Sunday 18 February 2018

Q&A: Scroobius Pip

On critics, radiohead and singing in libraries

Ed Power

Ed Power

Critics don't like you much, do they? Pitchfork gave your first album 0.2 out of 10!

One of the advantages of the internet is that everyone can have an opinion. It's better to do something that splits people. We'd rather get some kind of reaction that none at all. If we were even more underground than we are now, we'd only be getting reviewed by people who were into us. It would be a biased view. It's good to get the mixture.

You sampled Radiohead. Aren't they notoriously protective of their catalogue?

We wrote Letter from God to Man with that specific sample [from Planet Telex, opening track on The Bends] in mind. It's intrinsic to the song. If we couldn't get it cleared, it wouldn't be on the album. We didn't meet them directly, but we approached them through various intermediaries. It was great getting that final clearance.

Why not take the old-skool route of slapping it on the album and devil take the consequences?

'Erm... you can't really do that these days. You will get sued. Radiohead are a band we've been been into for a long time. We wanted to go about it the right way. If it hadn't been cleared we would have given it away for free. Slinging it on the album and waiting to see what happened wouldn't have worked.

Your new album,The Logic of Chance, is a meditation on the state of 21st-century Britain. Sounds like bit of a downer.

We're looking at different angles and approaches. Different sides of society. We've been touring a lot of the UK and Europe. Coming home after being on the road for ages, the positives and the negatives [of Britain] are highlighted.

Do you subscribe to the 'Broken Britain' theory, which states the UK is in inexorable decay?

No... not really. We do have a habit of putting labels on things, of saying, 'it's all gone to pot'. It's all very well acknowledging the problem. But you should try to improve things instead of going 'Broken Britain' and throwing your hands in their air. We need to be pro-active.

One UK critic described you as a 'Thatcherite' for saying that.

People are always going to have different opinions. The main point is starting a dialogue and getting this stuff talked about.

Your first big hit was Thou Shalt Always Kill. Actually, for a while it was your ONLY hit. With a new album out, it must be a relief to finally step outside the song's shadow?

We've been touring so much. It always felt like a development over the years anyway.

You once did a tour of libraries in the UK. Why?

It was really good fun. It's good to do something different, for ourselves and for people attending. It's a variation on the gigs we do all the time.

Are you a poet who raps? Or a rapper who writes poetry? Or just a guy with a scary beard?

I tend to go with 'spoken word performer'. I still do a lot of spoken words shows, stuff that's a capella. So that covers it all.

The Logic of Chance by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip is out now

Irish Independent

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