“I am not starting until everybody is ready,” Professor Elemental mocks himself in his most English, teachery voice. He claims to have held gigs back for an uncomfortably long period of time waiting for the audience to pay attention.
Admitting he used to be a teacher, the self-described gentleman rapper also uses the term “benign dictator” as he recounts getting the Larmer Tree Festival audience to conga and considers what might possibly go down at his next gig with The Gaslight Troubadors at Boomtown (13-16 August).
Friday at Larmer Tree on the Garden Stage was the first gig they’d played together, despite collaborating on an EP, so they were relieved it went so well. The marriage seemed inevitable.
The Gaslight Troubadors, Professor Singleton Purblind and Lon Lippincott , claimed that they never set out to be a steam punk band but their first album, Clockwork Curiosities piqued the interest of the scene.
“We’ve only done one steam punk event and there’s no one definable music style…so anyone that claims to be a steam punk band, I think they’re liars,” Lippincott said.
“We’d go to gigs and it would be 90% metal bands, I would have said, rock bands, and so when you meet someone like Elemental and he’s doing hip hop it’s like yes, OK, that’s going to work,” added Purblind.
It feels like they’ve known each other for years as they trade banter like a shuttlecock over a high net. Elemental sports a British flag shirt and his customary pith helmet and goggles. Purblind is wearing pinstriped trousers and Converse and carrying a silver toy trumpet.
“We were actually just making music and the next moment we were curating a steam punk hour on Tom Robinson’s 6 Music show,” Lippincott said.
“Everyone was asking, what is steam punk? And everybody was simply really curious about this idea.”
Elemental had an answer to this, saying it’s a scene for nice nerds who don’t really fit into any other social grouping.
“The best definition I’ve ever been able to come up with, about this is, it’s like a comic convention and a fetish night had a baby, in Victorian times, in the future,” he said.
Having completed live gig no. 1 they’re now excited about their next gig together at Boomtown, although they fear a conga line with the Boomtown crowd could be the beginning of some kind of riot.
This somehow leads on to a question about what should the Greeks do now, to which the answer was that the Greeks should conga.
“I’m all about a sort of a gentle anarchy, let’s all riot but don’t, you know, don’t make a mess,” Elemental urged.
Listen to the interview and an exclusive musical response to the Greek question in our interview below:
Words and photography by Jessica Smith and Christopher Smith