You’ll know him as the bearded half of electro hip-hop duo dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip. Dan takes control of all backing sounds and Pip is the lyricist, so you’d be forgiven for wondering how a Scroobius Pip solo record would work.
Scroobius Pip (real name David Peter Meads) is a modern wordsmith, a high brow MC, weaving the personal, political and popular in a hard-hitting, fast paced, provocative style. Growing up in Essex “loving punk, hardcore and metal”, Scroobius now cites his influences as Sage Francis, B Dolan, Saul Williams, Guilford Harron and Polar Bear, some of whom appear on his new album Distraction Pieces. One track ‘Domestic Silence’, has a Rage Against the Machine ‘Know Your Enemy’ feel, which Scroobius readily affirms, “At the end there’s a repetition of the words ‘domestic silence’ which is completely ripped off of Rage’s ‘All of which are American Dreams, all of which are American dreams’”. Scroobius is open about his admiration for the band and its frontman Tom Morello, and his hopes for working with him in the future, although the similarities in sound and theme stop just there. Scroobius’s new album is aggressive yet non-committal. The topics are serious but he poses no solution. As an artist, he is opinionated – part of a sub culture – and acknowledges his own prejudices having grown up in a working class home, but he avoids producing propaganda. The beauty of it is his aim is not to indoctrinate your opinion but activate your brain. Instead of campaigning for revolution, he promotes discussion.
The first single off the album is called ‘Let Em Come’ (see backstage on the video to your right). The video took a week to conceive, “But I changed it 100% in that week. When the riots kicked off I was in Croydon. The initial idea for the video was police protesting against the cuts, and then the question of who’s going police the police? It was going be me, Billy Bragg, The King Blues and Steve Mason. That was all good but as soon as the riots happened, any video with riots in would feel like it was cashing in on a really terrible situation.” On whether he thinks music has a responsibility to society, Scroobius said, “Music is a reflection of society, if society is this way it will be reflected in the music.” Considering some of the themes in the album were written way before they emerged as serious cultural issues, there’s a strong sense of prophesy running throughout.
With all the excitement and furore around his solo material, hardcore Sac vs Scroobius fans should note they are definitely not over, there’s no hard feelings, and you’ve not heard the last from the duo yet. i-D online caught some time with Scroobius to find out more.
Scroobius Pip’s new album Distraction Pieces is available on Amazon.
Text: Deni Kirkova
Film: Matt Greenfield
Photography: Craig Thomas