Rüfüs Du Sol: How the Grammy-Winning Band Stays Healthy On the Road
Touring rock stars aren’t exactly known for clean living. The members of this band do ginger shots and ice baths.
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Envision a well-known band and the slosh-fest that typically ensues on tour. The traveling circus would include flowing booze, folding tables lined with greasy grub, and a revolving door of trippy characters getting lit backstage all night.
Well, that’s not how Rüfüs Du Sol rolls. Formed in Sydney in 2010 and composed of the singer-guitarist Tyrone Lindqvist, keyboardist Jon George, and drummer James Hunt, the alternative electronic music trio has a touring regimen that is about as disciplined and health-centric as it gets. It wasn’t always that way, but things changed three years ago.
Today the group is at a career peak. In 2021, Rüfüs du Sol’s latest album, Surrender, topped charts globally, and in 2022, its anthemic jam “Alive” took home the Grammy Award for best dance recording. As of late April, the guys have hit the road again, playing in Colombia and sites including Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico; then major festivals in Europe; and, starting August 1, seven stops in the United States at locations ranging from Boston to Charlotte, North Carolina.
The heart of the tour, the group’s curated festival Sundream Baja, scheduled to run May 4-7 and 11-14 outside San José del Cabo, Mexico, will bring artists like DJ Tennis, Carlita, WhoMadeWho, and Dixon for two weekends of jams and health-minded options like yoga, meditation, and breath work.
Rüfüs Du Sol has a vibe that can span two worlds. Its indie-electro beats with deep house undertones are a soundtrack for a head-bobbing, feel-good night at a dark club—but also, as I recently experienced during a multi-day trek in the Great Smoky Mountains, a cloudless hike in a pine-clad national park. The music is that adaptable and infectious.
In April just before the tour commenced, I sat down with the three band members, who Zoomed in from Austin, Texas, to talk travel and wellness, including their favorite spots, highlights from the road, and Frisbee golf.
Outside: You’ve been touring for more than a decade. How has your regimen evolved?
James: We’ve made some really good changes, just to make things more healthy, more sustainable, and we want to come out of a tour feeling fitter than when we go into it. It used to be the other way around. We’ve brought in a lot of structure, wellness practices, and breath work. We do ice baths when we can after each show, we take ginger shots before we go onstage, we’re working out, and we have a trainer touring with us. So we have a really good sense of routine built into touring now.
What sparked it?
Tyrone: We’d been touring pretty hard. We’ve been a band for 13 years now, and we made a bit of a switch three or four years ago. Things got busier the more successful we got. We had success in Australia, then the U.S. Things were getting more exciting and the tour schedule more intensive, and we were writing at the same time. The balance of health and wellness with working was definitely not where we wanted it to be.
COVID, in some ways, was kind of a big gift for our mindset. It forced us to stop touring and gave us the opportunity to reconnect. We were actually in Joshua Tree [in Southern California], starting the writing process for Surrender, and we got to process a bunch of stuff that we hadn’t really talked about. We were trying out different things like meditating, exercising as a unit, doing saunas and little cold plunges. And we were building a structured work environment, where we would work for eight hours instead of working till an idea was done. We shifted and gave ourselves a clock-in and clock-out. It brought up a lot of fear and anxiety, like, Are we going to be able to make music like before without working around the clock? But we’ve made it.
Surely there have been some crazy workouts and wellness experiences over the years. Do any stick out in your mind?
James: Well, we just did one about two hours ago here in Austin. Our trainer put us through a pretty brutal leg session. There’s a sense of camaraderie of getting through that intensity together. It breeds a good sort of bonding. You’re lifting each other up.
Jon: One of those memories for me was the last Sundream Baja festival. We weren’t staying in a fancy hotel, but on-site [the venue is between the beaches and desert], which was really cool, with all the energy going on. We had a trainer there again, and we were in the back of one of the villas and just all trained really hard together, sweating it out in such a beautiful setting.
How do you recover after a long tour?
James: There’s always an adjustment period after so much overstimulation. You’re going between different environments, traveling, playing shows with tens of thousands of people, and having a pretty strict exercise routine. That adjustment always takes a few days, but it definitely helps to do some of the same wellness activities that we do on the road. And I always find that doing cold therapy, like the ice plunge, is a really good way to regulate.
For this tour, is there a particular place you’re really looking forward to exploring?
Tyrone: I’m pretty excited to go to Monterrey, in Mexico. We’ve never been there, and my wife’s father’s family is from there.
Jon: Yeah, I’d say Monterrey and Guadalajara [also in Mexico] are up there, along with Medellín [Colombia].
Let’s touch on tours past. What is your favorite place to play and why?
Tyrone: Recently, we went home to Australia and played a bunch of shows. I definitely have a newfound respect and appreciation for Australian crowds and being in Australia, especially having lived over in the U.S. for many years [with a home base in L.A.]. I missed the food for sure. Red Rocks [amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado] is up there. We’ve played there a lot and it has so much history. It’s just so stunning.
Jon: Red Rocks is an amazing experience from the stage. You’re looking up at the crowd rather than down, and they seem so close. It has a very special energy.
Is there a particular activity you’ve really enjoyed while on the road?
James: In 2016, just after we put Bloom out, we had tour dates through the summer, and we discovered Frisbee golf—this game we’d never heard of. We’d be playing [where we had] shows in places like Michigan and Colorado in the beautiful summer weather. We became obsessed—it is a pretty sick way to see different parts of the country.
Any specific place in the U.S. you enjoy?
Jon: Austin is pretty great. It was one of the first places we played in the U.S. Every time we come here, everyone is so nice. We’ve spent some time rehearsing here at the start of a tour, did South by Southwest, and spent about a week. Everything is just so fresh here.
James: During the pandemic, me and Jon and a bunch of our friends went to Big Sky Country—Montana—because we couldn’t go back to Australia. We had a sort of Friends’ Christmas, and that was sick. The mountain ranges in the U.S. are just unparalleled.
Looking ahead, what is it you want out of a travel experience?
Tyrone: I’m really looking for family-experience travel. I’ve really gotten the experience of seeing new places, having new memories, and eating new cuisines with the guys, and I’ve cherished that. I’m looking forward to a version of that with my wife and son in the future, too.
James: I definitely love meeting people in different parts of the world, connecting with people who live there or someone who’s been there for a little while, the people who know the places to eat and the local hole-in-the-wall spots.
Jon: We’ve developed a lot of friends all over the world while touring, so it’s really cool to be able to have that inside knowledge and a more local experience in different places. But I also love that there is still so much more to see.
Jesse Scott resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and covers the intersection of travel, food, and music. He’s interviewed Metallica, The Killers, and Steve Aoki, and written about outdoor adventures ranging from hiking in the Grand Canyon to exploring coffee farms in Colombia.