Podcast Review: Distraction Pieces

distraction pieces coverNAMED after the 2nd album from former UK hip-hop collaborators Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Distraction Pieces is the latter’s podcast. Having started it back in October 2014, each week you can listen to him interviewing a guest on a particular topic and getting to the nittiest of the gritty. As Scroob says himself, “No trivial bite-sized comments to be found here, we’ll get to the bottom of what matters to both us and our guests.”

He’s not wrong. With no regular running time, the shows go until Pip and his guest have gotten everything out of the week’s discourse they can, with shows lasting anywhere between 60 and 120 minutes, sometimes stretching across more than one show if there’s a lot being said, like in August’s two-part Greenpeace special . It’s refreshing to hear an unrestrained delve into both the topic and the guest, and the podcast does well not to creep into interview territory, especially given some of the names that have appeared so far.

Everyone seems welcome; the comedian Romesh Ranganathan, the actor Nick Frost, model/activist Gail Porter, musician Frank Turner and even Dr. Suzi Gage for a show discussing drugs and correlations to mental/physical health. The guests aren’t always subject-related and again it’s nice to hear the thoughts of someone whose not an authority in their field, the relaxed atmosphere Pip has created in these recordings is apparent throughout the shows and it feels as though people speak their minds more freely. It does a better job of removing the barrier between the audience and the content than I’ve heard almost anywhere else because Pip speaks so candidly and sounds so under-produced. Very much separate from his on-stage persona he is softly-spoken and occasionally stutters, and carefully nudges the discussion along throughout the podcast.  Guests are given every opportunity to speak an Pip never ignores a response, instead exploring each answer as it comes and seeing what they find.

Some people might be put off by the slower pace of the show but it never drags; with interesting guests and massive topics to address there’s so much scope that the conversation never lulls. However, though a lot is discussed over the episodes, the feeling at the end of them is that while there may be more to chew over, Pip and his visitor have spoken for as long as they can about such complex issues. It ends as Pip says when they “get to the bottom of what matters most to both us and our guests.” It would be unreasonable to expect each show to reach a conclusion or sum up what’s been discussed and would fly in the face of the podcast’s mission statement. The shows feel like more of a look at part an ongoing discourse rather than a summary, and lets the listener expand their knowledge separately after being welcomed into a friendly and judgement-free conversation.

This isn’t a show I found I could listen to episodes of back-to-back but instead had to take them on individually, stopping to savour them and reflect on what I’d heard, go away and look into it with more depth. If you’ve got an inquiring mind and what to hear some honest and eloquent thoughts this is something you can’t overlook. They’re all incredibly interesting and the size of them (both in scale of discussion and length of show) can intimidate, but I strongly recommend this podcast though. There’s a lot to enjoy and a lot to be learned from all the guests and Pip himself, now a multi-dimensional mover and shaker in the alternative media scene, with his own record label, solo albums, and more strangely his appearance as a UFC pundit on BT Sport.

This podcast is worth a good and proper listen, especially for fans of The Joe Rogan Experience and the like (Rogan himself was a guest this year). You can find it all on Podbay, iTunes and on Scroob’s site.