Siphoning the spirits of rock, funk, R&B, jazz, and pop through a kaleidoscope of unpredictable and virtuosic improvisation, Boston-based seven-piece Ripe have won over legions of fans the old-fashioned way—by compelling crowds night after night to get up on their feet, dance, and bask in the inimitable and indefinable chemistry that has separated and singled out Ripe since day one.
Ripe consists of seven musical soulmates —Robbie Wulfsohn [vocals], Tory Geismar [guitar], Jon Becker [guitar], Sampson Hellerman [drums], Josh Shpak [trumpet], Calvin Barthel [trombone], and Nadav Shapira [bass]—who all met at Berklee College of Music in 2011.
“What we make is music you can dance to,” affirms Robbie. “We’re drawn to the peak of a song—the emotional catharsis when everything comes out. It’s all about reaching that moment. The revelation comes back to us when bodies shake with joy.”
“Every time we play, something unique happens,” adds Jon. “You’ll never see the same show twice. We want to bring that unexpected element into the pop sphere.”
Ripe brings the swagger of funk filtered through a rock anthem, a musical journey that somehow gets as stuck in your head as your favorite pop banger.
“We’re gap bridgers,” adds Tory. “If you’ve never heard us, I like to describe our music as, ‘If Maroon 5 and Earth, Wind, & Fire had a baby.’”
Since their time at Berklee, the band has won crowds over night after night, steadily releasing new music for their new converts in each city to discover after the band has left for the next town. The result is more than 40 million streams across all platforms with seven million listeners, and earned them slots last year at Bonnaroo and Firefly festivals.
“The community is so important,” says Robbie. “We’ve got amazing fans who really show up for us. We want to integrate the camaraderie into everything we do. Now, the goal is to communicate our vision to a much wider demographic.”
On “Little Less Polite,” the group’s upcoming EP, they collaborated with producer Paul Butler (St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Caroline Rose, Michael Kiwanuka). The result is an upbeat, groove-filled four songs that will leave you dancing and wanting more.
Ripe gives the same weight to happiness as is often given to sadness. Their music signifies more than just a distraction from your troubles for a few hours – it’s an experience of connection and acceptance; a warm welcome into their world. It’s an extension of the bond between these seven.
“If you’ve never seen us, I want you to feel like you’ve stumbled on a real family upon introduction and get excited and curious about how to get deeper into this world,” Robbie leaves off. “It’s been about building this thing since day one. I hope you leave exhausted from dancing and feel excited to be a part of something. If you feel that way after seeing us, we’ve done our jobs.”