III Points Festival

For Aussie Trio Rüfüs Du Sol, It's Always Personal

Get ready to feel with Rüfüs Du Sol.
Get ready to feel with Rüfüs Du Sol. Photo by Eliot Lee Hazel
There's a freeing quality to Rüfüs Du Sol's music.

The Australian trio produces music that feels like you're gazing past a cotton-candy sunset over the horizon while shedding a tear. Emotional spillovers are what the trio hopes to bring during its live performance during III Points and a DJ set at Club Space next week.

Something's in the water in the land Down Under. Aussie imports like Tame Impala taught us music could flow slowly through the speakers, while music turned fantastical with the electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun.

Rüfüs Du Sol flows from the same vein, blurring genre homogeneity with powerful language and deep rhythm. Over the last decade, the group combined electronic elements with live components via the thunderous vocals and guitar riffs of Tyrone Lindqvist, surfaced synth and keys patterns from Jon George, and James Hunt's soul-hitting percussion.

"When we started the band, we wanted to live in two worlds: make electronic music and play it live with drums and guitars," George tells New Times.

You would think this hybrid method wouldn't appeal to both bass-starved ravers and guitar-strumming folk — but the dual-textured quality produces a refreshing taste. Add on new live production and a fourth album released days before III Points, the Grammy-nominated trio has something for everyone.

"We love the intimate settings, and when we get to play in front of a big crowd, it's a whole different experience," George says. "I'm glad we get to do that in Miami."

The trio relocated from its Los Angeles domicile to the desert landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park to produce the 11-track album Surrender, set for release on October 21 via Rose Avenue and Reprise/Warner Records.

The arid landscape created a harmony that restored and fortified the friendship among the group.
"Obviously, COVID is a devastating event for the whole world. For us it was somewhat necessary for the band to take the next step," George explains. "It gave us the time that we never had before to really connect and reconnect as friends — before we even got to the studio, really. We started with the process to reconnect."

The reconnection is felt in the album's first single, "Alive." Delicate synth patterns suffuse throughout, and Lyndqvist begins the five-minute track with a heartbreaking confession: "There's a pain in my chest that I can't describe/It takes me down/And leaves me there." It all appears ethereal until Lyndqvist's voice barbs, and an energy is created through emotions alone. "At least I'm alive/Believe me, believe me." Then a heady drum pattern kicks off the familiar physical and emotional dance.

"We created structure and took care of ourselves more and tried to repair our friendship that had taken a toll over ten years of touring and recklessness," Jones explains. "It was a moment of healing for us, and the album displays that. There is a part of the record that is frustrating — this dark moment. These themes of depression and recklessness, but at least we had the band, and it began to turn into healing."

George says Surrender is an album of progression — sonically and symbolically.

"We started to turn to children's choirs and bringing in this innocence to the record and trying to have light at the end of the tunnel," he says. "We wanted to have fun in the studio, and we did it."

"Always," the album's final track, ends with progressive-house melodies suitable for peak club hours. Euphoric chants sing to the sky, Hunt's steadfast drum patterns kick and ring, and the tension builds. The nearly trancelike synths and Lyndqvists' vocals carry the track home post-drop.

Samples and guest appearances are pivotal to Surrender.

"We have Curtis Harding on one of the tracks, giving this big soul, house gospel vibe," George notes.

And the trio did indeed bring on an LA children's choir for the album's title track and for "Make It Happen."

"Using their voices let us lean into different moods," George explains. "It was something fresh for us, something new."

But now that the album is finished, the Grammy-nominated trio is ready to show it off — with a few jitters.

"I felt physically nervous for the first time in years," George confesses. "I think just being so used to playing in front of crowds. We've been able to overcome that and take it for granted how easy it was to play in front of big crowds. It's a good challenge. It definitely makes you feel alive."

At the group's III Points performance, you're bound to dance to your heart's content — Rüfüs Du Sol certainly has enough synthesizers and drums to keep the party going.

"We're audience members ourselves," George says. "We like to piece through a bunch of memories of what we liked about other people's shows and try to work out how to progress on that idea and make the perfect live experience for people — whether it's cry, dance, or run away."

III Points. Friday, October 22, and Saturday, October 23, at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Tickets cost $249 to $449 via iiipoints.com.

Rüfüs Du Sol. With Keinemusik, Layla Benitez, and Thunderpony. 10 p.m. Sunday, October 24, at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $24 to $97 via eventbrite.com.
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Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert