Poet, spoken word performer and beard lover Scroobius Pip took his name from his bastard phonetic twin, who was bought to life in the birthing pool-mind as a character and title of an unfinished Edward Lear poem, The Scroobious Pip. Lear`s poem is essentially about confusion, identity and a discovery of ones self. With some humour Lear describes how Pip is lost in the jungle, unsure of who and what the fuck he is. So Pip hangs out with the insects, the lions, fish, the whole animal family, searching, searching, searching for the answer to the deeply profound question; who and what am I?
Turns out that Scroobius Pip is given his self identity by a process of finding out what he isn't. He concludes that he is himself - a Scroobius Pip.
The track that Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip released back in April, Thou Shall Always Kill, became an instant underground hit. It also poked its head up over the overground parapet as well. Released by Lex Records, Scroob described it recently as "My views expressed via the wonderful spreadsheet of the ten commandments. All ranted over the kind of electro, 80's computer game noises that make guitar bands buy laptops". Owner of a very curious and sharp mind, I had the pleasure to catch him mid-tour.
Where is your head at currently?
Firmly resting upon my shoulders. Really enjoying recording the album and just getting to play so many great gigs to great crowds. Good times!
Describe your last year as the ingredients of your favourite meal?
2 tablespoons of Hairy music
1 John Kennedy
1 Rob da Bank
60 odd club gigs
2 low budget videos
mix generously and poor on the floor in a strop
Were you prepared for the attention from the single Thou Shall Always Kill....................?
Not at all. It came out of nowhere and was a hugely pleasant surprise. Still loving every minute of it though. We were really lucky to have people like John Kennedy and Rob da Bank get behind us very early on even though we are still just a couple of unsigned lads from Essex.
How crazy did it get?
Fairly crazy. Fat Boy Slim opened his Glastonbury set with our song, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols plays it on his LA radio show, that Harry Potter lad talked and quoted us in a Q interview and Alanis Morissette has been recommending us on her website. Couldn't be more varied really!
How many times do you think you have played that track live?
Loads! Really couldn't say. Still thoroughly enjoy it though. Watching the crowd reaction is always a buzz.
You started writing and performing your poetry, who would you rate as a poet?
In the UK? Polar Bear, David J and Poem Inbetween People are at the top of the food chain. Easily the most exciting poets around. In the US I love Sage Francis, Saul Williams and numerous others. Gil Scott Heron has always been a big influence too.
And where are the coolest venues for seeing/hearing performance poetry?
The Poetry Cafe is reliable. There is a great night called "Poejazzi" at Voluptue. Other than that anything organized by Lazy Gramaphone, Tongue Foo, Shortfuse or Penned in The Margins will always be value for money.
What stage is the new recording at?
Dan has done his part on all the tracks and I am currently in the studio laying down the vocals. That will be done by the end of next week then we will have a week or so of both going in and tweaking. Along with Yila who is recording and co-producing the album for us. He's a very talented lad.
How do you go about structuring the recording process?
Oooops pretty much just answered that. As we have all the tracks written, Dan goes in and gets the beats just right, then I go in and do the vocals, then we all go in and make sure it works.
Who would be major influences on your life and your art?
Loads of people. Famous and not. Vincent Gallo, Jean Michel Basquiat, Sage Francis, Chilly Gonzales, Slava Polunin, Prince. The list is endless.
Have you been into the Beat writers and artists? WS Burroughs/Mohamed Hamri/Brion Gysin/Paul Bowles etc
In and out. I think Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac and that whole crowd were amazing but I drift in and out of listening and reading them. I'm no expert but I am an appreciator.
Have you any plans to write a novel?
Not really. I have three films written in my head but know little about script writing. I'll get round to penning them one day. Two are interesting and one I'm gonna hold close until the right time because I find it to be really exciting and odd.
And what of your debut album? Its hard to find these days..........................
It is hard to find! I'm currently in chats with a new music website to give them exclusive download rights to it. But yeah, the 1000 copies I pressed sometimes pop up on ebay every now and then.
Where was your first gig?
My first gig was outside a DJ Shadow album launch thing. I started off doing street performances outside other peoples gigs. It set me up well for future performance. Its hard to be nervous walking onto a stage with a crowd awaiting you when you started off performing on the street to strangers who have never heard of you. And probably want to keep it that way.
What made you start writing and performing?
Just a love for the expression of poetry I guess. I wrote a load of poems but they were very much spoken word pieces so the only time they are fulfilling their function is when I am on-stage performing them. How would you get people politicised these days? Just by talking about subjects. I make no claim to be an expert or political leader of any sort but I do try and inject some political and social opinions into my writing.
What's your carbon footprint look like?
The foot print of a bear. Nah, I dunno really. When we tour we aren't extravagant. We go about in a van with no entourage. And we only use a laptop and mic for the live show so we are saving loads more energy than all these big bands knocking about!
Any plans for touring the US of A?
Indeed. We have a mini tour in December. 12th-18th. Check out the myspace for details.
And what else in this beautiful world chops your kindling?
What a wonderful phrase. I don't know if its asking what I like or dislike though. I just saw Slava's Snowshow for the 2nd or 3rd time and I think that is genuinely the best live show on the planet right now. Lets stick to the positive as oppossed to the negative!
Have you seen The American Office?
Yeah. Its alright. Only saw the first series though so it was just a case of watching it and remembering how the original did it. Weird question.
The Devil................Is he/she all bad?
I'm sure he/she isn't ALL bad. Bad is a tough thing to define anyway. Bad can be brilliant!
Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip currently have a single out, The Beat That My Heart Skipped and it's available on cd single, 7" vinyl & digital download which includes a fucking heavy remix by jel of themselves/subtle
watch the fantastic 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' video on youtube
There is plenty more information here: scroobius pip and here: dan le sac vs scroobius pip or here: Lex Records
Paul Hawkins has been interested in popular culture and music, protest and survival for as long as we can remember. He began writing about things, making music and other noise at an early age. Paul has interviewed musicians, writers, poets, protestors and artists.
about Paul Hawkins »»
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]