“The way we write is a kind of ego death…” - hmv.com talks to Empire Of The Sun
As they release their new album Two Vines we sat down with Empire Of The Sun’s Nick Littlemore to find out all about how they made the LP...
When did you start work on what would become Two Vines?
“The songs actually go all the way back to when we were promoting Ice On The Dune, we wrote ‘ZZZ’ on the publicity tour, Luke actually surprised me with a new song, that was the first thing.”
Was it on and off sessions after that?
“We go hard when we work, there were a few sessions on this album when we didn’t sleep for three or four days, but we’re older now and Luke’s got family so spending that kind of time in downtown LA and smelling very raw isn’t the best thing to do too often. We actually did two sessions in Hawaii this time, which was really wonderful.”
How did you want this album to move on from Ice On The Dune?
“I wanted to move it back to a more musical place. I thought our second record lost its way and I was a bit miffed by the whole thing. I feel this time I’ve brought it back to something warmer and more melodic, this is much closer to my original vision for the band. It’s an album of tracks that are for the dancefloor, but not for the club.”
You’ve got some great guests on the album including Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, how did you get him involved?
“We reach out to a lot of people and Lindsey happened to come back and say that he was a fan of the band. He came down to the studio and he was great, he said he’d never really written with other people because of how Fleetwood Mac works, they do things very separately, so he loved being with us because it’s so free and improvised.”
How was the experience of writing with such a huge figure in pop music?
“It’s very nerve-wracking and it’s hard to remember that it’s fun. Fleetwood Mac was the first gig I ever went to, so to be writing with Lindsay was such a wonderful experience.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
“Each song is its own microcosm, but there is a theme. I had something of an awakening and I wanted to do something to represent our relationship with nature. I look around at the governments of the world and I wonder if they’re really representing the people they’re supposed to be, there’s so much greed in this world and I really feel like something has to change. I think we should listen to nature rather than our own brains, brains are faulty in many ways, relying on your ego is a calcareous knot of a tumorous tissue.”
How do words come to you?
“The cosmic consciousness is what we listen to. The way we write is channelling something that comes from the other. We don’t attribute to a lot of these ideas, we open ourselves up to different kinds of energy. I think music is the strongest force in the universe and I really hope we can awaken to our own past, I hope we can set a course to a more meaningful future and we want to be a force for good.”
So you never sit down to address a topic?
“We don’t think and we try to do exactly the opposite.. Mindfulness is about not thinking, decalcifying your third eye and allowing things to enter you. The way we write is a kind of ego death.”
Where did the title of Two Vines come from?
“I’ve been playing around with the idea for a while, I had a track called ‘Two Leaves’ and this felt like a good sister to that project. It’s this city covered in vines, the idea that Mother Earth would aggressively take back what is rightfully hers and swallow up these cities. I love visiting these huge cities, but they’re unnatural places.”
You don’t tour with the band, so what will you be up to while the group tour Two Vines?
“I’ve got the Two Leaves project and I’ve made about 16 full-length albums, the first of which is out next month and that’s a collaboration with a singer called Celia Pavey. I’ve made one with Theo Hutchcraft from Hurts, another with Woody Jackson, this great composer from LA and lots more. I’m putting together the films to go with them now, this is a much more experimental project, I want to move away from three or four minute radio songs and into a much more naturalistic way of writing.”