Kevin Winter, Getty Images Nominees for the 2013 Teen Choice Awards are trickling…
- Posted on Jun 25th 2010 9:30AM by Barnaby Smith
The pair, in short, had grand designs. But then Empire of the Sun began to resemble a soap opera when Littlemore left the band in the middle of last year and promptly disappeared, only to re-surface reportedly writing songs with that self-appointed saviour of rock stars in distress, Sir Elton John. The bricks of the empire continued to fall when communication lines between Steele and Littlemore publicly disintegrated, with Steele taking the band on the road on his own. Throw in some mild controversy surrounding songwriting credits and you have a tumultuous year.
Now, Steele is ready to finally bring the Empire of the Sun show to Europe, with his penchant for razzle-dazzle seemingly undimmed by the months of confusion.
"We're doing our best to cross theatre and dance into some kind of extravaganza," Steele tells Spinner, "which is harder than you think. There are dancers with us on the road which is really odd for a rock 'n' roller.
"But this is a show I've wanted to have since I was a kid, I wanted something you'd never seen before, that was unpredictable."
The elaborateness of this highly-choreographed show is a physical and technical challenge for Steele, who is never one to let anything as mundane as pragmatism come between him and his artistic vision.
"We played a few festivals where it had been raining and the dancers come out and they're slipping around like a new-born calf on an ice-skating rink, and my vocal set was sparking and I was getting electric shocks.Then there's people falling off the side of the stage and I'm worried about murdering someone with my headpiece.
"Then there was the other day when we played Darwin and it was 33 degrees and I'm standing there with two layers, gloves and a headpiece. I must have been singing eight octaves out of tune I was so exhausted."
Steele has a collection of songs ready to go for a second Empire of the Sun record. Unfortunately though, that should be no cause to anticipate a release any time soon -- a third Sleepy Jackson album has been "in the pipeline" for up to three years with still no concrete news, although Steele describes the new Sleepy Jackson songs as "really minimal, like Kraftwerk mixed with the Beatles." The prolific Steele also has a punk rock album up his sleeve, to be released under the name Icon Python.
"I like so many different styles of music," says Steele, "I'm at the point where I'm just so confused what should be on what record. I need a librarian to catalogue all these songs and work out what's going on with everything."
In the midst of the chaos that is Steele's career, he and wife Snappy Dolphin continue to raise their daughter, Sunny Tiger. Empire of the Sun play festivals T in the Park in Scotland on July 11, and Lovebox in London on July 17, and Steele will have both mother and daughter in tow.
"So what goes on on tour doesn't stay on tour at all," he says. Quite.