This time, we get our panties in a
twist and find out more about Skinny Dippers. We know the name, we've heard the songs, now let's talk to the ellusive Ryan Gross!
The latest track "Wedding Ring" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:
𝟭. Where are you from and what are your hobbies?
For the last 10 years I've been living in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to making music, I love nerding out over sci-fantasy books/movies, I like to cook, and I love going out to see live music when Covid allows for it :-/
𝟮. How did your get into music?
I started playing keyboard when I was ~5 years old. There's a great video somewhere in my mom's basement from my first performance ever where all the kids were dressed up in racecar helmets, sombreros, and other outfits, and in the middle of the performance I decided to clap my hands and do a 360 spin before continuing to play my piano part which prompted a raucous applause from the audience. My parents said they knew in that moment I was going to be a performer.
Later on in middle school my friend lent me a guitar and told me I had to learn to play it so we could be in a punk band. Although "Non-Applicable" didn't last long we eventually turned into a Ska Band called "Free Refills" and put out a couple albums and played some really big shows with well known Ska Bands here in the US before we all headed off to college and continued to play music.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
I like to draw inspiration from a lot of different sources, and believe that really helps artists to develop a unique sound by blending a lot of different musical influences without trying to emulate any one artist too closely. I've always loved Indie rock and pop bands like Pavement, Built to Spill, or The Shins. I also love mixing that with slightly more folky artists like Nick Drake, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Iron & Wine. Finally one of my all-time favorite artists has been Sufjan Stevens who has been able to create some of the most awe inspiring music without adhering to one specific genre too closely.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
After playing a number of instruments in different bands over the years, I really wanted to focus on making my own music when the pandemic started in 2020. Initially this was purely personal and just about me wanting to produce and record the songs that had been rattling around my head for ~10+ years so that I could finally say I had a "true" version of those songs I could be proud of.
I'd love to continue to build a fanbase while getting to work with other artists, engineers, and producers that inspire me. I want to continue to push the boundaries of my work and create the best art I can without putting too much pressure on it and enjoying the process throughout.
Lastly, I'd love to get out and play more live gigs in the near future, but that's been a bit tricky with things seemingly in an endless cycle of opening and closing due to Covid.
5. If you could choose a location to perform at, what would it be?
I've always been awestruck seeing photos videos of Red Rocks in Colorado and think that would top the list for me.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
This is a truly impossible question and I've enjoyed seeing all the other NAS artists try to dodge this
one! I could never pick a favorite song, but a recent favorite I discovered is a track called Linoleum by Harrison Whitford who I later found out plays with Phoebe Bridgers and The National.
7. Most embarrassing moment?
Thankfully I haven't had too many of these, but I had been rehearsing with a band for weeks when I first moved to NY. We were playing an important showcase show and after a beautiful ~1 minute intro my friend played on acoustic guitar I came in with the rest of the band by blasting out the wrong note on bass over what had been a gorgeous folk intro.
8. Proudest accomplishment?
I couldn't be more proud of how my debut album has turned out and am so excited to share it with everyone. Many of these songs were written over a decade period, and it feels so great to have them forever cemented into an album.
I was able to work with some of my favorite musicians by having my friends in TOLEDO produce/engineer the record and one of my musical idols Melina Duterte (Jay Som) mix it with me.
9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?
That I hate talking about myself. I don't consider myself a shy person at all, but have been trying to get better about how to speak positively about me and my music without trying to make it funny and self deprecating.
𝟭𝟬. What is your dream collaboration?
I feel fortunate in that i've already had the opportunity to work with some of my favorite artists in TOLEDO and Jay Som. If I could work with anyone moving forward I'd love to do something with Sufjan Stevens. His music has always held such a special place for me and I think he's shown incredible versatility by creating stunning albums that separately explore acoustic, orchestral, and electronic music with equally powerful results.
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