For a fleeting moment, Dan Le Sac thought I was cool.
But that’s because I mumbled my introduction.
“You’re calling from a news chopper, an actual news chopper? No f***ing way. That’s awesome.”
Sadly, I was not circling over Dan Le Sac’s house but calling from the marginally less impressive News Shopper, so we got down to business – discussing LeeFest, beards, testicles and admin.
In July, the unsual electronic/hip hop/ spoken word duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip will headline LeeFest, the festival in Warlingham which began eight years ago in the back garden of Lee Denny’s parents’ house in Beckenham.
Dan said: “It’s a cool festival. Lee has done well.
“I’ve met him a few times and I have DJ’d for him. His is a pretty cool story.”
There is a parallel in both Lee’s story and that of Dan and Pip’s. In both cases, success has been the result of persistence, hard work and a decent slice of luck.
Both Dan and Pip worked in HMV in Essex before deciding to pursue music full-time in 2006, with Dan the DJ/producer and Scroobius Pip the wordsmith.
Pip’s moniker – his real name is David Meads - is derived from a deliberate misspelling of an Edward Lear poem, while I read Dan’s – real name Dan Stephens – is less highbrow and related to the size of his testicles.
Dan said: “Yes, that is the actual 100 per cent true version of it. There are various made-up versions.
“As a little kid I had a hernia. I had an operation to correct that and they broke what they call a hydrocele so the balls got bigger.
“Now I have very normal testicles.
“My brother used to call me Sac Magique (a kids’ TV reference) or various sack-related things – Jabba the Sac.
“It just sort of stuck.
“Dan Le Sac is my nod to that. For a serious producer, it is nice to have testicles in your name.”
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s first single Thou Shalt Always Kill quickly gained attention from DJs and record labels but the grounded pair opted to stay on the independent route with Sunday Best records.
Dan said: “We were getting advice from Rob Da Bank and Ben Turner and it just seemed weird that we hadn’t said ‘why don’t we do it together, guys’.
“They thought we wanted big suitcases full of cash but I just wanted a little hold-all full of pound notes, not even legal tender.”
He added: “You need to pay your rent. If you can get yourself to a place where you’re not having to worry every single day about money then you have the opportunity to have the mindspace to be creative.
“Sometimes that nervousness – I know where my rent is for the next six months, but I’m not entirely sure where it is after that – will drive you to work a little bit harder and not rest on your laurels.”
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious Pip’s third album Repent Replenish Repeat (they have each worked on solo projects too) came out last October and charted at number 22, their best effort yet.
While they have a dedicated fan base, the pair still have a DIY ethos. They had a manager once but now do most things themselves, from editing videos to their own accounting.
If Dan had not become a music producer, he thinks he may have pursued a burgeoning career in graphic design.
His multi-talented band mate – who also runs a record label, has a radio show on XFM and “works as a strippergram, but that’s a secret” - may have been more suited to fast food, Dan said.
“There’s something of the Trotters about Pip. He has a t-shirt company, he’s a decent photographer, a director. He does a lot of s**t, he could have been anything.
“I like to think he would end up working in Pizza Hut. He loves pizza and secretly he’d be happy.”
There is plenty more you could say or write about Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip, but if you’re new to them, the chance are you’re just looking at the picture and thinking about their beards, right?
According to Dan, Pip grew his out of necessity in 2006 while touring the country in a van where shaving regularly was troublesome.
He said: “It was easier just to grow a beard and as it got bigger he fell in love with it.
“With me, I would say it is necessity but it is not. Having a beard is a way I can hide my giant ‘tache. One day I am going to shave all the beard off and everyone is going to go ‘oh my god, his ‘tache is enormous.’”