On one of the hottest days of 2018 – and let’s face it, there were a fair few of those – Jeff and Danny from Heavenly were at Sounds From the Other City festival in Salford. They’d heard some singles by Pip Blom and were fighting their way through sweltering, sweat-soaked crowds to see her play for the first time. Pip’s slot clashed with Jeff and Danny DJing elsewhere on-site, so the pair of them tag-teamed back and forth on a motorbike, taking turns to fight their way to the front to see Pip and her band. What they witnessed blew them away. In contrast to the relatively clean sound of the singles and the sweetness of Pip’s voice was a roaring indie punk show which saw the audience climb up the walls and furniture to see the the band thrash around on stage, Pip barely audible over the noise, her brother Tender, topless, throwing himself all over the stage. Jeff and Danny couldn’t believe what they were seeing, it was the first time they had seen the band, and it was the moment they decided to close the door on a jam-packed 2018 by securing Pip and her band. They just couldn’t resist.
It’s no surprise, Pip’s sound is incredibly seductive. The rapidly-spreading intrigue about her music propelled her forward. Out of nowhere arrived this girl who looks like a ruddy-cheeked character in a Vermeer painting, with an endlessly listenable vocal range and catchy songs delivering jerky, angsty pop with an appealingly angelic slant. Like the blue-eyed, butter-wouldn’t-melt qualities of a young Damon Albarn, a big part of Pip’s appeal is watching her or hearing her transform from softly spoken vocalist to really letting rip. Her voice is that of someone who’s always suppressing a smile, there’s sunny energy trapped inside her like a jar of glow worms. It’s infectious, and you can hear it shine through her songs.
Despite her parents being entrenched in the music industry (Pip’s dad was in one of John Peel’s favourite bands, Eton Crop), Pip was too shy to consider being on stage until she uncharacteristically stepped into the limelight when, during her teens, she saw an advert for a songwriting competition. Grabbing her dad’s new Loog guitar (a three-stringed instrument designed for children) she penned a bunch of tracks and entered herself.
A few months later she had written and performed a 20-minute set, got to the semi finals of the competition and, most importantly, firmly realised that this is what she wanted to do. Her favourite band back then was Parquet Courts, so she thought to herself: “’I want to be the female Parquet Courts because…why not?”
Pip tried to recruit a band, but didn’t get very far, so she decided to just plough on alone as a one man show: programming all the drums on a computer, playing bass and guitar and writing all the songs for six months. When she had written four songs she was really happy with she decided to systematically release them, one song per-week on every Tuesday of February.
Before long, one of Pip’s tracks popped up on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist and pretty much overnight, word started getting around about this exponentially talented and previously unheard-of teenager from Amsterdam.
After various line-up changes to her band, Pip finally managed to recruit a strong, dream-team of a group. The new ensemble is made up of Darek Mercks on bass, Gini Cameron on drums and Pip’s brother, Tender on vocals and guitar. “It’s great to be with him in a band: he’s not always easy, neither am I, but it’s really nice to be with someone in a band that knows you so well,” says Pip. “Musically, he’s the sort of person that belongs on a stage. You could see that from the first moment when we played live. That wasn’t the case with me, I was very shy but determined to learn. He didn’t have to!”