- Thu, 2009-05-21 10:34
One half of the infamous duo Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip, David Peter Meads aka Scroobius Pip is responsible for the rhymes that accompany Dan Le Sac's beats. A purveyor of the spoken word movement, Scroobius Pip often heads up solo shows which showcase his poetry and spoken word creations. Touching upon all manner of subjects, he expertly manipulates rhyme, structure and content to create an acapella reflection of his thoughts, opinions and musings from the mundane, the dark and brutal to the uplifting, positive and inspiring. I Like Music caught up with Scroobius Pip at the Camden Crawl 2009 for a quick chat about working on spoken word, his current themes and the development of the second Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip album!
"I Like Music because… it can't save the world. But it can save your world.” Scroobius Pip
ILM: What are you up to at the Camden Crawl this year? Where's Dan?
Scroobius Pip: I'm doing a spoken word set this year! Dan and I have played a few times and it has always been late at night and drunk and rowdy. This year I was asked to come and take part in the all day side of things. People don't realise how much there is going on! There's authors talking and poets and loads more!
ILM: What's the difference between planning a spoken word set and planning a gig with Dan?
Scroobius Pip: The spoken word sets are easy to plan. I've been doing them for a while, so I don't really plan them! I know that if it is a 20 minute set, that I have about 45 minutes worth of poems, so I can just go up and get on with it. If I'm doing a set with Dan it needs to be structured, fast songs, slowing down, you know, you need to plan it all out. With spoken word you can go far more off the vibe with it. I know what I'm going to start with before I go on stage, but that's often literally about it.
ILM: Cool. So it's really very spontaneous?
Scroobius Pip: Yeah. Although saying that, I recently did a spoken word in a night club and I had to plan that. Only because it was at about 11pm, which is terrible planning in my opinion! I just thought I was going to go up there and everyone would be really drunk and annoying. So I planned to start with up-tempo loud ones and then slow down, that kind of worked.
ILM: How do you tie your spoken word work into your music with Dan? Is there a typical way you two tend to work together?
Scroobius Pip: It has kind of worked every way so far. There are times when Dan has written a beat and a chorus and I have written to that. But then there have been other times where I've had six or seven tracks already finished and he has just been sending over beats and if it fits it fits. I mean, I do generally write the lyrics as spoken word pieces first, to make sure they stand up on their own. That way, when the beat is added it takes it all to another level. As my job in the band is doing the words, I want to make sure I pull my weight! I try them all out as spoken word first.
ILM: What are the current themes in your spoken word?
Scroobius Pip: There is a real dark variation of themes at the moment. I mean, the last album was quite dark. I've finished a track that is about spouse abuse. It's actually a very uplifting track. There is one that is about an attempted rape. It sounds awful, but it is all positive and uplifting. You hear a lot of music that is equally as dark as ours, but it seems that it is like that just be dark, depressing and morose. The subjects that we talk about are subjects we want to tackle, but it is very important to look for a reason to tackle them. I don't want to just go Oh there we go, there's our self-harm one.
ILM: You want to challenge yourself, not just check difficult subjects off a list...
Scroobius Pip: Exactly. It's getting a reason and a story and then hopefully a positive message out of it.
ILM: You played a lot of festival dates last year, have you got the same set up this summer?
Scroobius Pip: We're not doing many festivals this year. Last year we headlined a stage at Reading and Leeds. We don't really want to go back to festivals this year until we have the next album. It would feel unjustified to do that. But yes, we are doing Bestival! I'm curating a spoken word tent at Camp Bestival too. Also we're doing a lot more European ones this year, but really just concentrating on our writing.
ILM: And how is the writing going? What does the new album sound like?
Scroobius Pip: Really interesting. When we recorded the first album a lot of people commented on the amount of genres and styles we had in there. But it's never a concious decision! We can't really tell people what the exact variations are until the reviewers tell us! I mean to us it just sounds like a Dan and Scroobius Pip album! It has been going really well though, I've been really enjoying the whole thing!