After recently finishing their international ‘You Were Right’ tour and ringing in 2016 at Falls Festival in Australia, RÜFUS are set to release their full-length LP Bloom. We caught up with singer Tyrone Lindqvist to discuss the making of their sophomore record, finding inspiration in Berlin, and fans reactions to their new material.
Your new album, Bloom, is released worldwide on January the 22nd. How will you be celebrating?
I’m actually not sure. I don’t think we’ve worked anything specific out. I know it will probably be with the guys and our Manager, maybe some of our Sweat It Out label friends, close friends and family. We’ll probably just have a couple of drinks.
Will you be in Australia at that time?
Yeah, we’re in Australia for the next month and a half just hanging out really. It’s going to be nice. We’ll see the album through as it comes out and get a bit more of the Australian Summer. I think February is basically our time off and then from March we’re busy touring.
How do you think Bloom differs to your previous album, Atlas, in terms of the sound and general feel?
I feel like the lyrics are probably a little more personal on this one – not deliberately, it just ended up that way. The album’s pretty much a push and pull of us being home and not being home; the friends and family, and the relationships between that. We travelled for two years and were away from friends and family quite a lot in that time and you really learn to love the place that you’re from and everyone that you’re close with. The first album was probably a bit more Escapism. We would write about places that we enjoyed being or places that we would like to go. Also, this one’s influenced a bit more by techno from Berlin.
Was it a conscious decision to go to Berlin for that sort of electronic scene or was it something you discovered whilst you were there?
It was definitely conscious but we didn’t know what we were going to get out of it. We wrote the first album on the coast of Australia which I think really influenced that album. This one, we just wanted to put ourselves in a new environment with new people, a new place where everything was going to be inspiring and fresh and, hopefully, put us in a good headspace to write something that we hadn’t written before. I feel like Berlin was the perfect place for that. There’s so many electronic acts like Booka Shade, David August, just a lot of great Producers and electronic artists that are based there. It was cool because almost every night of the week there would be a show or a DJ who you would know of that would be playing somewhere in the city.
So that was a cohesive decision between the three of you?
Yeah, we visited Berlin about two years ago for four days. We didn’t have a show or anything. We just wanted to see if it would be a place where we would like to write the album. We wanted a space that was going to be inspiring and affordable to be able to take our time with the record. We didn’t want to rush anything. We wanted to be able to give ourselves the freedom to explore whatever we wanted to explore.
Were you hoping to complete the album there or did it feel like something you needed to finish back in Australia?
We all had a talk about it before we went over there and we all knew that we wanted to finish it in Australia. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t alienate ourselves by being in this new environment. We wanted to kind of milk it for everything it could give us without making something that was fully from Berlin. We were basically writing one or two songs a day. They weren’t full songs, just ideas. You kind of churned through as much as you could just to make sure that you were exploring as much as you could. We wrote a lot of crap songs, you know. We had heaps of crap ideas but I think that was the fun of it. We tried things that we’d never tried before and we stumbled on things that we loved and we stumbled on things that we might not have tried unless we’d made all the crap ideas. That’s really what Berlin was for.
‘Hypnotised’ features vocals by Dena Amy. Was that something preplanned or did you feel like it needed a female vocalist and it just happened to pan out that way?
We honestly weren’t really wanting to do a collaboration on this record as we did it on the last one. It’s nice to surprise people and not do what is expected. I really appreciate when an act does that. For some reason, we wrote that song and it just seemed like the perfect duet song so we were talking about getting someone in just to record a demo to see how it played off my voice – any female vocalist, really, just to hear a female tone against mine. The singer friend that we have is Jon’s girlfriend, Dena Amy, and she just came in and knocked it in really quick in two or three takes as a demo. We approached a fair few other vocalists and, to be honest, everyone was really great, we really loved everyone but there is this real nakedness that Dena has where it feels like she’s just talking to me as opposed to singing to me and I think that’s a really weird, subtle thing that we couldn’t really get past. We just fell in love with it and wanted to keep it. Yeah, it was just the best for the track, in my eyes.
What’s your weirdest recent tour experience?
I think when you tour a lot, things don’t become weird anymore. I mean, you just get used to weird, weird is normal. I loved the last tour. We did all the Falls shows over New Year’s and I love that festival because it’s such a mixed bag of artists. We were on the same circuit as Bloc Party and Courtney Barnett and that was awesome ’cause we just got to hang out with them.
Will you be incorporating that liquid-y visual effect which is present in your recent artwork to your live shows?
Well, we haven’t used LED screens or anything before, if that’s what you mean. We’ve talked about it. We’ve always spent a lot of time with our film clips. Alex George Katzki makes all of our videos. We love every video that he does. We haven’t fully sorted out the live show yet for the tour which is kind of exciting that we get to write it and think about it over the next month or two.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
It’s hard to pick a favourite song because it’s kind of like picking your favourite kid. I mean, you love them all for different reasons, you know. I’ll say Innerbloom is up there and that is because of the experience we had when we wrote it. We’d written pretty much the entire album and I guess we were comfy with the album, we’d kind of done it. We came into the studio one day and were like – let’s have fun today, let’s mess around and just play. We came up with the chord pattern and the bass line and we just got excited about making a really long song that felt like a nod to our time in Berlin. We were certain that it wouldn’t make it on the album because, well, it’s not a normal song. It’s not verse-chorus-verse-chorus, there’s no real structure to it. It was almost like we were reminding ourselves why we do what we do and how much we love what we do. It required no thought, we finished it in nine and a half minutes when we thought it should finish and that was that. We didn’t think that it was going to be on the album, then showed some friends and they fell in love with it. We played it during our last tour and I thought that people might go and get a drink because they wouldn’t have known the song, you know, they might just tune out. Watching people’s faces during that song was one of the highlights of the show. People were crying during that song who had never heard it before. It’s not like everyone’s crying, you know, but the fact that you see anyone do that in a show, that’s rare. I haven’t seen that ever before for our shows. That was really special and we knew that we really wanted to have it in the album after that.
Just so you know, we went through the alphabet three times – just to give you a scope of how many ideas we had for the record. And by that I mean, when you’re naming a title of a song or a project title, you don’t know what it’s going to be called so we went through the alphabet. We did it for Atlas where we did city names or locations and for this one we went through animal names. We started with land animals, second time around we did sea creatures and the third time we just did anything and everything!
‘Bloom’ will be available on January 22 via Sony Music Australia
Interview by Laura Cheshire