dan le sac Interview

dan le sac is a producer and DJ who has the ability to create free flowing beats and intense soundscapes that provide a vivid backbone to all of the projects he has done with Scroobius pip. Last year he brought out Space between the words which showed off the spectrum of capability the music creator has and heightened his status as top DJ. In Repent Replenish Repeat the dark atmosphere is beautifully captured in layers of his soft and upbeat sounds. 

There is a darkness to Repent Replenish Repeat that separates it from the previous two dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip albums, did you intend to make a more intense album or did it just happen?

DlS: To be honest I find it difficult to say. Looking back Angles feels like I was aiming for something just out of reach, yet with Logic of Chance I had developed my production abilities so I could reach those places but got caught up in the process over the emotion. With RRR I feel like I found the fire ofAngles and been able to apply it. Strangely the biggest influence on this was my solo record, Space Between the Words, it was a chance for me to stretch myself without any real pressure.

How do you go about making the music for dan le sac vs Scroobius pip? Do you produce the track and then Scroobius Pip puts lyrics over it, or is it the other way around?

DlS: It can go either way, the first few tracks usually come along music first but as an album develops that can flip. We started this album with a huge amount of music, I had worked up a lot of the initial ideas during writing Space Between the Words, so as Pip started whittling the ideas down a pattern started to appear that we could both follow and bounce around.

Do you think it’s important to try and experiment with new sounds in the tracks you produce?

DlS: Always, I’m not someone who’s happy sticking in one place musically for very long. Everything I do it a result of me fiddling around with new ideas.

Have you got a favourite track on the album and if so, why?

DlS: It changes day to day! Stunner is always going to be a favourite, I’m proud of how close it is to the idea I had in my head.

The music you make is quite unique, who influences your sound?

DlS: Everything! Joy Division, Godspeed you! Black Emperor, Raymond Scott, Delia Derbyshire, Kraftwerk, Caberet Voltaire, El-P, Nick Cave, Nathan Fake, Clark, Jon Hopkins, Martyn, anything on Factory Records, everything on Warp, the entirety of Northern Soul, basically anything I can get my ears around.

You did a track called Gold Teeth with Flux Pavilion, how did that collaboration come about?

DlS: It’s kinda all on Scroob that one, he knows Flux throw Doctor P I think and we all just got it together. The beat itself was something I put together in 45mins on an afternoon then Josh and I bounced back and forth over for a month or so. It was fun, I definitely learnt a lot from it too.

If you could pick anyone else to work on a track with you, who would you choose?

DlS: Now that is certainly too hard to answer,  so many people I could learn from out there it difficult to think where to start. Weirdly at the moment though, the person I most want to work with is me! It’s been a long time since I worked entirely without collaboration and although it’s daunting, I think that’s the next route I’d like to pursue.

Between releasing The Logic of Chance and Repent Replenish Repeat you released Space Between the Words. Are there any song ideas that came out of doing solo work that you thought would be really good for working on with Pip?

DlS: I’d say 70% of RRR comes out of Space Between the Words, whether I knew it or not at the time!

In the music video for the track Stunner we get to see you using some of your hardware, what’s your favourite setup for producing music and playing live?

DlS: On the producing front it all about getting notes on the page, so my bass guitar and piano always need to be close at hand, as for live I always feel like it’s key to avoid relying on the Laptop, the MPC and KaossPads might not be as rock&roll as a Tele & a Marshall stack but it’s my way of making sure the crowd get a performance!

How did you first get into producing music?

DlS: My cousin, Billy Poskitt Jnr, got me into music full stop when I was a kid, my brothers were no use with their Phil Collins and Jodeci obsessions. Bill’s focus was always the emotion of a track first before the production, which is something I still try to do today. At about 14 I got an Atari ST & a cracked version of Cubase and taught myself all I could.

Although you’re busy touring Repent Replenish Repeat, have you got anything else planned for when you have some free time?

DlS: Just writing as much as possible, as I said above I’d like to write a true solo record with no outside help, but also there’s a couple of other projects (under different names) I’m working on, which have more of a defined direction, but it might be a bit too soon to talk about that!

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Scroobius Pip interview

Scroobius Pip has become a much loved pop culture icon in the United Kingdom, standing against bad music and doing his best to support independent musicians through live shows, radio shows and his own music label. Rising in status while avoiding corporate publicity he and dan le sac released their fastest selling record Repent Replenish Repeat in October 2013.

There is a darkness to this album that separates it from the previous two, did you intend to make a more intense album or did it just happen?

SP: A lot of people have said this! And I tend to then point out that the first album included tracks about self harm, suicide and revenge murder. And the second covered subjects including domestic violence and the crumbling of society! So, no, there wasn’t a clear intent here! Haha. As far as I knew I was just continuing down the path I had been treading for some time.

You are renowned for writing lyrics about touchy subjects and Repent Replenish Repeat is no exception. Are there any lyrics you write that you think are a little too controversial or delicate to release?

SP: Not really. I mean, there were a few on this album that I was worried would be misinterpreted simply because people may assume they know who or what they are referring to…but that’s something you just have to accept as a writer. If you are releasing…and indeed SELLING your work to people then they have bought the right to interpret it as they see fit. So I try to just let that go. I don’t always succeed in doing so…but I try my best!

02You use new media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube a lot in promoting your work. Do you think that you wouldn’t have been as successful in staying independent from major record labels and mainstream journalism without these kinds of media outlets?   

SP: 100%. These networks and sites have been absolutely key in giving US the power to release the way we wish to, and then giving our fanbase the power to make it successful or not. I think you have nailed the three that have made the biggest difference for us of recent years (obviously we came up in the Myspace wave). Although I think the one I enjoy most is Instagram. But that may just be because I get in less trouble there.

You’ve been very busy with We Are Lizards, Edinburgh festival, the XFM show and Speech Development Records. Where did you find the time to write the new album?

SP: I became single! Simple as that. Haha. I had a realisation a year or two ago that artists DO work hard, but many do so sporadically. I realised that, when I worked at HMV, I would be up at the crack of dawn and working long hours every day. So I started to do that when not touring. I started to set my alarm. Get up early. Be at my desk to start work nice and early…and then work until its “home” time. There are a shocking amount of hours in the day when you don’t fill them with films, TV and computer games. But NOW I must confess that I fail at this a LOT as I love films, TV and computer games.

You’ve set a high standard with your lyrics both in terms of the concepts you tackle and the quality in general. Do you feel more of a pressure when writing lyrics now that your fans have come to expect so much?

SP: I’m not sure if I feel pressure but EVERY time I start a new record I am pretty sure I’m out of ideas. I always have that feeling that I’ve fluked it up until now. But somehow something tends to come up just at the right time. And when I feel that is no longer happening, I will stop. Content with all that has come so far.

Have you got a favorite track on Repent Replenish Repeat and if so, why?

SP: I’m not sure really! I really enjoyed writing to the music dan created for Terminal and You Will See Me. I loved all of his work on this album but they were a particularly fun experience as they were largely beatless. Just beautifully crafted soundscapes that I had to figure out how to weave words into.

How do you pick and choose the topics you write about?

SP: There is no real cut and dry system. I will note stuff a lot. Whether that be lyrics, words, subjects or concepts. And then I tend to just go through it all and it works as a coded diary as to what has moved me in recent months.

Why did you choose to end Repent Replenish Repeat with the anger of You Will See Me?

SP: What could follow it?! That was genuinely the reason. And I don’t mean that in a “it’s so awesome” way. Just literally, it builds up such raw tension and power that it felt any song that came after it we would have to concede that no one would pay attention to the first 30 seconds or so as they would still be recovering.

If you could pick anyone to work on a track with you that haven’t already, who would you choose?

SP: I’m not sure really! A lot of the people I idolise (Prince, Kate Bush) are people that I don’t really feel I would bring much to the table with at this stage. I’m not on their level! And then there is the fact that I regularly get to work with dan le sac and have had the chance to work with Danny Lohner, Travis Barker, Steve Mason, Flux Pavilion, Doctor P and many more! So I’m pretty happy with that right now.

What five up and coming artists would you say people should be checking out at the moment?

SP: Young Fathers

WarrenPeace

B Dolan

Vic Mensa

Cory Jreamz

For the readers, what advice would you give to spoken word artists and poets just starting off?

SP: Work work work. Write until you are too excited to keep it to yourself, then hit every open mic you can find and perform it for anyone and everyone that will listen.