Anyone hip to the groove is sure to love the band Ripe, as the Boston-based group continues to pick up new fans with amazing opportunities. 2016 has been a banner year for the band, as they’ve gotten to perform at festivals like High Sierra and Summer Camp, and even went on the road as support for G. Love & Special Sauce earlier this year. With a showcase set coming up at Brooklyn Comes Alive (more info here), we caught up with the band’s dynamic frontman Robbie Wulfsohn to learn all about the Ripe adventure.
The band got their beginnings at the Berklee College of Music, when they met within just a few weeks of starting at school. “Within two weeks of getting to school, we were making music together at parties,” says Wulfsohn. “Two weeks after that, we realized we wanted to do this as a band, and then it snowballed from there.” It’s been five years since those early days, and the snowball only grows larger.
Ripe settled in quickly as a seven-piece ensemble, backed by a diverse array of musical influences and styles. Part jam band, part funk, part jazz and part soul, the band draws from everywhere to give fans a high-energy performance from start to finish. “I want to appeal to Phish fans, and to D’Angelo fans,” says Robbie. When asked about the band’s genre, however, it’s all “dance music” at the end of the day.
For a great taste of the band’s music, we turn to their recent session on the Audiotree Live video series. Audiotree is a artist-centric music company, with a popular live video series that pairs talented musicians with top-notch production. “They made it sound amazing, look amazing. They made us feel so comfortable. It’s wonderful to come into contact with people who care about the way that we do.” You can see the band’s awesome session, streaming in full via the playlist below.
There’s an undeniable charisma that comes across in the band’s music, led by the dynamic presence of Robbie himself. Though the lead singer is a talented guitarist, he decided early on to let friends Tory Geismar and Jon Becker take the guitar duties for their shows. He talks enthusiastically about connecting with the audiences, to play off of them with total freedom on the stage.
One particular frontman highlight for Robbie came months after the band’s tour with G. Love, during a subsequent performance at the House of Blues in Boston months later. “He challenged me to a freestyle battle, completely out of the blue. I rap battled G Love on stage for the first time! My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my body, but I think I was able to hold my own.”
It’s moments like those that keeps Ripe moving in the right direction, as they got to experience a whole new world performing at big festivals this summer.
“Most of the band grew up going to festivals as spectators, so to be able to contribute to that from the artist spot is truly something I’ve been waiting to do for as long as I can remember. Especially at High Sierra where everyone’s at equal playing field, you could go to the area back stage if you want a Coconut Water and there’s Thievery Corporation hanging out. The Turkuaz guys caught your set and are happy to see you and want to talk to you. Guys that I have been listening to, as long as, if not longer than we’ve been a band. We’re finally able to give back to people that like that kind of sound with the thing that we do, and it means so much to me.”
We’re honored to have this emerging talent join a roster of artists like Joe Russo, Oteil Burbridge, Jason Hann, Aron Magner, John Medeski, Marc Brownstein and more at the second annual Brooklyn Comes Alive. On October 22nd, 50+ artists will be descending upon Brooklyn for unique performances, spread across three venues. Says Robbie, “Looking at the list of musicians, I’m freaking the fuck out. It looks unbelievable. The more I find out about it, the more I enjoy it.”
The future is looking bright for Ripe, as they continue to work on new music for their first full-length album. The band has two EPs previously released, both of which can be found on Spotify. So don’t miss Ripe when they come to town! We’ll be boogie-ing right there with ya.
For more on Ripe, be sure to visit their official website.