How We Met: Dan Le Sac & Scroobius Pip
'On tour we have to have separate rooms, because Dan snores... And he's always late'
Sunday 03 August 2008
Dan Le Sac 29(real name Dan Stephens) is an electronic musician whose top-50 hit "Thou Shalt Always Kill", recorded with Scroobius Pip, has had more than 1.5m hits on YouTube. He lives in Reading with his partner
I knew of Pip from back when I was about 17. We both grew up near Basildon, Essex, and there was a club there called Bullseye that any indie kid from 20 miles around would go to. At that time I was seeing this girl who, a few years later, ended up being with Mr Pip for three years or more.
Even though I didn't really know him at all then, I have this photo of him with two other blokes dressed up like the Beastie Boys in the "Sabotage" video. (He had some sort of trucker 'tache thing for a while. The beard is more recent. It suits him. Without it he has a funny-shaped head and his eyes are quite narrow.)
He used to hang around and smoke weed at my college. Our groups overlapped, but I don't play too well with others, so it wasn't until I'd finished uni that we found ourselves working together.
In late 2001 he had a job as a Christmas temp at the HMV I was working in. He and these two guys there became this comedy team. They were the funniest people I'd ever seen. Then he started seeing this girl at work who I was good friends with and I think that's one of the reasons we didn't get close; there is always tension when you start seeing someone who has really good male friends. She was an ex of one of his best friends, it was all intertwined. They went out for years. To this day, we don't talk about all that. I suppose because we're blokes and don't want to offend each other.
We were always acquaintances rather than mates and since we've been working together we're close, but it's easy to see how we could irritate the hell out of each other. There is a certain distance too, because he will not engage. We can be talking about what is, in essence, our career and you literally have to pull him in to get anything out of him. He's in a world of his own.
We both have to want to do something to make it happen, but because I have to pay rent while he lives at home, I always say yes to everything, and some of his decisions astound me. We'll get offered a gig and I'll want to say yes, but he'll be like, "Oh, I was going to go and see a film that night."
For our first proper tour last September, he took one pair of jeans and ripped them in the crotch on the second night. He spent the rest of the tour taping them together with silver gaffer tape. By the end, he was going on stage looking like he was wearing one of those things you swing babies in.
Scroobius Pip, 26, is a spoken-word artist and musician. After working at HMV for five years, he left to put out a self-financed spoken-word album in 2006. This year, he collaborated with Dan Le Sac on the top-40 album "Angles". He lives at home in Essex with his mum
Before HMV we weren't really mates; in fact, we were probably verging on enemies at some points. I remember Dan from when I used to hang out at his college; he had this retro look, he'd wear thick brown cords and had those sideburns – I swear he was born with them. I noticed him because he was another alternative kid. He wasn't just a Ben-Sherman-shirt-and-white-trainers person, as there are so many of in Essex. So I knew him, but let's just say that I didn't have his phone number.
Then there was the history of this girl we'd both gone out with. When I started at HMV, though, all that was behind us and we never really talked about it. We didn't really connect musically. You don't really go around work going, "Here's this CD of my music, have a listen." But then, as cheesy as it sounds, I went to his MySpace page and there, while you're chatting, the music is all presented instantly. It really forced our stuff on each other.
He did some remixes of things I'd done, then he fired me over some beats and said, "Let's try writing together." Within an hour and a half, I'd rewritten something I'd been working on and emailed it to him. He created a MySpace page called Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and put that track, "Thou Shalt Always Kill", on it. Suddenly, it went crazy – everyone was emailing the tune to other people, so the only thing to do was borrow £200 and make a video. We started to get radio play and bookings and it was only a couple of months later that we realised we were a band. It was never a conscious decision. Which is nice.
Now we spend a lot of time together but also realise that we are both individuals who need plenty of space. On tour, we have to have separate bedrooms because Dan snores. Also, he's always late, which causes tension, because I get to places early and hang about. So he'll get there and go, "I'm only 20 minutes late." But that will be nearly an hour late to me.
Even though we butt heads along the way, that's what happens with a working relationship. And funny things do come out of it. In Glasgow, on our tour last year, we had a support band and one of them met a lady. This guy was sharing rooms with Dan and he and this girl went back to the room and were about to perform a sex act when they realised Dan was in bed facing them and they couldn't tell if he was asleep. So they rolled him over to face the wall. He claims he slept through the whole thing. Now I think of it, all of our rock'n'roll stories are about antics our support acts get up to while we're asleep.
'Angles' is out now on Sunday Best Recordings. This summer they are playing at the Reading, Leeds and Bestival festivals
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