Lurking in the shadows of Charlotte’s underground music scene is a sound so wonderfully dark and unique that it could only be described as...Pippi?! While the name may not initially convey a clear style, rest assured Human Pippi Armstrong’s music is an original and stylistic sound that leaves a strong impression.
Human Pippi Armstrong is a “one-man force” created 11 years ago by Nathan Hemphill. Hemphill’s music is self-described as “generally danceable and melodic” created through the “powerful square-wavesound” of his Kawai K1m Midi Module. Hemphill also uses a Boss SP-303 sampler to loop tracks while he plays lead and sings.
Hemphill describes his live shows as “Madness! I fear the floors willcollapse at times! I feed off my crowd, so if there happens to be a night where everyone’s tired, then I'm just extra angry at them and will make vulgar gestures at the men and women until I get them on board.”
His lyrics, dark and cerebral, are often centered around death. His song “Homeplate of the Light” was written about the murder of James Jordan, the father of basketball legend Michael Jordan. “I find the morbid things in life the most real and impacting parts of it” says Hemphill.
In his eleven years as performing as Human Pippi Armstrong, Hemphill has opened for such acts as, Odd Nosdam, Lightning Bolt, Thee MoreShallows, Baths, Future Islands among many others. He also toured with Tim and Eric Awesome Show's David Liebe Hart.
These days you can find him performing at Charlotte venues such as The Milestone, Snug Harbor and Chop Shop, some of the only local venues that “cater to the musically adventurous,” Hemphill says.“The common yuppie cornholing Charlottian bargoer/bar owner won't like my music (his girlfriend might). Charlotte is ALL about sports and top 40.”
“There's SO much great and original talent in this city,” Says Hemphill. “Yet, most people are so scared to try something new; they prefer to go see a xxxxxxx Dave Matthews Band tribute band.”
You can check out Human Pippi Armstrong at his upcoming show, March 31 at The Milestone along with Blossoms, RUN DMT and Tonstartssbandht.