RÜFÜS’ Jon George chats to Rip It Up



Republished from Rip It Up – June 2014

Bringing their show to NZ shores for the first time, the RÜFÜS live experience is a combines live instruments, electronic production, and skilled pop and a dare to dance mentality to the Studio, this Thursday. Tim Gruar had a quick chat to one of the band’s founders Jon George about who they are and what they’re about.

Two interesting facts about Sydney electronica outfit RÜFÜS. One: they are not Chaka Khan’s backing band, no matter what Wikipedia might tell you (It was more a sloppy nod to cool Scandinavian bands like Röyksopp). And two, despite the eternal fire hazards in rural Australia, RÜFÜS like to record in water tanks.

On an exceptionally dodgy phone line Jon George tells me about how the three piece are all about DIY. Unlike the jokes made in a certain local hardware commercial this band loves to create their own recording spaces. Atlas, their debut album, I’m told, was created and produced in a remote farmhouse on the NSW coast line. An entire house was completely fitted out by George and his band mates Tyrone Linqvist and James Hunt.

To add extra layers they found a disused water tank at the George farm and filled it with carpet and equipment to record more sounds and tunes. It must have worked as Atlas peaked at top spot in the Aussie charts following its release this time last year. Following amazing success with singles ‘Desert Night’ and ‘Tonight’, they release ‘Sundream’ in March as a taster for a new tour schedule planned for July. George confirms Atlas’ musical direction was inspired by the laid back feel of their location. Like their heroes The Presets and Beach House their music is song based, down beat but somehow optimistic and joyful.

I was surprised to find an early review in English heavy weight Q Magazine, who compared it favourably with bands like The Beloved. “I’ll take that,” says George. Although, he notes, the album has also found favour with French producer and Daft Punk collaborator, Alan Braxe. Braxe (Stardust) was introduced to RÜFÜS via the late Adrian Ajax, a Melbourne staple on the DJ scene. Which led to gigs at sold out parties in NYC, in front of members of LCD Soundsystem and skateboard riots at the Bake & Destroy premier in LA. But the craziest appearance was in Moscow, “with this completely foreign audience. They didn’t understand us. We didn’t understand them. No one cared. It’s music!”

Accompanying their music, George’s brother Alex, ‘Patzky’, produces these delicious little twists on well-known themes for their videos. “He’s created all our vids to date. He likes to be involved, stylistically, and in turn that gives us the core idea for our music.” A case in point is ‘Desert Night’, which is a twist on Sofia Copola’s Lost in Translation – sort of. “I can see that,” George laughs, “We had this idea that a girl would sing with a drunk businessman at a Karaoke bar. Instead of spurning his ale-doused lurching, she takes pity on him and follows him home – almost out of worry. “It’s a twist on the loneliness of the night. The night can be a desert sometimes – especially in big cities.”

Big gigs are the future for RÜFÜS. They were recently picked as one of 3 Aussie acts for Red Bull’s ‘Opinion Leader’ programme. The result was “huge lighting installation. It was a crazy idea to put forward. We were picked and we caught the ride. We’re hoping to bring some of it on tour over to New Zealand, if we can. It will make our music more … four dimensional.”







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