Water & Bodies
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Water & Bodies

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Classic Rock




"City Guide to Portland with Water & Bodies"

’ll start off by saying that Portland is a magical city. At times I can’t stand how pretentious and obscure people think they are here, but it gives bands like us a chance to really stand out and do something completely different than the “shoegaze folky” takeover that’s currently happening here.

One thing all Portland folks share in common is our love for “damn tasty” craft beer! During our city guide we’ll chaperon you though the gauntlet of breweries that have put Portland on the map as one of the nation’s leading beer-making Meccas. Now we’re not talking about your grandpa’s Budweiser here, we’re talking about flavors and styles of beer most of you never thought existed.

Our first stop is Deschutes Brewery located in the Pearl District’s brewery blocks. The brewery blocks are also home to Rouge Brewery and Bridgeport Brewery. Not only is Deschutes one of the leading craft breweries in the nation, it’s also where 50% of Water & Bodies work when not on tour. We gotta pay the rent somehow and why not at Deschutes…free beer? Yes please. Deschutes most notable award-winning beers are the Mirror Pond Pale Ale and the Black Butte Porter. Both tasty in there own right, but when sitting at the bar ask head brew master Ryan what secrets he’s got up his sleeve. You’ll be amazed with some of the stuff he’s coming up with.

Next we’ll wonder up to the NW 23rd st neighborhood. This “hood” is mostly known for it’s over-priced boutiques and “snobby” attitudes, but is home to one of the five Lompoc Breweries in Portland. You are going to want to order a C-Note IPA when you step foot in. It’s a very hoppy beer with darker malt character. It strikes a punch with 100 IBU’s (International Bitterness Unit) and almost 7% ABV. A few of these suckers and you’re feeling a perfect buzz.

For our final destination we’ll head across the Willamette River to the SE part of town. Located on SE Powell blvd Hop Works Urban Brewery is Portland’s first Organic and Eco friendly brewery. For all you old school Blazer fans they have a beer called the Terry Porter. It’s a smooth malty, chocolaty, caramel blast of deliciousness that will make think you’re shooting 3 pointers in the 1992 championship game against Michael Jordan!
If you enjoy beer as much as we do I recommend making a trip to Portland and getting your lips wet with some brilliant craft beers. Hit us up when you are here. We are always down to share a pint and some good ghost stories. - Indie Rock Reviews

"Water & Bodies to take over the radio waves."

Water and Bodies have always come off as slight outsiders in this indie rock-centric town of ours. The local act has perfected the rarest of Portland musical qualities: a glossy, hook-heavy rock sound that could hijack the FM airwaves if only given a fair chance. The quartet isn't afraid to bare it all—quite literally, as they appear nude (worry not, their bits and pieces are tastefully covered) on the cover of their debut LP, Light Year—and frontman Christopher Ruff is a heart-on-his-sleeve songwriter unafraid to gush his way though a song (most notably the album's finest track, "Parallels"). The Kickstarter-funded Light Year builds nicely upon their two previous EPs, and if alt-rock radio wises up, it's going to be difficult to keep an ambitious band like this down for long. EZRA ACE CARAEFF - The Portland Mercury

"Water & Bodies delivers on the promise of its deep Portland roots."

In 2008, Kaddisfly was within sneezing distance of the majors. It was a Portland band that never saw much of Portland, and with good reason: The prog-metal quintet had spent a decade touring and maneuvering itself to the cusp of stardom.

There were side stages at the Warped Tour, albums released with an increasingly reputable set of indie labels, and sniffing around by major labels that might not guarantee Big Things, but at least put them in the realm of possibility.

It was, needless to say, a disappointment when the band combusted on the edge of its crowning success. A set of demo tracks were received with less than the expected fanfare and the resulting absence of a label caused bassist Kile Brewer to leave.

But for the remaining quartet, the question of whether or not to pack it all in was never much of a question at all.

“It’s a family,” says drummer Beau Kuther. “We never really thought about whether or not to start another group after Kaddisfly—it just sort of was.”

For Beau and his brother Kelsey, the band literally was family. When the pair joined up with Kaddisfly vocalist Chris Ruff and guitarist Aaron Tollefson, founding Water & Bodies was simply a matter of habit for musicians who’d spent the previous eight years collaborating both in the studio and on extensive tours.

“It all goes back to time spent together,” says Kuther. “We’re all so comfortable now with each other, we can say, ‘Hey, try something different’ without stepping on each other’s toes.”

That “something different” has been a resettling of talent within an already well-developed group. Water & Bodies takes Kaddisfly’s wild prog-rock and sharpens it to a point. The new group amends Kaddisfly’s guitar acrobatics with the hook-centric excitement of the Smashing Pumpkins. The music is still too aggressive to be called “pop,” but Water & Bodies’ self-titled premier EP is a collaboration that finds balance in playing to its strengths: “Free World” and “Celebration” showcase Ruff’s howled emoting comfortably flotation atop guitar lines bubbling with lascivious reverb. Water & Bodies obsessively layers its compositions with synthesizers, buttressing the songs with strong hooks.

“With this band we’re really taking it slow, and we’re trying to focus on writing music,” says Kuther. “We’re focusing on creating a really strong local following…and local friendships with all the musicians and people out here. There are just so many great people in this scene, and first and foremost that’s what we want to do—be involved as much as we can.”

This week marks the release of the second half of a two-EP set the quartet has dubbed the Rain City Sessions, a prescient title given the circumstances. Rather than shooting for the stratosphere of rock ’n’ roll fame, the group has decided to explore its own backyard. Judging from early mixes of the new material—a studio-sharpened extension of the first EP—these guys didn’t lose any talent or energy in the transformation from Kaddisfly to Water & Bodies. - Willamette Week

"Water & Bodies Review on Absolutepunk.net"

Water & Bodies is the best EP I've heard in a long, long time. Portland's Water & Bodies (ex-Kaddisfly) shower downpour after downpour of energy, talent and all around potential-pregnant indie rock on this debut package, and I'm just left nodding along like a slave. I can't recall any mini-album in recent memory that has the same drive and prowess this one spews, and neither do I care at this point. This band has bought my attention, and it won't be selling it for some time.

A brief Google search will return several reviews that have a beef with the EP, but they all seem to go with subtle and picky points of attack. Sure, there is a modicum segment where the songwriting is messy. Sure, what Water & Bodies is writing is not breaking the levees of the genre. But what about everything else? The music really speaks for itself, but for the sake of the curious, I'll spell its defense out.

The vocals are what really pushes this band over the top. There are still plenty of Kaddisfly-type bands that think they can grab a fair share of the industry pie with sub-par vocals. Water & Bodies absolutely destroys their relevance, instead flaunting the highly trained warbling of Christopher Ruff. They cascade everywhere from jazzy heights to straightforward and charismatic singing, and I can think of few (actually, none at the moment) vocalists who can rival them in the indie scene.

The songwriting is consistent and beautiful the entire album. Every song brings a juicy punch that skyrockets the playback value, and the band manages to cover more than just the typical indie territory. There are electronics, there is a blues-y overtone; there's even a pep-talk anthem: "Just like the others that have come along before us / We'll try to carry on a legacy of hope and love / And in the face of adversity we are strong enough / We've got each other isn't that enough / This is the reason that we celebrate." How's that for a positive middle-finger to the haters?

I mean really, stop listening to whatever Kaddisfly-aspiring sob story you thought was the next best thing and give Water & Bodies a chance. I really don't see anything short of being blown away an option (at least as long as you're a fan of this type of stuff), considering they are "ex-Kaddisfly." But in the end, that really has nothing to do with the quality of their music. Sit down, pop in Water & Bodies, and tell it "Fill me in on everything," just like the last line of "Written And Read" says. You won't be disappointed. - Absolute Punk dot net

"Water & Bodies Interview on Frequency"

In today’s GO! Magazine, I had enough room to tell you about Portland’s Water & Bodies, a new band from four of the five fellows who brought you the longtime prog-punk band Kaddisfly. Two of those fellows — Beau and Kelsey Kuther — grew up in Bend. (Aaron Tollefson and Chris Ruff round out the lineup.)

Water & Bodies is playing Saturday night at PoetHouse Art to benefit local humanitarian organization Rise Up International. Also on the bill are the Empty Space Orchestra and We Are Brontosaurus (sorry about spelling your name wrong in print, guys). That’s a mighty fine lineup of quality rock bands. You should go see this show.

Still unsure? Download a song from Water & Bodies’ brand new EP and take it for a spin:

Download Water & Bodies, “Free World”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough room in GO! to do as much on this band as I would’ve liked. Maybe next time. But here in limitless blog-land, space is no issue. And Beau Kuther was nice enough to do an e-mail interview in which he fills us in about the band and its origins, motivations and goals. I’ve edited it for spelling and punctuation and posted the full interview after the jump.

Frequency: What happened to Kaddisfly?

Beau Kuther: Our bass player and good friend Kile Brewer decided to leave the band last July. He wanted to pursue other avenues of life with his wife in Denver. Not really a shock to us because it’s not like we were making tons of money or had any big plans at the time. After 8 years I think the wear and tear of being in a touring band just got to him and he didn’t want to live that lifestyle anymore, which is totally understandable.

We spent the next 5 months trying to figure out what to do next ’cause we all very much wanted to continue making music. Do we get another bass player? Stay as a four-piece? We had a major label interested in us enough to pay for us to record some demos. So we did that as a four-piece. Nothing from that panned out. It just didn’t feel right anymore playing as Kaddisfly. We wanted a fresh start with a new outlook on music. The best thing for us to do was put Kaddisfly to rest and be excited about life and a new musical outlet.

F: Were you all bummed about the end of that band, or did it seem like a relief, a blessing in disguise, something that needed to happen? In other words, was it time to move on from Kaddisfly?

BK: Of course we were a bit bummed. We’ve been eating, breathing, and sleeping Kaddisfly for the last 8 years, but as we have found out many times along our journey, something great always comes from a bad situation. If your intentions are pure, good will always come your way. It was time to move on. Ya know, it was time to see what else was out there and we couldn’t be more excited.

F: How did Water & Bodies come about?

BK: When the four of us started writing music together 6 months ago it was amazing. Kelsey picked up the bass and started incorporating some synths and drum machines into the mix. Aaron was writing simple yet melodic guitar riffs. Chris was singing melodies that bands in the ’80s would die to write and bringing the piano into almost all the songs. The music was just flowing out of us. It was different than anything we had ever done. The approach to writing was so pure. The music was so groovy and fresh. We had a hard time coming up with a name, but one day Aaron and his brother Cory were driving to Eugene and came up with the name Water & Bodies. He called me and asked me what I thought. We all just looked at each other and said yes! That’s it! This is Water & Bodies.

F: What’s the difference? Are there different motivations? Different goals? Different philosophies? Different ways of doing things?

BK: The main difference is the music I guess. How we go about writing songs now versus how we have in the past. The writing process is more open now. We’ve written songs based off bass licks or drum rhythms. Chris is taking on a more storyteller approach to writing lyrics. He is trying to get his message told in a more upfront fashion instead of always having the meaning of a song be so ambiguous in the lyrics. There has even been some switch up of instruments where Aaron will jump on bass and we have two drum kits going. Just doing whatever we can to make a song reach its full potential. We just want to write good honest songs that people can enjoy on any level.

F: I saw this on the band’s blog: “Ryan sent over more mixes to listen to and I am blown away at what we have accomplished. Recording live just sounds so much better. It’s so raw and real sounding. It captures the moment and the feeling of this music like nothing else. It’s what we have always wanted to do, but in the past have always had outside voices telling us other wise.” Can you elaborate a bit on that? Who was telling you to do otherwise? And how is Water & Bodies more what you always wanted to do than any other project was?

BK: I guess you could say the outside voices were one part our own and one part people working behind the scenes with us. By the end of Kaddisfly I feel like we were trying too hard to write a “song the industry would like.” I don’t know, we were all just in a weird place. Not having Kile with us and not really knowing the future of the band had us all overthinking everything. We were kind of lost in why we play music in the first place.

Once we made the choice to start over with a new outlook and mindset it just felt right. A cleaning of the mind I guess you could say. We weren’t thinking about any of the BS. We were just enjoying playing music together and having fun like when we jammed for the first time years ago. When it comes down to it we are just four friends trying to do something pure, fun, and honest for anyone who wants to listen and enjoy.

F: Besides its music, Kaddisfly was known for being a bit quirky – the long song titles, the interesting artwork on the CDs, the big concepts behind the albums (like the seasons/geography motif on “Set Sail The Prairie”). Is that something you want to continue with Water & Bodies? Or do you plan to strip much of that stuff away to put more focus on the music?

BK: We just want to write good timeless songs. We want to follow in the footsteps of great bands that we have always looked up to like Tears for Fears, TOTO, Smashing Pumpkins, and Steely Dan whose music will live on forever. We strive to write undeniably good music on any level.

F: What’s on the horizon for W&B? Obviously the EP just came out and a physical release is due soon. Are you working toward an album?

BK: Yeah the EP just came out which was goal number one for us. We are very happy with the music, but even more excited about the music we are writing right now. My friend Josh Northcut, who plays drums for Prize Country, was at one of the first Water & Bodies shows. After the show he came up to me and said, “Wow, if this is the music you guys are writing now I can’t wait to hear what you will be writing a year from now!”

That’s always stuck with me ’cause I hold his opinion very high and I’m excited about the future. We are all working real jobs for the time being and enjoying life in Portland. We have been playing locally a lot and the reaction has been amazing! People are coming out and having a blast at the shows. It’s always a big party! We are going to do some short tours this summer. Heading down to California in July for a string of dates. We are going to try and release a vinyl/CD package for the EP in July as well. Just taking things as they come, ya know. We have a ton of new material so I bet we will start doing some pre-production for a full-length soon.

F: Finally, Bend is always a homecoming for you and Kelsey. What do you most look forward to when you play in Bend? Anything you want to say to the hometown fans?

BK: I look forward to the familiar faces and places. Even though every time I’m back in Bend there is some new development that wasn’t there a few months prior. Bend is a wonderful town, I guess you could say city now! I feel very fortunate that I grew up with such amazing surroundings. After being around the country many times there really is no better place! Oh and Super Burrito. Shout out to Mark Nason, Jake Price, and the rest of the Bend crew for always making our time spent in town a party! Love all you guys!
- Frequency Online Magazine


The Rain City Sessions Part 1 EP - Released May 2009
The Rain City Sessions Part 2 EP - Released Jan 2010

Light Year (Debut LP) - Released Feb 2011

The single "Moments in a Life" has been played on 101.9 KINK and 94.7 KNRQ in Portland, OR. The song was also a featured download on the Local Spotlight on the 101.9 KINK fm website.



In a world of bad trends and over-produced albums, Water & Bodies aim to create honest, positive, well-crafted music. Possessing an eclectic indie-rock vibe that mixes the smooth sounds of the late 70’s, hits from the 80's, and an alternative vibe of the 90's these Portland, OR natives are no strangers to the music world. Christopher James Ruff (Vocals, Keys), Aaron Tollefson (Guitar, Vocals), Kile Brewer (bass), and Beau Kuther (Drums) have played together for nearly a decade in other projects—both signed and unsigned – and have experienced all angles of the industry. With a new direction and agenda in mind, the group set out to record songs they could truly call unique.

After releasing two solid EPs that garnered them local notoriety and praise, Water & Bodies took to the road for a three-week West Coast tour in July of 2010. Upon returning home, they wasted no time in letting their creativity flow, and wrote a full album’s worth of songs in less than two months. The resulting tracks were recorded with producer Rian Lewis (Crosstide) at Interlace Audio and his home studio in Portland, Oregon. Completely funded via a Kickstarter campaign, the band raised enough money from their rapidly-growing fan base to record and self-release their new record independently, without the assistance of a label.

Interlacing the passion and raw hooks of 90’s alternative rock with their already-streamlined sound, Water & Bodies’ new album Light Year will undoubtedly scream to those who want to hear something real. Music lovers from all walks of life will be able to take something positive from this fresh collection of heart-felt, energetic songs. Possessing a keen sense of melody and showcasing strong songwriting skills, Water & Bodies’ latest proves they have what it takes to achieve large-scale success