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Clemson band The Dipping Skinnies releases first album

Contributed by TDS

“[The name] has a positive feel to it, the whole image of some mischievous teenagers having some fun on a summer night in the water. It really summarizes our feel-good style and attitude.”
That was Ben Cook’s, drummer for local Clemson band The Dipping Skinnies, response when asked about the thought process behind their name. And just a short year later, the attitude has remained the same between Cook, Matt Crisp (guitar), Tyler Phillips (bass) and Grayson Foster (lead vocals).
Only this time, the band isn’t just the music act that you begin your bar hop with — they’re published. With a new album in tote, the boys felt that this was a long time coming.
“We had been writing these songs for a long time and playing them for years,” Cook said. “I think we all felt that we needed to have something for the whole band.”
Foster agreed, saying that “Writing the album pretty much took place over the entire time we have been together. We had been writing a lot more recently and I think that drove us to actually finish and distribute a record.”
With a group of songs and new influences, the boys needed a place to play, and set their sights on Nashville.
“We recorded some of our works at the Brooks Center here in Clemson,” Phillips said.
“We were invited to come in and watch the audio engineering students produce our songs. Dewey Boyd, an alumnus from Clemson, came in … We liked his work and method and thought, ‘He’s exactly what we’re looking for in a producer.’ We were fortunate enough to find out that he worked with Forty-One Fifteen Studios in Nashville.”
It was with that connection that the Skinnies found a place to record their album, and it gave them a further inspiration for their work and future.
“It made me realize that the music industry is unforgiving,” Phillips said. “It’s a lot of hard work and money to record and do it right.”
Phillips recounted an experience from being in Nashville.
“I went down Broadway of Nashville [one night], and inside every single music bar was a cover band. … I’m thinking ‘This is NASHVILLE. Why isn’t there any music playing in the music city,’” Phillips said. “Then I saw all of these big buildings and realize that the city is big money and … it was a reality check that reaffirmed how much of a business the music industry is. At the same time, it makes you hone your craft.”
Cook agreed, having his own symbol of the harsh music world.
“On the last day [in Nashville], Tyler and I played music in the street. No one was paying attention to us … I was jumping up and down to get people engaged. I stepped on a shard of glass and ripped my foot open — blood everywhere,” Cook said. “I feel that was a metaphor,” he added with a laugh.
Recording the album wasn’t always fun, with Foster saying “I think anytime anyone is doing something creative they have feelings
of negativity.”
However, the boys never let those moments get them down.
“But it usually comes full circle. No matter if it’s the writing process, recording process or mixing, it always seems to go: ‘Hey this is neat,’ ‘Yeah I like this,’ ‘Ehh, I don’t know,’ ‘This shit sucks,’ ‘OK, it’s not too bad’ and finally, ‘Hey I’m really proud of this.’”
Of course, to get to Nashville was no small feat. The band had to produce $1500 in order to make it to the music city, so they started a Kickstarter.
“On the last day, we made our goal by $8. I was excited to see how many people had our backs, and that we as a band had something to give to them,” Cook said.
Foster agreed, saying “When we hit our goal we felt proud that people believed in what we were doing. Making a record can be expensive, and a little bit of money from a few people really goes a long way.”
Coming up with a name was tough for the band.
“We almost came up with the name ‘Finally,’ because [the album release] did take us some time,” Cook said.
“We stuck with ‘The Dipping Skinnies’ because this is us, this is what we’ve got to show for it,” Phillips said.
Since coming back from Nashville, the band has been overwhelmed with the feeling of having a work to show their fans.
“It feels excellent. I like being able to tell people, friends and randos alike, that we have our music on Spotify and iTunes,” Foster said.
“It’s like having a child and the child is great a something,” Cook said.
When it comes to the local bands that will follow their footsteps, the band has words of encouragement for them.
“Don’t give up,” Phillips said. “It’s tough, it is not rewarding when you first started, but keep writing your original work and don’t give up.”
“Enjoy the ride and don’t forget what it meant to you when you first started out,” Cook said.
“Keep playing. Keep writing. Have fun and enjoy it,” Foster agreed.
To the community and their producer Dewey Boyd, they have nothing but thanks.
“If no one came to our shows, that would get old. There are people that were there and that means so much to us,” Cook said.
Confident in themselves and ready to take on the next obstacle in their careers, The Dipping Skinnies are determined to still be the mischievous teens having fun, but maintain a seriousness about achieving their goals.
More info on The Dipping Skinnies can be found on their website (thedippingskinnies) or on Facebook (/thedippingskinnies). You can purchase “The Dipping Skinnies” on iTunes for $8.91. You can also stream it on Apple Music and Spotify, along with purchase a hard copy in some stores and through the band themselves (pending a FB message).

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