There are a slew of events this week hoping to catch the attention of San Diego locals and tourist alike; however, none have the same esteem as this Saturday’s tour stop with Slightly Stoopid and Atmosphere. Here, we got the chance to talk with Atmosphere about their music, how they view the industry as a whole, and what we can expect from the always adept and insightful indie hip hop group.
The answers may surprise you, if you’re not a behind-the-scenes kind of person and haven’t already learned personal details about the group. DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis) has been described as a melody aficionado, who keeps the music true to Atmosphere’s style without letting the act become stale or redundant. The other half of this duo, rapper Slug (Sean Daley), according to Billboard.com has “polarized the indie rap underground”; words that create really big shoes to walk in.
But the group fits those shoes and struts in them, and they do it with a “swagger” that is nothing like what you expect from the pop/rap machines evolving today; instead, their music breeds curiosity, character, and lyrical intrigue from their fans, making Atmosphere at many times a great hip hop storyteller.
Surprisingly, Slug offers a little humor and possibly a tinge of sarcasm in his responses, showing either a playful side, or maybe a slightly exasperated view of the music industry. Perhaps the contents of their currently untitled 2013 release will offer the whole story, since in my opinion, his rhymes speaks much louder than his words. And in the hip hop world, that can definitely be a good thing.
But, all that being said, if you are curious to read those words, take a tiny peak inside the mind of Atmosphere with the full interview below.
TheIndieSD: How is the tour going with Slightly Stoopid? Any favorite cities so far?
So far it’s been absolutely great. Slightly Stoopid are great dudes, and they have an amazing crew. I don’t really do the favorite city thing. But for the sake of your piece, let’s say that San Diego is the greatest city in the galaxy.
TISD: Atmosphere has been known as a heavily touring act. Do you prefer being on the road or being in the studio?
I have a healthy love for both the studio and the road. If I had to choose one, I’d choose the studio. I like watching the birth of songs.
TISD: What can your fans expect from your tour experience this year that may be different than previous tours?
TISD: There are a lot of bigger venues on the Kickin Up Dust Tour. With these big venues, do you get moments to meet and connect with a few fans?
Not as much as I am accustomed to. But yes, there are moments of personal connection. Once I discover how to be in multiple places at once, I’ll be better equipped to meet as many people as possible.
TISD: Tell me about the mood behind your latest single, “Bob Seger”. (Which is my latest favorite thing, by the way.)
This song’s mood = Moon buzz.
TISD: You’ve explored many different phases of writing styles throughout all of Atmosphere’s releases. Can fans expect to hear previous themes and moods on the new album?
I’m not a fan of expectations. So I’m not really sure how to answer this. I suppose you could expect some sarcasm. Maybe a little bit of wrestling with insecurities. A touch of preachiness.
TISD: What goes through your mind when you’re writing?
TISD: In the past, you’ve mentioned reservations on expressing your opinions in your lyrics. Do you still feel that way? Do you write as a way to release or share your emotions?
I don’t remember ever mentioning that, but I fully believe you. I mostly write for fun. To make Anthony and myself laugh and react.
TISD: “Mainstream” rap has changed drastically, but groups and artists such as Atmosphere are still creating music independently with deep hip hop roots. In your opinion, has hip hop changed or is it the same, just not as “commercial” anymore?
In my faulty opinion, it’s the same as it ever was. As long as older people are scared of rap, rap is doing fine.
TISD: If there was one thing you could change about the music industry, what would it be?
I don’t care enough about the music industry to try to change it. We will do what we love regardless of what this industry does. However, with that said, speaking solely for myself, if I could change something, I would make it mandatory for everyone to stop wearing cologne and perfume.
TISD: What genres does Atmosphere pull inspiration from? What artists or songs can be found on your personal playlists?
Willie Nelson and Tom Waits.
TISD: On your Facebook, you updated with “No rapper needs to write about the struggles of being a rapper.” Interesting and profound quote! Is there any story behind this line?
No story. Rappers who rap to other rappers about how hard it is to be a rapper should stop rapping.
Straight to the point. Check out Atmosphere live this Saturday at the Sleep Train Amphitheater, and also hear their latest single, “Bob Seger” (which is also available on iTunes) below. Let me know what you think in the comments!