Aussie electronic trio PNAU are quite the busy bunch. Getting their start nearly two decades ago, they have released six albums, including a collaborative LP with Elton John in 2012. Nick Littlemore is perhaps more well known for his work in Empire of the Sun, Peter Mayes is also heavily involved in Empire of the Sun, as well as producing many other artists and Sam Littlemore (Sam La More) is a somewhat recent addition to PNAU, but has been producing for over 15 years.
We were able to track down PNAU for an interview in honor of their new album Changa, released last month. The new album brings them back to the fun, dancefloor-driven and house party beats that people came to love them for when they first started making music. We chat about their time as ravers, how to go out in Sydney, potential remixers and tech in their music.
Beware the interview is a bit of a trip, so be ready with some LSD or something strong. Make sure to check out their new album Changa below.
You guys seem to be working on music almost all the time, whether it is PNAU or Empire of the Sun. How do you decide when it is time to work on PNAU?
We don’t decide when to work on other projects. We are led by the cosmos and the teachers of the wisdom of the wise. The teachers are the ones that connect the wild and wishful wires to the wonderful, wherever art thou.
The last album you guys did was Good Morning to the Night, the remix-album with Sir Elton John. Was there any thought to having another great to collab with on the record?
We are together and do together because the only other together we know is when and where to go. Nothing's wrong with our small showing. We are feeling our cells, waiting to be told exactly what to do.
How much of this album is influenced by modern electronic music versus your own past experiences as songwriters and ravers?
Once a raver, always a raver. Many of the energies we know were found on the Monday warehouse dance floors. We merely try to recapture those memes as the morning sun was coming in. We breed the memes with the warmth of the dusty night, a heart, a mind, shattered but full of love.
As artists who have been in this for a long time and in tune with the technology of the business, what is something you would like to see come along and quickly?
Our ultimate tool would be an EMU Sampling Percussion 1200 that could sample in stereo with more memory.
You guys have said that your Soft Universe LP “didn't really work” (not to pile on). How critical are you guys of your own work before it comes out and after it comes out?
Like a teenager that comes of age and rejects their parents, our previous album has rejected us and as stopped working for us. Perhaps one day our children will return home.
How do your other projects influence the work on PNAU?
Pnau is the source of our inspiration for our other projects, rarely the other way around. Pnau is traveling on its own vector and always will be.
Your music seems to be meant for a big night out and as native Sydneyites, how you recommend someone do that in the city in face of the lockout laws?
One must look into the soul to find meaning behind the flesh of the heart. It’s there but you have to go deep enough. Life will find a way. The love for a party never strays.
In the past loads of people have remixed your singles. Who do you have in mind for this album?
There are so many really good mixers out there but Pnau has always looked to the teachers like Derrick Carter who has been a huge influence, inspiring us since our Sambanova days. We would love to do something with him again.
What is something people might not know about you guys?
We live in a psychedelic wonderland.
What is this movie you guys are working on?
Self-Transforming Machine Elves and a secret Hollywood feature film