Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip in Dolan's this Friday

THE SHIMMERING electro-pop of Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip’s new album opening track ‘Sick Tonight’ gives way to a grimey, drum and bass heavy beat after about thirty seconds - Pip spitting with a certain venom: “I feel sick tonight/something in my stomach ain’t sitting right/but I gotta overcome it, keep spitting right”.
This bile-tinged opener isn’t wholly representative of what is a stunningly lyrical album that ebbs and flows, but instead frames what is an astonishingly imaginative offering, the second from the hip-hop duo, who combine this spoken-word lyricism with heavy beats.
Pip’s beat-led polemics are at the beating heart of the Logic of Chance, weaving imaginative tales and themes into the music, and shining a bright light on the ills of British society.
Pip - real name David Meads - is one half of this eclectic and exciting duo who struck gold with their first writing collaboration, Thou Shalt Always Kill, a tongue stuck firmly in cheek satirical rant on modern culture. The song struck a chord with radio listeners, and was a smash, but the duo resisted the pressure that inevitably came with such early success, signing with Sunday Best, the label founded by Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank.
“Dan and I had known each other for ages, but not musically. Thou Shalt was the first song we wrote together,” explains Pip, speaking from his Essex home.
“There was a lot of pressure to get an album out a month or two after that - but we spent over a year working on it. We had a lot of interest from big labels at the time, and we didn't go that way, which feels right now. I think if we had gone with a major, who knows if we would be making a second album now, because the first album went down really well critically, and we have been pleased to tour it and meet the fanbase, but, it wasn't particularly a big chart success,” he explains.
Pip is very much at home discussing the ins and outs of the new record, which is an eye-opener. He doesn’t shy away from the themes present on The Logic of Chance; much like his lyrics, which are literally warts and all.
On lead single Get Better he implores the disaffected youth of Britain to try and change the aimless direction of their life; on Great Britain, he rampages his way through issues around knife-crime statistics.
“There are two or three tracks on this album that are kind of along that kind of line - (focusing) more directly on problems in society,” he explains.
"Generally I always write about society, but different elements of it, and I'll often weave it into a story. “But there was a kind of urgency to be more direct about these things on this album - we should be looking at why they are carrying knives and getting into trouble or getting coked up on a Monday night down in the pub. We need to focus on giving them more options and other things to be passionate about.
“In a way some people will feel the songs are too preachy, but we will get a lot of people who these songs have really meant something to and hit home, and that is more important. The subjects I choose to write about, I will happily put myself up as a target, for those who don't agree, if that is what I have to do to get through to those people it is helping and making a difference to. I am happy to take that hit,” he adds.
Amazingly for such a well-together duo, who seem to spar and feed from each other’s energy both on record and when they play live, the writing of these songs is done individually.
“We rarely actually sit down together with a track and work on it - it is better if we allow each other the space and the time to develop the track, rather than have one of us peering over the other's shoulder,” explains Pip.
“When Dan sends me a load of beats, I'll naturally jump on the ones that sound like will fit something I have already written - that is how we work.”
Regardless of how they record, this a winning combination - the acerbic wit and master wordplay of Pip, matched by the dancey-grimey, zeitgeist-inducing beats of Dan.
“For me it is a development from the last album, it feels like Dan and I have got to know each other's ways and techniques a lot more and we have both developed a fair bit - and yeah, it feels like a really nice progression,” says Pip simply.
“It shows slightly that a lot of it was written on the road, because there are a few more banging, up tempo tracks, but there is still more chilled out points and reflective areas, but there are more ones that go across amazingly live, so it feels really good,” he adds.
Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip play in Dolan’s Warehouse on Friday, April 23.

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