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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Crave Online interviews Scroobius Pip  Reply with quote  

Music > interview > electronic > scroobius pip
Introducing Scroobius Pip

New electro-brit hip-hopper talks.
Johnny Firecloud, CraveOnline
September 4, 2008
I can't think of any hit songs in the states by a hip-hop artist with a strong British accent, but if there was ever a contender for crossover appeal, itís "Thou Shalt Always Kill," the first single from the project known as Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip. The song is a mixture of new cultural commandments for the 21st century and witty social satire- clever modern philosophy with tongue planted firmly in cheek, delivered through vocalist David Meads' chopping Brit-tinted flow: "Thou shalt not judge a book by its cover / Thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover / Thou shalt not buy Coca-Cola products / Thou shalt not buy Nestle products / Thou shalt not fall in love so easily / Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girlsí pants / Use it to get into their heads."

The comically accurate new modern testaments are backed by Dan Le Sacís surgically precise beat-heavy electronic backing. Itís a great track, despite the inevitable sign-of-the-times novelty label. But donít write them off as one-hitter quitters- after hearing an advance of their upcoming debut Angles, it's clear that these guys have a bright future waiting for them.

I racked up an astronomical international phone bill while talking to the immensely-bearded modern prophet Meads. His passion for the music made talking to the jazz poet/hip-hop Moses an exciting ride, even if it cost me an entire paycheck to do it.

CraveOnline: You come from a big spoken word background, correct?

Scroobius: I started out doing spoken word, but it was only about two years ago when I started doing it. So it's not like I have some immense depth of background in the field.

CraveOnline: What first inspired you to take up music/poetry/performance?

Scroobius: A lot of old hip-hop acts that I loved, and generally one of the people that made me realize that you didn't have to separate spoken word and hip-hop were Saul Williams and Sage Francis, whose label we're now signed to in America. Our album's coming out on Strange Famous. That's just really been exciting, that one of the people who most influenced and inspired me is into what we're doing.

CraveOnline: How would you describe your sound to someone who's never heard you?

Scroobius: It's really tough. Dan makes kind of electro/hip-hoppy beats, and I do spoken word with an MC flare over the top of it at times.

CraveOnline: There are so many outlets and avenues to go down, we can barely grasp the opportunities in front of us.

Scroobius: As cheesy as it may sound, it's absolutely true that the world is a smaller place now because of the internet. You can find out about people from all over the world relatively easily.

CraveOnline: Unfortunately we're also exposed to all the horrors out there much more easily, and the media latches onto that, so it seems like the world's collapsing.

Scroobius: There's still very much a fearmongering going on. There has to be an enemy and a problem going on at all times. But I'm not sure that it's as controlled here in the UK as it is over there. It's just not as focused and planned and sensationalized.

CraveOnline: Are you worried that people might be simply looking at "Thou Shalt..." as a novelty hit?

Scroobius: When we recorded it, it was getting airplay all over the UK within a matter of weeks. So there was a panic about that, but what we did to combat it was basically just go out and gig constantly. We played a bunch of shows, to show people that there's more to us than just that song. But that song got us so much coverage, and we're really grateful for that, so it's not a problem for us really. It's not like some big albatross hanging over our heads.

CraveOnline: Where do you hope to take your sound in the future?

Scroobius: We've never really planned any of it up to now, so we've not got a plan, sound-wise. Lyrically though, I'm worrying a bit because a lot of the new stuff I've written has been so dark. It's all just harsh subjects and bite. I'm a big fan in writing of having to learn something and do researching. One I've got.... God this is so grim, but it's about spousal abuse - bad, abusive and violent relationships. And then another one's about addiction to heroin. And these are things I've personally experienced, through either knowing people directly or direct experience.

CraveOnline: How do drugs factor in?

Scroobius: It all comes down to individuals. Regardless of drugs, different people perceive music in different ways. That can be influenced by lifestyle, family, weather, whatever. When I was younger, I tried my things here and there. I've got a friend who's a graphic designer, and he's at his most creative when he's stoned. Now, ninety percent of the people I know who get stoned are at their least productive when they're high, but he's just the complete opposite. Drugs have inspired some great, classic works over the years, but I also know many people who have been completely crushed by drugs. I have my personal beliefs and personal tastes when it comes to drugs, but I wouldn't want to air them because that only applies to me. It's purely in reference to my life and my specific mind.

CraveOnline: What three albums do you wish youíd written?

Scroobius: ManÖ good question. Iíd have to just go with three of my favorites. Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane did an album together, and thatís just amazingly beautiful. They just work so well together, have such amazing respect for each other in the way John Coltrane will sit back and let Johnny sing, then step up at just the right time. Their use of one anotherís strengths is fantastic. Rancidís And Out Come The Wolves. Thatís one of my favorite, if not my very favorite punk record of all time. The thirdÖ. damn, I donít know what to go for. Itís painfulÖ KRS was one of the first rappers to put it out there that what heís spitting is poetry.

CraveOnline: Any other new acts out there that are holding your attention?

Scroobius: Thereís a poet / MC called Polar Bear whoís just amazing. He really is. Iíve seen him live so many times now, and heís just stunning. Check my MySpace- my top friends arenít actually my friends, I try and make it just full of bands Iím into at the time. Thereís also a guy named Gideon Conn whoís just an odyssey. I donít know how well Americaís going to get him, heís very eccentric and his style is very unique.
Post Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:46 pm
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Joined: 08 Jul 2007
Posts: 429
Location: Salisbury UK
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"...And out come the wolves" is an interesting choice, an awesome album. Cool interview.
Post Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:24 pm
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Strange Faces huh? I have feeling it is a typo. And yeah dropping Rancid And Out Come The Wolves is awesome. I love that album.

He had a very great answer to the drug question, which is obviously an effort to get him to tell what drugs he has done. Way to talk around it, but give a well thought out answer.
Post Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:40 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21790
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Ha yeah. I asked that the writer change the Strange Faces thing.
It was a phone conversation so I can understand how that mix up may have happened.
Post Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:53 pm
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Straaaange FAMOUS!

Joined: 28 Apr 2005
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it took me a few listens, but i finally got into the record and have recommended it to others. although every time i hear "thou shall always kill" it remains me ALOT of "Not" by Dose One. ALOT

unfortunately i wont be able to catch them in Austin next week. i was looking forward to seeing them.
Post Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:55 pm
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don't worry MP3D, I'll be sure to let you know how it was while you're off suffering during a horrid all expense paid business trip

I also have to apologize to Sac and Scroobs in advance. I have a show that night down the street from Beauty Bar so unfortunately i'll be taking away half your fan base, haha........ sometimes i like to pretend like i'm big time when i'm not. My show will consist of all my friends celebrating my 30th birthday that night! whoopee! i intend on dragging as many of them over to the Sac and Scroobs show as possible since i'll be done early.
Post Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:45 pm
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