Nov 17, 2014
interview
RÜFÜS DU SOL

After releasing the dreamy “Atlas” album and making a huge splash on their U.S. tour, rocktronica trio RÜFÜS DU SOL is officially set for superstardom. We had the opportunity to hear exclusive details about the Aussies’ humble beginnings, development of their album, and personal reactions to the success of their tour.

RÜFÜS - Sundream [Sweat It Out]
LessThan3: What was everyone doing prior to the start of RÜFÜS, and how did the band initially come together?
Tyrone: I was working for an advertising company as a brand ambassador, so I’d be on the street giving out free shit; it was pretty easy. I was always doing music on the side–that was just to pay for my hobby of music.
Jon: I knew Tyrone growing up because he’s best friends with my little brother. He was working on a bunch of acoustic vocal stuff, and I remember I went to him to talk about making music. I was DJing a lot, and I did a sound engineering degree to be able to really get into it. We reconnected after I finished my degree and started writing together. We started looking for a drummer after we’d written a few songs, and we found Jimbo here playing in a band, watched a few of his gigs.
James: I’ve been drumming for like 10 years. I was just two years out of school, and these guys asked if I wanted to work with them. The rest is history.
LessThan3: Where do you draw your musical influences?
Tyrone: Booka Shade, Trentemøller, Röyksopp, Chemical Brothers. But then also rock acts, like Foals, Kasabian. There’s not really one genre in particular that we listen to, but we all bond over that. They’re the initial inspirations for the sound that we make.
James: Moderat, Caribou, David August, Lone.
LessThan3: How do you feel about your name having to be changed from RÜFÜS to RÜFÜS DU SOL and what implications has it had?
James: It’s actually been a lot easier than we thought. We really like the name–it’s just a continuation of the vibe we were going for with “Rufus.” People seem to accept it.
Jon: “Du sol” means a few different things in different languages, and I think that sort of ambiguity is what we’re going for. “Rufus” had that ambiguity too–it sounded like a person’s name, and now it sounds like it could be an island somewhere.
LessThan3: How has your label Sweat It Out been involved in the creative process, development, and vision for RÜFÜS DU SOL?
Jon: One of the people who brought us on board was Ajax, who founded the label, and he was someone who we totally respected. We were stoked to make that initial connection. From there, we’ve had a pretty close relationship with the label itself–they’re releasing great music that we’re really into and we’re good friends with all the guys there. It’s good to have that backing and support from those guys.
Tyrone: In terms of the image of the band and the sound of the band, we’ve actually been around for four years, but we didn’t sign with them until the start of last year. The record was pretty much done; we were just trying to find people who would get on board. We did all the film clips and the artwork for the album ourselves–we still do. But, like Jon was saying, Ajax was the first person in the industry that we really respected that really backed the record and loved it. Also the way he talked to other people in the industry about us and how much he believed in us.
LessThan3: What was the process like of developing and recording the Atlas album?
Tyrone: We wrote it on the coast of New South Wales. We did a lot of the writing in an empty water tank. It was a studio that we made out of the only space that we could really find that was free. It was also summertime, so I think that influenced the record.
LessThan3: Are any of your songs directly related to personal stories you’d like to share?
Tyrone: Writing the lyrics is the last thing we do. We write all the music first, then we write melodies, then we do lyrics. Because we’re writing with a feeling in mind when we make the music, we just try to match that with the lyrics and the vocal melodies. Some are real experiences, some are places we’d like to be, feelings we’d like to feel.
Jon: A good real-life example is the feeling of sleeping in after a big night, on a Sunday morning, with a girl that you’re into, with the sun pouring from the window. All these feelings are relatable–everyone’s had those mornings. That’s what we wanted to capture.
LessThan3: Did you anticipate your music to be received so well by a global audience? Has it translated well to the live realm?
Tyrone: It’s so sick. In Australia we didn’t know what to expect when we released it. We just made an album that we really loved personally. After doing two EPs, we learned that the best thing we can do is make songs that we really loved, so we didn’t really have much expectation. Then it went to number one in Australia, and we were all pinching ourselves. Now we’ve done a bunch of sold out tours in Australia and have the opportunity to be traveling on the other side of the world, playing to people who are singing along with all the songs.
LessThan3: What’s the crowd like in America vs Australia?
James: We’ve found that American crowds are genuinely–within the first two songs–giving you positive vibes. Not too much chin-stroking, not too withheld. In Australia you definitely get people getting into it right away, but it can be more obnoxious. When we were starting out playing live in Australia, it would take a few more songs to get people into it.
Jon: I think Europe is another type of audience as well, where they’re very inward about the way that they’re enjoying their music. They’re into it, but you’re not getting that outward expression right from the start of the set. It’s crazy to come to the other side of the world from where we live and have that reaction.
LessThan3: What’s your favorite song to play live?
James: I really enjoy playing Imaginary Air. The kind of patterns I’m playing on the drums are really fun, but also just the feeling of the song. I always enjoy getting lost in that.
Tyrone: Tonight‘s probably one of my favorites. That one’s really fun because the audience gets really into it. It’s probably one of the dancier songs, and we’re all interacting on stage. We often end up laughing or smiling during that song.
Jon: I really like playing Tonight as well. Keeps me on my toes.
LessThan3: What projects are currently in the works?
James: We were just in Berlin for three weeks, and we started writing for the second album. We’re going back to Berlin in a week and going to get completely lost in writing again for six weeks.
LessThan3: How’s the second album looking?
Jon: Pretty f*cking good.
Tyrone: Similar vibe. We’re excited by a lot of new music so we’re exploring new things. We’re all better producers than what we were going into Atlas, so we’re using a few more tricks and techniques.
LessThan3: What is your ultimate vision for RÜFÜS DU SOL?
Jon: I think that we want to be able to make music and sustain a living doing that. That’s the dream, and at the moment we’re able to do that. If we can continue to travel the world and make music, and people still really enjoy it, we’re just going to push that further and further.
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