Littlemore lets it all out for PNAU
PNAU frontman Nick Littlemore finds the universe is harder than the band's latest album title suggests.
The ride has been bumpy for the duo, but despite the challenges, Littlemore looks to be on the bright side of the road now.
The duo originally out of Sydney, including Peter Mayes, released their first album Sambanova in 1999, which was taken off the market because of uncleared samples.
It was then re-released through another label, minus a few problematic tracks.
They released Again (2003), PNAU (2007) and Soft Universe in July.
The duo won an ARIA for their debut album and had critical success with their third, self-titled release.
The third release also gained the attention of legendary musician Sir Elton John, who said it was the best album he'd heard in 10 years.
The Piano Man has since mentored the duo through their fourth album and given them his body of work to re-create on an album.
Pulse spoke to Nick Littlemore from his home in New York.
He is softly spoken and thanks to a crackly line, hard to hear. He considers his words and is often poetic.
Renowned for their dance albums, he talks about the release of the more pop-sounding Soft Universe.
"I don't know, it just felt some-what natural," he says. "I think next time I want to make a very strange record again rather than such clean lines. Three months out from its release I'm looking at it differently."
This is how he looks at each album, as another expression.
"You learn new techniques and everything always evolves," he says. "For doing shows this was the record we wanted to make. It's a much more personalrecord."
Written after a break-up, releasing the album was helpful in the healing process says Littlemore.
"Release - just the word says it all," he says. "It's a cathartic moment. Letting it go rather than staring at it on my computer screen."
The change in pace has a big impact on the PNAU live show, which is now sans dancing fruit.
"It feels a lot rawer now," Littlemore says. "It's very pared back, more of a physical show rather than relying on a stage show. It feels a lot closer to the audience now."
This is, in part, thanks to Sir Elton's advice of putting Littlemore upfront on each song.
"It's very emotional singing," Littlemore says. "It's hard. Even for good singers. We used to just play really loud and hide behind a kick drum."
At times the experience is so intense he has felt like walking off stage.
"Sometimes you just don't make that connection," he says. "Other nights the light catches you in just the right moment and it's great. You have to get those moments when you do it live. When you're working on a record it's all about those moments, but live it is something else. If you don't make that connection it feels horrible - you want to walk off stage."
Working with Sir Elton has been quite an experience.
"I think anyone working with him is a novice," Littlemore says. "But he makes it very easy and relaxed. He's always cracking jokes. The time goes very quickly in the sessions with him. You never get extended periods of time with someone like him. You have two to three hours in a session. The PNAU way of doing things is much more drawn out.
"But in saying that he'll have four incredible songs in that time where we'll have two-and-a half songs."
It has given the guys the confidence to try new things, which will see them heading in a new direction.
"I think the next album we're ready to explode in colour," he says.
PNAU play an electrified set at Brisbane Stereosonic on Sunday, December 5. Tickets www.moshtix.com.au