Contributed By: Jake Schell
Hot sand, palm trees, and calm waves. When you think of the city of Boston, this might not be the first image that appears in your mind. However, with the growing success of Boston-hailing Tipling Rock and their unapologetic beach vibes, the city might just have a new reputation.
Three of the members, Ben Andre on vocals and guitar, Tommy Schubert on drums, and Dillon Salkovitz on bass have been making tunes since high school. Matthew Lewin came aboard on guitar starting in college. With a discography guaranteed to boost the mood of any summer kickback, it’s no wonder the group has had such an insanely fast ride to fame.
Recently graduated from college, the group of four sat down with us to discuss future plans, past experiences, and the exciting lives they’ve lived since the explosion of “Low Tide Love” on the charts.
The Feature Story: What’s the story behind the band name?
Tipling Rock: So Tippling Rock, (with two p’s), is a rock from our hometown that is a sort of landmark. Kids in high school would go there for a hike and probably to drink on the weekends. The thing is, we’ve never been. We were not cool enough to go, so we never went.
But, in the very early days when we were thinking about the band name, we were actually going to have a photo shoot before we knew what our band name was. And our photographer was like, “Oh, have you heard of Tippling Rock?” And at the time, we actually hadn’t heard of Tippling Rock. For some reason, in our reaction, we just heard it as a band name. So from there, it was a pretty easy choice for us. But, the difference is the real Tippling Rock that is a landmark, is actually spelt with two p’s. We decided to go with just one.
TFS: You guys started out recording, more or less, in your dorm room, correct? Tell us about that.
TR: So, back in the day, after we graduated from high school we all just sort of took a break from playing music together. By the end of freshman year of college, I had written four or five songs, and I was like, “Man, it’s time to get the band back together!” So after freshman year, we reconvened.
We got the band together and started recording in the summer before sophomore year of college — the summer of 2014. We released a SoundCloud track of “Punch Lines & Good Times” at the end of that same summer, and over the course of the next year, we recorded the rest of the songs. In the end of summer 2015, after a year of dorm recording, we got it together. I’d say the official start of Tipling Rock, when we went live, was the summer of 2015.
We’re super into recording, and for us, it never occurred that there’d be any other way to do it but DIY.
TFS: Tell us about the jump from recording in your dorm room to having over 1.5 million song plays of Low Tide Love on Spotify.
TR: This is a good story. Basically, early on, Ben wrote all these songs, four or five solid songs and we released them as the Punch Lines & Good Times EP. Our first single after the EP was “Low Tide Love,” and we thought it was a great song. At the time, we didn’t really have a huge following, we had that EP, and the EP was going about as well as a band who’d never released anything could’ve hoped for.
What happened was the song was out for a couple days and was getting a lot of attention from these smaller indie blogs. And basically one week it was put onto a Spotify playlist called Fresh Finds. And I’m not sure if you know much about this playlist, but at the time it was nearly brand new.
The playlist has a shit-ton of followers now, and even at the time I think it had a few hundred thousand. And we were the first song on the playlist. That kind of just catapulted us into this sort of viral growth pattern for the song. So, the next thing we know, literally starting almost immediately, “Low Tide Love” became the number one song on Spotify’s global viral charts, as well as the US viral charts and a lot of other locational, country-based viral charts. Which was really cool, and it actually stayed on the chart for five or six days, and the charts in general for weeks.
This was almost two years ago now. That was sort of the moment that repositioned us from being a local band, to a band that actually has a sort of national or international following, which is really cool.
TFS: Was there any specific moments that made you realize that this whole thing was actually starting to work out?
TR: Aside from the whole “Low Tide Love” thing, I had some friends who were visiting Singapore, like a year ago, and they were in a sort of bougie hotel there and I got a text like, “Yo! We heard ‘A Side/B Side’ on the radio here.”
Or, I have some friends in the UK and they went to H&M and they texted me that they heard “Staring.” So, it’s pretty cool that the music is being heard all around the world and it’s exciting that we can spread a little bit of happiness or enjoyment.
TFS: The music video industry is kind of dying, but you have a few videos that are really entertaining. What do you think makes the Low Tide Love music video unique?
TR: We have a great friend named Matt Lewis who is our videographer guy and general visual consultant, and we sort of see him as a band member in that sense because he’s really pivotal in helping in our videos and aesthetic. I think for “Low Tide Love” it was really fun because this song is really about just having a good time. We had this idea where we would book a trip to Miami with a camera, and just see what happens. So we just went there and tried to have a good time and captured it. And it ended up coming together really well.
We didn’t really have any idea what the video was going to look like when it was done… We just knew we were going to have a good time. And I think it ended up being a cool reflection of the song and also a cool reflection of, in a sense, what we’re about. But we got to to give credit to our boy Matt Lewis for being the man behind the camera on those things.
TFS: In both the the “Low Tide Love” video as well as the “Prima Donna” video, you have instruments that you submerge in the water. How do you pull that off?
TR: For the “Low Tide Love” one, we basically just drove to a few guitar shops around Miami, and were like “Give us your most broken, cheapest, musical instruments that exist.” Because we didn’t want a brand new, functional guitar in the water, you know? We were able to find guitars that were cheap to begin with and also broken from music stores and buy them for like $20. I think the whole “guitar in the water” thing a cool aesthetic because there’s something a little unexpected about it, but at the same time it definitely thematically ties with the music.
TFS: I don’t generally think of Boston as a beach destination, but your brand is insanely beach orientated. Was that branding purposeful or something that occurred naturally?
TR: It was sort of shown through the music. Obviously, we all like having a good time at the beach, and you know, throwing the Frisbee, that’s what we’re all about. Being from the Northeast, it’s definitely a different beach experience than what you expect in say, a more tropical area.
But musically, I find as the music is taking shape I tend to get inspiration for my lyrics and through the music itself, if that makes sense. I’ll have a riff and the riff sort reminds me of certain words, or ideas, or scenes. Sometimes, you have a riff, and that just sounds like the beach. And I take it from there. And hey, turns out people like it [the beach aesthetic], so it works out pretty well.
TFS: So you’ve just graduated from college. What’s the plan now?
TR: We want to keep going and we want to do it big. We all have side hustles to pay our bills, but we’re at the point where we can tell we’re very close to being able to make it. The goal is to get to that point.
TFS: Is there new music coming any time soon?
TR: There’s definitely new music but I don’t want to comment on the form that that will take. There is a lot of new music and some other cool stuff that we’re working on that we’re so excited to share.
TFS: Are you planning on touring anytime soon?
TR: As much as it pains me to say it, probably not this year. We get DMs every day saying, “Come to Tulsa! Come to Brazil!” And, it’s like, the saddest thing is not being able to say, “Yes! We’re going to be there.” We’re working hard and really hoping we can hit the road soon. We do have a few shows coming up in Boston and in NYC that we haven’t announced yet, but they’re cooking!