The Voice Alum Pip Brings The Noise And The Funk
In season 2 of The Voice, a young man from Marietta, Ga strolled across the stage in white suspenders and stole our hearts to the tune of The House of the Rising Sun. Since then, Pip (born Phillip Arnold) has made a home for himself in Los Angeles where he has fully immersed himself to the task of making more of his amazing funk-pop music for us all to enjoy. With a new partnership with Indi.com and his EP No Formalities in stores, he is well on his way to making his short and sweet name one that you won’t soon forget. We caught up with Pip and he charmed us with tales about his crib in LA, his music heroes and inspirations, and what he has planned for our earbuds next.
So you’ve been settled in LA for a few years now, how did you decide to make it home?
I flew out to LA for The Glee Project almost 4 years ago now and then I went back home for a little bit. And then I was in pharmacy school, left pharmacy school to audition for The Voice, flew out here for the first audition, (I didn’t even know if I was going to be on the show yet) and met the people that I live with now during the week I was here. And the night before my flight home I called my mom and said ‘I’m not coming home, I’ve decided to stay in Los Angeles’ and she was crazily ok with that and sent me stuff and I have been here ever since.
So your EP is called No Formalities. How did you conceptualize the project?
No Formalities are the first six songs I ever wrote. I’d never actually tried the songwriting route before but I got to work with this amazing producer called Luis Dubuc, who’s solo act is called Mystery Skulls, and he’s really great. He’s very funk pop, DJ stuff. I luckily got in touch with him and then these were the first six songs that I wrote after The Voice, kind of trying to find my own style and figure out what type of artist I wanted to be. Even on The Voice I kind of went through a few different styles each week but sitting down and writing with him solidified for me wanting to be in this funk-meets-pop world.
So ‘No Formalities’ was originally released two years ago and now that I’ve signed with Indi.com, they are re-releasing singles. I did a Kickstarter directly off The Voice and raised $29,000 and was able to make the EP off that but I put all of the money into the music and none of it into the marketing (laughs). I just wanted to make great music but I didn’t think about that part! So it’s been great to have Indi come aboard and say ‘Let’s re-look at everything and lets put some marketing and distribution behind it and get it out to the right people’. So now we’ve re-released two songs: ‘Hooked’ which I did a music video for and the second one that comes out on the 17th, Trash Talk, which I’m also releasing a video for, probably that same day, it looks like.
What’s the video looking like?
I’m super excited; the video is adorable. It stars 30 little children at a school and there’s a bunch of dancing and an awesome anti-bulling message and I’m really proud of the work we put into the video. It was great working with these actor-dancer kids who were all like 7-12 years old and I got to hear their stories as well and it was really inspiring and really cool that the kids were so excited to spread a message that they could all relate to. You know because being a dancer at 8 years old, you probably get a little bullied, you know?
Your music is called ‘funk-pop,’ is that a label you enjoy?
My dad was a DJ and I grew up in the south listening to every different type of music. Like if you look at my iTunes I look like a crazy person because I have every type of genre. It was hard in the beginning to settle on a sound but once you get into it and know exactly what your vibe is and what makes you feel the happiest when you’re on stage performing, that’s when you know you’ve found the right sound. And even still, bands and artists, always switch it up at some point in their careers, you know you don’t always stay the same. But I like where I am right now and I’m excited to release some new music after this one to expand on where I started.
How did you put your band together?
I produced the record with Louis Dubuc, who I mentioned, and Noah Shain had done a record with these guys and introduced me to a few of them. And they are just the best, super talented. We started hanging out, and vibing really well, and they helped me make the record and then I was like ‘Can you guys help me make this into a live show?’ And so it consists of drums, bass, keys, guitar, me and three backup singers and its so much fun. It really has come together exactly as I wanted it to.
What’s top 5 on your iPhone right now?
I’m always listening to Prince most days; I’m obsessed with Prince, I would love to work with Prince, Prince is like the ultimate for me. As of late, I’ve been listening to a bunch of newer bands in that sort of funk-pop scene. Great Good Fine Ok, Betty Who, Zak Waters. Zak Waters is a HUGE influence. And always Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, I always try to keep up with the mainstream poppy, good, soulful, male singers; that’s always my jam.
What’s on deck for the rest of the year?
New music after this video, I’m going to try to get another EP out by summer. June is what I’m hoping for so that’s the goal at this point. And also a tour, I’m very much someone who likes being on stage and I definitely don’t make it on stage as much as I’d like to, so definitely to get back out there. That’s why I got into this in the first place was to be on stage and communicate with people. So yeah, that’s definitely the goal: more shows and new music.