Interview: Ripley Anderson talks about his new album Vitamin D, touring with Hilltop Hoods

Ripley Anderson is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Joe Braithwaite, whose career to date has included singing with the Hilltop Hoods, countless national tours and supporting major international acts. This latest project explores the craft of simple song writing, combining it with a journey of discovery of new production techniques in an era of home studios.

Written over the last five years, the debut record for the project, Vitamin D, finally dropped today following a steady release of singles over the last few months. We caught up with Braithwaite to talk about the project, how past tours has prepared him for his upcoming album tour, and working with producer Pip Norman.

With “Behind The Stars”, “West Side” and now “Funk Souls”, we’ve got a good taste of Vitamin D so far – would you say these tracks come to represent what we can expect from the rest of the record?

Yeah! totally, this whole album is indie-folk and singer-songwriter based with a nice underlying soul vibe.

Let’s talk little bit about the writing process for this album – what was the first song you wrote that ended up on the record, and how long ago did you write it? And what can you tell me about how you got started with that song specifically?

Summer Rain is the first song I wrote for this album. I have actually had this song lying around for almost 10 years and remember sitting next to a mates pool early in the morning on New Year’s Day strumming along on a guitar and nutting out the song after a big night. After revisiting its structure and making a few changes it fit right in among all the other songs. The song itself is pretty cheesy and I sometimes struggle a with how cheesy it is but hey, sometimes finding the person you love is just cheesy, right?

From there, tell me a bit about how your writing process – and thus the album itself – evolved? You mentioned the songs were developed over time?

I updated my home studio about 3 years ago and it changed my song writing process so much. I used to write, then record, then work on production, now those three processes are happening more and more simultaneously which is incredibly rewarding as a musician. I have played lots of these songs live over the last 5 years, giving them the chance to evolve and grow as I saw how audiences reacted and how the songs felt in a live space.

Tell me a little bit about the influences on the record, both thematically and musically.

David Gray’s album ‘white ladder’ from 1998 and Beck’s album ‘sea change’ from 2002 were both musical and thematic inspirations for this album.

You only collaborated with a Producer on one track for the record. Tell me what it was like working with Pip Norman – and would you expand on collaboration in the future?

I loved working with Pip, I am such a fan of what he does, even from way back to his TZU days. The song I worked on with him was a song I wrote for my daughter called “Harper’s Song”. When we worked on the track in his Melbourne studio I remember he had a new little human in his house too, so it was nice to connect with him on an emotional level and I think it shows in the production of the song. Would I collaborate in the future? hell yeah!!

You’ve toured with amazing artists over the years like Hilltop Hoods – what have you learnt from being on the road with world class acts like that, that you’re taking to your live show over the next month?

Have fun, its so easy to see when an artist isn’t enjoying themselves so just be prepared and have fun.

How will this album be translated live? Tell us a bit about what your set up is – are you playing with a band?

Most of these songs originated form a pretty solid singer-songwriter base so many of the songs will be performed with simple acoustic guitar and vocal. There are also some tricky tracks where I use a MPX 8 which is a basic sampling station but if you are clever with how you create the samples, the possibilities are endless.

And finally, what do you hope people take away from the record?

Great question… Hope? Love? Perhaps a sense of strength.

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Vitamin D is out now. Ripley is on tour from tomorrow to celebrate the release of the record. Head to his Facebook Page for more details, and check out the dates – and listen to the album in full – below!

Friday Nov 15 – Metro Bakery, Mount Gambier
Sunday Nov 17 – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide
Fri Nov 29 – Republic Bar, Hobart
Sunday Dec 1 – Wesley Anne, Melbourne

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