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RÜFÜS DU SOL on touring, shamans and the making of album number three

WORDS BY TARA SMITH

Finding Solace.

It’s been seven years since the release of RÜFÜS DU SOL’s debut EP. Back then, the formidable trio – known simply as RÜFÜS – quickly found a home among Australia’s dance scene, with releases like ‘Take Me’ and ‘Desert Night’ hitting Apple Music’s Indie Top Ten chart.

These days, it’s hard to find an Aussie festival lineup without the group on the bill. With two platinum-certified albums under its belt – and a third boasting millions of Spotify streams already – RÜFÜS DU SOL has discovered a recipe for success. In between playing shows in the US, we stole some time with keyboardist Jon George to discuss touring, shamans and finding solace in their third album.

Hi Jon, you’ve produced two platinum albums, with the third already boasting millions of streams. What’s your secret?

I think for making music in general, it’s best just to write for yourself and what you would like to hear – and that’s been an ethos we’ve always had. The three of us bring our own individual tastes and influences. I guess we just have a nice little thing going on, pushing for what each other wants, and it ends up being RÜFÜS as a result.

Can you tell us more about the making of Solace?

We set up shop in LA… We were quite eager to get in the studio after two years of touring from [second album] Bloom, so we had a bunch of ideas in our heads. We bought a bunch of new synthesisers and toys and stuff to deck out the studio. We’re constantly inspired by having different things to play around with. We just got straight into it. We didn’t really have a break either, which ended up catching up with us halfway through the process. We were burning the candle at both ends in many ways but that sort of leaned into the feeling of the album, with some darker, moodier cuts.

Did you originally set out to create this emotionally- driven, darker album?

I think whenever we get in the studio, we try to follow and chase a feeling first and foremost. That must have been the feeling that was going around the studio at the time, I guess.

I heard there was a shaman involved. Can you tell a little about that?

(Laughs) It’s interesting. He’s a funny guy. He’s a mutual friend that came over to visit early on in the process. We had a beautiful house in Venice, LA, where we lived with our girlfriends, and our manager as well at times. We had a nice big pool area and next to the pool, there was this studio. It was just decked out. It was really good, but it was a little bit lifeless at the start. That’s where the shaman came in. We were having drinks at our house and he had a compass in his pocket, and a notepad and pen, and he’s taking notes as to how to try and deck out this place for us and get it vibey. And he did. He had different walls dedicated to different themes, like an underwater theme and a desert theme. He had seashells on the ground and different wax materials.

And that inevitably influenced some of the songs?

Yeah, for sure. It’s not something we would have originally chosen to do, I don’t think. It definitely had an impact on us. Especially getting up in the morning and going into the studio, it’s like you’re entering into a different world. You close the doors in there and it’s like a jungle. It was pretty playful and exciting to be in there.

What inspired the album title?

Well, I think the meaning of it is finding comfort in a time of distress. That sort of thing just tied in perfectly with the way the album rolled out. I guess going into the studio each day, it’s like prayer for us. It’s something that we’re very comfortable with and whenever we’re uncomfortable in our personal lives, it’s easy just to go into the studio and have this cathartic experience. Getting music out on the table and going through those feelings like you would with a therapist, but you’re doing it with synthesisers and so on. It was kind of like our solace in the studio.

What’s next after the Solace tour?

We’re just focused on touring at the moment. I think it’d be nice to get in the studio, at different points in-between touring because I miss it already. But, I think we’re just focused on really building the shows to be the best they can.

You can catch RÜFÜS DU SOL on a national tour in early 2019.

rufusdusol.com

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