Get the latest from Beat




Fast-forward two decades, and colour me pleasantly surprised. Synth-pop is bleeding back into popular culture. Depeche Mode is selling out stadiums. Contemporary synth bands such as Cut Copy, The Presets and Midnight Juggernauts (to name some brilliant Aussie examples) are certifiably huge. And, this writer is extremely happy to say, there is Rüfüs.

Based in Sydney, RÜFÜS is a synth-pop trio who have proudly and majestically brought back the non-stop ecstatic dance music of decades past, infusing it with modern sensibilities and buckets of soul. Having just released their second EP in as many years, RÜFÜS has already garnered plenty of radio play throughout Europe and North America with two tracks from their 2011 self-titled debut EP, Paris Collides and We Left.

Jon George, RÜFÜS’ keyboardist and synth-master, recently spoke with me by phone about the joys of great electro-pop, how delightful it is to be in the studio and recording their new EP, (Blue). It was while finishing up his audio degree at uni in Byron Bay in 2010 that a friend of his brother’s, Tryone Lindqvist (vocals/guitar), came up from Sydney to help George out with some dance music he was working on.

“We ended up staying up late one night – we didn’t really have money to go out –working on what would become We Left on the first EP!” he recalls. “We’d both been making music before RÜFÜS, and it was just the chemistry you get when that happens,” George continues. “We really just felt that the songwriting process was right, we were both pulling from different influences – and yeah, we had a sound straight away. We knew that and we’ve been playing ever since!”

With the addition of drummer James Hunt – “He came on just after we made the first EP, to help us reproduce it live,” George says – RÜFUS officially became a trio. Now, just a quick year after their first EP, they’ve released their sophomore effort, with its first single This Summer. George laughs loudly when I ask him if they’re workaholics.

“Haha, yeah!” he giggles. “It’s more a complete love of what we’re doing, but yeah, it does feel like we haven’t really stopped, and it’s definitely what we love doing, so we’re spending a fair amount each week in the studio for rehearsals!

“[The music] has taken over our lives, so to speak, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

I ask George if he feels that the “new wave” so to speak, of synth-pop is here to stay. “Yeah, that’s the music I want to make. I definitely take it seriously, and everyone seems to be taking it seriously, including my dad!” he laughs. “There’s just so much good stuff out there. And I suppose the technology itself is getting better and better; there are so many new and cool sounds and everyone’s just exploring that.”

Finally, I ask him what fans of their music can expect from the live experience. “I suppose the biggest response we get from our live show is that it’s such a different sound – it has a lot of energy and more texture and shading, and we mix up the tracks a little, so they’re fresh and interesting for the fans and ourselves – and yeah, we have heaps of fun running around onstage and making some cool sounds and actually getting people to dance!”