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Rüfüs Du Sol Drive Down Memory Lane at Coachella — And Tease Their Next Move

As the Australian alt-dance trio return to the California desert and prepare their next project, they say they’re drawing inspiration from electronic music legends like Moby, Justice, and Daft Punk

Rüfüs Du Sol

Cooper Pattison

For the Australian alt-dance trio Rüfüs Du Sol, playing Coachella feels like returning to a home away from home. Composed of Tyrone Lindqvist on vocals, Jon George on keys, and James Hunt on drums, the group had long dreamed of playing the California festival before they showcased their album Bloom, a celestial 11-track house album, at Coachella in 2016, followed by a live set in the desert in 2019.

“It might be my favorite set ever — the 2019 Outdoor Stage show that we played there was one of the most magical experiences we’ve had, those two weekends in a row,” George tells Rolling Stone. “So it’s quite exciting to be heading back and taking part in it all [over] again.”

This Friday, Rüfüs Du Sol returned to Coachella on a new stage dedicated to house and techno music’s surging popularity, playing an unreleased track ahead of a forthcoming full-length studio project. Ahead of their April 19 performance, the group joined RS to discuss playing a DJ set in the desert and the nostalgic dance artists that are inspiring their next project.

“It’d be a really good opportunity, particularly because [of] the festival that it is and our history with it but also because it’s sunset,” George says. “That mood brings a lot to our music, playing in between the sun and the night sky.”

Since the launch of their 2011 EP Rüfüs, the trio has focused on the intersection of live instrumentation and electronic music, rooted in alluring vocals and organic tracks. At the start of the pandemic, the three-man band released Live from Joshua Tree, an 8-track album incorporating hypnotic synths, pulsing bass lines, and heavenly vocals played in the desert. In their DJ sets, George and Hunt plan to add in Lindqvist’s soulful vocals over pulsing bass lines.

“It’s been mainly over the last five or six years, where we’ve allowed ourselves to do higher scale DJ sets with more production,” Hunt says. “Now that it’s fairly established that we’re a live act, [we’re] nourishing what the DJ set is, as well as the live show. Those are two different arms of the act.”

As a new father, Lindqvist has stepped away from behind the decks to spend more time with his four-year-old son, Ziggy. Lindqvist says he’s holding off on taking Ziggy to live shows for now – though they did bring him to their Austin City Limits festival show in 2021 – and jokes he’ll be dancing (without Ziggy) in the Coachella audience wearing a wig.

“It’s one of these rare opportunities where I get to be on the other side experiencing our music – even though it’s like a version of our music; it might be remixes or edits that the guys have made,”  Lindqvist says. “We always joke about it when we’re building out a live show that we wish that we could have clones of ourselves so that we could go out and experience from an audience perspective.”

Coachella representatives reached out to the trio this year to open the second weekend on the Quasar stage, which features three- to four-hour sets and marks the newest dance music addition since the Yuma stage in 2013. Eric Prydz will play b2b with Anyma Saturday, and Diplo and Mau P will play on Sunday.

During Coachella’s first weekend, Honey Dijon played with Green Velvet on April 12, Michael Bibi headlined the following day, and Jamie XX, Floating Points, and Daphni closed out the new stage on April 13. Bibi’s return to the desert decks marked his first show after a rare brain and spinal cancer diagnosis last summer. George says he was glad to see Bibi back, since announcing his remission from cancer.

“A lot of these guys are the kings of the dance world at the moment and we’re lucky to be back in and around it, and hearing music from them over the last year has been what’s pushing us stylistically,” George says

Rüfüs Du Sol won a Grammy Award in 2022 for “Alive,” a brooding, bubbly track about the demanding pressures of life. Their most recent album, 2021’s Surrender, leaned into earthy, organic instrumentation and textual sounds; speaking with Rolling Stone Australia at the time, they talked about how that album reflected the mood of the early pandemic.

Heading into the next project, they’ve drawn inspiration from writing trips to Austin and L.A. along with nostalgic dance music from their younger days like Moby, Daft Punk, and Justice. Lindqvist says he’s been listening to more country, a genre that he once despised; George draws inspiration from watching other artists spin, like DJ Tennis and Carlita; and Hunt says he’s been diving into whosampled.com to decipher how electronic producers repurpose classic tracks.

“Each album that we’ve made has probably been a reflection of the time that we made it,” Lindqvist says. “Not like a diary entry, but it’s a real expression of where we’re at and what’s simmering around in our brains.”

As they enter a new chapter and celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Atlas, the trio says it’s hard to forecast what shape their next album will take, but they note that they’re healthy, happy, and cherishing the moments they spend together in the studio.

“It’s been some of the best times that we’ve had in the studio,” Lindqvist says. “It’s been more playful, free, less constricted. So we’re exploring more ideas, drawing influence from more genres without being too over-analytical of whether it fits in our world.”

From Rolling Stone US