Amsterdam-based band Pip Blom started out as the musical project of 22-year-old Dutch singer Pip. After amassing thousands of plays on Spotify for her early songs, Pip recruited a band, and is now joined by her brother Tender Blom on backing vocals and guitar, Darek Mercks on bass and Gini Cameron on drums, while Pip is lead guitar and vocals. Together they make a strong indie-pop four-piece, which BBC 6 Music DJ Marc Riley hailed as ‘perfect pop’. Ahead of their Reading gig at South Street Arts Centre on Thursday 30 May, Pip Blom (the singer herself), talks to Steve Reynolds about getting starting in the music business , the best albums of all time and why she needs to get a new mobile phone provider.
How did you get your break into the music business?
In the beginning Spotify was a great first push. My first song on Spotify, ‘Hours’ got added to a playlist and played a lot. Also BBC 6 Music has been (and still is) extremely supportive. They play us a lot and have been a massive help.
What inspired you to form a band?
A couple of years ago I spontaneously signed up for a Dutch singer-songwriter contest. I hadn’t given it too much thought so when I got accepted I had to write enough songs for a half an hour set, even though I had never written a song before. Pretty much all the music I listen to are bands, so I quickly realised I would much rather play with a full band than on my own. That’s when I started making ‘band songs’ in Logic. When the first song got picked up on Spotify I quickly had to find a band to be able to play the songs live.
What are the band’s main influences?
This really varies, but can go from The Breeders to Franz Ferdinand, Hank Williams to Robbie Williams, La Roux to Kylie Minogue.
It’s fair to say you’re doing quite an extensive tour here, how have you found the crowds and the reaction to your live show?
Our audience has been great! Tickets have been selling very well and so far everybody has been super enthusiastic, which makes playing live a lot of fun!
What sort of reception have you had in the UK?
Pretty mediocre, I definitely need to get a new provider.
There’s a lot of miles to be covered by traveling in our fair shores, who keeps the energy flowing in the van and why?
I think the main source to keep the energy in the van going is our playlist: before every tour we all hand in 100 songs that we put together in a huge playlist to shuffle on the road. Our music taste overlaps, but is, for a great part, pretty different. This way we all get to hear our own guilty pleasure, favourite songs or bands we never got round to listening to. Each person also gets one ‘wild card’ a day, a song that’s not in the playlist that we crank up to eleven. Anyway, it makes hours of driving very entertaining.
What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a band?
I think we can all agree we’re not the most skilled musicians around (except maybe Darek, he’s our little schooled pride). I think a strength is our energy on stage. We all love playing together and this translates to a very energetic live show.
Who looks the best on stage and why?
That’s something you can ask anyone else but us, really. We’re the only four people that can’t see ourselves on stage, aren’t we?
If you could be in any other band who would it be and why?
PIP: Confidence Man. Being able to pull the coolest moves on stage and making super catchy songs. What else could you want?
TENDER: Canshaker Pi because they’re my favourite live band ever.
DAREK: I’d love to play in Mac Demarco’s band, because they always so much random stuff on stage and they seem to be having a lot of fun.
GINI: The Beatles, fingers crossed.
Can you each tell me the best album you’ve ever heard?
PIP: ‘Jewellery’ by Micachu and the Shapes. It’s the perfect combination of catchy songs and weird sounds. Oh and a really cool band too.
TENDER: ‘Blonde’ by Frank Ocean, there’s no other album that captures a moment and a feeling.
DAREK: For me the best album would be ‘Pink Moon’ by Nick Drake.
GINI: This changes about five times a day but at this very moment it’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’ by David Bowie
Finally, PSV or Ajax?
Darek is actually the only one that cares about football, but cares enough for all four of us so:
Pip Blom play at South Street Arts Centre on Thursday 30 May at 7.30pm, support comes from our Reading band of the month: Adam & Elvis. Book tickets.
Steve Reynolds is a Reading-based promoter and DJ. He's the founder of Darklands, Reading's indie alternative club night and has co-organised the DoubleDotBash music festival for the last couple of years.