Australian electronic duo Empire of the Sun said in an interview last year that they had a "treatment" written for a film for their most recent album, "Ice on the Dune," and were just "waiting for that person with a sackful of money to come along and pay for it." While that money-sacked paladin has yet to appear, just five days after the 2013 article came out, the Farrelly brothers tweeted that the band, comprised of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore, would be record the soundtrack for "Dumb and Dumber To."
A curious combination that promises one the catchiest soundtracks to what could be the most quotable movie of 2014, the band is now in full swing, writing away to the stupid antics of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne.
“We’re a couple months into it, so we’ve got a good bit of content," Steele, Empire of the Sun vocalist, guitarist and all-around songwriter, told The Huffington Post. "It’s like we’re sculptors chiseling into the film. You’re taking off the fat, and just sort of exploring with your guitar. Eventually you have to build a house somewhere.”
As Steele noted, the band recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Jim Carrey and the rest of the cast (funny enough, being a star himself, Steele said he found himself short of words in Carrey's presence). It wasn't the A-list Hollywood talent, however, that spurred Empire of the Sun to accept the Farrelly brothers' offer to make a move into the movie business. Rather, as Steele said, it was that "film is the most powerful medium."
"It's really the jackpot," he said. "We both pump out a lot of different music that land on different platforms and different areas of color. It doesn’t always work for a record. A record has to follow a kind of thread; has to be in the same family. I’ve just got hundreds of ideas for songs and just want to bring them to life.”
Steele explained the importance the soundtrack holds in film, adding a layer that is rarely recognized for its importance outside of musical films. “The music lubricates the whole scene," Steele said. "It’s like when you go out on a first date, you wish could put some chords behind it. The music would really help."
In describing the difference between approaching this soundtrack as opposed to writing a studio album, Steele said how it is not about writing down what is on his mind, but being able to interpret a character's mind and their surrounding environment. Excited by this challenge, the band is taking things one step at a time, waiting to see the outcome and its reception before deciding to continue their involvement in scoring film. Thinking about how the film will undoubtedly be riddled with outrageously idiotic jokes, I asked, quite stupidly, whether this required them to "write funny."
"I’ve actually got a big pair of shoes in the studio," Steele joked. "There’s a real giant mouse on the computer and a red nose in place of the Apple sign."
While the band has no plans, as of now, to unveil any b-sides or other new content in the near future, they plan to release a few more singles in their push of "Ice on the Dune." Discussing the expectation of bands to constantly push out music, Steele said record companies have conceived this perfect evolution where they get handed a single and album whenever they want it, churning pop bands into products. Empire of the Sun does not fit into this matrix.
“I think Empire is the most unconventional, unpredictable, sort of focused slash unfocused band in the world," Steele said. "Everything kind of works in this Wonka-like paradox time frame. It’s funny, such a strange collection of minds where the one has to have a heartbeat at 122 while the other is slightly sad. It’s like it’s sunny in California and raining in New York, and it will work. It takes a mashup of different ingredients. Which is hard sometimes because sometimes you want to plan. The last record took a lot longer than we wanted it to. Like, we handed in our record two years late. We’re the band that a record company loves to hate.”
The band also has a slew of forthcoming shows on the docket, including a performance at the Bud Light Hotel Dallas and festivals like Coachella. "We just booked some shows in Korea, and some more around Asia," Steele said. "Just getting all around the world. And we’ve got lots of American shows. We always dreamed of coming here as kids. Australia always just seemed so far away from everything."
Asked how it is possible for them to keep on top of such a busy schedule, Steele said with a chuckle: "You know, I will have four coffees, three red bulls and a cold shower, and I’m stalling falling asleep on the couch. Caffeine and prayer. There’s an album title right there."