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Interview: Pip Blom

Posted on Friday 27th January 2023 at 14:00 by Gigantic Tickets



Darlings of the Dutch indie scene, singer/guitarist Pip Blom lends her name to an infectious indie pop quartet with colossal anthemic appeal. Her penchant for penning deceptively simple riffs and melodies, with closer listening melodies revealing a tremendous songwriting prowess that belies her young age.

Signed to iconic label Heavenly Records, the awesome Amsterdam group first became an underground hit when debut album Boat dropped in 2019, receiving widespread critical plaudits when they returned with sophomore record Welcome Back just two years later.

Next month sees Pip and her band join the Independent Venue Week tour on its 10th anniversary celebrating the focal points of grassroots gigs. The seven-day celebration includes an exciting headline show at Wedgewood Rooms – the premiere Portsmouth gig spot with space for just 400 fans. CLICK HERE to book your Pip Blom tickets with Gigantic.

We spoke to Pip Blom about her love of playing smaller stages and the communities that spring up around them. Plus, we talked about her favourite festivals, the top choice artists making waves outside the Netherlands and their next record, scheduled for release later in the year.



You’re starting the year early with just a handful of gigs, including playing Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth as part of the 10th anniversary of Independent Venue Week – how did you get involved in that?

So, we've done one Independent Venue Week tour four years ago now. And we really, really enjoyed it because it was so much fun to go to smaller towns that do have a venue but where bands usually don't really go. We noticed that on lots of the like posters at the venues they are mainly tribute acts, and not really bands that are touring the country, I guess. So, we noticed how happy people were that we recommend to their towns instead of them having to travel like an hour or whatever.

And now, we were kind of at the end of our album cycle after touring a lot last year. And then we figured it might be really fun to end that cycle with another Independent Venue Week tour. And that's kind of how we started and then came up with all the places.

Some of the cities, we have never been to like Blackpool, for example. So, I'm really curious to see but others we did play last time as well. We played Hebden Bridge, for example, and Bath. Yeah, but it's really fun. And I'm really looking forward to doing it again.


Do you find that when you play sort of smaller towns and cities, the people there tend to be a bit more like into it?

I live in such a small country, so to me, the maximum amount I can travel to go to gig is two and a half hours. And that's with public transport. So, I guess we are very spoiled. And then when we play in the U.K., sometimes people come to our shows, and they're like “Oh, I've travelled three hours” which is to me, that's insane! It's so cool.

So then, when we do go to those towns, sometimes people have been fans for quite a while and they're just so excited that we go to their town. It gives it an extra type of atmosphere that you don't really get in the bigger cities like London or, I don't know, Amsterdam or whatever. Because people there, they can usually they can go to any gig they wanted to.


One of the problems that we're facing is the closure of a lot of grassroots venues. In the UK, before COVID, we were losing an independent venue every month. But now that's even worse. Why do you think independent venues are so important?

Well, they are really important as… the steppingstones for bands. You can play a gig in your own town when you've never played before or even like do homecoming gigs and all that kind of stuff.

Usually, they're run by locals as well, which makes it more fun, more of a community thing. For example, a venue that we really like that's an independent venue is Ramsgate Music Hall. It's a really small venue, I think the capacity is 120 or something. But every time there's a gig, and they do gigs quite often, everyone that’s into music from the town comes there and they meet each other, and they can hang out and It's just, it's such a nice and vibrant atmosphere.

And if you don't have anything like that, like not a place where people can enjoy music together, I think that's such a shame because music is one of the most important and fun things to enjoy and especially as a group. It's just way more fun to do together I guess.


And are there any other UK venues that you particularly like playing?

I really liked John Peel Centre. That's a really fun venue. The venue in Hebden Bridge, Trades Club. I mean, there's so many nice ones all over the country. (The Barrel House Ballroom), it was a really long drive. It was such a nice place because it had like, a brewery attached to it, and everyone was just really happy that we went there… we really liked it.



You’ve always been a standout act whenever I’ve caught you at a festival. Are there any appearances that stand out in your mind that you've enjoyed especially or festivals that are favourites of yours?

Glastonbury was, like one of my favourite things I've ever done. But apart from that, because that's the obvious one, I guess, I've really enjoyed Green Man that we played that last year. That was so much fun. And we stayed the whole weekend as well. We did that with Glastonbury too. That was really fun.

And I really liked Deer Shed as a festival, it's a bit different compared to like others, because there's lots of kids there. But that's something that I've always like been intrigued with, or like about. In the UK that you can't really go to gigs if you're small. If you (are) a child, it’s quite difficult in lots of venues to enter. And I find that so weird, because I would say that music is so in your culture, and it's so important. And then to only be able to go to gigs, or to most gigs I should say, when you're 16, just feels ridiculous. So, festivals like Deer Shed is amazing because there's kids everywhere and they're just enjoying (it). I just I really like watching that. Because to me that helped a lot growing up, going to gigs and seeing other people make music and have fun.


You say Glastonbury is obvious, but you opened the John Peel Stage back in 2019. That must have been amazing, what was that like?

It was insane, because growing up my mom and dad always watched Glastonbury on the TV. Because we live in the Netherlands, it's not a common thing so they had like an extra cable thing in order to watch it. So, I grew up with that and then I saw lots of like live shows of all my favourite bands ever playing there. So, it was always one of the things I really wanted to do.

When I said it in the Netherlands everyone's just like “Yeah, right. Like, you're never gonna be able to do that because you're Dutch. How is it kind of going to happen?” and then all the sudden it did happen!

I brought my mum and dad and my boyfriend and all the band and lots of people. We went there, we played, it was insane! I really liked that it was the first day as well because it meant that I could enjoy and relax after we’d done that. Then that we did play two other shows, but they were like smaller like the Crow’s Nest which is tiny of course and then William’s Green which is a nice stage too, and then we just enjoyed ourselves.

It was really hot that year. Like it was, I think 42° or something. Such a good memory. Because we played at 11:00 in the morning, and the tent is quite big, I think it's 5000 capacity. I kept thinking “It's probably not going to be really busy” because 11:00 is, I would say early for a festival. Then we walked on stage, and it was quite busy. It was more than half full and I didn't expect it so that was really fun as well.

And then afterwards, because we played the John Peen Stage, they’ve got masseuses at the back. So, we all got massaged, which was amazing! I've never had that before. So, I felt like proper star. So yeah, it's really fun!


I know what you mean about just getting on stage and so you can get you slot done and then you can relax. Do you still get nervous then, even this far into your career?

It depends. Like, if it's something that feels is really special, or like out of the ordinary, yeah, then definitely. If it's just a club show in a town that we've been before, I don't really get particularly nervous before it.

In a week, we're going to do that tour. Now, I start getting a bit nervous. Being like, “Is everyone going to come? Is it going to be empty?” Like all that kind of stuff. I'm always a bit worried about. When I go on stage, I usually know what I need to do. So, that keeps me relaxed but if we're playing new songs, then I get really nervous again.


And do you have the same nerves entering the studio?

We've just finished recording our third album, and we're mixing it at the minute. I think I'm always a bit nervous about recording stuff, because you never know how it's gonna turn out. We always limit ourselves in terms of time but I think that's good, because it helps like a moving like the process, I guess. Because otherwise, you can get lost in ALL the details easily. And yeah, when will it ever stop?

That's one of my favourite things of being an artist, that it's so diverse. So that like, one year you might be a lot like spending lots of time on the road. And the next year, you spend a lot of time writing in the studio working on a record. And I think that keeps it really interesting for me. Yeah, because it's so diverse, I guess.


What can you tell us about the upcoming record?

It's always gonna take a while for it to be released because we have to wait on the vinyl, of course and that's still not the quickest process ever. I was talking to someone else about it, and I said “Yeah, it's a bit different” then they said “Yeah, it's probably synths” which I was like “Yeah, touché! It is a bit like that”.

I think it's still very much Pip Blom but we try to develop our sound a bit more. And it sounds a bit more polished, I guess. But in the nicest way possible. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to playing those tracks. We're not going to play them right now. Because we need quite a lot of time to figure out how we're going to play it live. Because it's a bit different from what we used to do. But I think that's really fun as well.



That’s really interesting, because what I’ve always loved about you is the honest, simplicity in your music. But you feel you've really developed then as a songwriter, do you think?

Well, I think there's still that simplicity. It’s just figuring out how we're going to do like some of the sounds live, I guess. That's more of it. There’s more stuff happening in the computer, and we've never done that before. So, we need to figure out, do we want to do that, if we're gonna do that? How are we going to do it? All that kind of stuff.

But I think in terms of the simplicity will always be there because I personally like songs that grab you easily. (That) you don't have to sit and figure it out because it's really difficult. I just like it to be catchy. And I hope that we did that this time as well. (Laughs) But yeah, time will tell I guess.


Going back to what we were talking about with community. What’s the scene like that you came out of and was it supportive? The UK can be very different, the smaller towns can be quite supportive whilst the bigger city acts can be quite jealous of each other. What sort of musical community did you grow up in?

Well, I think growing up there weren't like… I wasn't really a part of the scene yet. And then when I started making more music, I noticed that there are lots of Dutch bands. Usually when I do interviews people ask about the Amsterdam scene. But I think it's more like a Dutch scene because it's such a small country.

And yeah, I think especially the last like five years, we have a lot of Dutch cool bands coming and playing and all that kind of stuff. Bands like The Homesick, but one of my personal favourites is Personal Trainer who supported us as well. Lewsberg is another Dutch band, and they've been travelling a lot to the UK as well which I think is really fun, because then when we meet them, it feels like there's a really big Dutch like group of people in the UK, touring the country. Which feels really bizarre, I guess. Like, how did we manage to do this?

Yeah, basically, it's just really supportive. And I think that's good. It's not like a competition because… it's not big enough, to be like a really competitive scene. I guess. There's a place for everyone. So that's good.


What plans have you got for the year ahead? Is it all about getting the new record out?

We're not going to play a lot this year. So, this Independent Venue Week will be one of our last tours we're going to do in a while. Just because we've played so much that we want to give people time to be eager to see us again, instead of just tiring everyone over and over with us come into the UK.

So, I think we're gonna release singles. And then at the end of the year, there's probably going to be an album. I think that's the idea at the minute. And then tours again. So yeah, if people want to see as they've should probably come to the Independent Venue Week tour, because otherwise they have to wait for quite a while!


And any special messages for your fans?

Come to all the shows! And if you've got kids, try and see if you can bring them, because especially independent venues, sometimes they've got like different rules. And we absolutely love kids being at their gigs. So yeah, that'd be fun!



📆 January

28/01 Pip Blom – Firebug, Leicester


📆 February

03/02 Pip Blom – The Face Bar, Reading

06/02 Pip Blom – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

Pip Blom tickets are currently available with Gigantic.



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