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Good music is a wonderful thing – great music can change your life. Just ask James Hunt, drummer for Sydney dance trio RÜFÜS. “Life feels a little surreal at the moment. Our debut album [Atlas] just went gold and we’ve been able to tour internationally. These are milestones we never saw happening eighteen months ago when we started writing the album. It’s amazing, and we remind ourselves of that every day.”
James, along with buddies Jon and Tyrone, has remained firmly grounded despite the fact they’ve spent much of the last two years in the clouds, flying from party to party around the world. Since the beginning of March, RÜFÜS have travelled to eighteen different cities across North America and the UK. “We’re extremely grateful to have these incredible opportunities, to connect with people on the other side of the world is a dream come true.”
Now it’s our turn, with the ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ national tour, so we sat down with James to discuss how making music can bring out an OCD, where to find cheap rent, and the gig that left him all a tingle.
“These shows are going to be a celebration of everything that’s happened in the last couple of years. At the start of the writing process for Atlas, we were just focused on making the kind of record we would love and be really proud of. So we began putting a lot of time and effort into that, and soon I noticed we were showing signs of OCD and getting really anal about certain sounds,” James laughed. “Luckily, at the end of it we were completely happy and we’d achieved exactly what we wanted.
“Thinking back on it now, our focus was so internal. It’s astonishing to see the way the music has connected and resonated with people. That was something we hoped for but never expected. It’s been a crazy ride.”
Speaking of wild rides – be warned to expect just that if you’re lucky enough to see the guys in action this time round. These shows are selling fast for a reason. “We want to transport the audience to a completely different world with each track and embellish the journey we created with the album,” James explained. “We’ve been looking to reinvigorate our live show, step it up a little bit with the use of lighting and other visual elements.
“We’re having a lot of fun with it, actually creating a new element and seeing how we can utilise it with the live instrumentation on stage.”
RÜFÜS have always tried to bring another perspective to their music through video clips, most recently with the release of their latest single, ‘Sundream’. The guys credited Jon’s little brother Alex with being the driving force behind it. “Alex has made all our film clips from the start. His insight is refreshing in how we see a song. He brings a different vibe which is always really exciting for us, and he’s very professional as well.”
Another mate RÜFÜS give props to is the man that fills their support slot – fellow Sydneysider, Hayden James. “He’s a really good songwriter, he’s got a keen ear for production and we love the sounds he’s creating. Hayden has a very original take on things and we appreciate that.
“He’s also a really good dude and probably the tallest man in dance music! It’ll be really cool travelling around with him. We got a sneak peek of his live show a few months back and it’s equally awesome. I don’t want to give too much away, but we thought if we could get Hayden on board we could plan a really cool night for people.
“We want to make those shows extra special for our Australian fans because we’ll be saying goodbye for a few months. After the tour finishes in June we’re going away for about four or five months to do some writing in Berlin,” James continued. “The reason for Berlin is that, although we’ve only been there for a week collectively, we really connected with the place. It seemed to make a lot of sense musically and culturally.
“We met so many amazing people there, and also rent is extremely cheap … so we would actually be able to afford a studio of some kind to start writing a new album. I know it’s something we’re all looking forward to, getting back into a little studio and focusing solely on our music again, to get completely lost in the music we’re making.”
Until then James says they’ll be looking for inspiration everywhere: “Playing both the Big Day Out and Falls Festival was on our bucket list. The experience was incredible. The Falls show in Byron is my favourite show that I’ve ever played. My skin was tingling after it – the crowd was singing, it was out of this world! That’s why we can’t wait to play these shows.”
WHERE&WHEN: The Wool Exchange Entertainment Complex, Geelong – May 16 (two shows, including a matinee performance)
Written by Natalie Rogers