For the entirety of November, TikTok has partnered with Aus Music Month to promote the very best of Australian music. A dedicated in-app hub will be the focal point for discovering both emerging and chart-topping artists, with several special TikTok Live shows also lined up. With TikTok growing as a vital connecting tool for music recently, particularly following the alienating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s fitting that the platform is continuing to support Australian music in its biggest month.
The first of those TikTok Live shows is by electronic trio RÜFÜS DU SOL, who released their fourth album, Surrender, two weeks ago. The livestream will feature a performance from Colorado’s stunning Red Rock Amphitheater, a venue that holds special meaning for the group. “We were a little nervous that our first show back was there (Red Rocks), this iconic venue,” drummer James Hunt says.
“It was very surreal, it almost felt like a dream. You’re basically looking up from the stage, it’s very vertical. When we’ve seen shows performed there in the past, it’s just looked so scenic.” In a moment that must have felt fated, nature provided some background pyrotechnics. “On one of the nights we played there, which we luckily managed to capture in our TikTok live stream, there was lightning flashing in the distance and it came on during one of our darker songs too, which was incredible.”
RÜFÜS DU SOL were only too happy to help out for this year’s Aus Music Month after their own recent successes abroad. “There’s so much good music (in Australia) and I think the world’s cottoning on that now,” Hunt insists. “I think Aus Music Month is a great celebration of everything that’s coming out of the country, all the burgeoning and exciting acts that are still undiscovered. It’s just recognising that Australia has such a big music culture and a really rich scene.”
And with the country’s music industry being so disrupted since the pandemic, it feels like this Aus Music Month is arguably the most important one yet. “Now more than ever it’s the comeback season,” Hunt says. “With restrictions now being lifted, it means that artists are able to play shows again and venues are able to operate again. Given that it was all ripped away from everyone for 18 months makes this Aus Music Month really special.”
The partnership with TikTok feels key, given its increasing power as a music platform. “It’s become a very universal medium for discovering music,” Hunt notes. “You see songs breaking out all the time and becoming big. There was the Glass Animals song, “Heatwave”, that I think TikTok was instrumental in making as big as it is.”
As an electronic musician, keeping up with new technology is something Hunt and his bandmates always engage in. “I’ve discovered a lot of my favourite drummers, analogue synth nerds, and guitarists on TikTok,” he reveals. “They’re duetting with other people and it’s very collaborative. It’s people adjourning with others but not in a physical space which is really cool.”
Hunt and the group are currently revelling in the reception that Surrender has received. “It was daunting in the few days leading up to releasing the album because we’d put our hearts and souls into it over the last year and a half,” he reveals. “Since it’s come out though, there’s been a sense of letting it go and allowing it to become other people’s thing. We’ve been getting so many calls, anecdotes, and stories of how it’s been moving people and connecting to their experiences.”
After the live stream, RÜFÜS DU SOL have something momentous in their sights: they’ll be returning to Australia next year for their biggest tour of their home country to date. “We haven’t actually been home since the pandemic kicked in which makes it so much more exciting to come home,” Hunt enthuses. “Seeing all our friends and family again across the country and also showcasing our new live show that we’ve put so much time and thought into will be amazing.”
For the remainder of 2021, once the live stream is completed, the group’s focus will be on touring. “We’ve been lucky enough to do shows over here in the US so we’re going to continue doing that,” Hunt says. “Basically there’s shows all the way up until New Year. Then it’s all about coming home for the shows. Ultimately, coming back to Australia is the apex for us!”
LIVE from the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado