Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip have quickly become one of Britain’s most unique hip-hop collaborations. The latter talks to Ethan Troy-Barnes about their success
After a troublesome journey to Dublin while on the last leg of their current tour, Scroobius Pip breaks from some last-minute show prep to talk to o-two about all things Le Sac vs Pip.
Something that strikes you straight away talking to Pip is that there is a certain kind of honesty and candidness in the way he talks about everything. It never feels as though he has an agenda, he’s simply expressing himself.
“It’s a weird one, because we never set out with any one goal. We always just make music and see how it turns out, see what fits.” This is something quite special about the duo – their tracks range from dance, to low-key trip-hop, to sentimental pop even. “I come from a spoken-word background. Dan comes from a dancey and indie background,” he explains, “so it’s bringing a lot of different styles together”.
He goes on to talk modestly about his take on the lyrical side of things, which is more like spoken word than rap. “There is some amazing stuff being made but generally people will only know of 50 Cent and things like that, which isn’t quite so amazing in my mind.”
With an attitude to their work that’s so inclusive of their audience, it’s no surprise that Le Sac vs Pip see their relationship with fans as very important. “We’ve built up such a relationship with our audience; we’ve both got our Twitters, which we’re on every day chatting to people. We run our Facebook page together and we’ve got our MySpace and our YouTube, and everything.”
However, Pip still feels that they could do more. “We’ve always focussed on the UK and Ireland, because we’re from this part of the world, so it’s kind of important. But it is tough as well, because there is a lot of the world who’ve been into it as long as England, or longer.”
Without the help of the internet, it’s possible that Le Sac vs Pip would never have made it to where they are today. “MySpace and YouTube were huge for us. At that point, it was more [like] you were open to hunt for stuff and find stuff. People found ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ and we made the video [for] 200 quid, and that went on to get like three, four million views… and then radio picked it up. It got fast-tracked.”
Talking about his collaboration with Dan Le Sac, Pip describes how they “stumbled, very naturally, into being an act, being a band”. But he explains that he doesn’t feel defined purely as part of the duo, nor is he tied down to his solo work. “Everything’s open, it’s about just it all being open. After this tour we’re both gonna work on some solo stuff, and then after that we’re gonna come back and start working on the third record.”
This laidback view of himself and his career is very much embodied by Pip’s name – a deliberate misspelling of the protagonist from an Edward Lear poem. “[It’s] about this creature that wakes up in the jungle and doesn’t know what it is. In the end, it decides that it is just the Scroobius Pip; it doesn’t fit into any one category. A lot of people think that it’s a stage name as such, but it’s a name I’ve used for years. Like when I was working in HMV, all of them knew me as Pip.”
One thing that I had to mention as we neared the interview’s conclusion was – the beard. It is, quite fittingly, very similar to that which Edward Lear used to have, and a distinctive part of Pip’s look. He jokes about how it is synonymous with him as an artist: “Yeah, I mean, I’m stuck with it now!”
He continues: “I was quitting my job and living in a van, touring the country. I thought, right, living in a van, it’s not going to be easy to shave and things like that, so I thought I’ll start growing a beard. I mean obviously I wouldn’t have grown it if I thought that beards were horrible. But yeah, it was more a functional thing at the time.”
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip are best described as two acts who have come together to collaborate. This allows them a wealth of inspiration from which to create music, but also a lot of freedom for the future. And what that holds, only time will tell, but there is no doubting it will encompass a flurry of facial hair and Edward Lear analogies.
Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip’s new album, The Logic of Chance, is out now.