Filled with emotion and adventure, Eric Ripper rides the wave of new possibilities.
The Ferndale, Michigan acoustic pop-rock singer-songwriter boldly journeys through the peaks and valleys of growth, love and aspiration on his latest revelatory album, Wavelength.
“I traveled out to Utah to start this project, worked on it while I was out there and continued it after coming back. I’ve seen many beautiful things and spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts,” Ripper said.
“Those thoughts come together when you finally sit down with a guitar in hand. I’ve learned that I need time to write and need to explore myself if I am to continue writing and producing music.”
With self-discovery top of mind, Ripper soars alongside Wavelength’s exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes. The album’s nine contemplative tracks instantly invite listeners to accompany Ripper on his introspective, cathartic odyssey.
“Traveling is a big part of my inspiration as well as having good and bad life experiences. All elements toward this album have been therapeutic: writing, producing, recording and releasing – all of it,” he said.
“I feel as if I’m sharing a big side of me with others on this release, and I just hope people can hear the work and dedication put into it. Everyone is growing as a person … they all have their own direction. I’m riding this wavelength, and I hope others can hear their purpose and find themselves.”
Home and Away
Ripper’s emotive Wavelength journey rises with the devoted, domestic anthem, “Home,” as swirling acoustic guitar, cosmic electric guitar, breezy bass, romantic synth, warm drums and soft cymbals provide a lasting embrace.
He sings, “Can you hear me/Whisper in your ear/Can you feel it/A place that’s near.”
“I originally wrote this song for my girlfriend while I was out in Utah. I wanted to give her a comforting feeling and something she could listen to at night while I wasn’t there,” said Ripper, who previously resided in Northville.
“I’ve moved in with her now, so we have a ‘home,’ but to me, home doesn’t always mean a place – it can be a person. I think it’s a very relaxing, comforting song that you can listen to with your partner and feel at ease.”
Ripper sends additional love from afar on “Atmosphere,” a tender ballad that transcends space and time. Ripples of aerial synth, floaty acoustic guitar, majestic electric guitar, earnest bass and meditative drums momentarily unite long-distance lovers.
He sings, “We watch the sunrise/It’s such a beautiful sky/No matter how hard you try/You can’t hide the love in your eyes.”
“This is the other song I wrote for my girlfriend. I wrote this back in February as a Valentine’s Day gift. I just wanted to write something special for her and for her to feel loved,” Ripper said.
“You could say it’s a very vulnerable song, but I wanted to express my feelings. I know others have felt the same way toward someone in their life. Another part of me is hoping it will become a couple’s favorite song for each other, too.”
“Atmosphere” also features hypnotic harmonies from Michigan vocalist Sophia Carmen, whom Ripper met five years ago while filming another couple’s wedding.
“She’s shown an interest in my music and my style, and I thought she’d make a nice addition to the love song I’d already written. For a while, the track didn’t have her,” he said.
“Brandon (McLeod) and I created those moments back and forth in the chorus, but I still felt like something was missing. Adding Sophia’s voice gives more uniqueness to the track and album as it’s my first feature in any of my music.”
Outside of love and relationships, Ripper searches for a new inner purpose on the determined title track. A mounting force of hopeful acoustic guitar, fearless electric guitar, rolling bass, interstellar synth, tidal drums and crashing cymbals bring strength and courage.
He sings, “And what do I hear in the distance, a wavelength?/A similar footprint to mine?/It’s got the energy, it’s got the strength/But I don’t know if I have the right to call it mine.”
“‘Wavelength’ is the second song I wrote in Utah after ‘G(r)o(w) Away.’ I was pretty isolated out there and dealing with a new life experience combined with transitioning out of COVID quarantine times at my parents’ (house) as well as leaving my cruise ship life,” said Ripper, who’s influenced by Ed Sheeran, John Mayer and Pink Floyd.
“I knew I needed to travel and leave Michigan for a bit and grow. To me, it’s a psychedelic song that has several elements and sounds, which are carried through most of the other tracks on the album.”
With newfound strength on his side, Ripper approaches life with a renewed Wavelength mindset on the tranquil closer, “Pass By.” Thunderous bass, whistling synth, intrepid acoustic guitar, confident electric guitar and luminous drums reveal the way forward.
He sings, “This new path/It’s a broken, paved-down road that we’re all meant to go/You’re not alone/No, you aren’t the first to go and find what life wants to show.”
“I’ve gone through some events in my life, and I’ve come to realize things just come and go. That’s how life works … basically, all of this will pass by,” Ripper said.
“I was feeling down about a few things, and I thought it was time to finally write about it, which motivated me to write this song. Others have told me this has been their favorite track on the album, which makes me know I’m not alone in my thoughts, and that I’ve been relatable to others.”
Ripper started documenting his relatable Wavelength experiences in June 2021. By January, he had met Livonia producer and Studio 222 Recording owner Brandon McLeod through a mutual friend.
“I came to him with all my songs already created and produced … we just touched up vocals to all the songs and added a few instrumental parts. The drums and bass parts to ‘Pass By’ we did together in the studio as well as the drumming and ending to the song, ‘Wavelength,’” Ripper said.
“This is the most produced material I’ve had out of all of my releases, so his mixing and mastering to the tracks were so crucial. I could tell he cared about the music, and his goal was to make each song sound just as good.”
Ripper also will translate that “good” sound from the studio to the stage during a Sept. 14 Wavelength album release show. He will headline Wednesday’s show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with The Rippers – Darin Curtis (drums), Jonny Neville (guitar) and Phil Steuer (bass).
“Most of the show will consist of Wavelength tracks, plus maybe a cover and a brand new song. Darin, Jonny and Phil also play in the band ELSIE BINX,” said Ripper, who will share the stage with Kevin Allan, Toboggan Man and Social Meteor.
“They’re just gonna help bring my songs to life … not all my tracks have recordings with drum kits besides ‘Pass By’ and the ending of ‘Wavelength,’ so it’s gonna sound very different from the recording.”
After the show, Ripper will start recording his next release with McLeod. He’s adding a rockier, full-band sound along with infectious pop-punk and reggae sensibilities.
“My plan is to incorporate … more drums, bass and electric sounds. I met with Brandon (McLeod) recently, and we started working on a pop-punk song that I might debut at The Blind Pig,” Ripper said.
“I might have fun and just release a bunch of different genres – maybe reggae is next. I might do some more remakes of older tracks as well as straight acoustic songs from Wavelength or Story Notes. We’ll see … I’m full of ideas.”
Eric Ripper with Kevin Allan, Toboggan Man and Social Meteor
Wednesday, Sept. 14 | Doors 7 p.m.
The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St. in Ann Arbor