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!
You 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
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.