I remember the first time I heard Empire of the Sun. It was October, 2009, and I was in a second-hand clothing shop on Pearl Street in Boulder. I thought, 'Wow, this is a good new MGMT song.' (It was 'We Are the People.')

Mark Davis/Getty Images
Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun    Mark Davis/Getty Images

Six and a half years later, my programming director introduces 'Walking on a Dream' to our new music rotation. And I laughed.

I said, 'New? This song came out when I was in high school. In 2008.' But, just as true for the second-hand store I was in when I first heard the band, some things are better a second time around.

We wanted to reach into our imagination and make something so psychedelically crazy that you'd never forget us...  It felt like at the time, around 2007, 2008, 2009, that a lot of the acts out there were very demure; they were just wearing all black and they were staring at their shoes, and there wasn't this childlike imaginative kind of quality to things. It felt like that had left music. And once imagination leaves art, I don't know what's left.

I was so excited when I got the completely surreal opportunity to hop on the phone with Nick Littlemore, who makes up one half of the Australian duo, who I sometimes have referred to as 'The Australian MGMT: Kind of the same band but their toilets flush the other way.'

However, they're really not like MGMT, because they have an empire -- pun intended -- of self-proclaimed Empyreans; a dedicated following of fans who have essentially created their own culture surrounding the band.

And that signature headdress? It was created by a costume designer from the original Star Wars movie. No big. We talk about all of that, and how awesome Colorado is, in the phone interview:

Empire of the Sun - Alive


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