Sneaky muso speaks out on Empire of the Sun allegations

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“I created these tracks, on my own in 2005, long before Empire of the Sun existed… Musically, the template for Empire of the Sun is mine. They pulled the rug from under my feet and took my sound.” So says Sneaky Sound System musician and producer Donnie Sloan, who’s spoken out to the media with allegations, in the latest round of bad press for the hyper-successful duo of Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele.

Sloan told the Herald Sun this week that he had initially written We Are The People, Walking on a Dream, Half Mast and Without You for a solo album, and had passed them over to Littlemore for remix consideration. “I told Nick I didn’t want him to use the tracks. I was hoping to save them for my own project,” Sloan says. Two years later the songs surfaced when Littlemore and Steele formed Empire of the Sun, with Sloan eventually receiving credit as a co-writer and producer on the songs.

“They were trying to copy and recreate my music,” he claims. “This would have, in effect, left me with nothing. So my hand was forced into allowing them to use the backing tracks.” Sloan says it never got to the legal stage. “But I had to threaten it in order for them to recognise my contribution.”

Update – The following statement was released by Donnie Sloan following publication:


For anyone who may have read any recent press regarding my involvement with Empire Of The Sun I would like to make it absolutely clear that I am very happy with my credits and thank you on the album art. Any statements to the contrary have been taken out of context. I enjoy a great working relationship with Empire of the Sun and we’re all very excited about continuing this especially in the form of the second Empire LP. – Donnie

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Ben Royal

Ben Royal said on the 27th Jul, 2009

Why wait until now to come out with this? Shuoldnt he have done it the first time he heard Walking on a Dream on the radio?


bartonez said on the 27th Jul, 2009

The funny thing is that 'Empire' sound like an extension of 'Pnau', NOT an extension of those 'Sneaky SS' idiots.


daverh said on the 27th Jul, 2009

This is such weird news because I remember Donnie being heavily credited on the album...


rhythmboy said on the 27th Jul, 2009

If Sloan is right (I guess his legal team verified this because he got his credits in the end) then good on him, and those plagiarist wankers in EOTS can suck it up. I have lost a whole lotta respect for an act I thought was groundbreaking. They're no bet


BMoney said on the 27th Jul, 2009

Ahh, they're all just rippin' of Judas Priest maaaaan


bubbleoben said on the 27th Jul, 2009

EOTS's live show looks atrocious (from the one, filmed studio clip i have seen). i like the album, but still. they have got to be two of the most pretentious twats on the planet. go australia. how do we do it?


ladyflash said on the 27th Jul, 2009

Luke always says in his interviews that Donnie Sloan wrote the music for the songs and that he and Nick wrote the words.

iceburg slim

iceburg slim said on the 27th Jul, 2009

both groups are equally shit.


westerndog said on the 27th Jul, 2009

We have a winner! (iceburg slim)

special ed

special ed said on the 27th Jul, 2009

oh well, thats what you get for producing crap like Sneaky Sound System in the first place.


wild_comfort said on the 27th Jul, 2009

empire of the sun sound like a rip off mgmt. although i like the sleepy jackson and luke steele, just not that much of a fan of modern pnau. (early pnau was the shiznit).


djbricksta said on the 27th Jul, 2009



thehacker said on the 27th Jul, 2009

It's ironic how Donnies songs have received worlwide acclaim with EOS whilst SSS resort to lying about Brandon Flowers and doing a track with Tiesto to salvage any traction from their bombed second record. Do your own thing Donnie.


kHaLid said on the 27th Jul, 2009

agree with iceburg, both fail


leedy said on the 27th Jul, 2009

plz correct me if im wrong but wasn't pnau first album filled with stolen and un cleared samples and had to be removed all cd stores??? and now legal action against littlemores new project it will be very interesting to see the results!!!


janjanjan said on the 27th Jul, 2009

Donnie doesn't have anything to do with the writing on the Sneaky albums...he just plays bass live with them


MrFlyGuy said on the 27th Jul, 2009

This Jono story is all crap. Donnie has always been credited on the album. I bought a copy the day it came out and he gets a big Thanks You and full credits. He even has made a comment on his Myspace This is just more g


Oli-G said on the 27th Jul, 2009

originality and pnau .. two words that are mutually exclusive.. fun tunes yes.. but orignial.. well never..


deXXy_Disaster said on the 28th Jul, 2009

That's what you get for being involved with twats. Don't do what donnie don't does!


bubbleoben said on the 28th Jul, 2009

originality / respect fail


monkeyantics said on the 28th Jul, 2009

re: bartonez comment, the thing is man, its very very easy to mix down a track to change its dynamix, so of course a track mixed by littlemore is gonna sound like a track mixed by littlemore, coz he wants it to


scottyk82 said on the 28th Jul, 2009

mirror image of mgmt, cant wait for festival season to hurl full tinnies at them


VOITY81 said on the 28th Jul, 2009

scottyk82, please dont hurl full tinnies at these two peanuts coz otherwise we will be drinking in designated areas at festivals in no time and it will be light beer. Dont ruin it for everyone. But I do agree with you... Tryhard hippie MGMT wannabes.

Neil UPP

Neil UPP said on the 28th Jul, 2009

Who in their right mind would copy anything from Sneaky Sound System?


Edstacee said on the 28th Jul, 2009

"I saw my songs get stolen, nobody believes me.." haha


lukesynth01 said on the 28th Jul, 2009

I just read the article then... the journalist has completely written this article out of context and is creating issues when there is no need! ... This is old news and all this was cleared up long before the Empire album was released... And Donnie doesn'


janjanjan said on the 29th Jul, 2009

@ Edstacee.....bahahahah


dleklas said on the 29th Jul, 2009

Poor Donnie. I feel genuinely sorry for the guy. The success EOTS have had wouldn't have been congruent with any success he would have had though. Luke Steele has way more musical clout and their group are a lot more market friendly.


Jaakko said on the 29th Jul, 2009

SSS - teamed with Tiesto - then remixed by Laidback Luke...Fail x 3.