Entertainment & Arts

Pip Blom: The rock band with real family 'support'

Pip Blom Image copyright Phil Smithies
Image caption Pip Blom (left) with the band that bears her name

Music is deeply-rooted in the Blom family tree.

Pip, 22, and her brother Tender (as in the Blur track) last week heard the lead single from their band's debut album played on both BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music.

Their mum, Leonieke Daalder, acts as their auxiliary tour manager, booking hotels, while dad Erwin is on social media duties.

He's even been developing an app to help the band keep track of their merchandise sales.

There was a time, though, when Erwin was the Dutch family's chief rock 'n' roll bread-winner, with his own post-punk outfit Eton Crop.

Now this Friday, as part of Independent Venue Week, Blom Senior's band will go on stage before his talented offspring, just a few short years after Pip made her own live debut supporting - you guessed it - Eton Crop.

'Special in so many ways'

"This show is going to be special to us in so many ways," beams Pip, ahead of the family affair at the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket, Suffolk.

"It was Sheila Ravenscroft's idea. After my father's band recorded five John Peel [Sheila's late husband] sessions for his Radio 1 show in the eighties, they became friends.

"First Sheila asked us, and then she had a great idea of Eton Crop doing the support.

"My very first solo gig was supporting them. This time it's the other way around. That's life!"

Image copyright Pip Blom
Image caption Meet the Bloms: (l-r) Erwin, Pip, Leonieke and Tender

She adds: "I am not directly influenced by their music, because Eton Crop wasn't played around the house!

"I am influenced by the music my parents played though. There was always music around, from The Breeders to Franz Ferdinand, Hank Williams to Robbie Williams, La Roux to Kylie Minogue.

"But it is cool to do this. Eton Crop still do a small yearly tour in England, but this time they'll all come over for this one gig."

'Absolutely brilliant'

Before all that, though Pip, Tender and co. will play an entire week of shows in support of Independent Venue Week.

They'll kick off at Sixty Million Postcards in Bournemouth on Monday night, before similarly intimate gigs at Moles in Bath, The Horn in St Albans and more.

Tor Byrnes, events manager at Sixty Million Postcards, is delighted to be able to provide a platform for such burgeoning bands to flourish.

"Being an independent promoter, I'm specifically into female-led indie-tinged punk," says Tor.

"Pip Blom played in Bournemouth a couple of years ago in a small venue and the gig was absolutely brilliant.

"It's really great to see someone growing, adding to the band, and the fact I can be part of that is even better."

Image copyright Jack Aarts
Image caption Eton Crop are an '80s post-punk act

For Amsterdam native Pip, the UK has become a home from home over the past few years due to the demand for their shows.

After playing alongside their dad, the band - who recently won two Europe Moves Music Talent Awards - will go on to perform at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, Birkenhead Library and the Music Hall in Ramsgate, where they recorded their forthcoming album, Boat.

She says the country's independent venues have "more personality and character" than the arenas and tents that often litter the big cities.

"Usually they are a lot smaller which I always prefer," Pip admits, "and the people who work there are usually passionate about what they're doing.

"It's cool because lots of them are in smaller towns that don't really get lots of bands going there.

"It's really important for people that are into music that they can come to gigs and don't have to travel for like an hour to see something."

Official ambassadors

Image copyright Raymond van Mil

The rising indie stars are official ambassadors for this year's Independent Venue Week.

They're in good company, with the likes of Novelist, Billy Bragg and The Blinders, as well as Public Service Broadcasting and Thurston Moore, also lending their support.

The event, which is supported by the Arts Council, began in 2014 with just 17 venues. Since then it has grown year on year, with more than 200 venues now taking part.

This year, for the first time, comedy gigs and screenings of music documentaries (did somebody say Bros?) will also be included.

Chloe "Colin" Ward, UK Director for the initiative, says the event has "grown phenomenally".

"Every year we're getting brand new venues opening," she says.

"This year we've got three venues that are less than one year old, one of which, Beckenham Arts Lab, is opening on 1 February - using the week as a launch for a brand new venue."

Financial pressure

In 2018 the UK's first live music census found a third of Britain's small venues outside of the capital are struggling to survive.

Chloe hopes Independent Venue Week will provide a timely boost.

"We hope by drawing attention to the arts and all the activity in and around the venues," she explains, "that people will go more shows throughout the week and throughout the year, and alleviate some of the financial pressure on the venues."

The Bloms are clearly doing their bit to support local live music venues.

But what about their new single, Daddy Issues? Will that title cause any tensions between the support band and the headliners at Friday's big family gig?

"No," laughs the singer. "Daddy Issues has nothing to do with my dad!"

Pip Blom's debut album, Boat, is out on 31 May and Independent Venue Week runs from 28 January-3 February

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