Philly Mixtape Music Tea w/ Empire of the Sun

With about an hour to go before their set on Sunday at Firefly Music Festival, Mixtape sat down with Luke Steele, brainchild of Empire of the Sun. We talked influences, the new tour, and taking over the new American dance culture. Judging by the reception of the huge crowd they drew…it looked like it was working.

PM- Your stage and costume design is an integral part of not only your shows but your music. Who puts it all together?

LS- My wife and I design everything with the help of Wonder and Piety. I wanted to keep imagination and adventure throughout this whole project. I’m addicted to vision, married to it really.

PM- How do you have the time to do all that and the music and perform?

LS- Your days are numbered. It’s about how little time you have to work with. We’re workaholics.

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PM- What are you doing different on this tour compared to your last?

LS- I’ve been fortunate enough to re-uite with some old friends of mine who are in Gomez. They are part of the band now. The last five years it’s been me building the shows including the sound effects, cues, etc. Having these guys in the band is refreshing and takes Empire to a whole other level.

PM- What artists are you truly inspired by these days?

LS- I just found this girl Hannah Diamond in the UK. Odesza. DJ Shadow. Chemical Brothers. All of those. I’ve always loved Ratatat. And I’m a big fan of that Brandon Flowers record. “Between Me and You” is one of those songs my wife and I like to put on at the end of the night. We dance. We cry.

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PM- What’s setting you apart this time to break through to American audiences?

LS-  We’re on a different track with Gomez, re-shuffling the whole road train. New stage, new visuals, new songs. It’s also being a part of this whole new dance culture of America that’s been so exciting.

Empire of the Sun ended up turning new fans into dedicated fans this past Sunday. It was arguably one of the most fun crowds I was a part of all weekend. Luke was a chill dude and we can’t wait to hang with him again whenever that new album drops…hint hint.

PM_YNOT Empire Of Sun


Review/ Firefly Festival 2015

Imagine being handed a pass to go to the best music festival the East Coast has to offer…(I hear you Governors Ball). The only directive given: take some photos and go have fun. By the end of your 4 day weekend you’ve acquired 5 additional passes (all rightfully so), wound up with 4 interviews, lots of new friends, and lots of mud on your shoes. This is what happened when Mixtape went to Firefly. And here’s what we have to tell you about it:

It’s All About The Music

Billboard has already told you that Betty Who stole the show…only second to Paul McCartney…they’re wrong on both accounts. Both of those artists blew us all away. Paul brought me to tears. Spoon was spot on as ever. AWOLNATION won my saving grace.

But there were two acts you probably missed because you were busy charging your phones or seeing Snoop. These two bands are going to have a huge impact in the next year: Empire of the Sun and Glass Animals.

I can’t say enough good things about these two acts. And being in a sea of people during their sets, you could feel the good energy reverberate off into the atmosphere. Not to mention the insane talent and fresh sounds that came from them.


Like any festival, there were many conflicts of interest. Snoop was on the same time as Empire,  Modest Mouse the same time as Kygo…yet we were able to see both floating in between (thank you VIP pass).

The biggest conflict was Thursday night. X Ambassadors (who tore. it. up. another act you need to hear), TYCHO (brought a full band complete with ocean scenes and many many shirtless bros), and The Kooks (who stole the night with their insanely catchy melodies). All three acts were on point, great openers for the weekend, and all worth mentioning.

Kygo was a full on feel good party. The energy, the vibes, the happiness. The same went for Aoki, a living legend, who seems even more relevant today by his Firefly set.

Festival Layout

Firefly’s a huge festival and it’s getting even bigger. As far as stages go, Forest, Backyard, and Lawn all seemed to be the most accessible. Pavillion…was a great idea with a terrible execution (it was a muddy pond the entire time complete with agitated security guards). Apparently there were two hubs for food, confusing interviewees when they tried to meet up with us…staff and security had NO idea where we were or were trying to go…this was a recurring theme the whole weekend. Best hangover food we tried was at one of the food vendors outside the venue (mac and cheese, sausage, bacon, chicken, in a roll…yes this is a thing and it’s called the Dr. Lector).


The amazing talented people Mixtape met along the way was due in part to the equally awesome staff behind the stages that drove golf carts around the entire weekend…god bless them. The rides were a cross between being in Jurassic World and Entourage as we were chauffeured around in the muddy Woodlands.

PM_YNOT Backstage

Expect some awesome Music Tea this week. This Firefly experience was truly one for the books.

PM_YNOT Firefly Experience

See all photos over on Philly Mixtape’s facebook page here.

And share your favorite moments from the festival in the comments section below !!