RÜFÜS DU SOL Break Down Their New Album Surrender Track by Track: Exclusive

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The post RÜFÜS DU SOL Break Down Their New Album Surrender Track by Track: Exclusive appeared first on Consequence of Sound.

For our Track by Track feature, artists open up about the stories behind each song on their latest album. Today, RÜFÜS DU SOL take us track by track through their latest album Surrender.

RÜFÜS DU SOL have returned with their fourth studio album, Surrender. Stream it in full below.

For the 12-track collection, the Australian electronic trio consisting of Tyrone Lyndqvist (guitar/vocals), Jon George (keys/synths), and James Hunt (drums) teamed with producer Jason Evigan, who is known for working with Maroon 5, Dua Lipa, and Jason Derulo. Several of the tracks were originally conceived during a six-week studio trip to Joshua Tree, during which RDS bonded by starting each day with group meditation and intention setting before working out together.

Created over the course of the past 1.5 years in lockdown, Surrender marks RÜFÜS DU SOL’s second studio effort mostly recorded in a DIY ground floor studio in Los Angeles. It sees RDS pushing the boundaries of their sound by combining influences ranging from Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails to Moderat and Jon Hopkins. They recruited an LA children’s choir to appear on “Make It Happen” and the title track, with the latter song also featuring Atlanta-based singer Curtis Harding.

“It’s nice to be able to draw on different subgenres of electronic music rather than staying in our comfort zone all the time,” the group tells Consequence. “We need to step out of that zone to allow us to grow as musicians and producers.”

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Speaking about “Wildfire,” RDS explained how Nine Inch Nails inspired the track’s “sonic aesthetic”:

“We played with an orchestra tuning up and we used that and sent it through a decapitator so it sounds like this track is ripping itself open. We recorded the guitar feedbacking into our monitors so there was this feedback winding through like a serpent snaking its way through it all. There’s this sense of it being unsettled and burning.”

To close out 2021, RDS are making appearances at Miami’s III Points Festival and San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival ahead of a North American tour taking place in November. Pick up tickets here.

For more insight into Surrender, RÜFÜS DU SOL have broken down the album in our latest Track by Track interview. Read on for details about each of the record’s songs underneath the stream below.

“Next to Me”:
This song, the original sketch came out when we were at this ranch called Escape in Pioneertown, where we were writing when the pandemic hit. We spent the first few weeks playing with some plug-ins to try get our ears in, we were playing around on these new synths we had gotten and playing with some different influences trying to find our feet a little bit. In one of those first sessions the initial elements for this song came together. We weren’t putting a lot of pressure on ourselves in those first few weeks as we hadn’t written together in a while so we know it would take a minute to get in a rhythm, it was a nice morale boost to get this idea out of that early stage in the writing process.

“Make It Happen”:
This song reminds me of some of our earlier stuff from Atlas, which is rooted in classic house sounds like that classic house bassline. A more swung beat that has a bit of groove to it. We were chopping up samples of congas and pitching them down so it sounded a bit more like a vinyl, making it sound really dusty. We chopped up the sound of kids playing in a playground and autotuned it so it was melodic and then made it rhythmic, so it was this weird sample that was sung but it also sounded like kids playing. It gave a nice innocence.

At the end of the track, we put a little recording of Tyrone’s son Ziggy, who didn’t know how to speak at the time. He was speaking his gibberish language and it just feels like a really magical time in a human’s life where they’re somewhere between being able to express themselves through language and being able to communicate without words.

rufus du sol surrender track by track album stream artwork
rufus du sol surrender track by track album stream artwork

“See You Again”:
We love a record label and artist collective from Berlin called Keinemusik. We were really inspired by them in terms of the drum programming. We just like this simple, hypnotic, rhythmic interplay. Letting a song be a little bit more club-friendly than a strict verse, chorus, verse, chorus short punchy song, we allowed ourselves the time to sit in this feeling for a little bit longer than we would in a more traditional song structure.

Lyrically, we were in a place where we weren’t able to get back home to see our friends and family in Australia and this felt like a nice way of expressing our excitement of getting back to see everyone.

“I Don’t Wanna Leave”:
We started working on this track a few years ago in 2019 with our friend Jason Evigan, who we’ve been working with since SOLACE. He always brings new and fresh ideas into our sessions. This one is another broken beat cut, which is something we have had fun with on this record but haven’t done much of in the past. It’s nice to be able to draw on different subgenres of electronic music rather than staying in our comfort zone all the time. We need to step out of that zone to allow us to grow as musicians and producers.

“Alive”:
The MS20 features on this, and it ended up being a big feature on the whole record. This one, in particular, grinds through, we were sort of referencing an old favorite electronic act called Royksopp who’s a favorite of ours. It was nice exploring new territory and a different type of electronica for ourselves.

We’d started this song prior to the pandemic shutting things down, and then we came back to it a few months later after we’d all lived through the first few months of the pandemic. We brought some fresh energy to it while we fleshed out the instrumental. We created this new breakdown and honed in on the breakbeat itself, that classic breakbeat, referencing some ’90s sounds a little bit and in the same way as “I Don’t Wanna Leave,” getting that deep earthy knock, that guttural knock in the beat. It just came together.

“Alive (Reprise)”:
We teased this one way back in April when we announced our Los Angeles shows at the Banc of Cali Stadium, thought it would be a nice easter egg for fans to put together once the full record is out. It was originally part of “Alive,’ but we felt it made more sense to separate the outro on this one and make it its own moment of space on the record.

“On My Knees”:
“On My Knees” was born out of us riffing on a techno jam in our studio — it was very simple and driving. It’s gone through a few different lives, to be honest. We found the chorus and we all instantly really loved it, we knew that we had stumbled on something that felt really special to us. Took about 25 versions over two years to find its identity!

“Wildfire”:
We started thinking about this Nine Inch Nails sort of aesthetic and let that sonic aesthetic guide the distortion in the track itself. We played with an orchestra tuning up and we used that and sent it through a decapitator so it sounds like this track is ripping itself open. We recorded the guitar feedbacking into our monitors so there was this feedback winding through like a serpent snaking its way through it all. There’s this sense of it being unsettled and burning.

“Surrender” (feat. Curtis Harding):
We had already been exploring the idea of recording kids for the album, a kids choir, especially for “Make It Happen.”

We were exploring the idea of Tyrone’s voice morphing into a children’s choir, so it was this very trippy effect that if you were listening you’d be like “What? Is his voice changing?” We found this choir of like 12 kids and we recorded them in this space in LA. They were spaced apart six feet, had their own sets of headphones, and had this choir coordinator or conductor who was able to translate exactly what we wanted musically to these kids. It was a really cool process to watch and then it just came together really nicely. We were stoked on it. The kids’ voices with Curtis Harding and Tyrone’s vocals all work so well together in this one.

“Devotion”:
For “Devotion” we envisioned all of the synth sounds and the breakdown as very aquatic sounds, floating through the water a little bit. There was this nice vocal idea we had and we were fleshing out the beat and the synths and the bass of it around that idea. When it finally came together it felt like this really euphoric moment on the record. We always loved the idea that the final outro on this song was kind of a country outro. It had this really “cowboy riding off into the sunset” feel about it.

“Always”:
We allowed ourselves the indulgence of this being a longer track. We wanted it to be the bookend of the album, and so with that in mind, we were able to really flesh out this long journey. We love the beautiful vocal moment in the middle of the song that really takes it home and is quite emotional. It felt like a really fitting moment to finish the record on.

RÜFÜS DU SOL Break Down Their New Album Surrender Track by Track: Exclusive
Eddie Fu

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