WITCHPOLICE RADIO: All right, welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here with a returning guest. I guess you've been on the show a bunch of times, dating way back to the very early days when it wasn't really even the same podcast as it is now. But you were on most recently, I guess it was a couple of years ago. And you have a new record out. I think before I get too far ahead of myself, you should probably introduce yourself and give a bit of background about who you are, because that's typically how we start the show.
PIP SKID: Okay. Well, thanks for having me again, Sam. I appreciate it. Yeah, my name is Pip Skid. I make rap music, I guess.
WR: Okay. That's very succinct that works, though, for sure. And you have a new record out, which I guess, is why we're doing this now. I'm always happy to have you on the show, so I guess that might be a starting point. I mean, I think the last time I talked to you, I'm not even sure what you had released at that point. Was that the record you did with Rob, or was that something else you had out back when we last spoke?
PS: Yeah. Probably would have been the Pandemic record with Rob. With Rob Crooks. And, yeah, I think we talked about me possibly making this record. I have a new record out with Mcenroe on Peanuts and Corn. Which, it turns out, it's been, I guess, 18 years since the two of us made a record together since Funny Farm. Like a Pip Skid solo record, anyway, which… the math on that? I thought it was wrong at first.
WR: It sounds wrong. I know Funny Farm came out a while ago now, but 18 years seems like way too long. But I guess time doesn't exist anymore.
PS: No. Absolutely not. I've been drinking these Zevia colas like crazy.
WR: Are they any good?
PS: Yeah, they take a minute to get used to, but, I mean, trying not to have sugar in your life, I think they're fantastic.
PS: Anyway, it was a long time. Very long time. And so it was really fun to work with Rod again. Ideally, we had ideas, maybe like, maybe we can, like, both drive out to Moose Jaw, wherever the halfway point would be, and rent an Airbnb and record together. But as everything just kind of stretched on, it was the first time made a record where we weren't together.
PS: In a sense, I was sort of I like the idea of being around someone, especially with the producer, where you're able to where you're able to just sit together and be like, can you try this? Can you try this? Because I think some things get just kind of lost, where I would be up till 05:00 a.m. And I would send Rod, like, a million ideas, and then he'd be working so he wouldn't get to them for a week. And then it's just ideal to be in the same room. But yeah, I'm really happy with the record we made.
PS: I feel like after however many… 30 years of writing rap music or whatever it's been, that I'm finally just starting to get the hang of it.
WR: Okay, why is that? What didn't you have the hang of before? Because I think that you have a pretty extensive catalog at this point, as a solo artist and with various groups and things like that, what has changed?
PS: I don't know. It felt like. You’re like, figuring it out, but I feel like I'm a little bit closer. It just feels more natural and easier to write than it ever did.
PS: I mean, when I first started writing, it came pretty quick, but it wasn't very good. Right. So now I just feel like maybe that has something to do with age, too. That said, there's a long way I guess all that to say, I feel revitalized again with making music. Like I have new places to go again.
WR: Okay. Is some of that, in part because there's a lot to kind of react to in terms of what's going on in the world? Because it feels like this album kind of first got announced almost with that anthem song you did, the song about not standing for the anthem. That was the first single that came out from this kind of, I guess, group of songs. Right? And that was obviously a reaction to what was going on publicly.
PS: Yeah, for sure. Personally, I think I was so burnt out for so long when I was working, running Studio 393, that you're helping so many people with their art and music that I just had no capacity for my own anymore.
PS: There absolutely is no shortage of bullshit to talk about. But also, just, I don't know. It just sort of flows again, which it wasn't for a while, the taps. There's water in the well again, I guess now that I said that, I'm going to go through some sort of fucking six year writing drought again, yeah.
WR: Because of this interview. Is that in terms of quality as well as quantity, are you just kind of churning out more material, writing more often than you would and having better quality stuff? Or is it one or the other?
PS: I don't know. I feel like it's sort of self edits itself now. Just in the process in which I'm writing. I'm just sort of finding a way to be in the moment. That said, it's also a lot simpler in a sense. Not that I'm saying less, but I'm saying the same amount with fewer words. I suppose. As a rapper, I was always so envious of pop musicians and rock musicians, where when you stretch those lyrics out on a piece of paper, there's not a lot there.
WR: It's a couple of paragraphs. Yeah.
PS: And then I was like, shit, man. For me to write a minute long verse, it's like four pieces of fucking paper. I think I mentioned this last time, but I have a record with Crabskull. While I was writing this record, Crab was sending me some newer beats. But I have one that I wrote with him about six years ago.
PS: And I've since written three or four more songs in the last half a year for that project.
PS: All I need to do is basically go into a studio and then into our house studios, and do that one.
WR: Cool. And then Rod and I are immediately working on… I don't know if I can announce it yet, but we have a pretty cool EP coming up with a very special sort of guest who we've never made music with before.
PS: So I guess there's also that sort of momentum. That said, it's hard because life is always in the way of when you're not making money with music, it can't be your priority all the time. And so then it's a bit frustrating sometimes. Like, I wake up in the morning and I walk the dog and I just have songs in my head and it's like, shit, if I didn't have to do all this stupid shit, like all day, I could actually just be making so much music. That's a bit frustrating sometimes.
PS: Ideally, I could be just a musician and put out four records a year. But instead, we got to work to buy groceries and shit.
WR: Yeah, for sure.
WR: That's the worst part about everything.
PS: Putting this record out. There was this depressing moment on the day of the release where it's like, oh, man. Like, oh, yeah, okay. It's exciting. You put all this time and love and energy into this thing and then it just gets dumped on these streaming platforms that who gives a shit?
PS: I'm not going to rant about that. But it's just such a terrible, terrible platform for music. And I use them, but as a musician, it's really depressing. Do those songs go anywhere? I mean, some of them I stick in my voice notes and they turn into things. But, it's just like I mean, I'm always singing to the dog. I'm always making up new songs for the dog. I suppose I could make an album of dog songs. Some of them are pretty good, I think, probably.
WR: Working with mcenroe again, I know, like you said, it's been 18 years and you weren't able to do it in person the way you've done everything else. But I imagine you must kind of there's got to be like muscle memory there, just in terms of having worked together for so long and knowing what works in combination with each other.
PS: Rod's always good because he's not… I mean, it can be frustrating as well. But Rod is not a yes man.
PS: Which is good, because you need somebody to say no, or no, I don't like that idea. Or at least if I'm trying to push an idea or present an idea, if I have to explain it, then it helps me in that sense of too, is this idea makes sense or is it worth it?
PS: I guess that's why that 18 years, too seems so long. Because it does feel pretty natural.
PS: I don't have very many records where there were more than one producer. It's so much easier, I find, to work with one person. And to me, a record needs to play like a set list. It needs to have a linear sort of path. It should play front to back. I know that that's not how people digest music anymore, but that's how I like to approach it and make it.
WR: Yeah, I agree with that completely. All my favorite records are usually produced by one person or a team of people. Because you have that cohesion from start to finish, for sure.
PS: Yeah. Anyone who hits shuffle is a fucking psychopath.
PS: With I know this isn't music, but when I was turning Netflix on the other day, they had some sort of button you can push that just says, like, surprise.
WR: Yeah. Who would do that? Why would you want to get a random… I'm watching something I want to watch.
PS: Yeah. Same thing with music. There's the odd time where an album will play on itunes and, , the algorithm is dope for a while, but very rarely there's a reason why I'm listening to something and it's like, I don't want a surprise birthday party. I don't want to surprise, like yeah.
WR: You don't want a robot telling you what you should like.
PS: Yeah. And I like to listen to records. Listening to this new Quelle Chris record is just like, the way the record runs from start to back is just so interesting. And it's such a joy to listen to something like that.
WR: Right. But then it's frustrating to know that 90% of the people listening to it aren't even doing it in that order. They're grabbing bits and pieces. And with your record, too, it sucks. But that's kind of the way of the world, right?
PS: Yeah. For sure, is what it is. When I first presented Rod with the track list, I gave him a couple, like two different A and B. Here are my two ideas for the track list for the album. And they both look fine to me. But we can't do that because all the singles have to be within the first the four singles have to be within the first, like six tracks. The way it has to go. Because that's the way it works now, which we actually didn't end up doing. Like, one of them is later in the record. But I was just like, yeah, of course. That's the way it's supposed to go now. In reality, who gives a shit? Because how many people are going to listen to this record anyway? Or they'll cherry pick through it anyway, right?.
WR: Do you make any effort to, like, make a record for that? Or do you just go about the way you normally would without even giving a shit about how people are going to probably pick it apart? Does it impact the songwriting or anything?
PS: No, all the early process stuff with the songwriting and everything is just so… I'm never writing anything where I'm like, someone's going to hear this. It's just I mean, if I start thinking in that way, it's not good for the creative process, I don't think if it's ever there, it’s more like, would Birdapres think that this was a good line?
WR: Your peers, right.
PR: Or like, would so and so sound good on this song? You know what I mean? It's just like, other than that, it's just kind of trying to lose yourself.
WR: That's almost a good way to do it. It's almost a benefit of the way things are now, though, is that you don't have to worry about who's going to be listening to it because you have no idea at this point. It could be anyone. It could be some guy in Bulgaria, right? Like just finding it online on Spotify or something. And he got recommended to him. So you can do that without having to worry about is it going to sell? Is it going to do any of that stuff? You may have worried about that before.
PS: Yeah, for sure. I guess the plus side to not making any money off music is that you don't have to worry about you don't have to worry about getting dropped from your label or, like, will my fans like this record or whatever, because there are none in the first place.
WR: Right. And if they are, you probably know a lot of them personally, and you can get feedback directly.
PS: Yeah. I guess that's the positive side to that. I imagine the pressure to create that is put on somebody to create a hit once they've had one is a pretty good way to ruin someone's life, I believe it. Yeah. Or any sort of creative output.
PS: You're trying to make that next magic happen or whatever.
PS: No magic here. No magic.
WR: How much is the visual art side of things impacted on this record? Because looking at you right now on the Zoom call behind you, you got all these drawings and you put out a calendar recently. You're obviously doing designs for shirts and stuff like that to go accompany this record. Not to continually talk about how bad the world is with the Internet and the way people listen to music, but how important is having that element of it in an era where people aren't necessarily even looking at it? Because it seems important to you in the way you present your stuff.
PS: Yeah. I don't know why, I have no idea why, but I don't think I've really done cover art for any of my records. I guess I did the first Farm Fresh one, but I did, like, some Rob Crooks ones, and I did some other stuff. But, yeah, I was just like, why am I not making my own cover art? And then I wanted to I mean, the theme with this record was…a number of the songs on the album are related to working class struggle and class war and sort of the ongoing just the crushing of the working person.
WR: Nice, happy themes there.
PS: Yeah. And so then the black cat that shows up in a lot of the art is a symbol of the illegal strike and the black cat strike and the sort of IWW, anarchist excuse me approach to… socialist sort of view of labour and done in the I wanted to do it cartoony and sort of the style of the cartoon violence with the Sylvester sort of killing the black cat's. Journey to Kill the Monopoly Man and Eat the Rich and dah dah dah dah dah. Again, with having a theme and stuff for the art to go with the record made sense to me.
WR: Cool. Well and I think that people are expecting maybe not that specific of a theme, but these kind of themes in your music. It's not something new that you've been talking about this kind of stuff over the past decades now, right?
PS: Yeah, for a long time.
PS: Unfortunately, all of the politics that we've always addressed in the music is still those issues are still as present as ever.
WR: Yeah, that's kind of what I was going to ask you next. The idea of probably listening back to some of your old stuff from 20 years ago and hearing that these concerns you have that you were very vocally concerned about, that they haven't been resolved right. If not the same status quo, it might even be worse now. Like, how do you feel about that? It's like just realizing that, you know, just kind of like this never ending cycle of writing this stuff and of putting these messages out there and nothing seems to really change. Like, are you hopeful at all that the world is going to get better? Or are we just in a giant shithole that's just continuing to get deeper?
PS: Yeah. No, I mean, I don't have much help in any sort of good change happening. You have to have, like, something going on to get up every day. There's ‘So Many Cops’ on the record. I have some lines about… yhe line doesn't pop into my head, but just how long I've been saying the same thing about cops and that it's refreshing to see that those ideas have now gone pop. Been here for years and these pigs are a handful…. but are these ideas more are these some of these more leftist ideas? Are they more prevalent now? Or is it just, I'm in such a bubble, right? That's what I'm seeing on social media feeds and wherever and the people that I interact with, as a whole, I don't think the world is obviously moving anywhere close to the right direction. I mean, we're fucked in any which way you turn, even no matter how bad politics get and how many terrible things and how many rights are taken away and how many this or that happens regardless of Earth isn't going to sustain us anyway. It's just such a shit show. Not that it's not worth fighting for, while we're here. I guess I am. There is somehow but it's bleak.
WR: Yeah, it is, for sure. Well, I guess that's the reason to do it though, right? To keep writing about this stuff is because all the bleakness, there's some kind of hope that someone's going to get it. And maybe some of these ideas are going to catch on, like you said. Right?
PS: For me, too, as fun as it is to just make a song, sometimes it feels way sometimes, it feels wasteful to me, especially as of late. And not that the world doesn't need that stuff, of course. The world needs cool songs of all genres to just put on and feel good or fucking vibe to or whatever. But for me personally, to be making music, even if it's not political, I need to be saying something. Even if it's just whatever it is.
WR: Is it cathartic to let that stuff out on a song?
PS: Yeah. Especially when you're writing it -- not so much after for me anyway. Once it's written, it's just another recipe that you make. It's like that same fucking pasta dish you always do. It just gets tired. Does that make any sense?
WR: It does, yeah. It's a weird analogy, but yeah, it does make sense for sure. That just took a really dark turn. Except for the past apart. But yeah, but I get it. I don't know if I can be for everyone who listens to your stuff, but I feel like you have a lot of songs kind of over the history of your music making that are good to listen to when you're pissed off about something because not just your stuff too. I mean, the reason I listen to a lot of really heavy stuff is because I'm mad about things. And I want to kind of feel like whether it's aggression or someone saying something that I can relate to, there's a reason for that. There's a reason people want to hear someone addressing things that are pissing them off because you can connect to it. I can't sing or rap or any of that, but I can hear someone else doing it and feel that vibe. Right.
PS: Yeah. And I guess with that too, Rod just keeps reminding me that the record isn't a dark record.
PS: I mean, according to him anyway, there's always humor and things added in to the old sugar… to the sugar to help the shit go down or whatever the saying is.
WR: Yeah, for sure.
PS: Not a dystopian record or something.
WR: And then at this point, where can people find this on the streaming services? And Bandcamp is obviously also where to get it. But are there physical copies available or coming out? Or is it strictly digital at this point?
PS: There's a run of 50 CDs that are available on Bandcamp. And we were thinking of doing vinyl. But the wait time was just like forever. If you're not a touring musician to buy vinyl that you're not going to get for eleven months after the record comes out, it's a scary gamble. Yeah. Maybe not on the road working that. I would like to do tapes. I don't know. Maybe I'll find someone who wants to do that. I just have so much limited time in my life. In the past, I would just cut a bunch of tapes. Shirts and merch and stuff available through me. A few hours ago I was trying to figure out, I want to do a release party of some sort that causes me the least amount of anxiety possible. Trying to figure out how that looks. In my neighborhood, there's this strange little sort of traveling tour where different musicians in the neighborhood play sets in their front yard.
PS: Different times of the night. And some people can walk or ride their bikes, , around and stop it at each front yard. I might just fold that into my album release party. I don't know yet.
WR: Those are the best kind of shows anyway. Like where you're just sitting in someone's yard or on the street watching someone play.
WR: I don't like people anymore, so I prefer shows at my own house where I can control everything totally.
PS: Ness and I went to see Rap Fereirra the other night, which I'm glad I went, but we sat in the car for like, ten minutes trying to convince each other whether we should go in or just leave.
WR: Well, I think that the pandemic has really added to people's anxiety over that. I was already like that, and a lot of people were already like that before. And this has just made it worse. I want to go to so many shows, but I haven't because the same thing. I don't know. Should I go in here with all these people or should I just stay home and listen to a record and be safe and comfortable and get my dog there and eat some chips?
PS: And what wins out, the chips?
WR: The dog, for sure.
PS: Of course. Right?