PNAU used to make us wait five years between new releases. But not this time: just 18 months after their game-changing album Changa, Australia’s electronic legends are back with a shimmering new single.
‘Solid Gold’ is the first track of 2019 for trio Nick Littlemore, Peter Mayes and Sam Littlemore, a song they first teased during their packed mainstage set at last year’s Splendour in the Grass.
With ‘Solid Gold’, PNAU set out to capture the hypnotic, everlasting rhythm of old disco records. The song was inspired equal parts by Nick Littlemore’s explorations into world music and the sun drenched energy of Australia, incorporating live instrumentation to create a richer, fuller sound. It’s a banger built to soundtrack good times but, Littlemore says, it’s also about “the love of a best friend and being able to depend on people”.
‘Solid Gold’ was built around the voices of two collaborators: Kira Divine and Florida’s Marques Toliver, both of whom wrote the song together with the band in Los Angeles. A chance encounter in London years ago allowed Littlemore to hear Toliver’s soulful vocals up close and in 2018, he flew the singer and violinist out to LA “on a whim” to collaborate. “We’d never even met before, but he stayed with us in our house here and we worked crazy hours making all of this music,” Littlemore says. “He’s so energetic and full of ideas”.
PNAU fans will recognise Kira Divine as the voice of the hits ‘Chameleon’ and ‘Go Bang’, but ‘Solid Gold’ marks the first time she and the band had written the song from scratch together. “It was a really exciting moment for us to have worked with her as a session singer and then to have her come in and melodically add so much,” Littlemore says.
Kira Divine also features in the kaleidoscopic video for ‘Solid Gold’, which expands the aesthetic the band explored on their ARIA nominated 2017 album Changa. To create the clip director Clemens Habicht created an apparatus that made Kira appear, Nick says, “like a mirror to infinity”. This visual element was an important part of bringing the track to life: “Music is visual for me,” says Littlemore, who co-directed the clip. “We’re lucky to get to collaborate people who are able to create something beyond the realms of reality.”
PNAU have an already-legendary career that spans two decades and five albums worth of music, including their cult debut Sambanova and 2007’s beloved self-titled LP, responsible for the songs ‘Wild Strawberries’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Embrace’. 2017 saw the release of their wildly successful album Changa, which saw the trio go triple platinum with the single ‘Go Bang’ and a massive quadruple platinum with ‘Chameleon’, both of which also picked up ARIA Awards for Best Dance Release (in 2017 and 2018 respectively). ‘Solid Gold’ is the first page in another new chapter for an act who, after an already stellar career, are more inspired than ever.
“With dance music there’s still infinite possibilities creatively,” Littlemore says. “And now that we’ve allowed singers to come in on a collaborative level, it’s more exciting than ever.