beats.
“It’s something we don’t take for granted. Kids these days go through music quite quickly so we want to try and keep up with them to some level, but definitely not to the Kanye [West] level where he’s putting out music every week.
“Rather than five years, maybe it’s one year between albums.”
It’s a real privilege to have young people find us and dance to our beats.- Nick Littlemore
Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel hosted Pnau’s Australian live return in March last year. The show created speculation that Novocastrian heroes Silverchair were reforming because the Cambridge released a clue stating that the unnamed act hadn’t performed in Australia for six years.
“It was a funny show because there were quite a lot of people wanting the local legends or just an Aussie rock band and then we turn up,” Littlemore says.
“We were pretty rusty at that point. It was the first show we’d done for a really long time. I’ve always regarded Newcastle as our spiritual home because we grew up not far from Newcastle on the outskirts of northern Sydney towards Hornsby and every time we’ve gone up there, even for DJ sets, we’d have such a great time and it’s one of those places where people really let loose and have a fun time.”
Pnau’s music is filled with positivity. Not just in the lyrics, but their energetic beats and melodies. It’s a worldview Littlemore carries over into his use of Twitter.
The social media platform might harbour a culture of hyper-politicisation and trolling, but Littlemore finds the simple use of 280 characters therapeutic.
“I came off weed recently and I’m feeling every bad thing and if I tweet out some things, I get love back,” he says. “Sometimes we all need that, and when I’m feeling good I send out love.
“In this crazy technologised world we live in now there’s so much crazy energy flying round and I think we all need an anchor somewhere where we can stand and hold up a sign above our heads and say, ‘I need help’ or ‘I need love’ or whatever it is.”
Pnau perform at the Bar On The Hill on July 18 with Kuren and Clypso.
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