Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes are hard at work on another new PNAU record. Yes, you read that correctly; and yes, their fifth album Changa did literally come out less than a month ago. Right now, it’s all about gaining momentum and making up for lost time as far as PNAU is concerned. “We’re striking while the iron’s hot,” says Littlemore. “We didn’t want to leave it another five years before we put something else out.” Mayes agrees, “If we did, the iron would get all mouldy.”
They’re here together, meaning that there’s a lot of talking over one another and back-and-forth silliness between the two. It’s all about having fun, which has been the duo’s raison d’être since forming in the late ‘90s. Given it’s not something they get to do often on account of their lives away from PNAU – most notably, Littlemore’s work with Empire of the Sun. Still, when the planets align, there’s no stopping them – making their moments in the spotlight all the more exciting.
“PNAU has always been the heart of the party,” says Mayes. “No matter what, you always come back to the party. We’ll always deviate from the curve, even when the curve becomes a straight line. We’re a party band, and we’re always pursuing a real mish-mash of styles.” Littlemore adds that there’s a method to the madness which has allowed PNAU to thrive for nearly 20 years. “Our process has evolved in terms of getting to the idea a lot quicker,” he says. “Rather than just throwing shit around the idea, we get a lot closer to what we’re envisioning now. It makes it a lot more fun – it’s been a real journey.”
Since releasing Changa‘s lead single ‘Chameleon’ towards the end of 2016, PNAU have kept up a considerable momentum. They’ve been festival favourites once again, expanding their live show with a mix of old and new favourites. They’re joined by former Operator Please drummer Tim Commandeur – “We love Timmy,” Mayes and Littlemore cry out in high-pitched unison – and American singer/dancer Kira Divine, as well as Littlemore’s brother Sam; who has become a part of the PNAU fold permanently.
“Kira sings a lot on Changa, so it made sense to bring her out on the road with us,” says Littlemore. “We did a show in Adelaide with our old drummer, Tony, who we love. He was about to go on to open a restaurant, but we loved the idea of playing with a live drummer again. That’s where Timmy came in. We’ve almost based the show around him entirely.” Mayes laughs, adding, “We thought that if we got Timmy, we might be in with a chance.”
Littlemore is particularly excited about the visual aspect of the live shows, which will continue into the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day festivities as PNAU appear at Beyond the Valley. “We lost the video side of things there for a while,” he says. “It’s back in a big way for this show. It looks really great – and it’s matched up perfectly to the show, which is sounding great. Everything has just grown and evolved up to this point – it’s the best it can be.”
Undoubtedly, performing at festivals such as Beyond the Valley and Groovin the Moo means that PNAU are playing to an audience skewed to the younger side. Many punters are only discovering the band now off the back of ‘Chameleon’, which is far and away the most commercially-successful PNAU single ever released. Littlemore and Mayes are inviting whoever may want to see them – whether that’s true believers from back in the day or fresh faces and ears taking in PNAU for the first time. “We’re putting out the good vibes for everyone,” Mayes says.
“It’s a rite of passage when you’re a certain age to go out, find your groove and jump up and down at warehouse parties and festivals. We’re honoured that we got to be that for people before, and that we’re a part of it for a new generation.