The members of Skinny Dip started playing music together in high school, but did not start taking things seriously until they were forced to spread out when beginning college.
The Philadelphia-based grunge-emo band released its self-titled debut EP last year and is set to perform at the Mile High House on Feb. 13. The EP is scheduled for an upcoming physical release through Rolling Green Records.
The long-time friendship between bandmates has contributed to the group’s success throughout the transition to college.
“We can’t practice all the time, but we’ve played together for so long throughout high school, so we have a good system,” said Alex Martin, freshman mechanical engineering major and bassist for Skinny Dip. “When we do get the chance to practice, we make it productive.”
Growing up outside of Philadelphia in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, Martin and his bandmates played locally, with the exception of one show at The Trocadero Theatre, when they were in a different group prior to forming Skinny Dip.
“In my other band, Ultra Violet, [Martin] subbed in a lot,” said Derrick Dieso, freshman electrical engineering major at Drexel and guitarist and vocalist for the group. “We always stayed local. We knew that [staying local] wasn’t going to get us anywhere. One of the first things that Skinny Dip wanted to do after we got our EP done was go on tour. We want to get out and start playing as far as we could and spread our reach.”
Skinny Dip’s commitment to spreading its music has led the group to a partnership with Billy Gleason of Minnesota-based label Rolling Green Records.
The band is only the fourth group on Rolling Green Records’ roster, but both Gleason and the band said they are looking forward to what the partnership means for the future.
“Our drummer Steve [Vanyo], who is totally great at networking, found Rolling Green Records and sent [the EP] out kind of blindly, thinking ‘Maybe they’ll be interested,’” Dieso said.
And they were.
“We don’t sound too different from the other bands on the label,” he added.
Gleason is hoping to promote Skinny Dip’s music and work to create a brand for the group. The EP will be released on cassette through Rolling Green Records, in addition to T-shirts and other merchandise distributed by the label.
“I think my audience from the record label, and their fans who already know them, will blend well,” Gleason said. “People who listen to bands that I already work with will really get into Skinny Dip. Mixing of our audiences and what I can provide as far as just releasing music and giving them internet attention will definitely be beneficial.”
The EP, produced by Wil Schade and Daniel Siper of Drexel-based band Mike Pays Heat, mixes elements of grunge, emo and punk music. Martin cites Title Fight, Basement and local group The Menzingers as inspiration for the band’s songwriting.
The band will perform alongside Water Polo, Weatherhead, Reward and Mike Pays Heat at the Mile High House. The show is based on name-your-own-price donations. All the money raised will be donated to Project HOME, a nonprofit “empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, health care and education.”
As a band, Skinny Dip has yet to play in the Drexel area, but as show-goers they are familiar with the West Philly scene. With members studying in both North and West Philly, the band has experience in both music scenes.
“The scenes are similar and different at the same time,” Dieso said. “Drexel is really limited. There are a whole bunch of bands coming out, but there are not many places to put them. At Temple, there are a lot more houses [hosting shows], so there is a lot more going on.”
Tim Mulhern can be reached at email@example.com