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Interview: Jon George from RÜFÜS


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, with soundproof headphones on and do not possess the ability to feel vibrations in the Earth, you’ve likely heard of Sydney electronica trio RÜFÜS. After releasing their chart topping sophomore album ‘Bloom’ earlier this year and touring the US, the 3-piece are about to head home to kick off a regional tour across Australia! Before the tour kicks off we chatted with keyboardist and all ’round top bloke Jon George about touring, funky synthesisers, and making fans cry…

RÜFÜS is currently in the US touring, in fact I hear you’re about to play Detroit in a few hours! How has the US tour been so far?

It’s been amazing! Shows have been really really good, and are getting bigger and bigger every year. We’ve been able to bring over the full set, such as lighting etc. Everything that we’re doing over in Australia for the first time we’ve been able to play on big stages, so it’s been really fun playing big shows every night.

Favourite song off ‘Bloom’ to play live?

I’d say I have two! Innerbloom is always such an immediate reaction from people and such an emotional one too. It’s always good seeing peoples’ emotions come out during that song. Sometimes there’s crying during that song, and that’s always pretty cool.

You Were Right is a pretty fun track to play live. We’ve got bit of a free form outro where we jam back and forth between each other, it’s a lot of fun to end the show!

I wouldn’t image that people would cry at your shows! Is that common?

(laughs) It didn’t used to be…it only started since we started playing Innerbloom. Before we even put it out we tested the waters with it and started playing it at a few shows and…yeah, something about the feeling of that song, the chords, and the way the vocal really reaches out to people, crowds seem to really be effected by it!

How do your US crowds differ from Aussie crowds?

The crowds are a bit different, but I’m starting to see less and less of a difference to be honest between American and Australian crowds…particularly now that we’re putting on a very similar show production wise. I suppose the main difference is the back catalogue that people know in Australia.

We could play for like an hour and a half in Australia and have the whole place singing every word sometimes. In America that’s not often the case, but they’re still just as into it. We’re pretty lucky both are becoming very similar!

Well, you’ll be visiting some Aussies this summer during the ‘Full Bloom’ tour! Some of the towns you’ll visit are really quite out of the way such as Cairns and Margaret River, why did you choose to visit regional areas?

Yeah, I’m super excited about Margaret River actually…I’ve always wanted to go there. I think that’s half the reason, like we want to go and explore more of Australia. We’ve been touring Australia for about six years now and it’s crazy that we haven’t been able to go to many of these places, so that will be really nice, to explore more.

It’s also pretty nice that there’s a lot of people who buy our records in regional Australia that have never got to see the show, unless they travel, which can be hard sometimes. I think it’s nice for us to come to them. We’re bringing the whole show I’ve been talking about with us, the big stages, the full lighting. I’m sure that that’s not such a regular thing for them and i think it’ll be really cool for us to experience them being opened up to it.

What kind of music do you listen to during your down time of touring? Is it all electronica or is there some sneaky alt-pop or Paul Kelly thrown into the mix?

It ranges between all three of us. We have a pretty wide range of influences and listening music. Lately I’ve been listening to the new D.D Dumbo Album, which I reckon is pretty amazing! There’s an album by Weevil, which I really really like. I’m continually downloading stuff to listen to, particularly because there’s so much time on the road. It can be anything from indie to pop-rock to electronica, but we’re defiantly not exclusive to that!

You’ve just been hit with five ARIA nominations, two of which are for album of the year and best dance release, are you happy with the response to Bloom? Is it what you expected when your released in album in January this year?

Well, it wasn’t expected… I think that whenever we go into the studio we just write for ourselves. That’s been our biggest learning curve over the years, we write first and try not to think about anyone but ourselves. You can have indulgent moments like Innerbloom on the album and you can have more pop orientated tracks like Like An Animal, and that comes out of our taste rather than trying to think of who we’re writing for.

When the album’s done, it’s like this handing over process and all of a sudden you remember it’s a gig audience. Much like the ARIA nominations, it’s a really cool tip of the hat from the wider public that they were into our vision. It’s a very nice surprise!

At this stage of success, you must have had a chance to play around with pretty much every kind of software, synths, and equipment. Do you have a favourite piece of gear to play with?

We’re really excited about the Roland Boutique Series, and these little synths in the series called Jupiter and Juno. Basically, Roland just rereleased a bunch of synths that were popular back in the 80s and 90s that were discontinued, they were miniaturised but still sound amazing!

We’re trying to collect more synths and buy a bunch of stuff so that when we start writing again we’ve got some key synths at our disposal that we can vibe off.

Cool! An 80s sound would be an interesting addition to the RÜFÜS experience…

Yeah, we’re defiantly inspired by it. Actually, Client Liaison just released a new 80s album and we’re loving it! 

Lastly, the music video for Innerbloom was released a few weeks ago. It’s an epic 9-minute hypnotic compilation of shapes, patterns, and movement, which kind of made me feel like I was in a spaceship travelling around my own body! What were you guys trying to achieve with this music video and how do you feel when you watch it yourself?

We feel very much a similar thing when we watch it to what you describe. We didn’t really see the last piece of the puzzle until it was done. But the way it came together was we collaborated with an artist called Jack Vanzet, who does all our album artwork and created this weird thing with paint for the ‘Bloom’ cover, with my little brother KATZI, who has basically been made most of our film clips and sharing our vision for what RÜFÜS is, to make an out of body experience.

We’ve always like the way that he comes in with his treatments for film clips. It’s really nothing quite like what we could have imaged for the music we were creating. So basically we just connected Jack Vanzet with my brother KATZI and said “Innerbloom deserves an epic 9-minute clip. Can we make this happen and can it be based around this paint idea?”.

They got together and spent a few weeks in the studio, using the album cover as inspiration, and ended up with this galactic and molecular experience that just goes through all these different passages. We were super happy with it when we saw it!

Check out our interview with RÜFÜS’ drummer James Hunt HERE and the ‘Full Bloom’ tour dates below!

RÜFÜS The Full Bloom Tour Dates

Nightquarter Night Markets, Gold Coast
Big Pineapple Fields, Sunshine Coast
University of Wollongong Gardens, Wollongong (Sold-Out)
Wests City, Newcastle
The Cube, Wodonga
The Geelong Arena, Geelong
3 Oceans Winery, Margaret River
Castaway Rottnest Island, Rottnest (Sold-Out)
University of Canberra Refectory, Canberra
Phillips Lane Street Party, Port Macquarie
Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns
Street Party, Townsville
Magnum’s Hotel, Airlie Beach

Get Tickets HERE