For the music lovers in Charleston, SC, there is a special night happening this Saturday (the 29th) in Mount Pleasant. Moon Taxi, who has rocked the big stages at Bonnaroo and Lock’n Festival this summer, are playing the very intimate and outdoor, Charleston Harbor Resort for an incredibly reasonable $25. On top of that that, Moon Taxi hand picked, Ripe, a 7-piece funk band from Boston, to open for them the first few nights of their tour.
For those not familiar with Ripe, this is a band that looks you in the eye when they’re firing through their guitar and horn blasting jams. Trying not to dance during a Ripe should would equate to trying not to drink beer at Oktoberfest. I encourage you to check out what their concerts are about in the Instagram video at the end of this post. What I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to the Moon Taxi show…don’t stay at your house or bar for “one last beer”…you need to see and hear up close the party Ripe brings to their live shows.
I caught up with lead singer, Robbie Wulfsohn, to talk about their latest album, Joy in the Wild Unknown, how they got synced up with Moon Taxi, and the progress on their next studio album.
When we last talked, Ripe was on their first official headlining tour promoting “Joy in the Wild Unknown,” released this past April. Looking back on that coast to coast U.S. tour, what is your take on it reflecting back?
Robbie: “It was out of this world. I am very excited about the record we put out in April. It was the first time we had really traveled extensively without being anchored to somebody who had already been through the region and developing their own fans. Some markets we had played them multiple times before and we were confident in what we had done up to that point. Seeing how many of these people had connected with Ripe enough to spend their time and money on a Ripe show. The response was absolutely nothing short of incredibly excited. It was tops.”
How did you fare with the crowds on the West coast being from Boston and doing so many east coast tours over the years?
Robbie: “In more cities than we could imagine our expectations were blown out of the water. On our west coast run, we had sold out shows in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. It was crazy. So, to show up to a place and already have people where you exist excited about the music and dialed in to what it means to be at a Ripe show, it was just out of control. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t really believe it. I’m very excited about it.”
I see now you’re touring in support of some fantastic bands such as Moon Taxi currently…and in the future doing some shows with Twiddle and Magic Giant. What can you tell us about expectations for the upcoming run of shows?
Robbie: “The goal is to grow in the cities we don’t have as much familiarity with. Build a deep understanding of what it means to be a Ripe fan and to get the word out of what it means to connect with us. We’re really respective of Moon Taxi’s music and their sound and their writing. We think what they’re doing as a band on the national and international scene is really exciting. It’s fun to see people making music cross over so seamlessly to commercials and a major label signing. It’s exciting to watch bands do that in 2018. We also know their fan base is young and excited by new music. Being paired with a band like Moon Taxi is a success in itself because it means people think we’d be a good fit on that scale.”
Well, having seen you both I totally agree. Your show energy is next level. How did your band get to be paired up with them?
Robbie: “So, we played a show with them December 30th last year in Atlanta. They did a two-night run at the Tabernacle for New Years. We were the direct support for one of those nights. It was right off the bat a very pleasant connection. Everyone had a great time in every moment with our interaction with Moon Taxi, so we left on a high on what it was like to play with those guys. And we got an offer for these [upcoming] dates and we jumped at the chance.”
I really enjoy your song, Downward, off the new album and the lyrics. I know lyrics and songs can be subjective…but taking a guess…are you still in that relationship?
Robbie: “So, I’m going to be a little coy and give you half the answer. So, with writing, I like to deliberately obscure whether or not there is one or multiple events being put in the same thing. I never want our music to be the airing of dirty laundry, but the only thing I know how to write about is the lives and people around me. That song in particular is not about a single relationship that happened to me, but I don’t want to give the game away entirely because all of these stories are not entirely mine to tell.”
Yea, I mean the song could be about drugs, a relationship, anything. I love how it ends “And I don’t mind the fall”…totally reminds me of bad relationships I’ve been in.
Robbie: “Nobody notices that. And that’s exactly right to me. Specifically, the way the political climate is right now, I like ending things and making songs that apply as much to individual facets of your life as they do to the obvious stuff those songs are about, so the fact you noticed that is exciting.”
Being on the road for six months I’m sure you have some new songs in the works. What can you tell me about that?
Robbie: “I’m really excited about them. We’re still working on the set list but there’s a chance you might hear some of them. We’re keeping them under wraps. We’re writing more tunes than we’ve ever had going into sessions writing an album. We already have twenty tunes written and we’re not at the point yet where we’re thinking about going to the studio in the near future. We’re hoping to be picking from thirty or forty tunes…to record twenty-five…to decide on twelve. We’re very much enamored with the idea of having “what do we want to say on this record?” and having all these songs to pick from versus “we got these ten songs lets stretch them out to a record.”
As a fan, I would love to see your band and all the horns out there for one of Moon Taxi’s Rage Against the Machine covers.
Robbie: (Laughing) “Yea, that hasn’t been discussed but crazier things have happened. We definitely have a habit of some member of Ripe eventually ending up on stage with the bands we open with because we’re really bright eyed and bushy tailed. We’ll see what happens. I love and respect what Moon Taxi does, so if they want any of us on stage, I will be super cheer leading for that.”
Sep 27 – Sprint Pavilion, Charlottesville, VA, NC
Sep 28 – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, Wilmington, NC
Sep 29 – Charleston Harbor Resort + Marina, Charleston, SC
Sep 30 – Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC
Full tour list: http://www.ripetheband.com/tour/
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