[Live photos by Kirsten Spruch]
It's hard to pinpoint the sound of the genre-bending trio, RÜFÜS DU SOL
. Their songs are as melancholy as they are euphoric and they straddle the border of indie electronic and deep house. Sun-drenched synths, prominent bass lines and the atmospheric vocals from Tyrone Lundqvist make up the backbone to each song. The Sydney-bred trifecta also includes Jon George on the keyboard and James Hunt behind the drums. Their debut album, Atlas
, and their new album, Bloom
both peaked at number 1 on Australia's Album Chart in 2013 and it didn't take long to gain international success. They released their sophomore album, Bloom
, earlier this year and have been making their way around North America, performing at several festivals such as Coachella, Firefly and Panorama and they'll be at Outside Lands this weekend. I caught up with the electronic trio before their set at Panorama on Sunday to talk about music festivals, jellyfish and their new album, Bloom.
Coming straight off a flight from Seattle, RÜFÜS DU SOL arrived at Panorama on Friday evening just in time for Foals' set. A few months back, the guys of RÜFÜS were given the opportunity every musician strives for: to perform at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Since Goldenvoice is the company behind both Coachella and Panorama, I asked what they thought about the two and Jon George said, "They have the same vibe but [Panorama] is a bit more condensed, which is nice." Lundqvist chimed in, "Yeah, its way more chill."
After the release of Atlas
, RÜFÜS went on tour for about a year and a half and as Lundqvist puts it, they would "write for shits and giggles." But it wasn't until they moved to Berlin for two months, created a DIY studio in their apartment and started to dive into creating Bloom
. But the creation of the album lasted a little longer than just their time in Germany. Lundqvist said, "It took about 9 months. I think we really like sitting on things to give it time and see if we love it still after one month, two months, three months. If we still like it there's a good chance we will still love it in ten years."
Contrary to Atlas
- which was created on the coast of Australia during the summer - Bloom started in the winter of one of the world's colder places, which influenced a much different sound from the first album. As George explained Atlas
, he said, " It would really bring in the sun if you weren't in summer at the time." It's more tropical, with in-tune vocals and synths, whereas Bloom
is a bit more quirky with sounds that were influenced by the dance clubs in Berlin.
"Bloom" is plural for a group of jellyfish and the free-swimming marine animals inspired more than just the name of the album. James Hunt said, "We had these little screensaver desktops to inspire us - little water animals and aquarian seascapes and stuff. So that was a thing we were really into." George added, "We get hung up on the sensation of weightlessness and floating together." Hunt stated "...they even influence the way we were making sounds."
When I asked how the songs were translating live, Lundqvist quickly replied "Really good!" and George said, "I'd say ten out of ten." And after seeing their set at The Pavilion tent later that evening, I'd have to completely agree with them. In big, white block letters, "RÜFÜS DU SOL" was on a black screen behind the three band members. A subtle train of fog crept over the stage throughout their set as they flowed through the songs of Bloom
. During "Desert Night" off Atlas
, Jon George got on the mic and shouted, "Hey New York, make some noise!" immediately followed by a drum solo from James Hunt. A sea of arms went into the air as they cheered throughout the rest of the track.
They played hits like "Like an Animal," "Innerbloom" and "Say a Prayer For Me" but a huge highlight of their set was when they performed one of their hit singles from Atlas
, "Sundream." They finished their set with a 9-minute extended version of "You Were Right." The lights flashed with hues of red and blue and Lundqvist's hazy, organic vocals guided the way through the first half of the song. During the interlude, Lundqvist and George bounced around with arms in air to hype the crowd up one more time before the set came to a close. Lundqvist got on the mic towards the end and said, "All right, we're going to do this one more time, New York" and the whole crowd joined Lundqvist to sing the chorus again. The music faded out as Lundqvist, George, and Hunt walked off the stage. The lyrics of their closing track sum up RÜFÜS DU SOL's Panorama set perfectly. "You were right. I know I can't get enough of you. Leave it all to bloom."
Be sure to catch RÜFÜS DU SOL on their North American tour this fall. Find the dates below as well as the music video for "Be With You" off of Bloom.