One of the most exciting live bands in Auckland over the last few years has been Ripship. The duo/couple Callum Lincoln and Eva-Rae McLean are prolific performers and everything points to them not slowing down any time soon. Sam Smith caught up with them for NZM.
Ripship formed in 2018 when Callum Lincoln and Eva-Rae McLean decided they wanted to make music together after they ran out of things to do besides, in their own words, eating and watching Netflix. Their band was initially called The Ever-Loving Fuck, before settling on the Ripship name in 2019, the meaning of which remains a secret.
Then both 21-year olds, McLean says her prior musical history mainly included playing drums for friends in one-off projects, while guitarist Lincoln had been in a band called Silk Road, which he formed while attending Whangaparaoa College.
As Ripship they have developed a spacey style of alternative music, which they term psychedelic sci-fi. “We have been compared to The Cure and Gary Numan,” says Lincoln in providing a reader guide. While happy for others to describe their music for them Ripship are not that keen on being boxed into one genre.
“We like to switch it up with every song. To give our music a blanket term is a bit hard, especially when you are making it yourself, you never really think about what genre you are about to make a song.” Added to which is the fact that their influences are broad, and broadening.
“It’s whatever we are listening to at the time,” suggests Lincoln. “Certain songs will be written in a month where we are listening to a lot of Black Midi or Tropical Fuck Storm or something like that, and then other songs will be based on more synthy stuff,” McLean agrees. “Some of our stuff is very Battles-inspired. But it all depends. We listen to a lot of music.”
Their self-produced debut EP ‘Greebles’ came out last year, an exercise in what is most readily described as being in the Gary Numan-esque psychedelic sci-fi realm. The recording sessions were a DIY affair, and in many respects meant the duo learning about the process of recording. “Most of the time put into it was getting good sounds out of those recordings.
“Basically, it was like a recovery mission,” says Lincoln. “It was good fun, though, and it was just really nice finally having something to show people,” McLean adds. “I don’t think we have recorded anything before it’s been heard live. That’s where we get a lot of our reception as well, if something doesn’t go off live and we don’t get the energy back from the crowd then we change it up basically.
“We have changed the structure of the song Cloudseater that we are in the process of recording because when we played it live, it just didn’t slap, the audience just didn’t get into it. So we decided we have to switch it up.”
Despite the warm reception to ‘Greebles’ and their live shows that included supporting Miss June, Mermaidens and playing Lowtide, Ripship are already moving on to their next recording project. McLean admits that they don’t play many of the songs from ‘Greebles’ anymore because they have so much new material.
“I want to forget about ‘Greebles’ and do a proper album,” says Lincoln. “We are trying to record an album pretty much as soon as possible. We want it to sound as good as possible. No shortcuts this time.” Both want, and expect, their next release to be better. “We have got about one more song to put on it to make it right and make it all killer no filler,” claims McLean.
It is this ambition that is setting Ripship up for the long-term, with both members adamant they want this project to continue. “I would like to be more prolific,” says Lincoln. “In a few years time, I want to have a few albums to show for the work,” McLean agrees. “As long as we don’t have some awful fiery breakup, Ripship should keep on shipping.”