RÜFÜS, or RÜFÜS DU SOL, are a bit of a surprise. They’re not really household names in this country (yet) but that doesn’t stop the Aussie trio selling out two nights in London’s Heaven, or massive venues in NYC for that matter. And who can blame them? They meet at the nexus of dance, pop, and ambient beats to create lush soundscapes for everyone to love. Including us over here, so we sent David Yates to have a quick chat with Jim from the band…
Welcome to our humble capital. How is the UK treating you before the show tonight? Any pre-gig rituals?
We’ve been here for one night so far! Although we’ve been touring around Europe – it’s always good to come back to London. We’ve actually been experimenting with our pre-show rituals. Usually we’re quite relaxed and it’s quite a boring sight, just sitting around chatting before we go on stage. But now we’re playing with push-ups, bumping chests, meditating, all of those things. But the thing we do most is talk about the set – just to pump ourselves up and get excited for the show.
Is it difficult to tour for this long?
I think it’s definitely gruelling – especially if you’re recording every night. But we’ve stuck to a good balance these last few weeks around Europe, our schedule has been really tight this time, so hectic. Playing shows and not going out and drinking keeps it pretty tame. Tonight though, we’ll celebrate with all our friends here… and tomorrow night as well, actually [laughs]. So yeah, there is a healthy balance that can be struck.
Having that balance, how does that compare to the difficulty of the making of the second album. Tell us about that?
There is this stigma, these comparisons drawn from the first record when it comes to writing the second but we really enjoyed writing this one, we could really get stuck in our little bubble. We had a lot of fun with this record. Actually, we began writing in Berlin in 2014 and I think being there allowed for us to be totally isolated from the outside world – which I think is a really healthy place to start up. So yeah, from then onwards being self-referential and getting each other’s reactions from the songs – having the three-man set up, we can do that.
Mentioning Berlin, where in the world would you say holds your favourite musical memories?
I think our strongest memories come from when we were writing in Berlin, really. Some of those nights we’d be writing till four in the morning and then randomly decide to go to some club, see some live music and just enjoying ourselves at all times – it was really inspiring at the start of the writing process for the record. On top of that, even in the last few months there’s been some really amazing shows we’ve played in Australia and around Europe; some of them have been really special. All over we’re forming some real nice memories.
You’re doing Coachella this year. Are any acts there you’d be happy to work with or be approached by?
Really tough – know there’s so many people we’d love to work with, some you’d just wanna hang and fuck about in the studio with. We love George Fitzgerald’s music, I think he’s playing Coachella but working with him would be amazing. Maybe someone like Nicolas Jaar, we think he’s amazing too.
“I saw this girl who found my found my Facebook profile photo, printed it onto a shirt and super-imposed herself into it. I was like, what the fuck?!”
So what’s the plan for this year then after touring?
Well basically we’re away for two thirds of the year so just writing new music, maybe an EP or manage some more singles. When we can we savour some time off, we’ll all go away so we need to source some good holiday destinations.
As a trio of young bachelors, do you ever get any extra adoration from your fans? Any crazy Belieber-esque moments?
We’ve been getting gifts from fans over the years, portraits of us, nothing too crazy or ridiculous. Although at a show some years ago, I saw this girl who found my found my Facebook profile photo, printed it onto a shirt and super-imposed herself into it! I was like “What the fuck!?” So that’s perhaps my standalone crazy fanatical moment.
Have you guys ever done anything amazing and there not be anyone around to see it?
I can only think of something that’s the complete opposite – so when people saw. But we were playing a show in Madison a few months ago supporting Odesza and I was playing the drums at the end of the set and somehow I managed to break my drum stick! I was about to drum out this big climax of the song so John threw two drum sticks at me and I saw them coming, almost in slow motion. Somehow in the chaos, caught them and did this massive reel so it all worked out, really. It was like ‘Fuck yeah! How did that happen!?’ and of course the whole crowd saw.
Slight tangent now: what’s the worst job you’ve say you’ve had?
Great question! Ooh, I actually worked at a pizza chain in Australia called Crust; it was more on the gourmet side of pizza… some franchise. I had the most gruelling task of making the pizzas, this really harsh manager would always be on my back if I never used enough cheese or whatever. It was pretty shit, but you gotta have those jobs to appreciate the good ones.
You must have some band nicknames as well…
I’ve been given a few. We always name each other – it’s kind of a ritual whenever we start a tour to give each other nicknames – mine’s been Jimbo Baggins lately but we’ve now got hip-hoppy names so now I’m Jimbaland.
Other than you guys, what other three things make Rufus?
Tuna salads; we make them all the time at lunch! Wes Anderson’s films and ping pong. We play pretty competitively, it’s a pretty weird set up but it feels good so that’s what I’m going with.
And finally, the question we ask everyone: favourite Beyonce track?
Probably a common answer but Crazy In Love has just stood the test of time for me, I can still listen to it and be like ‘That’s a jam!’.