Get To Know Dipsea Flower [Interview]

Preston Breck

With only one song out, Dipsea Flower is already making himself known as an exciting voice in indie-folk. The project of Berklee student and Bay Area native Ari Rosenberg has been making waves on TikTok with creative videos detailing Ari’s journey as an artist, creative influences, and life as a student. “Hummingbird”, Ari's first song, is a beautifully promising track that wraps up love, loss, and ambition into a heartfelt acoustic ballad. I met up with Ari to talk more about his introduction to music and how he hopes to grow as an artist.

How long have you been making music and how did you first get into it?

 When I was in high school I saw the Lumineers play out in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, their live set was what inspired me to start playing music. It was so honest and real, they sounded exactly like their recordings. At the end of the show the drummer threw his sticks into the crowd and one of them hit my best friend in the head. Everything about that show was super inspiring. I went home right after that and bought a guitar I thought looked like the one Wes Schultz from the Lumineers played and I never looked back. After some years of learning to play guitar, I started writing songs, trying to channel that same level of unfiltered, expressive energy I first saw in that Lumineers show.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your sound?

A: I love artists with real character in their voice. The similarities in some of my favorite groups like Mt. Joy and Houndmouth is that they both carry distinctive energies that clearly define their music and style, and it’s always inspired me to tap into and channel my own. I also love the lyricism of guys like Gregory Alan Isakov and Ray LaMontagne. All the music I listen to is relatively simple, but it’s honest and bleeds authenticity. My aim is to draw from and blend the sounds of all of these artists while trying to give it a bit of a NorCal feel.

How did you come up with the artist name Dipsea Flower and what does it mean to you?

The name is inspired by a trail in my hometown. The Dipsea Trail runs through the redwoods out to the beach, touching every element that I feel like defines the feel of Northern California. A lot of my songs are based in these settings and the name felt like a way for me to stay connected to my roots. It’s kind of nice to know that wherever I end up I’ll always be attached to home in a way.

How has growing up in and around the Bay Area influenced you as an artist?

I would consider the Bay Area to be the pallet I draw from artistically. Having grown up in the middle of the redwoods (there was literally a huge redwood tree coming through the deck at my house) and living in San Francisco for a few years has shaped who I am as an artist. The beautiful hills and sunsets, and really just nature as a whole is a huge influence on my sound. It’s interesting, It seems like the different elements of the Bay Area make their way into the music in one way or another, whether it be lyrics or production style, etc.

Has your transition from the west coast to Boston in the east coast affected/influenced your creative process in any way?

Moving to the east coast was like tying the bow on a huge part of my life. I let go of a lot of the things that defined me. My first EP that I’m working on right now is titled “Western Winds” and a main theme of the project details the process of leaving California, leaving home to chase down something bigger. A huge part of where I’m at right now is embracing the unknown and trying to get as close to the true essence of music as I can.

Let’s talk about Hummingbird. What is the song about and how did it come to life?

Hummingbird is really about your first love. It’s about loving someone so deeply and feeling like you’d be doing them a disservice by keeping them close to you when life is pulling them to so many exciting places. You learn to let them be free, but trust that that spirit is kept alive somewhere in the universe. The line “you can sing your song for me” is about going through life and achieving things and sort of hoping that person is paying attention from afar. The song was written in my 2nd year at Berklee, and it was one of the first songs I felt represented my artistry well. We recorded it in the studios at Berklee, and it’s usually impossible to book studio time so my producer Nathan Mayne and I were usually recording between the hours of 2-6 am. It was brutal and I usually spent the days catching up on sleep and missing classes, but my gut told me that what we were doing was worth it. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

How did it feel for you to release your first song?

I had basically been working in silence for a lot of years on these songs, so a bunch of people didn’t really know what I was up to musically and it feels good to get some work out there and have it be received so well. I put a lot of faith into the idea that if you stay true to yourself and move at your own pace things will work out, and I sort of feel like that’s what’s happening right now. I can’t wait to share more of what I’ve been working on.

What are your long-term goals and what do you hope to contribute to music?

I would say my biggest goal would be to play Outside Lands. It’s my hometown festival that I grew up attending and it definitely cultivated my love for live music, so to play there in front of my friends would be pretty special. I’d also love to be able to go on tour with one of my favorite bands, just to learn from them and hang and hear their stories. Ultimately I want to continue to make music that’s close to my soul and just ride the wave that follows. It’s definitely an important thing for me to feel like I’m paying my respects to the artists that inspired me, and hopefully I can add my own flair to the style that may inspire others and give them the same feeling my favorite artists have given me.

Who are some of your dream collaborators and why?

The first one that comes to mind and would be a dream come true is Justin Vernon. I've always admired what he can do with just a guitar and his voice, and I think it’d be amazing to get in a room with him and see how he approaches writing and music in general. It’d also of course be unreal to get John Mayer to lay down some guitar on a track. Last one I’ll say is Rick Rubin. The dude is just on another level and I feel like his approach to the creative process deeply resonates with me. I’d be really curious to see how things go if he were guiding the process. Definitely some incredibly lofty collaboration goals but it’s fun to think about.

What are your plans for the future? Anything you can hint at?

My main focus right now is on getting out this EP I’ve been working on. Sometime in early 2024 the rest of the songs on the project will come out, and I’m already working on some stuff that’ll follow it up. There’s a lot of music to be shared and it’s all coming really soon. I’m super grateful for all that’s happened just based off releasing this one song, and I feel like I’m at the very beginning of something bigger. I can’t wait to just keep writing and playing and enjoying the music.

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