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Interview: RÜFÜS

Nov 2 2012

RUFUS is a breath of fresh air. These three guys from Sydney are unafraid to experiment with different noises and arrange them in unexpected but pleasant ways. Its not the indie electropop you know and love because it’s possible that you might love this more. Slow builds, minimalist bass lines and delicate vocals comes through on tracks like “We Left” and “Paris Collides.” Drama and anticipation are achieved with dreamy melodies, wistful lyrics and elaborate layers of synths. The trio already have Triple J radio play to their name and now boast a string of packed out CMJ shows. We caught up with RÜFÜS during the Vitalic Noise CMJ showcase with Miami Horror DJs, Goldroom, Viceroy, Flume, and Jensen Sportag.

Nancy: How did you guys meet?
Tyrone: Jon was one of my best mates’ older brothers who was DJing around Sydney making some deeper house tunes while I was working on some more acoustic alternative stuff. He’d help my out with some of my production and I’d help him out with a few melodies and we just got along really well and thought fuck it, lets try make a song and see what happens. Next thing you know we uploaded ‘We Left’ and ‘Paris Collides’ to the net and got asked to play a few shows. We weren’t really prepared with a live show at the time so we had to map out how it was all going to work. We knew we wanted a drummer and I remember playing in the percussion ensemble at school with this young prodigy kid and thought I should see where he was at. So found his number and asked if he was keen and I guess its been the three of us ever since.

Nancy: Standard question: Where did the name RÜFÜS come from?
Tyrone: My Granddad actually gave me his old Swedish comic book collection a few years ago and there was this comic that seriously blew my mind called ‘pojken med det 100 bilarna’ (boy with the $100 notes). It’s about a homeless kid who finds a brand new pair of jeans. Every time he puts his hand in his pocket he pulls out a $100 bill. Ether way he’s pretty much the Swedish Tintin only nowhere near as famous. His name is RÜFÜS.

Nancy: How would you describe your aesthetic?
Tyrone: Like a pack of electric, rainbow jellyfish, floating in the air towards a burning sunset.

Nancy: Can you tell me about your songwriting process? Who does what?
Tyrone: Well we’ll usually start with a feeling in mind and try to match it with ether a melody, bass line or chord. Once there’s a vague feeling it’s a playground for us to go wherever we like for the rest of the song. Vocals and lyrics are almost always thrown in last. We always get on the mic and impro the first thing that come to us; mumbling incoherent lyrics that almost always end up somewhere in the final version of the song.

Nancy: What were the lyrics for “Paris Collides” and “We Left” inspired from?
Tyrone: Seeing as the lyrics and vocal melody are always our final pieces to the puzzle we just try stay true to the feeling of the track. So for ‘Paris Collides’ there was this dark undertone in the verse that we wanted to pursue. We drew some inspiration from Fight Club and its closing track by the pixies to get ourselves in the right headspace. Then the chorus was just this polar opposite where we wanted a weightless feeling of floating without gravity in bliss and I guess that’s what the lyrics made us feel when we wrote them. We love trying to go somewhere in our lyrics that feel a little lost or unfamiliar and I guess that’s what ‘We Left’ was about.

Nancy: How would you compare the Australian music scene to that of the States?
Tyrone: To be honest, we’ve only been to the US a handful of times so its pretty hard to know exactly what’s going on over there. Even being there for CMJ, a lot of our showcases were with other Australian bands so we didn’t get much of a look in. But walking around the shops in NY, we’d be hearing tracks that we were listening to ourselves over the last few months and that’s probably thanks to the good old Internet. It’s so easy to keep up to date on what’s floating around when there’s so many blogs pushing awesome new music from around the world. Only tough thing is that it moves so fast.

Nancy: What’s coming up for you guys?
Tyrone: We’re about half way through our album so I guess the rest of the year is just going to be us locked in our home studio that we built about 3 months ago finishing it. It’s a ridiculously beautiful location to write in and coming back from the US and CMJ and seeing so many amazing acts I guess we’re feeling pretty inspired. Plus Australia’s coming into summer so I can imagine our breaks will consist of jumping off cliffs into the ocean, sinking beers and eating mangos. We love mangos.