Pnau – Work-life imbalance

August 11, 2008 § Leave a comment

Published: Sydney Morning Herald, Metro, August 8, 2008.

Music is work and work is life for Sydney party-starters Pnau, writes Dan Rule.

PERHAPS one of the more misguided presumptions you can make about a band is that their off-stage countenance will mirror their attributes behind the mic. Especially, it seems, in the case of Sydney electro-pop savants Pnau.

The duo — known for their surrealist, costume-clad live excursions as much as their multi-angled attack on dance music — exude sass-riddled euphoria, but today’s phone conversation with singer and producer Nick Littlemore renders a very different impression.

“I’m usually not really that happy,” admits the 30-year-old, chatting from London after playing the Glastonbury Festival. “In social situations I generally just close up and freak out and run away.

“I don’t do dinner parties, you know. If there is no real purpose in being somewhere, then I’d rather be just writing notes or making something or just working.”

It’s a telling assertion. Pnau, who play the Hordern tonight as part of their Embrace national tour, don’t take their work lightly.

“People say that our music seems really escapist to them but I actually see it as us being up there escaping for everyone else,” Littlemore says.

“I feel quite sacrificial when we play live. When I broke my sternum last year I felt like I was bearing a cross for the whole f—ing audience, you know. If I kind of lose my mind and break my bones, then everyone else can relax and have a good time.”

Indeed, Littlemore and creative partner Pete Mayes’s London jaunt, which is now in its third month, is anything but a label-funded holiday. Following the glowing success of last year’s self-titled third album — which used insatiable dance hooks and the services of a children’s choir, drawing the ear of none other than Elton John — Pnau are in the midst of the most creatively active period of their career.

Aside from working on their fourth album together, Littlemore is writing records for two separate side projects.

“Pete often looks at me funny when I say this but it sort of doesn’t matter whether we’re friends or not,” he says.

“I really don’t give a flying f— because the thing that’s a lot more important to me than friendship or any of the other stuff is making work and we have a good union for making work. That’s our relationship; it’s a factory.”

So what’s next off the Pnau production line, then?

“We loved working with the kids’ choir on the last record so it would be cool to do something that kids can relate to again.

“I just love that idea of connecting with kids and making cool shit for kids because there’s not that much stuff out there that’s really got any depth to it. There’s been a long history of f—ed-up things for kids..

“Kids’ minds are so open to being expanded. They’ll make better citizens in the long term.”

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