NICK LITTLEMORE - MUSICAL GENIUS?

By Semone Maksimovic
June 16th, 2003

You may know him as the spunky frontman of Australia's premier dance act Pnau and half of Lmore but that's not all Nick Littlemore is responsible for. During a busy time in the studio he managed to spare a few minutes to unveil some of his upcoming projects with dedicated music reporter, Semone Maksimovic.

As if things aren't busy enough for this young producer, this week will see Nick re-locating to London for a few months, where his brother Sam (the other half of Lmore) is now based to produce half of Darren Emerson (of Underworld fame)'s next record; mix the new Pnau record; mix the new 'Kings of Swing' record and work some more with his brother on some new Lmore material for release by the end of this year.

After spending two years locked up in the studio and only playing the odd festival shows and Underworld supports, Pnau finally released their next single Una Noche which seems to be ranking up a large amount of frequent flyer points on the airwaves, with it's funky summer Latino feel; the thing on everyone's lips seems to be Pnau's next record and what direction it will take and whether or not it will be as great as their last 'Sambanova.'

"Una Noche was just like a one-off thing, it was a trip. It was cool to work with Kid Creole and good to meet him and shit. He's a pretty amazing guy, I wasn't like a huge fan of that stuff, but he's certainly got his morals worked out pretty well, he's not jaded for someone who's been in it for 35 years that's been fucked over so many times (which would be hard at the best of times when you're losing heaps of dollars),  he's still so positive about writing music  which is really cool. But I don't think we'll ever do anything like that ever again. We've actually got two albums, we've written two so we're going to release one and then maybe six months later put out the second one, I know there's been a huge gap between putting out shit, so we're gonna put out an album about every nine months or so for Pnau. So it's going to be an outlet for just heaps of different shit that I do, all with that quirky, fun vibe I guess.

Sambanova is an interesting record to follow up, it's been released a few times and every single one of them's a little different, there's glitches and stuff on the first release, the second there's a different trumpet line and a mellotron on the new release, it's weird, it's an evolving record. It's cool, but we were just kids, we didn't know what the fuck we were doing, we did it from when we were about seventeen through to about nineteen.

The next album is going to be more like the original version of Sambanova, it's not really going to sell big numbers, it's just kinda beautiful shit. There's about nineteen tracks and it's going to be a bit more down-tempo, there's not going to be so much house on it, there's heaps of just like philo-brazilian kinda shit, it's pretty cool, I'm quite liking it I just want to get it out there.

Sambanova's been out in the UK for a little bit and seems to be doing something I suppose, I don't know. We did the trip there a few years ago and that was cool, it was fun. But touring overseas, because we never had the full support of the label at the time, it was kinda hard, pretty much self-funded which we were able to do cause we did a commercial for Foxtel and that paid for me to go over for ages, which was cool. It was all part of the ride, you never make money out of shows, we just try not to lose money on shows."

This may explain Pnau's reasoning behind their decision to mainly only play festivals and big supports in Australia throughout the past two years and staying away from their own club shows. "Yeah, we don't really do many of our own shows anymore, we love doing festivals and stuff like The Big Day Out and Homebake (someone else's gig), we always pull a good crowd at things like that, it's fun and on that scale it feels fucking real! Doing smaller gigs are great if someone else books them, but if you do it yourself and you put it all on, it just becomes too personalised, if you get caught up in the business that's just fucked, you can't get up onstage and do it with the same energy and enthusiasm. Gigs are cool, but I just like making records, it's so much better, I just want to record and put shit out, it's been so fucking long since I put anything out, so writing's definitely where it's at."

With Nick temporarily relocating to London for the next few months to work with Darren Emerson on his new album, this will also see Nick re-teaming up with brother Sam to make some more magic in the Lmore camp. After passing on a cd to Emerson during a Big Day Out tour that bothe Pnau and Emerson were on in 2001, Sam & Lmore were quickly snapped up by Emerson owned and run 'Underwater Records' and is now living over in the UK, in the studio writing a solo record and keen to work on some new Lmore material.

"Lmore's doing quite well, Taking Hold just came out in the UK about two months ago and picked up 'tune of the week' on radio 1 and all that Jazz, Sam's getting heaps of remixes for it now in London as a result. So, yeah I'd say that there's going to be an album, probably before the end of the year on Underwater Records [owned and run by Darren Emerson] cause we want to keep it pretty underground and have more control over it."

Another two side projects are also currently in the works including Kings of Swing (which is just a working title) for Nick's project with Kim Moyes of Sydney band Prop.

"That album's also ready to go, I'm going to mix that in London as well (, it's not going to be called Kings of Swing though, that was just sort of an old project title), it's sounding really beautiful! I got about twenty songs for that, so I'll go over and mix all of that. It's going to be a pretty cool record, it's kinda like my baby that album. It's like lost folk, very much listening music it's not like boogie tronics or anything, the original idea was kind of like for a film soundtrack for a film that doesn't exist. It's like soundtrack music, it's like that kinda vibe with real strings and stuff. There's about fifty different musicians on there now, so it's kind of a really big project I suppose. We've just used so many fucking people, not really any famous people which is kinda good, just friends and friends of friends and friends of friends kinda thing, it's just if you run into musicians and hook up with them and do some stuff with them, that kind of thing. It's a really open kind of project, it's more like based on magnetism, there isn't a lot of songwriting or anything it's more about just chucking stuff into the pot and letting it just happen naturally, it's not really very forced, you can't really see the hands working too much, the music is pretty easy, it's not to over-developed or over produced or anything. It's really phat and shit but there's no real riffs. I also hope to have that out this year."

The other project is a punk collaboration under the working title 'Nute' featuring the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Nick Zinner on guitar."I was introduced to Nick at The Courthouse Hotel [Sydney] one night by Pav [Stephen Pavolvic- local promoter, Modular label boss] when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had a night off and he was keen to hook up and work on some stuff cause he'd been on tour since August and didn't have a chance to do anything like that, so we took him into this studio Kim [Moyes] had set up in a church (at the time) the next day and he played guitar on it while we put it through boxes and fucked with it. It was just fun, getting to take out all my angst and shit, I like that it's just dumb, it's dumb music where Kings of Swing or whatever is like high art, so it's really good to do something like this, it's like a jism."

With such a bag full of experience, an ARIA award and many successful collaborations under his belt still at such a tender age, it's hard to even imagine what the main highlight could be for Nick so far. "The highlight? I'd say that's probably yet to come, hopefully I'm going to keep going up, I don't think I've really had my prime yet, I'm only just really starting to get a grip of the basics of things. Working with [David] Bridie [ex-My Friend The Chocolate Cake frontman] was a good experience. It started off when I did a remix for him and we just sort of hooked up when I was in Melbourne doing some shows. His musical knowledge far exceeds mine, but his into alot of the similar shit, (but the earlier original stuff) like Plad, Throbbing Gristle, Fat Gadget and that kind of thing and we talked about making records and stuff, then I just kept hassling him about working on his new album  Cause I liked his last record, but I think we could have worked on some pretty cool stuff together; I'm happy with what we've done with this one, it's pretty happening. I produced the whole thing, which was good, maybe I went a little bit out of my depth,  but he gave me confidence and you can do anything when someone believes in you. It's the hardest thing to get somebody to support you, especially when there's not many bands or people in general like that around."

Spending his days locked away in the studio writing material for all these different projects plus whatever else pops up, I find myself asking how many tracks this musical genius averages in a typical week. "It depends on the week, two weeks ago I went into the studio with Kim and we wrote six songs in two or three days so it depends. Some weeks I just work on shit that I've got and I build it up and get session guys in; I guess in a month I write or complete four or five songs but I might start about twenty, so it's kinda different, like when Darren [Emerson] was out here we wrote like twelve songs in three days and five of them are on his album and three of them are on Pnau's record but that's just cause Darren's just really fucking inspiring.

He's just cool, he's like such a genuine person and he kinda gets it, like so many people I work with don't really, they didn't go through the acid house and all that sort of shit and kinda writing dumb shit is weird working with musos but working with someone like him which is all he's ever really done, with like Underworld stuff which is just so simple and fun and it's more about you having a good time and that's quite refreshing, there's no fucking science behind it, it's just like straight up energy music.

I write everyday, I don't really know where things are going to go, I just keep my head down and hopefully I come up with something good."

As if he doesn't already have his finger in enough pots, Nick also aspires to delve into some soundtrack work in the future "I wanna do a film soundtrack, I'd like to do a really fucked up film soundtrack that's really interesting. The good thing about soundtracks is it's kind of a career, where as being an artist is like a job, but it's still making beautiful shit as long as your still getting your publishing for it."

For a musical mastermind that started off so young, and still has so many dreams he's working to full-fill, I imagine he would have some helpful words of wisdom for young inspiring artists and that he is happy to offer;

"It's a long road, but it's so much better than fucking working in an office, I would be doing anything else. I guess that's if you've got the passion to create and stuff, music's a pretty good avenue. The best thing about it I guess, is it's pretty cheap to realise your dreams, certainly in terms of writing, not in terms of megastardom (whatever the fuck that means), so if you're getting into it for the celebrity factor you're probably not going to last very long. Getting out of here is hard, I think it's hard being born here in a way, it gives you so many opportunities but takes away so many at the same time, if you grew up in Europe it would be a different story, but then again there are so many people over there. It's quite a trip!"




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