Fresh off the release of their third album ‘SOLACE’, RÜFÜS DU SOL are on the cusp of world domination and we were lucky enough to spend some time with drummer James Hunt for a quick chat. Here’s what went down;
Congratulations on the release of SOLACE! We can see a move into a deep house influence in some of the track listing, what made you guys head down this direction as compared to Bloom and Atlas?
We didn’t really plan to move into a darker territory, the album definitely covers a broader spectrum than the last two records. It kind of happened inherently in the experience we had in moving to LA. We moved there a year and a half ago with the intention of writing a record which initially was pretty exciting. We found a house in Venice Beach, all our girlfriends moved with us, we bought a bunch of analogue synths and new toys so we set up this amazing playground for ourselves and we had a lot of fun writing but quickly it got out of hand working crazy nights and hours, all through the day and night and I think it took its toll on us physically and emotionally. We found ourselves sucked into this vortex a little bit which we didn’t realise at the time but I’m starting to see that more and more in hindsight that it got a bit dark in some ways. We were all neglecting our personal lives and that inherently came out in the moods that were feeling more exciting to us that were the ones that were more raw and dark. And the kind of music that we were listening to was more that experimental/dark electronic, like Jon Hopkins type stuff was really influencing us which fed into that.
Has the move to LA changed your perspective on creating music?
It did in a way because I think that one of the things we were toying with the idea of was collaboration which is something we’ve never really done before. Between the three of us, we all write music, we all play synths, we all write beats, we all write lyrics and melodies so we already knew how to collaborate with each other but we wanted to branch out, break the mould and change it up a bit for ourselves and LA is the perfect hub for that cause it’s so connected and there’s a lot of people working in music who have similar goals. We reached out cause our idea of creativity was meeting with different writers and producers, and did a trial and error with a few different people and none of them really worked except for Jason Evigan (Maroon 5, Chromeo) who became a fourth band member for some of the tracks. We got on a good creative page with him and he did challenge us which was an enriching experience.
When you were writing SOLACE, what was the most challenging song to make?
With this record, there’s a lot more piecing together one part of one song and one part of another. We did a lot more of that jigsaw puzzle process and ‘No Place’ seemed to be one of the most drawn out processes in trying to get that song right. It’s a combination of three different songs over a course of a year that we’ve written and combined them in different shapes and forms until it took its place. For us to hear that song, I hear all those different other songs pieced in and that was the big challenge cause some of the first songs that came out from the record I think we put a little bit more pressure on ourselves to get the aesthetic and sound just right.
Congratulations on the launch of your own record label ‘Rose Avenue Records’. Can you tell us what made you guys want to get involved in this side of the industry?
I think it’s been something we’ve been thinking about for a while. One thing that really helped us in our own career was other acts and smaller labels who were more willing to give us a chance early on. For us, back when we were finishing the first album ‘Atlas’ and trying to shop it around, it seemed like no one was interested and then Sweat It Out took a lot of interest in it and put a lot of heart, energy and passion into that project which really gave us a platform. In the same way on our second record we had the help from ODESZA’s label Foreign Family which was a really big help for us in giving a platform to us for their audience and that’s something that we want to be able to do and give a platform to other artists that we love to represent the kind of things we love, so it’s an exciting time to get into a different mode of interacting.
The first release from your label – the new Cassian track ‘Lafayette’ is an incredible to start off with. He’s a close friend and collaborator of yours so you must be stoked to help him out on this track?
We’re super stoked! He mixed all of the ‘Bloom’ record and almost all of ‘Solace’, so we’ve worked with him for a long time and we love his music, which he’s been working very hard on a body of work with some amazing tracks hidden away. It’s a perfect fit.
If you guys could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
That’s a good question! There’s an artist called Nicholas Jaar who we reference his production and I’m personally a big fan of him and his side project DARKSIDE, so if there’s any way we could collaborate with him it would be a dream. I feel like he’s notoriously selective of what artists he works with but that would be amazing.
With November being Australian Music Month, what Australian artists are you currently listening to now
I’m really loving a producer called Willaris K, I’ve been listening to him for two years and he’s amazing. There’s an artist called Planete but a lot of his stuff which reminds me of Four Tet, glitch cool stuff. There’s a group Lastlings out of Brisbane who are making some exciting stuff.
You guys have just announced your biggest Australian tour to date, hitting up venues like Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and Riverstage in Brisbane. What can fans expect from your new live show?We’ve really started to push ourselves to not playing the songs verbatim, like as they are from the album. We started trying to flesh them out and more points of uncertainty for ourselves, so from night to night it will be a little different so that makes it more exciting for us. There’s some covering of other songs, so basically not the same experience from night to night and we’re working on a pretty amazing lighting set up to compliment the journey we want to take people on.
Can fans expect a bit of the old and new, or more of a focus on the new music?
Definitely a mixture of everything. We want to play you everything from the new record, but we don’t want to purely do that. We’re trying to craft a journey of our new stuff and old stuff. The thing is now that there’s way more songs to choose from, so if we were to play all of them in one night it would be a four-hour set. It’s cool now that we can pick and choose, and curate the night.
RÜFÜS DU SOL‘s third album ‘SOLACE’ is out now, and Australian fans can purchase tickets to their upcoming tour here.