How a shaman helped RÜFÜS DU SOL find their SOLACE

© Le Fawnhawk
By Ben Freeman
Sydney's finest are keeping the fire burning for electronic albums.
A renaissance has been brewing within the Australian electronic music scene as of late, with thoughtful and subversive work being released constantly, and being heard by the masses. However, RÜFÜS DU SOL (fka RÜFÜS) were quite early pioneers within this movement, and their latest record SOLACE is a gauzy, introspective cementation of their brooding electro sound. 
We sat down with James Hunt and Jon George from the Sydney outfit to talk about their latest, sun-kissed body of work inspired by California’s desolate landscape.
Can you explain the role California had in the making of this album?
James: We always try to channel the physical place into a record. We did this for the previous record where we lived in Berlin for a few months and we channeled the musical landscape there. With this one, we wanted to move somewhere else the whole duration of writing and kind-of unanimously, we decided on LA. We really loved the landscape of California and not just LA, we were really into places like Joshua Tree, Death Valley. We were drawn to that coastline, that landscape.
Jon: We also got this shaman in to come and decorate the studio in California...He came in with a compass and a notepad and just started writing down notes and taking down ideas about how we wanted to decorate it and vibe it out. He ended up putting all these materials everywhere and LED lighting. He would have one wall with an underwater theme, another wall with seashells, another wall with a desert theme like Joshua Tree. He really created this otherworldly vibe.
You’ve talked about working within the two worlds of both the confines of electronic music and being able to express your emotions, how do you work around that balance?
Jon: We’ve always teetered on the edge of juxtaposing two different themes, and that started with electronic music and more live instrumentation, and trying to find the beautiful harmony between those two. I think on this record in particular though, we became more vulnerable than we ever had before, and I think that really bled into the album. I guess it’s always been a bit of a guessing game of trying to work out what the perfect balance is when dealing with emotions of despair and anguish, but also celebration and happiness, that rollercoaster ride.
You guys have always created bodies of work rather than just putting out a string of random singles and EPs, is this always a part of the process, or does it happen organically?
James: We always intended to make big bodies of work. A lot of the electronic music we listened to growing up did the same, back when the album format was way more prevalent, like The Chemical Brothers always put out albums, people like Röyksopp put out these really cool bodies of work. Curating a journey, making sure each record is a cohesive world, we’ve always treated each album as it’s own little universe.
It’ll be sick to come and get some more raw reactions to some of the new stuff from the crowd that we grew up on.James Hunt
What was different about the process of SOLACE, compared to previous albums?
James: With this record, we were really conscious of bringing in that really organic textural, human feel. We would record things wiping our hand along the floor and then using that as a layer on a synth, which gave this material element to it. We recorded coconuts ripping apart, and it looks ridiculous, but when we were in there, the guys who were in the other room could hear it on the monitors sounding so amazing, the texture of it all, but then from an outsider's perspective we look insane.
Are there any plans for any touring back home soon?
James: Definitely next year. We’re super excited to play in our home country again because we’ve just been out on this wild journey across the ocean writing our third record, it’ll be sick to come and get some more raw reactions to some of the new stuff from the crowd that we grew up on.
Jon: We’ve been working super hard on this new live show and putting in the most time that we ever have for this live experience. There’s a whole new visual show to go with it. So yeah, we’re super excited to see which is probably our most ambitious set yet.
SOLACE is out Friday October 19 through Sony Music Entertainment Australia.