RÜFÜS DU SOL is a band synonymous with tension, a live act whose passion lies on the dancefloor, lyricists who spill their personal pain for thousands to dance to. The band released today a new record that is bolder, braver and more far reaching than anything they had done before, the certainty of its vision, belies the uncertainty of the time in which it was created. They accepted to share some insights of their creative process and the meaning behind their new album „SURRENDER“ with us.
With Surrender being your fourth album, upon reflecting, how does this body of work differ from your previous albums?
James: Each album for us is a timestamp for our lives as a unit and separately. We went into a lot of change – embracing self care & mental wellness. Solace was a timestamp of personal chaos for us and Surrender was a timestamp of a moment of healing.
What is the most meaningful song of the album for you and why?
Tyrone: Next To Me is the most meaningful. I was picturing what it feels like to be there on my wedding day. I’d been engaged for 2 years and I tried singing this song to my wife on our wedding day a month ago and I kept choking up. It was very surreal to finally be standing there marrying my person when I had fantasized about this day when we were making the song. It was all too real.
Can you explain the choice of your album title?
Jon: We started trying to come up with the album title after we had written the record. And this word popped up and it felt like the best hermitage to the process we had just undertaken. It felt like we learned to trust each other again and trust in this new process we Surrendered.
Visually for this album, you have delved into world building and architecture through your single & album artwork with artist Stefano Giacomello. How did you come to this pairing with your music?
James: “We’ve always loved the idea of there being a visual component to our music. For us, our music is like another world, and with this record we were particularly inspired by architecture and the idea of a sense of place.
Tyrone: “In particular, the mix of the organic world and the digital world is something that we’re always playing with, with our music, and we’re able to explore this further with the new film clips and the artwork. We work closely with Jon’s brother, Alex AKA Katzki, who is our creative director, and (at) the start of our album writing process he put forward a real location called La Muralla Roja, which is a really beautiful piece of architecture that looks like it could be digital. That sparked the idea for us to create our own space that you couldn’t tell was digital or real, it lived somewhere in between the two.”
Furthermore, in your videos for Next To Me and Alive you explore natural landscapes that have been created digitally. Was this theme intentional or something that naturally evolved with the album?
James: “This is something that kind of naturally evolved I guess, and it felt like a fresh approach for us especially with the film clip for Next To Me to work with Artificial Intelligence, in which it felt like we were collaborating with the machines instead of just using machine and having software generate beautiful imagery felt like a really cool intersection of organic with electronic.
Where do you find inspiration in your everyday life?
James: “We’re constantly inspired by music. I know I wake up everyday and listen to different music and am hearing different ideas that I would love to try in the studio, and that’s just a constant process of discovery.”
Tyrone: “Yeah, I have a two-year-old son and he keeps me pretty inspired. He just keeps me very inspired”
Could you share with us a memory that inspired you to become musicians?
Jon: “I remember working ‘till 3AM in an apartment in Australia and would drive myself into the city and go to this club called Club 77 just to see and hear the new music that everybody relates to and was being played by these DJs at the time. I would stay there dancing by myself ‘till 7AM and then drive home. It was always like the highlight of my week and something that really sparked me wanting to start learning how to make electronic music.”
Tyrone: “For me, I think I was twelve, and me and my two friends were jokingly saying we should start a band and our first song like we learnt was “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and we played it in front of the 30 other boarders, I went to boarding school, that were in the school in our refectory where we ate dinner and all the kids were on the tables dancing and singing along. We only knew the one song and I think we played it a few times. And yeah, I didn’t really have the idea about being in a band until after that.”
What are you listening to at the moment?
Tyrone: “I can answer for me, I’ve only recently been introduced to the full catalogue of The Beatles as of the last year and a half, two years, and that has given me a lot of inspiration.“
James: “Well I don’t know, I guess me and Jon have been working on a monthly mix series over the last year and a half during the pandemic for Sirius XM, and in that process of putting together these mixes we’ve been discovering a lot of sick tunes, like dance fortunes, and that’s been a really cool source of inspiration for us. So kind of less albums and more of just tracks, at least it feels like.”
What would be your dream place to perform?
James: “We definitely have discussed the idea of one day playing The Gorge in Washington. We played a festival there once but we weren’t in the actual amphitheatre, and that’s a pretty insane monument. That would be a pretty dream place to play.”
Tyrone: “Just getting to two or more throughout Europe and South America, (I) feel like (those are) the two parts of the world that we haven’t explored as much as we’d like, in particular Brazil.”
What is your favourite fashion designer at the moment and why?
Jon: “Saint Laurent. I feel like that’s the closest look to what we are inspired by on stage, with that classic rock band look. I feel like we don’t always just wear black in normal everyday life, but getting dressed up for the stage in that classic look helps us get in the zone.”
What is the most important thing that you want to transmit with your music?
James: “I guess if anyone can feel some kind of connection to whatever they’re feeling then I think that we’ve done a great job. If they can feel like the music articulates where they’re at, then I think we’ve done our job. Growing up, music was like a form of therapy for me and hearing someone else describe exactly where I was at was very powerful, so to be able to do that is beautiful.”
Images courtesy of Eliot Lee Hazel
Words by Marien Brandon