Danica Voll | 21 November 2018

In the world of electronic music, RÜFÜS DU SOL has cemented themselves of one of the world’s leading live electronic acts. Australian-bred, the three-piece ensemble is comprised of members Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt. Since dropping their latest album Solace, RÜFÜS DU SOL has been the name on everyone’s lips. Following two platinum-certified albums ATLAS and Bloom, Solace maintains their infectious deep house rhythms with their signature sound while the lyrics tackle heavier themes such as the pain of loss and persistence of memory. It’s an album that is as sonically rich as it is emotionally intelligent.

Accompanying the album, the brand new live show will pushing the band’s on-stage abilities to new levels. Already known for re-creating their songs live on stage with instruments, the new show places even more emphasis on jamming and live improvisation. The trio will be bringing the magical spontaneity of their studio process to the stage with new analogue gear and incredible visual setup. You can expect no show to be the same.

Ahead of their biggest Australian tour yet, we got the chance to catch up with James to chat all things Solace. 

2018 seems like it’s been quite a year for you guys! Between writing and recording ‘Solace’ you guys have also just launched your own record label and managed to pick up a couple of ARIA Award nominations as well! What has been a few highlights of 2018 so far for you? 
I think it has been a big year and I can’t believe how quickly it has gone. I think putting out the new record was a big thing for us, because we went through a lot to get that to completion. It felt really cathartic to get that out. We’ve also started playing some shows for the tour in the US which we are currently in Denver and it’s stunning – we’re playing a show tonight.   It’s been really cool to start playing live shows again and playing music to people and seeing their reactions to the new stuff. That’s been really amazing.

With so much going on, how do you relax in your down time? I can image you kicking back on the beaches in LA.
Well yeah – we do, do that! We just head to a beach in LA and chill out for a bit. We try and exercise as much as a possible. When there’s time off, just give our bodies some rest and space. We’ve definitely learnt that from touring, that your bodies can only cop so much. In the early days, we definitely weren’t as aware of that. So now, in our spare time we relax and exercise as much as possible.

The new album SOLACE has already received such a great response. Does it feel like you’re living a dream?
Yeah it kind of does. It’s a little bit surreal – I mean, to just have it out there and to imagine that people are interacting with it now. It was only so recently we were still in the roads of getting those songs finished and working on them. It’s a pretty wild concept but it’s a wild concept. Playing shows now and having people singing the lyrics of songs that were only released 3 weeks ago, its pretty awesome.

You can’t always gauge the response to these things either. You see and negative and positive response to it, but in general it feels really great that its out in the world. It’s a sense of relief that you let something go that was yours and now it’s other people. I think that’s pretty cool.

The song’s lyrics in this album are certainly a lot deeper and emotive than your previous. What sparked the movement to create a darker and intimate album?
I think that kind of happened naturally. We didn’t really plan it. Specifically, with the lyrics – we didn’t really plan to go as introspectively deep. That kind of just happened. We moved to LA, it took a year and a half to set up with a new studio and we kind of put ourselves in new space creatively. We set up this amazing space in Venice, which was really exciting. We were so hungry to write after 2 years touring Bloom. We hadn’t had time in the studio. We went deep in writing straight away but we kind of got sucked into the writing process. We were neglecting our bodies a little bit and working until 6am every night. It was just ‘working on music, working on music’. It kind of took its toll a little bit and after 6 months of that it felt like we were stuck in this thing – like we were drowning and a little bit lost. I think those kind of feelings we decided to channel rather than ignore. It wasn’t our initial attention, but it just happened organically, and the record became a thing that had both light and dark. It was cool that it was a reflection of how we felt.

It sounds like it was a really intense process.

Yeah it was, but it was really fun. I had a really good time, but I think there were points where it was all emotionally a bit turbulent.  We were just going ham. Its cool to look back on it now and the album is a bit like a snapshot of the different points throughout the last year and half for all of us.

Did you have a favourite song from the album? Or one that you connect with most?

Its hard to say. On different days I feel like I connect with a different one. I really love Underwater. That one came about really quickly and organically. I felt like that in general represented the record in a way, the sense of being submerged. It’s a bit darker but it reflects how we felt at the time.

I’ve been watching the clip of you guys playing ‘Underwater’ Live at Electric Forest on repeat. Is it challenging to re-create all those layers live in front of an audience?
Yeah, it is a bit challenging but it’s also really fun.  We really enjoy picking it apart. I think one of the biggest things is that when we are in the studio, there’s no one person that contributes one certain thing. We can all play synth, we can all play drum beats, we can all come up with hooks and melodies.  It’s a really cool collaborative process having like 3 producers and 3 song writers. When we try and adapt it to play live, then it’s like 3 musicians playing different instruments re-learning someone else’s song almost. We figure out who plays what and that’s something I really enjoy.

With this record and our new live show, we’ve been playing a lot more with fleshing them out a lot more so they’re not exactly as they are on the record. It keeps it interesting for ourselves and other people.

You guys also have a pretty epic lightshow in your live performances. Does much thought and planning go into these?
There’s a lot of thought and planning for those. We had about 4 weeks at a rehearsal space in Nashville setting up the entire lighting rig, full stage set-up some new toys on-stage and then the new songs. We’ve been essentially playing covers of the songs each time. Basically, the idea is that if someone comes to a show 2 nights in a row, it’ll be a different show each night. A different experience.

With the announcement of your new Australian tour, can fans expect to hear a mixture of the old and the new music?
Definitely. We won’t just be the Solace tracks. We are trying to create a journey for the set and so if that incorporates stuff from Atlas and Bloom, that’s what will happen. It’ll be a good mixture of stuff.

Congratulations on the new label by the way! Can you tell me a bit about it and how that came about? I know you signed on Cassian as your first artist, so what was it about his music that appealed and attracted to you?
It’s pretty exciting to start this process! With Cassian, we’ve known him for around 5 years. He mixed one song on the first album and he mixed all of Bloom and pretty much all of Solace. He’s an amazing mix- engineer but he’s also got so many amazing songs unreleased. The first song we put out Lafayette, he had unreleased for 2 years. We love his aesthetic and the kind of music he makes. Its really cool for us to put that out and represent that kind of music and curate goo electronic music that we love.

I can’t wait to see what you guys put out next then! Thanks so much for chatting with me today James. Enjoy the rest of your day and have a wicked tour! 

RÜFÜS DU SOL SOLACE Australian Tour dates: 

Tuesday January 1, Field Day, Sydney (18+)
Tickets: Moshtix

Friday February 15, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne (All Ages)
Tickets: Ticketmaster

Wednesday February 20, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide (All Ages)
Tickets: Ticketek

Friday February 22, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth (18+/Minors may attend with supervising adult)
Tickets: Oztix

Saturday February 23, 3 Oceans Winery, Margaret River
Tickets: Oztix

Saturday March 2, Brisbane Riverstag
Tickets: Ticketmaster

About the author

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Harbouring an unhealthy addiction of watching too many dog videos, Danica is a lover of the great outdoors. While her greatest skill may be the ability to rap ‘Fergalicious’ perfectly, her inability to remember her left and rights has proven to be her greatest downfall in life. When she’s not on the beach or hiking up another mountain, you can expect to find her trying to satisfy her Tim-Tam addiction with surprise, suprise… another packet of Tim-Tams. It seems like no-one told her they aren’t a suitable daily breakfast.

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