RÜFÜS don’t possess any supernatural ability or superhuman powers – they just know how to play music. Their success isn’t unheard of in this day and age, but thanks to a loyal fanbase and festival after festival tour, Sydney’s RÜFÜS continue to rise. With the announcement of their debut North American tour, a European tour and another run of Australia, you’ll be able to catch another wave of swelling electronica. James Hunt got on the blower ahead of a visit to the Gold Coast to chat to Jake Wilton.
You have a huge tour in your sights and you’ve actually booked some all ages shows. Is it important for you to play to these all ages crowds?
I guess at this point it is, considering the success of the album has revealed that we have a lot of younger fans. Unfortunately a lot of our shows on the last tour, the Atlas Tour, we did I think, one all ages show in Adelaide. We made a conscious effort to incorporate that age group [on this tour] and be able to give them the live show that we’re working on at the moment. Some of the venues we’re playing, like the Enmore and the Palace, it’s normal for them to host all ages shows – so, for us, it was a logical step.
Before you do your Australian tour you’ve got the massive US and European tour, including SXSW. Pretty psyched for this?
Yeah, we’re really excited for all those shows. I think what we’re going to have with the Australian shows is a little more luxury – whereas with the US and Europe, it’s kind of like starting again; trying to re-build a fanbase. I’m also excited about that because it’s more of an intimate stage; it’s a smaller venue and you can hang out afterwards and chat to people. It’s something that we’ve always expected to happen, every band goes through it. I think our music can, luckily, lend itself to both a large and pumping crowd or a smaller, more intimate club night in a darkened room where everyone is raving away with you; and those two worlds are something we’re interested in.
So which do you prefer?
It’s actually hard to choose – some of the best shows we’ve ever played were those Falls shows we played over New Years. They were some of the biggest crowds we’ve ever played to and that blew my mind. Yet, in that sense, we went to Europe and played a few showcases at the end of last year and they were comparatively very small. It was completely a different vibe – it was us and the crowd being crammed into a small place and only a small slice of people experiencing this one thing; it’s more special in that way.
The Big Day Out tour had to be something special.
Yeah, Big Day Out went really good – we weren’t too sure what to expect because we were playing the same time as Tame Impala, who are one of my favourite bands. Luckily we had a really good turn out and a positive response – I was really surprised and happy with all the Big Day Out shows. But the Falls Festival tour, particularly Byron Bay, was my favourite show in the history of… all the shows I’ve ever played. It was just perfect with the sunset and positioned on the natural amphitheatre and that turnout was just a mind-blowing experience.
How do you think the American market will react to your music?
I’m not sure, that is something I’ve been thinking about; there’s obviously this explosion of more commercially friendly electronic and EDM music over there. It’s hard to say if the more understated, deeper trends will resonate over and that’s something we have yet to find out. I mean we’ve got the tour and the album is being released over there soon; so I’m just exited to see what the reaction is.
You are basically starting from scratch in the US market due to an unforseen name change to RÜFÜS DU SOL.
There was already a band called RÜFÜS who were mainly active in the ‘70s or ‘80s – they were a funk band led by Chaka Khan. Basically they have started touring again so the copyright on the name is still active; we couldn’t sign the album internationally via digital release because no one would want to take up that risk, especially in America, being the land of litigation. It was an amazing opportunity to release the album over there. It was moreso we wanted to get the album out over there as soon as possible rather than battling over the name. We’re really happy with the name we’ve settled on – I feel like it reflects this foreign and exotic vibe that we originally felt came from the name RÜFÜS.
Atlas has been certified Gold here in Australia, what are you’re expectations as to how the album will perform overseas?
I guess we’re not expecting anything, just in the same way we never expected anything of that nature here. We wrote an album that we loved and it was just amazing that it connected so well with people here. We’re not holding any expectations for overseas markets but we’re definitely hoping that it makes a connection with people and that they enjoy it.
Speaking of connection, one track on Atlas that allowed me to connect with the album more was Simplicity is Bliss. What was the process behind this track?
That was actually one of the last songs we wrote before we finished the album. We wanted something to break up the album, making it an instrumental track, something of a break vocally. It was an older idea that I think we wrote about two years before but dug up and started again. We decided we really wanted some acoustic guitars in the album, also got some shakers and more percussion; something more indulgent, musically.
RÜFÜS’ music is pretty susceptible to remixes. When an artist decides to mix one of your songs, is there an expectation for the final product?
We want the remixer to bring a new perspective to the song, or even bring their own perspective even if that is similar to what the song was doing originally. If it’s something a bit more dancefloor friendly and different – we really just want the artist to bring their own vibe to it. A lot of the mixes we’ve received have achieved that and we often play those tracks in our DJ sets.
After RÜFÜS tear up the US and Europe markets, you’ll be able to see them on tour again at the Coolangatta Hotel, 9 May and the Tivoli Theatre Brisbane, 10 May.