Rufus Coates & Jess Smith have just released their portentious new single and video Cut Us All Open. Any number of analogies spring to mind, nevertheless here we have laid them bare and sharpened the scalpel, it’s up to them to do the cutting:
indieberlin: How did you get together as a band?
Rufus: Jess and myself have been together as a couple for 15 years so we knew each other very well before we started to play music together about 6 years ago. I have played a little guitar since I was a teenager but never anything serious and I never sang or wrote songs. Jess had also never sang before we started playing together. Once we realised that we were quite good at it we set our mind to pursuing it and haven’t looked back since
indieberlin: How does the songwriting process work for you / in your band?
Rufus: Songwriting is something that I really enjoy and something I do a lot of, my favourite way to spend time is to sit in my kitchen play guitar and write songs most of which will never be heard by anyone other than my tolerant neighbours. Once I have the general idea of the song down and think that it is something worth working further on I will play it for Jess, who will then give me some pointers and add her own unmistakable melody lines which can often bring the song in a new direction.
I get a lot of inspiration from the weather and being Irish I think this is why our sound is quite dark
indieberlin: If you had to describe your music to a deaf person, what would you say?
Rufus: I would say that we try to make people feel our music from within, we create an atmosphere that invites people in to our world but it is up to them how they perceive it.
indieberlin: If your music was a movie, which genre would it be in?
indieberlin: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Rufus: I get inspiration from pretty ordinary everyday things, I like to watch people and imagine what is going on in their lives. I also get a lot of inspiration from the weather and being Irish I think this is why our sound is quite dark.
indieberlin: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?
Rufus: We meet a lot of other musicians on tour so we tend to check out their music while we have time in the car.
indieberlin: What was the last concert you went to?
Rufus: We just spent some time in Ireland and we went to see a band from Galway called My Fellow Sponges.
indieberlin: What was the nicest compliment you once got?
Rufus: We have had people cry at our shows and although this doesn’t appeal to everyone we take it as a huge compliment that we can affect people so strongly with our music.
indieberlin: How do you feel about covering a song?
Rufus: I personally don’t like to do it but I have no problem with people who do there have been some amazing cover versions ‘Nothing Compares’ Prince/Sinead O’Connor springs to mind.
indieberlin: Do you prefer to play big festivals / stages or smaller club gigs?
Rufus: I prefer smaller more intimate shows where you can really feel the people’s attention. I find at festivals/outdoor shows it can be harder to capture people’s full attention as the sound escapes rather than being trapped in a room.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.