- Thu, 2011-11-24 14:01
Photograph by Nicolas Reuland
Since dropping his new record Distraction Pieces spoken word, DIY hip hop purveyor Scroobius Pip has soared to even higher levels of musical respect. With a unique combination of captivating word-craft, self-directed music videos and a string of heavy beat makers patrolling across the album (including Renholder, Zane Lowe and Steven Mason) it came as no surprise that when he announced live dates to support Distraction Pieces the hype was notched up one step more.
Having recently sat down with Pip for a lengthy chat about the record (in his Stanford Le Hope living room...), we went down to the Scala for a quick mid-tour catch-up to find out how the shows had been going, hooking up with B.Dolan for support and his plans for the next video.
"I Like Music because… it can't save the world. But it can save your world." Scroobius Pip
ILM: How have the shows been going?
Scroobius Pip: They've all gone really well. We were kind of concerned about how it would go as I'm not playing any Le Sac Vs Pip stuff, a lot of people have turned up expecting a spoken word gig, it's very much not that, it's a full band, it's rowdy. I was prepared for it to be a bit of an awkward tour but it's been really good. People seem to know the songs, they're all really up for it, all energetic. No one is coming up to me at the end and complaining that I didn't play A Letter From God To Man or Thou Shallt...
ILM: I read about your stage diving....
Scroobius Pip: Yeah. I've been doing too much. Too much stage diving! I'm running the merch stall from when doors open with B, it's something the Strange Famous guys always do and I like it. So then, at the end I need to get back to merch. It started in Leeds really, I put on Ante Up after I'd finished and then stage dived to the merch stall. They kind of chucked me over the table and I landed in B's arms like a baby and he put me down. The more shows we've done the more outrageous it's got. In the Birmingham one I got someone to order a shot at the bar, corwd surf me to the bar, pass me my shot and then crowd surf me to the merch. Last night they had to crowd surf me to high five our sound man and then over to the merch. So it's now becoming a five minute thing at the end of each set where I just get to float around... All the band keep panicking because they think I'm going to hurt myself. I bust my knee at the Leeds one, no...the Birmingham one. But it's alright.
ILM: Tour standards.
Scroobius Pip: Yeah. Exactly. I keep explaining to them that from the age of fifteen to the age of about eighteen I crowd surfed at every gig I went to. Literally every gig. It was a nerd thing, it was pathetic. It was unnecessary. I crowd surfed at a Jamiroquai gig.
ILM: You need that on a t-shirt.
Scroobius Pip: Yeah. Haha! I had like three years of crowd surfacing at every gig under my belt and I went to see Jamiroquai and I thought..."I can't blow it now, at every gig I've crowd surfed or stage dived." So yeah...it's alright. It's fine.
ILM: You and Dolan go back a while now, how has it been having him on tour as your support?
Scroobius Pip: That's been one of the nicest things. Feedback from the promoters has been great, all of them so far have mentioned how well the support act worked. Pretty much every gig has been almost at capacity by the time B goes on so there's been none of that support act being ignored thing which has been really nice to see. He stayed over here an extra month to come and trapse around in our van...so it's good!
ILM: What is it about his music that you like and respect?
Scroobius Pip: More than anything, it's him as a performer that I really rate. He puts on a really entertaining, energetic and funny show. And he's just a very good writer. He has this amazing spoken word piece he's been doing about Ol' Dirty Bastard called Who Killed Russel Jones. Every time, although it's been all laughing and joking throughout the rest of it, it cuts them to silence. And again, it's that balance between humour, entertainment and amazing writing. He has another song called Marvin which is about Marvin Gaye who was shot and killed by his father. And he drops that one and again, everyone's been jumping around - he's American so he gets them in a very hip hop mood, gets everyone waving their arms around and all that crazy shit that English people look stupid doing - then he drops that and it all cuts through so well.
ILM: You've spoken before about surprise reactions to your music. Have you had any on this tour?
Scroobius Pip: Yeah, yeah. They've all been going down well. With Soldier Boy and Let 'Em Come it's suprised me that there's been full mosh pits and circle pits every night. Me and Dan get a bit of it but not that much, so that's been really good fun. We've re-worked A Thousand Words for the set, one of the first songs I wrote and one of the first people knew me for. I used to get requests for it all the time but never used to do live, I did it as a spoken word piece twice and found it really long and boring. Now we have the live band building it and making it more interesting and I sit down for it. I still thought it would be hard as it's a five, six minute story, but each time everyone goes crazy at the end! It's the one that everyone's been commenting about online afterwards...
Scroobius Pip: Yeah! Although the only problem is that because I sit down and because it's a track I never normally do, it's the one everyone films! Everyone looking on youtube will think every gig I do is the laziest fucking...just me sitting down casually...! Every youtube video is me, sitting there, reading the lyrics out of a book. It's not really...I mean, in a set it's really nice and adds to the variation but people are just going to think that Scroobius Pip gigs are poetry readings with a backing track...
ILM: Do you mind people getting their cameras out and filming you?
Scroobius Pip: It's fine. It is what it is. They're normally good enough these days so that they're not looking through them all the time. I've never enjoyed it at a gig where mates come up to me and start showing me a video of the song that was just on that they just filmed. The gig is on, they're there ,em>now. Crazy.
ILM: We chatted before the album was released, now it's out! How have you found the response to the record?
Scroobius Pip: I've just been overwhelmed. As I said at the time, I saw it very much as a personal project, I was just trying to please myself. But it got to number seven in the iTunes chart! Things like that when we've not had the big budgets that most records would get. It's been an overwhelming reaction.
ILM: When we met you'd just released the video for Introdiction, since then, they've been coming thick and fast! All equally ACE.
Scroobius Pip: Haha! Yeah, well that's been really, really nice too. And they've all been really cheap! Haha! It's just been me and mates I've known for years, all college mates. It's nice to sit back and think 'I've got really talented friends!' It's been the first time I've had that much control in directing as well. When Dan and I used to work with Nick Frew we would interact a lot but he would direct more. With these I kind of went forward and again, they've all just gone down really well!
ILM: Are there any more in the pipeline?
Scroobius Pip: There's not. Well, we're shooting another one on Sunday (13/11/2011) but I'm not even sure if it's a single. Not ruining anything, well, probably not...but there's a certain track on the album and the guy on that track is in the country for a short amount of time at the moment. So...it feels like we'd need to shoot it now incase we ever want to use it and he goes home to America. So you can imagine in your own head who that might be! Haha! Yeah, it's a weird one. I've had video ideas for pretty much every song, it's just seeing which ones we can make on the budgets that we've got. So yeah. We shall see!