Empire of the Sun’s lead singer Luke Steele gives us the lowdown on his favourite places in Western Australia.
What does your dream holiday in Western Australia look like?
It always starts near the ocean. Fresh seafood, a great bottle of WA wine, a house on the beach and a surf break out front. Friends, family and an endless summer.
What do you think makes Western Australia a unique holiday destination?
The land has an aura that comes with its indigenous heritage and a natural beauty that not many places can claim. There’s a deep seeded energy that it exudes. Its unique land formations in the wild Kimberley region to the stunning western coastline with its iconic surf breaks. You’re going to make some unpredictable memories.
What does growing up in West Australian mean to you?
Some would see growing up in the most isolated city in the world as a disadvantage, but to me it felt like a secret weapon. There’s more space and time to create and build your own world where you are uninfluenced by influence. There’s a certain freedom that came with growing up in suburban Perth in the 80s. Looking back there really wasn’t too much to worry about. I had cool parents, a muso dad who was heading up the Perth Blues Club. As a kid we were taught to work hard. I did the milk run, the paper-run, I hired out bikes to tourists down at the Swan River foreshore. Growing up felt a bit like I was gathering mental postcards of future destinations – the isolation bringing a hunger to see the world.
What is your most treasured memory of Western Australia?
So many great memories. From starting my first band The Sleepy Jackson and heading off on our first regional road tour, my brother, the band and all the gear jammed into the old Mitsubishi L300. Getting up at the crack of dawn chasing waves down the south-west coast. Meeting my wife and marrying her in York to seeing my children born here. Memory really is the treasure of the mind.
Tell us about the re-recording process of the song Walking on a Dream. We heard that your daughter’s vocals appear in the track too.
The blueprint in the reinterpretation was not to lose what was so special about the song in the first place, its simplicity and beauty. We wanted to capture an innocence and dreamlike quality, which led us to work with the Gondwana Children’s Choir. Alongside them was my daughter Sunny Tiger who appears as the second lead voice alongside mine. It was great as a father to work with her on this. She has such an iconic voice which just sounds magical in this version.
The song Walking on a Dream was written in Perth? Could you tell us a little more?
Nick and I were hauled up writing in my studio compound in Osborne Park. We decided to refresh and hit Scarborough beach for a break. When we returned we hit the studio and this song came to us like a lightning bolt. It was effortless and felt like a gift, like some kind of prayer. Simple and powerful.
Could you tell us a little more about the lyrics of the song Walking on a Dream?
The lyrics are about unification and hope, celebration of love and joy. Running for the thrill beyond the world.
Luke Steele’s pointed gold crown; the silver version of which used on the cover art and though videos for Empire of the Sun’s second album Ice On The Dune is on display at the WA Museum Boola Bardip. Could you tell us a little more about the crown?
The crown has come to symbolize Empire of the Sun. It is an extension of the Emperor’s persona. This is the original version of the first crown we had built. It was crafted by a very talented metal-smith and prop master in Los Angeles called Dragon Dronet. We became great friends and collaborated over many years on all the emperor’s crowns. I’m honoured that the original is housed at the WA Museum so people can see it up close and appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it.