Interview: Hanging Out Poolside with Pip Blom at SXSW

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Pip Blom are quickly becoming one of the most talked about bands of 2019. With the release of their debut album Boat coming up soon on May 31 (via Heavenly Recordings), we had the chance to catch up with Pip (vocals/guitars) her brother Tender (vocals/guitars), Darek Mercks (bass) and Gini Cameron (Drums) poolside in Austin during SXSW. 

So, have you been enjoying Texas? What have you all been up to so far?

Pip: It’s been really nice. We arrived two nights ago. Yesterday we had our first full day, and yeah, it’s been lovely and very American.  
Tender: Yes, very American.
Pip: Three of us have never been to America before, and Gini was very young when she first went to America. We’ve had a pizza slice, and we had a burger for breakfast.
Gini: We’re staying in a really nice house with lovely hosts whilst we’re sitting around the swimming pool right now, not swimming (laughs). This is really fancy for us, it’s been nice. 

Did you get to catch any music last night?

Tender: We got to see Sports Team.
Pip: They are our friends from the UK.
Tender: We wanted to see Black Midi, the Oh Sees were playing, Squid, but unfortunately we only had time to see Sports Team.
Pip: Oh, we actually went to Wallmart as well, which is a very American thing. 
Gini: It was really good we could do that because we had a car yesterday. So from today, we can actually go out and see bands, and everyone we want to see is playing other days as well so we have time. 

Now, after spending more time in the UK, how would you say the music scene is different than back home in The Netherlands? 

Darek: In the UK more people go to see bands, especially alternative bands. It’s big, the area is much bigger too. In every city, there is a different scene and the indie scene is very alive. 
Gini: And people go out every day of the week, which doesn’t really happen as much back home. 
Darek: Or go see bands.
Gini: Unless Beyonce is playing (laughs), but you wouldn’t usually go see a band on a Tuesday night that you don’t know yet, so I like that.

Photo - Kristy Smolcic

And how has it helped you all as a band being in the UK more?

Pip: I think being in the UK, it feels like one of the leading countries in Europe in terms of indie and alternative music. If you’re doing alright over there, then other countries will notice you a bit quicker. If you’re really big in The Netherlands, no-one will really notice outside of The Netherlands. I’m not talking about us but generally speaking, if you get big in the UK it reaches more people.
Darek: It’s a bigger wave.
Pip: It’s a big difference. We’re already starting to notice how it's affecting us as well. 
Tender: We wouldn’t be at SXSW otherwise.
Pip: Yeah.
Gini: I find it pretty strange that now Holland is catching up a little bit through England. We’re from Holland obviously, but if we weren’t playing in England we wouldn’t be playing half the things we do, which is strange. 

Have you had the chance to play a lot of live shows around the UK?

Pip: Oh yes, we’ve played a lot (laughs), and a range of different size venues. We got to support The Breeders, which was really big venues, but we also did Independent Venue Week and those were like 200 capacity venues.
Darek: We’ve done some festivals as well.
Pip: We’re doing at least 90 shows a year, so it’s plenty of shows (laughs). 
Darek: We want more though (laughs). 
Pip: Yes we do!

Photo - Kristy Smolcic 
And your debut album Boat is coming out soon, how excited are you that it’s finally being released?

Tender: It’s exciting to finally see what people think of it. 
Darek: We like it (laughs).
Pip: I still find it terrifying. I’m trying to say to myself ‘we like it’, and I don’t think we could of done any better at this point of time making that album. But then still, maybe everyone hates it.
Gini: As long as we like it, it’s what matters.
Pip: We’ve never released an album before, so it’s new and different.
Darek: It’s scary.
Tender: The second album is the one we should be worried about. 

You have to get through album number one first before stressing about number two (laughs).

Pip: Yeah, exactly (laughs)!

I’m sure no one is going to hate it!

Pip: Well…
Darek: There’s always going to be someone who hates something.
Tender: Haters are gonna hate (laughs).
Darek: Exactly (laughs).

Photo - Kristy Smolcic 

Where did you make the album?

Tender: In Ramsgate.
Pip: Which is in the UK. We went to a studio there, it’s called Big Jelly Studios.
Gini: I loved that studio! 
Darek: Lovely studio and lovely people. Shout out to Al. 
Pip: And Mike (laughs).
Tender: Shout out to Dave (laughs).
Pip: We recorded it mainly with Dave because he’s our producer and then Al was our engineer and it was an amazing team and we got to stay at the studio.
Tender: We had beds set up, and it was really nice. We also had a kitchen, it was our little home for a few weeks. 
Pip: We completely fell in love with Ramsgate as well, walking around every day, it was sunny.
Tender: We were sweating.
Gini: It was sunnier than Austin (laughs).
Pip: It was so nice. 

Sounds very lovely! And what’s coming up for you all when SXSW ends?

Pip: So many things.
Tender: We’re having a month off soon.
Gini: We’re going to England first, right?
Pip: Yes, that’s true, we’re going to play three shows, or maybe two, we’re playing Annie Mac’s festival.
Tender: Oh yeah, with Squid and Amyl & The Sniffers.
Pip: We’re also doing a tour at the beginning of May for 10 days, and then at the end of May and beginning of June we’re doing another tour, we’re also playing Reading and Leeds, Mad Cool Festival in Spain, and NOS Alive Festival in Portugal, so we’re doing a few cool things around Europe. A lot of things are still up in the air. Places like SXSW can be so important with booking those shows, so we need to step up our game in the next few days and play some killer shows.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic

You can check out their music video for their recent single 'Daddy Issues' below:

If you're in the UK and Europe, click here to find out where Pip Blom are performing live soon.