Makers of Melbourne

Welcome to Makers Of Melbourne – the ‘go to’ guide for our technically integrated age.

Makers Of Melbourne has been created to consume and assimilate Melbourne culture. We're male focussed, but not male specific, sorting through the dross to weed out the creative stars, standout events and stylish folk that make this city unique. 

MOM aims to embrace all facets of what makes this city a creative hub. Our aim is to inform without condescending – to keep you abreast of what’s going on without regurgitating Press Releases & to seek out this city’s sub cultures to give our readers the inside scoop on what’s REALLY happening with the people who make Melbourne Melbourne.

Filtering by Tag: Falls Festival

The Event: Falls Festival, Lorne 2017

For its 25th birthday, the annual Falls Festival treated itself to a line up complete with a handful of festival favourites, a scattering of international acts and a tonne of home grown artists. Living, breathing, singing, and dancing proof that Triple J’s commitment to Australian music is paying off in spades and influencing the national music industry, programmers and punters alike.

Fans gather to watch Dune Rats perform at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback

Fans gather to watch Dune Rats perform at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback

While this week’s announcement of the 2018 Coachella line up has the international music scene questioning the longevity of the world's heritage music festivals. The popularity of our local performers – with DZ Deathrays, Peking Duck and Angus and Julia Stone pulling crowds on par to those gathered to watch international drawcards Foster the People and The Kooks – indicates that the lifespan of Falls Festival looks set to sustain itself for another 25 years at least.

Shane Parsons from DZ Deathrays performs at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Shane Parsons from DZ Deathrays performs at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Here’s the thing. Festival lineups have become a bit samey over the last couple of years, with all manner of experts blaming streaming services like Spotify for influencing the way that we consume music. The standard mix tends to be one big name reunion, a couple of breakthrough indie pop or rock bands and a shed load of hip hop and dance acts. And while only two or three years ago the former tended to sell the tickets, draw the biggest crowds and waft through their set on a wave of nostalgia, it looks like the tide may have finally turned, in Lorne at least.

Danny Beusaraus performs with his band Dune Rats at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Danny Beusaraus performs with his band Dune Rats at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

No band proves the popularity of Aussie music like Dune Rats. Last appearing on the Falls schedule in 2015 when they played a stinking hot afternoon set, this year the raucous trio found themselves with a primo evening slot on the 29th December. Dunies know how to keep an audience entertained. From the moment they entered on razor scooters to Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’, through to their Sponge Bob influenced logo, and the giant inflatable Young Henry’s beer cans that they had bouncing through the audience. While a cynical eye might look at it as a subtly incorporated plug for their 2017 collaboration with the Sydney based brewery, Dune Rats practice what they preach and have worked extremely hard to build up their reputation as a group of fair dinkum, beer drinking, dope smoking ‘slackers’. A sentiment that resonates and translates extremely well into merch sales, it seemed like every other attendee was seen in a Dune Rats t-shirt at some stage over the four-day event.

While Dune Rats started the party on day two, it was Adelaide native Allday who drew one of the largest crowds on the 30th December. Preluded by sets by American Rapper D.R.A.M and British dance act Jungle, who both managed to warm up the chilly audience nicely as temperatures plummeted and sporadic rain fell. Although both were great, these performances seemed like nothing but support acts for boundary-breaking Allday, who successfully mixed both genres during his hour-long slot.

Rapper Allday performs at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Rapper Allday performs at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Now based in LA, the young rapper tossed out a majority of songs from his 2017 album, Speeding, and inspired mass sing-a-longs to his eclectic mix of electro-tinged hip hop. In a similar vein to Dune Rats, Allday’s lyrics centre around the themes of partying and getting fucked up. But all is handled with a sensitive touch, his Little Lord Fauntleroy bob and schoolboy docs lending him an air of sensitive new age Rapper.

Liam Gallagher doesn’t seem to be the type of guy who’d appreciate the sensitive new age tag. But his show, which followed on from Allday, was tinged with crowd-pleasing Oasis covers and lots of good banter. While some of us were hoping for that long-awaited Noel and Liam reunion, it looks like we’ll have to keep on keeping on and be satisfied with the younger Gallagher’s semi-regular tours down under. Even though he travelled the country not too long ago with his Beady Eyes, this summer festival run has been billed as Liam’s first official solo shows in Australia and his hour on stage was the talk of Saturday night.  

Liam Gallagher performs on his first 'solo' tour of Australia, at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Liam Gallagher performs on his first 'solo' tour of Australia, at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

There’s magic in the air on new year’s eve. With early performances by Melbourne locals Alice Ivy and Alex Lahey out of the way, there was a collective march up the hill to the Grand Theatre to catch Ecca Vandal, the teeny performer showing off her immense vocal skills and urging the amassed audience to dance as she ushered in evening from her vantage point on stage.

Ecca Vandal performs at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Ecca Vandal performs at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

If we hadn’t had experienced enough local talent, Wil Wagner and the rest of The Smith Street Band played their hearts out as the sun dipped on the last day of 2017. When Makers interviewed Smith Street drummer Chris Cowburn back in 2014, he praised Wagner’s ability to. “articulate himself really honestly, like no one I’ve ever met before”. And it's this openly displayed passion that continues to draw audience numbers years later. The band closed their set with 2016’s ‘Death to the Lads’, and with lyrics which focus on the plight of the modern world, it sounded like the perfect way to wind up what has been a pretty emotional year globally.

Wil Wagner and The Smith Street band usher in the New Year at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

Wil Wagner and The Smith Street band usher in the New Year at the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne. Image: Kirsty Umback. 

With the new year countdown approaching and the promise of a fresh start, it was time British party band Glass Animals to get our dancing feet moving and shake off any of 2017’s remaining cobwebs. Although they were just in the country for February’s Laneway Festival, it’s always a pleasure to catch a Glass Animals performance.      

But the night wasn’t over and it was left to American hip hop duo Run the Jewels to guide us into 2018. Run the Jewels have amassed a pretty solid tour history here in Oz. In 2014 the played Laneway, Southbound and Falls, they also embarked on a successful run of sideshows supported by Joey Bada$$.

With that previously mentioned Spotify phenomenon apparently responsible for watering down our consumption of music, it’s also pretty fair to assume that it’s given performers a sense of freedom when it comes to experimenting with a variety of genres. Once considered the class clowns of the hip hop scene - in 2015 they released a remix album that consisted of cat meows as beats - the pair has become increasingly political with their raps and rhymes. Working their way through a set tinged with overtones of American imperialism and anti-consumerism, Run the Jewels were without a doubt the perfect way to wave goodbye to the political shit storm that was 2017.

Fans attend the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne.  Image: Kirsty Umback.   

Fans attend the 25th annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne.  Image: Kirsty Umback.   

So while the rest of the world may be worried about the future of music festivals like Coachella, it seems pretty clear to this reviewer that there are bigger issues to deal with.
Meanwhile, here in Australia it pretty safe to assume that both the local music scene and travelling festivals like Falls are doing more than ok – a sentiment that we hope shines over all aspects of 2018.

The Event: Falls Festival, Mt Duneed Estate 2015

When word spread of bushfires along the Great Ocean Road on Christmas Day 2015, there was little thought spared for the Victorian location of the annual Falls Festival and more concern (rightly so) for the families who had watched helplessly as their homes burnt alongside the dense bushland surrounding Erskine Falls.   

It was only on Boxing Day, as out of control flames still ravaged the coastal towns of Lorne and Wye River that festival organisers knew that they had a very big decision on their hands – make some serious changes or risk the safety of several thousand attendees.

And make some serious changes they did. In a little over 27 hours the folk behind one of Australia’s longest running music festivals managed to relocate the entire event from its longstanding base in the foothills of Lorne and into a safer location, Day on the Green venue and winery Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong.

It was an epic effort by the team and a large group of volunteers who were still busy setting up as festivities got underway on Monday 28th December. While backhoes and cranes silently lifted equipment and tradies were hard at work putting the finishing touches on the main stage, a select group of performers entertained the first wave of ticketholders in the Grand Theatre, getting the audience psyched for four days of entertainment in the brand new space. 

    'Wei  rd   Al' Yankovic performs on night one of the 2015   Falls Festival at Mt Duneed Estate - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback

 

'Weird Al' Yankovic performs on night one of the 2015 Falls Festival at Mt Duneed Estate - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback

While the grounds weren’t overly busy it was nice to see the gleeful faces of punters as they strolled through the Mt Duneed entry gates, the majority of whom had no doubt been glued to social media over the Christmas weekend, patiently waiting for news on the future of the 2015 festival.   

As afternoon rolled into evening excitement built around the theatre, as we early arrivers prepared ourselves for a performance by American comedian ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. Although his set was peppered with technical difficulties it was still a great time – no one knows showbiz like ‘Weird Al’ and with fat suits, Segway’s and several costume changes thrown into the mix, everyone seemed happy enough to trade a couple of electrical blackouts for hits like ‘Fat’ and ‘White and Nerdy’.

 

 In the interest of full disclosure there are two things that I need to mention:

1) The ‘new’ location meant that this reviewer was able to travel to the venue everyday from the comfort of her own Melbourne apartment.

2) Sometimes the best entertainment happens in the VIP area (but that’s a story for another time).

 

 After ‘Weird Al’ wrapped, the executive decision is made to hit the road and skip a late night slot by Art vs Science. On the drive back to Melbourne my companion and I listen to a compilation of the best of the worst of the 80s,  the only appropriate thing to do after seeing one of the decade’s biggest cult stars.    

   Enjoying the view. Punters soak up the atmosphere at Mt Duneed Estate, the location of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Enjoying the view. Punters soak up the atmosphere at Mt Duneed Estate, the location of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

Day two, otherwise known as Tuesday, starts off well. After watching lovable larrikins Dune Rats pelt the amassed audience with an array of sex toys and blow up dolls this reviewer is scolded by a fellow member of the media for missing Leon Bridges’ show earlier that afternoon. A couple of minutes are spent contemplating his sideshow at 170 Russell before I’m informed that it has completely sold out. There’s no time to be sad as latest it-girl indie pop princess Halsey struts her way onto the main stage and instantly wins over the throng with a selection of tracks off her debut album, ‘Badlands’. Originally discovered on YouTube, the New Jersey native has attitude to spare and maintains this momentum for her entire 50-minute slot.    

Next on the agenda is Paul Kelly and the Merri Soul Sessions, featuring performances by Dan Sultan, Ash Naylor, Vika and Linda Bull and Clairy Browne. We watch the set while sitting on a patch of dry grass and eating delicious Hare Krishna dinners, content to relax and let the smooth stylings wash over us like waves, not to be confused with Wavves, who storm the stage straight after Kelly, dedicating their set to Motorhead front man Lemmy, who had sadly passed away that morning. After sticking around for a couple of songs I wander back to the VIP area to grab a drink and settle in for some serious people watching. 

Resident DJ Eddie spins classic disco and offers complimentary massages to the motley crew dancing in front of him, some of whom look like they could desperately use a nap after working around the clock to get the event up and running.            

   Danny Beusar, singer and guitarist for Brisbane based Dune Rats rocks out on day two of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

 

Danny Beusar, singer and guitarist for Brisbane based Dune Rats rocks out on day two of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

   Time out between sets on day two of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.  

 

Time out between sets on day two of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.  

   Making her Australian debut, indie pop singer Halsey showcased tracks off her album 'Badlands' on evening two of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

 

Making her Australian debut, indie pop singer Halsey showcased tracks off her album 'Badlands' on evening two of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

Darkness falls and Wavves make way for perennial favourites Hilltop Hoods. Hilltop Hoods are followed by crowd pleasers Wombats. Their set finishes at around 1am and once again we’re back in the car for the journey home.

Wednesday, day three, is a scorcher. Attendees struggle to keep cool as festival organizers erect shade cloths and security hose down the crowd near the main stage. Melbourne locals Alpine have the right idea; they’ve made their entrance carrying pineapple shaped cocktail glasses, although the group still looks like they’re suffering in the heat.

There’s time to spare before Gary Clark Jnr is due on stage so we hike up the hill to watch an angelic sounding Jarryd James. His set ends and once again we’re thrust into the glaring afternoon sun, there’s a race to get back to the main stage before Jnr’s blues tinged show begins, although the heat makes it feel like we’re wading through toffee. The American performer’s so great that I have plans to stay and watch the entire show, unfortunately the temperature gets to me after a handful of songs and I have to leave the main stage area to find myself some shade. The tracks that I do manage to catch before venturing off sound pitch perfect and I make a mental note to download his entire back catalogue on Spotify.  

There’s a moment every year at Falls when the sun dips and the temperature drops to almost freezing conditions. Amazingly Mt Duneed Estate doesn’t seem to work in the same way as Erskine Falls and once late afternoon sets in we still find ourselves comfortable in short sleeves – for once there’s no need at all to rug up in the usual winter layers.

   Temperatures soar on day three - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Temperatures soar on day three - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

Melbourne Ska Orchestra are trying their darndest to bring back dancehall flavours. The Wednesday evening crowd is digging the beats and follow up performances by Rufus, Block Party and Disclosure means that the night is one giant party.

Usually by New Years Eve energy starts to lag. It’s the classic combo of heat (and freezing cold), lack of sleep and a steady diet of festival food that leaves everyone feeling slightly worse for wear on the last day.

I’m lucky that I’ve had the luxury of going home each night, especially in such dry conditions. Although beautiful, Mt Duneed has morphed into a dustbowl and by night time my companion and I are grateful to be able to wipe the dirt of the day off our shoes and hands.

   Crowd favourites King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard entertain the masses in the Grand Theatre on day three of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

 

Crowd favourites King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard entertain the masses in the Grand Theatre on day three of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

   Melbourne's own Phoebe Baker (Alpine) hits all the right notes on day three of the 2015 Falls Festival at Mt Duneed Estate - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

 

Melbourne's own Phoebe Baker (Alpine) hits all the right notes on day three of the 2015 Falls Festival at Mt Duneed Estate - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

   Grammy nominated Courtney Barnett gives it her all on night three of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Grammy nominated Courtney Barnett gives it her all on night three of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

   Kele Okereke of British rock group Bloc Party plays on night three of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Kele Okereke of British rock group Bloc Party plays on night three of the 2015 Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

My afternoon begins with a super mellow routine by Meg Mack. She’s attempting to sing while holding on to her sunhat, but gives in and allows the wind to blow the stylish accessory off her head and towards the back of the stage. Mack finishes her show and the early afternoon crowd cheers the heartfelt performance. The temperature is peaking as I ease my way back up to the Grand Theatre to watch Money for Rope. I don’t really mean to, but end up staying for their whole act, they’re good fun and it’s so much cooler in the tent. 

The evening passes in a blur of Kurt Vile, The Maccabees, Harts and Sweden’s own Elliphant, who performs while wearing a Falls Fest volunteer t-shirt.   

2015 is coming to a close and excitement is thick in the air. As night settles in I catch an encore performance by Borns (after the cancellation of The Avener leaves a gap in the schedule). The young rock group are super talented so it’s a pleasure to watch them again – this time playing in front of a much larger and energized pack.

   Festival fashion on New Year's Eve 2015  - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

 

Festival fashion on New Year's Eve 2015  - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

   Feeling the heat on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Feeling the heat on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

   Meg Mac perfroms in style on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Meg Mac perfroms in style on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

Before I know it it’s time for Foals, the London based band chosen to ring in the new year with style. This is the show I’ve been looking forward to the most over the past few days and they don’t disappoint. Lead singer Yannis Philippakis dives off the stage and heads into the assembled mass several times during the show and by the time they wrap things up the crowd seems to have reached maximum hyperactivity – the people are ready to keep the party going. It’s a tough act to follow but Django Django don’t appear to have any issues, they put on a killer set and wish everyone a great 2016.

As Django Django’s last song winds up we sneak out of the grounds via a hole in the fence and wander back to our car. The sun has set on yet another great Falls Festival and despite the unusual circumstances we've enjoyed four great days of music, performance, food, vintage fashion and general people watching. It’s been a fantastic effort by the Falls group and the seemingly tireless volunteers, who have managed to raise over $139,000 for bush fire relief via the release of a one off New Years Eve Appeal ticket, day parking rates and collection tins onsite.

It’s been an awesome, albeit hot, four days and no matter where the show ends up in 2016, you can guarantee that it won’t ever be boring.

   Money for Rope entertain in the Grand Theatre on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Money for Rope entertain in the Grand Theatre on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

   Swedish singer/songwriter Elliphant wears a Falls Festival volunteer t-shirt while performing on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

 

Swedish singer/songwriter Elliphant wears a Falls Festival volunteer t-shirt while performing on New Year's Eve 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback. 

   Waiting to celebrate the New Year, Falls Festival 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

 

Waiting to celebrate the New Year, Falls Festival 2015 - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.

   Yannis Philippakis, lead singer and guitarist of British indie group Foals crowd surfs after ringing in the New Year at Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.   

 

Yannis Philippakis, lead singer and guitarist of British indie group Foals crowd surfs after ringing in the New Year at Falls Festival - image courtesy of Kirsty Umback.   

The Event: Falls Festival, Lorne 2014

The closing note of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ fades and a palpable excitement builds as a projected clock counts down the seconds, ebbing closer and closer to midnight. Lead singer and drummer from the recently reformed Spiderbait, Kram, is working his way awkwardly around the stage, rhetorically asking the assembled audience when he’ll be asked to host the ARIA awards, before turning his attention back to the digital timepiece and beginning the new year’s countdown.

Kram

Kram

It’s a slightly strange moment on what had been an unusual new years eve at Falls Festival Lorne, with the noticeable absence of the annual parade leaving a hole in the festivities earlier in the evening. But Kram’s midnight announcement is met with thunderous applause from a sea of eager festival-goers. The valley surrounding Erskine Falls echoes back with cheers and catcalls, flares and fireworks explode as the Finley born performer exits the stage and The Presets begin a blistering post new year’s countdown set.

The beloved Aussie duo has been on stage for little over 5 minutes when a flare is thrown into the photographer’s pit. Security swarms as carpet begins to smoke and a thick haze settles on the first few rows of the audience. Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes continue to play, seemingly unaware of the smog and eager to please the hyper throng that has turned out to watch their first performance of 2015.

The Presets'  Julian Hamilton

The Presets' Julian Hamilton

I stand near the stage wrapped in several layers of clothing. Although the day started out at a perfect 20 something degrees (new years eve offered the best weather conditions for the entire festival), the night has turned decidedly frigid; it doesn’t seem to have bothered the majority of the attendees I note, catching a glimpse of a guy dressed in little more than a pair of shorts - My gaze returns to the main stage as I wait for my photographer companion to complete her “three songs and out” duties.  As the herd of snappers makes their exit from the front of stage the sudden decision is made to leave before the end of the Presets set. It’s been a long couple of days and now is the perfect time to head back to Melbourne.

Falls is always exhausting but we’ve had it decidedly easy compared to most, although good food, coffee and some excellent vintage shopping are all fully available to the general public. Not to mention the beautiful surrounds, comedy, face painting, circus acts and music on offer.

Luke Steele from Empire Of The Sun

Luke Steele from Empire Of The Sun

Over the last few days I’ve managed to catch sets from some really great performers (Empire of the Sun, Jagwar Ma, Glass Animals), discovered some new favorites (Big Freedia, DMA’s) and have complied a massive list of albums to download on my return home. I’ve seen musicians get in trouble for smoking indoors, been offered glow sticks while in the queue for the toilets and asked by an inebriated punter if I was a figment of his imagination…Spoiler alert, I wasn’t.

Big Freedia

Big Freedia

Although festivities officially started on Sunday the 28th with performances from a host of bands including Client Liaison and hip hop legends Salt ‘n’ Pepper, it wasn’t until Monday the 29th that things kicked up a notch with headlining sets from The Temper Trap and DZ Deathrays (the latter being added to the bill after the cancellation of Julian Casablancas + The Voidz).

The weather was miserable with scattered showers and chilly conditions but that wasn’t enough to keep crowds away from Melbourne’s own North East Party House who had had a mid-afternoon audience dancing up a storm with their special blend of indie dance music. Unfortunately a real storm settled in toward the end of their set, leaving follow up act Dan Sultan performing to a disappointingly small crowd, as a majority of punters headed elsewhere seeking shelter from the steady rainfall.

North East Party House

North East Party House

By far the biggest buzz band of the day was Milky Chance, the German group have been attracting global audiences with their reggae tinged “folktronica” and their live set solidified their excellent reputation as they performed tracks off debut album, ‘Sadnecessary’. Lead single ‘Stolen Dance’ was the highlight of the show, greeted with rapturous applause from an inspired Monday night crowd.

Tuesday, and the second last day of 2014 had the most varied and appealing lineup with Sticky Fingers, Cloud Control and SBTRKT playing over the course of the day. The weather remained cold and miserable, but the first day of performances in The Grand Theatre gave a chilly audience the chance to keep warm with performances by Run The Jewels, Remi and The Black Lips.

SBTRKT

SBTRKT

John Butler sounded pitch perfect and got things moving with his early evening performance. He was a great choice to play before British electronic artist La Roux took the stage; the combination of laid back jams followed by dance music meant that the assembled crowd was large, varied and up for a good time.

As the sun rose on the last day of the festival it appeared that the clouds and wet weather had left for good. A slightly worse for wear looking crowd took full advantage of the sun, many stripping down to shorts, T shirts and summer dresses, basking in the summer heat.

One-man band Kim Churchill won over the audience early in the day and paved the way for killer performances by Vance Joy, Megan Washington, Cold War Kids and an enthusiastic farewell set from Bluejuice, all before the clock struck twelve. 

English band Alt-J sounded flawless as they performed songs off the Mercury Prize winning ‘An Awesome Wave’ and their recently released follow up, ‘This Is All Yours’. Vocalist Joe Newman’s lilting vocals pitch perfect, blending seamlessly with his bandmates uplifting sound.

Alt-J

Alt-J

 And then it was over.

Time to beat the crowds and return to the city. Back to life with the internet, mobile phone reception and fresh vegetables after a 3 day festival diet of fried food and cider. Thanks again Falls, as always you were an awesome way to usher in the new year.

Interview: James Hunt, RÜFÜS

2014 has been good to RÜFÜS.  They blew crowds away at this year's Falls and Big Day Out festivals, scored 3 songs in the Triple J 'Hottest 100' and just spent March and April touring the US (including SXSW) and Europe.

The indie trio returns to Australia this month for their biggest tour to date, set to be their last before they relocate to Berlin to start work on their follow-up record.  On the eve of the tour, Makers spent a casual afternoon in the company of drummer James Hunt.

Rufus perform at the Australian Independent Music Awards in 2013

Rufus perform at the Australian Independent Music Awards in 2013

Hey James, can I start off by asking you for a little bit of background on RÜFÜS. How did the three of you get together?

I went to school with our singer Tyrone. He was a few years above me but we played in a couple of musical groups together. His best friend’s older brother is Jon, the other member of our band. Jon’s brother Alex is the guy who does all of our film clips so that’s pretty cool. Tyrone and Jon started writing music together in 2010, they got me on board and things just progressed from there.

Things seem have taken off for the band really quickly.

I guess things started escalating after we released the first single [‘Take Me’] off our album [‘Atlas’ released in September 2013]. After the album came out there was a series of really cool milestones. It’s very inspiring to see just how many people the album has reached. One of the biggest moments for us was playing the Falls Festival tour over New Years. The show we played in Byron Bay particularly stands out for me. There was a mass of people gathered in the natural amphitheatre, singing along to our music. It was a mind-blowing moment and very humbling as well.

I saw you perform at the Falls Festival in Lorne and I remember thinking that you were the first band I’d seen to draw a massive crowd. There were people climbing the rigging outside of 'The Grand Theatre' tent trying to get inside.

That’s crazy! I was so nervous at that show. All I remember is seeing people climbing over each other, trying to get closer to the stage.  There was an amazing vibe in the tent that day, when the audience knows the words to your songs it feels pretty special.

Rufus fans at Falls Festival 

Rufus fans at Falls Festival 

Indie dance music is something that this country does extremely well, I’m sure you’d agree?

I definitely agree and a lot of the musicians that we idolise from the same genre are from Australia. We used to go out and see Cut Copy and the Presets. Australians just know how to nail it.

Do you think it’s because the music sounds like summer?

I think it’s just an inherent euphoria that we have. ‘Summery’ is probably a good word for it, the music we make just sounds like Australia.

How does it translate in the U.K and Europe?

We’ve only done a small run of shows over there but the response was awesome. Everyone who was coming along to the shows had a good time. We seem to be resonating on the same level as Disclosure, and we’ve been releasing different tracks with a deeper tone to echo that. As for the USA, there seems to be a big resurgence in electro so I’m curious to see how things play out over there.

Both Cut Copy and the Presets have had a lot of success in the US.

Hopefully things play out similarly for us. I don’t want to have any expectations.

You don’t want to jinx it?

Let’s just say that I’m excited to get over there, play some shows and get the album into America’s hands.

And I read that you’ll be heading to Berlin later on in the year to start recording the second album?

That’s right, we wanted to head somewhere overseas and set up our own little studio. When we were over in Europe at the end of last year we were in Berlin for about a week and fell in love with the place. Not just culturally but musically there’s a lot going on in terms of minimal electronica. It really connected with us and we’re excited to lock ourselves away over there.

Have you started writing yet or do you wait until you’re in the studio to do that?

We actually write on our laptops while we’re travelling and in transit, so we’ve all got little ideas but haven’t started writing officially. We’ll all bring our ideas together and see if we can marry our thoughts.

In terms of your live performance, you seem like quite low-key guys but will you be pulling any tricks out of the bag for the Australian shows?

We don’t really want to do gimmicky things; it’s more about creating a journey visually and musically. With the upcoming tour we’re working on the visual element and bringing lighting into the mix, really relishing the journey of the live set. The whole concept is that each song has its own world, taking that atmosphere and running with it.

That concept seems to translate with your film clips as well; they all seem to have a distinct “world”.

The visual element has always been a strong focus for us, and that comes from Katzki, the guy who does all of our clips. He really brings it visually. I guess it’s just a matter of taking that similar approach to the live show and hoping that it translates to the audience.

 Will he be involved in say, the set design or lighting?

Well we’re actually working with a company in Melbourne on the stage show but Katzki has been involved in the band from the beginning and I’m sure he’ll play some part in the upcoming tour. He’s the unofficial fourth member of Rufus. I don’t want to give away any secrets but let’s just say that the live shows will be very immersive.