Rüfüs has had one of those year's young bands dream about: landing on Triple J Unearthed, playing just about every major festival and scoring a hit with the single, 'This Summer'. Ahead of their August show at the Northcote Social Club, Rüfüs's Tyrone Lindqvist (vocals/guitar) and Jon George (keys/percussion) sat down to talk about their huge year, the music scene and what inspires their ambient electro sound.
So let's start with the name – do the umlauts actually effect the pronunciation?
Tyrone Lindqvist: Yeah yeah, well…not for us. I guess if you lived in Germany it would, probably something along the lines of ‘oofoos’.
Jon George: We’d love to hear some different pronunciations of it though.
TL: We just pronounce it ‘Rufus.’
Where did the name come from?
TL: Jon lived near a golf course like two years ago in Byron, and near the course lived a bum, famous in the area, with his ratty, little three-legged dog: Rufus.
JG: We used to go and talk to him and stuff. That’s when the band kind of started so we thought it was appropriate to name it after the dog.
So you guys got going in Byron?
JG: Yeah, I was doing a sound engineering course up there and Tyrone came up to visit. He was going to help me with some of the house music stuff that I was doing at the time and then record some of his acoustic stuff. We ended up staying in one night, while everyone went out, ’cause we had no money and we just wrote what would eventually become [the song] 'We Left'.
And that felt pretty organic?
JG: We couldn’t go to bed cause we had to nut out this idea. That’s when we first realised that it was a good way of working together – we’d just bounce ideas off each other.
TL: We’ve got different musical tastes too – Jon came from a different musical background to where I did. He started off DJ-ing and got into the production side of it, whereas I wrote music but didn’t record it much, electronically. It was good too see someone work differently. I was working on some acoustic stuff, but all my songs were from a thousand different genres, I couldn’t find one sound until I met Jon.
You’ve already listed Pink Floyd and the Australian house music scene as influences – who else?
JG: We’ve made it a goal to listen to as many albums as we can while we’re writing new stuff, it’s the easiest way to get ideas. Tyrone’s vibing off Jonathan Boulet’s last album…
TL: Yeah and Cog and Muse are probably two of my biggest. And Royksopp who we opened for at the Enmore.
JG: And my biggest are probably James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem – I like that mix of dark electronica and pop sensibility.
Our sources tell us that there was a “Beatles-style” rush into the Boiler Room during your Big Day Out set.
TL: Yeah, we got in there and it was totally empty and they were telling us to go on even though they hadn’t opened the gates yet. So we were playing to three people that had gotten in somehow and just as our first beat dropped people started piss-bolting in. At first, I thought it would just be a small group but by the middle of the beat the whole space between the sound booth and us was full of people. People on shoulders, screaming… it was probably their first festival.
Opening for Royksopp must be a good thing to have on the résumé?
JG: Yeah walking into sound check with one of our biggest influences on stage, sounding amazing, watching them interact with the tech people, was a pretty massive dream come true. And Tyrone spoke to them in Swedish…
TL: Yeah they’re Norwegian which is basically like a different dialect to Swedish so that was cool. I think they were relieved to have a break from English.
There seems, at least from the outside, to be a lot of movement within the young music scene in Australia at the moment. Who are some ‘ones to watch’ (apart from your lovely selves of course)?
JG: Well we’re going on tour with Polographia who are great.
TL: And we’ve just remixed a track by Elizabeth Rose who’s also a Triple J Unearthed artist. Flume as well, New Navy, Goldfields and Frames. All really top acts.
JG: And it’ll be interesting to see how Parachute Youth go as well. It’s the cool thing about gigging and touring, we get to watch a heap of really good shows for free.