There is a certain amount of joviality embedded in Ripe’s suddenly trademark funk-pop sound. Ultimately, it is the result of seven musicians coming together to masterfully craft art that is meaningful to them. Even though collaboration can often translate to leaving a plethora of ideas on the cutting room floor, lead singer Robbie Wulfsohn reveals that satisfying each member’s creative impulses isn’t as agonizing as it seems.
“The short answer to the question of how we work together is with great difficulty and a lot of care,” Wulfsohn tells Vanyaland, in advance of Ripe’s Friday night show at the Paradise Rock Club. “I mean, it is a seven person songwriting process and if you ask each member about it you’re going to get seven different answers. We all have our individual backgrounds, but our goal is to make music where [the listener] feels understood.”
The excitement in Wulfsohn’s voice is palpable as he prepares to turn his contagious fervor into actual words. “It’s like the ‘oh shit’ moment at a hip-hop show where the beat drops and everyone starts jumping up and down or when you see a jam band and the lights are crazy and you start hugging strangers. We strive for that level of connectivity. Recording can be a lot and the day after we usually take it easy, sip some tea, and reflect on what just happened. I still hold everyone in Ripe incredibly close to my heart. In the studio, we’re in the headspace that if we do it right — it’s forever.”
Besides striving for irrefutable immortality, the Boston natives also display an insatiable appetite to properly represent the city they call home. Ripe have also acclimated to the growing pains inherent with being a relatively young band.
“We had a rough first two years, but we made it through a few hurdles,” Wulfsohn explains. “By the three- to four-year range, it was clear that we were in it for the long haul. Boston has always been very transient; bands come for college, get the degree then go to New York but still say they are a Boston band. But the music and the people who make it — they have to be real in order to hold that title. One day, we will earn that.”
Wulfsohn’s powerhouse vocals have made Ripe’s first two EPs, 2013’s Produce The Juice and last summer’s Hey Hello, both wildly eclectic yet sonically irresistible. His range is adventurous and adapts almost seamlessly to the band’s assorted array of sounds. When prompted to discuss any pressure he feels as Ripe’s frontman, Wulfsohn remains apprehensive to place the weight of this endeavor squarely on his shoulders. “When you have seven people working together, it’s not clearly defined as pressure and that everything is resting on me. I look at it like they’re my best friends and I just want them to do awesome.”
Last year, Ripe headlined First Night Boston with an exhilarating performance on the rooftop of Fairmont Copley Plaza that left Wulfsohn certain of his future. “When I walked off that stage, I thought to myself holy shit — we get to do this until someone tells us to stop. And I’ve never felt more alive.”
RIPE + LAWRENCE + WELSHLY ARMS :: Friday, December 9 at the Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston, MA :: 7 p.m., 18-plus, $15 :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page :: Featured Ripe photo by Leonardo Mascaro