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Music / Music: Empire of the Sun (Band)

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"Describe Empire of the Sun here..."

Oh, if it were only so simple.

Imagine Star Wars, as written by the creative team behind Avatar: The Last Airbender, with an electropop score and characters designed by the people who did The Fall.

Wait, no.

Take every 80’s Anime hit ever, drop it in the middle of Mexico with the cast of Mad Max, a script by David Lynch and Frank Herbert, and the art of Yoshitaka Amano.

No, that’s still not right.

Okay, picture Stargate, if it had been written by Stan Lee, set in space and produced by Heavy Metal magazine.

Oh, never mind.

Empire of the Sun is a studio project electro-dance-pop/progressive rock band, founded by Luke “Emperor" Steele (formerly of The Sleepy Jackson) and Nick “Lord” Littlemore (also of Pnau). Taking Steele’s art school studies and Nick’s love of surreal fantasy, they’ve created a plot worthy of some 70’s sci-fi epic, complete with costumes, villains and special effects straight out of a Tokusatsu show.

The story runs like this: In a distant time, the world was pure. Guarding and balancing it, were the Emperor (played by Luke Steele) and the Prophet (played by Nick Littlemore). All was peaceful and magical, until the arrival of the sinister Shadow King. He stole the magical jewel that the Emperor relied on for his powers and the world fell into chaos. Now, the Emperor and his Prophet seek to fight back and return the world to its former glory.

Expect a lot of WMG in here, as the band seems to LOVE making us speculate on everything.

Bears no relation to the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name, especially since Word of God has confirmed that the name actually comes from, "the fact that we're traveling around the world going to all the places of empires of the civilization where the sun has been a theme of worship."


  • Walking on a Dream (2008)
  • Ice on the Dune (2013)
  • Two Vines (2016)

Empire of the Sun contains examples of:

  • Badass Longcoat: Lord Littlemore's long brown coat from the Alive video. And recently, Luke has sported a few nice ones on stage.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: They both have their moments, but Luke's tend to happen when Nick isn't there to do the talking.
  • Cool Crown: The Emperor has a bunch of them. A cardboard replica of the one he uses in Ice on the Dune is even included in the collector's edition vinyl of the album.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Mid-way between Ice on the Dune and Two Vines, the costuming for concerts went black and gold, though there's no sign of whether this symbolizes anything, or whether it's simply for the effect.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Luke, both in and out of costume, likes his bling.
  • Granola Guy: Nick is very philosophical about music and art and seems to have a dreamy-eyed view of nature, to the point where he has even recorded percussion for an album in a cave and a bamboo thicket and writes rather clever poems about Santa Claus being a mushroom. His costuming in most of the videos and the rare live performance seems to jack this to eleven, with turquoise beads, feathers, leather and soft linens.
  • Grief Song: "Without You"
  • Quirky Curls: Nick has very curly hair, and, fittingly, when the band is interviewed together, he's comes across as a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Silver Fox: Nick manages to combine early-graying hair and a baby face in such a way that he seems to have gathered quite the following of admirers.
  • Solo Duet: Luke Steele does this A LOT. To the point where his falsetto has been mistaken for a female vocalist, jokingly called "Cindy".
  • Stage Name: Emperor Steele and his Prophet, Lord Littlemore.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Swordfish Hotkiss Night". While there seems to be a vague motif of juxtaposition of nature and tradition against modernity and technology ("Jesus Christ on web blog", "Tiger in a drug store"), good luck figuring out every facet of the song's lyrics.