IN CONVERSATION WITH: Pip Blom
WORDS BY EVIE GARNER
I met Pip Blom and the band in Hebden Bridge Trades Club bar just after their soundcheck. Admittedly slightly nervous to be interviewing them but completely put at ease with “Oh would you like a drink?” offered by Gini, the drummer. Feeling welcome, it was clear that this band are laid-back and easy to be with.
Although this is Pip’s project, it’s clear that this is a team – listening to one another attentively and respectfully challenging one another’s points of view. On stage, that friendship is present; they wind each other up and laugh as if they’re sharing private jokes. The music itself is high-energy and fun-spirited with pithy lyrics and punchy melodies. The gig is sold out, but it doesn’t seem to faze any of them.
Darek, the bassist, tinkers with the piano in the corner whilst Tender – Pip’s brother – and guitarist tests my microphone levels and Gini gets the beers out of the fridge.
“Sorry we’re a bit all over the place” apologises Pip.
So, you guys are from The Netherlands, what is the music scene like there?
Tender (guitar): Better than ever! There hasn’t been such a time where there’s a lot of cool bands coming from the Netherlands as ever now. It’s not as big as the UK, though, obviously.
Gini: There seems to be more of a fuss around music in the UK.
Pip: The music industry isn’t as much in our genes as it is for bands in the UK, at least that’s what we feel. There are lots of bands in the Netherlands trying to do shows outside of the Netherlands because it’s so small you tend to be done quite easily. Often it’s really hard to get to the bigger ones because there’s a gap in the middle, you’re kind of stuck doing the same round over and over again.
Derak (bass): It’s difficult though because it feels like you have to start over in every country.
What bands from the Netherlands should we be listening to?
Pip: Canshaker Pi, I would say, Personal Trainer, The Homesick, there’s loads! You should know Canshaker Pi, hopefully, we’ll bring them on tour with us to Manchester and show them to you.
Are there any bands in the UK you’re influenced by at the moment?
Pip: Micachu & The Shapes are my biggest influence.
T: We like Blur, Oasis. (Everyone laughs – this seems to be a sore subject.) But that’s not much of an influence for us.
P: Because we’re touring in the UK we get to see lots of bands who are starting off as well. So, they might not have been an influence years ago, but I probably pick some stuff up now. I really like Squid, for example.
Gigi: We’ve been listening to the band that are supporting tonight a lot. (Working Men’s Club) have only got one song out so we’re really excited to hear them tonight. We’ve got a playlist – each one of us puts in 100 songs and everyone can repeat x5 songs each. So, I put working men’s club in five times. Tender has put them in twice. That’s definitely the most repeated song on the playlist – the bass and the guitar are great in that song.
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It’s Independent Venue Week, what’s it like playing in these small towns like Hebden Bridge?
Pip: Amazing, it’s not that the audience are different, it’s just that we don’t get to play these towns a lot. We were playing in St Albans and there was a big list of bands and they were all tribute bands. So, I can imagine something like Independent Venue Week is so much fun for people who want to see newer bands as well, and it’s that kind of energy that you really feel. People travel and make an effort to come to gigs because they have to, to see anything other than a tribute band (laughs). It’s also really fun to see lots of different places because otherwise, you’re stuck doing the same crowds – it’s fun to switch things up.
Why have you chosen to sing in English?
Pip: I find it really uncomfortable to sing in Dutch.
Gini: I think 95% of the music all of us listen to is actually English, so it makes a lot of sense.
T: If you sing in Dutch, you’re kind of limiting yourself because it’s quite difficult to do well in the UK if you sing in Dutch.
P: My dream is to play Glastonbury – I don’t know how possible that would be if we sang in Dutch! I (also) don’t like the sound of the Dutch language – I don’t think it sounds nice.
D: I completely disagree, I think Dutch is beautiful. It’s really direct so when you sing in dutch, for me, it’s very close, the lyrics are closer. But if I hear English music, sometimes I can’t hear the words, even English people can’t hear the words.
Pip: For me, I find the melody is the main focus. I don’t mind if people don’t hear my music because I find the melody more personal.
How does singing in English effect your process?
P: I always use Rhymezone and Google Translate. I don’t feel limited because I have the internet. I think I could even write songs in French, it’s not that difficult (laughs).
I heard your Dad supported you recently. How did that come about?
Pip: Yesterday! It started because our dad is in a band called Eton Crop and John Peel really liked them, so they did 5 John Peel sessions and they stayed over at his house often – they really got on. When John passed away, we still went to see Sheila every year, last year she said, “wouldn’t it be so much fun to do a show with both bands at the John Peel centre?” so that’s what happened. It’s an independent venue as well, (so) it fits in perfectly.
Does your Dad have any influence on your music? Do you run it past him?
Pip: Yes, my Mum and my Dad both do. He’s not very vocal like I don’t think he’d say if he were to change something. (Once) he had these headphones on and the music was so loud, and I could hear my own voice so then I was like “oh he likes the song, that’s nice”.
What is your experience of being a frontwoman?
Pip: I mean, I can’t really tell because I’ve never been a boy so I don’t really know if there’s a difference. Sometimes there’s a weird thing you get with sound guys where they ask the guys everything – it happened today actually.
T: Apart from that, it seems like it’s a good era to be a female.
G: Maybe it’s even helping us more than it is working against us.
P: I think so but stupidly, I don’t want that. They’ve got this new idea that by 2020 they want all festival line-ups to be 50/50 female and male. I think it’s a good idea, but if someone was to tell me that I was chosen to play the Great Escape because I’m a female I would hate that. I don’t want merit for gender, I want it for the music.
What are your hopes for the band in 2019?
T: Glastonbury, Japan!
P: Big dreams! We’d love to play End Of The Road festival – I’m hoping we can play this time. We’re going to go and play in America too!
T: We have so many cool things lined up.
D: New songs, second album?
T: We haven’t released our first album yet man
G: you can record on your own (album), in your bunk bed, in Dutch!
Daddy Issues is out now and Pip Blom’s debut album is out in May.