ATMOSPHERE TO PAINT THE NATION ON FALL TOUR Atmosphere’s Fall tour embarks on September 10th in the US.
Atmosphere are ready to “Paint The Nation” and will do so by playing over 50 shows across the US this Fall in support of their new album, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. The trek kicks off September 10th in Fargo, ND and includes festival dates including Monolifth in Denver, Street Scene in San Diego, Edge Fest in Phoenix and KFMA Fall Ball in Tucson. The full lineup of the “Paint The Nation” Tour is Atmosphere featuring special guests Abstract Rude, Blueprint and DJ Rare Groove. The first leg of the tour is below and the second leg will be announced next week.
Atmosphere killed it on the Late Show with David Letterman this past Wednesday night, check out the performance of “You” featuring backup vocals from P.O.S. here
Atmosphere’s sixth studio album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold debuted at #5 on the Top Billboard Top 200 in April and has now scanned almost 120,000 units and is the fastest selling Atmosphere record to date. Atmosphere was MTV’s 52/52 “Artist Of The Week.” back in May (you can watch clips on Atmosphere’s MySpace). Atmosphere headlined the first ever Soundset Festival in Minneapolis this past May that featured the very best in independent Hip Hop. Soundset sold over 12,000 tickets. The first single off the album, “You” is getting heavy airplay across the country and is currently climbing the Alternative charts thanks to rotations at KROQ/LA, INDIE 103/LA, 91X/San Diego, KNDD/Seattle, KVGS/Las Vegas, KITS/San Francisco, KEDJ/Phoenix, KROX/Austin, KWOD/Sacramento, KCCQ/Des Moins, KFMA/Tucson, WLUM/Milwaukee, Sirius, XM and Music Choice among others. Look for the music video for “You” to hit in the beginning of September. Atmosphere has now performed “You” on Conan, Letterman and is booked for Jimmy Kimmel’s outdoor stage on Wednesday, September 24th.
“As a front-man, the charismatic Slug has matured into one of hip-hop’s best performers.” LA Times
First Leg of the “PAINT THE NATION” Tour Ft. Atmosphere & Special Guests Abstract Rude, Blueprint and DJ Rare Groove **Bold are festival dates w/just Atmosphere Wednesday 10-Sep-08 Fargo, ND The Venue Thursday 11-Sep-08 Sioux Falls, SD Sioux Empire Expo Center Friday 12-Sep-08 Omaha, NE Slowdown Saturday 13-Sep-08 Denver, CO Monolifth Monday 15-Sep-08 Boise, ID Knitting Factory Tuesday 16-Sep-08 Missoula, MT Wilma Theater Thursday 18-Sep-08 Eugene, OR McDonald Theater Friday 19-Sep-08 Sacramento, CA Empire Saturday 20-Sep-08 San Diego, CA Street Scene Sunday 21-Sep-08 Bakersfield, CA the Dome Monday 22-Sep-08 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst Thursday 25-Sep-08 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern Friday 26-Sep-08 Las Vegas, NV HOB Saturday 27-Sep-08 Phoenix, AZ Edge Fest Sunday 28-Sep-08 Tucson, AZ KFMA Fall Ball Tuesday 30-Sep-08 Houston, TX Warehouse Live Wednesday 1-Oct-08 New Orleans, LA Tipitina’s Friday 3-Oct-08 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Saturday 4-Oct-08 Orlando, FL Firestone Monday 6-Oct-08 Atlanta, GA Masquerade Tuesday 7-Oct-08 Ashville, NC Orange Peel Wednesday 8-Oct-08 Richmond, VA Toads Place Friday 10-Oct-08 Baltimore Ram’s Head Saturday 11-Oct-08 New Haven, CT Toad’s Place
Slug of Atmosphere still doesn’t know what a hit record is. Following over a decade of rapping and underground success, the lyrical mastermind has yet to realize what sells and what doesn’t and he’s perfectly fine with that.
“I don’t listen to urban radio,” he says over the phone. “Me and Ant [Anthony Davis, the other half of Atmosphere] don’t pressure ourselves to make a hit song. We want to make records that are good. How to make a hit song – would I know how to? Maybe I don’t have that yet. I’m a career artist and for me, I’m okay. I can be myself. There’s no fake shit.”
In 1979, a 7-year-old Sean “Slug” Daley used to take car rides with his father in Minneapolis. This is where the eventual Atmosphere member began taking note of songs on the radio. “My dad would listen to Sugar Hill Gang and Earth, Wind and Fire,” he said. “I didn’t think that was rap for me. For me when Run-DMC came out I knew that wasn’t for my dad.”
Without sports picking his interest, Slug turned to hip hop early on after discovering jams from Ice Cube and Chuck D. He became a deejay at thirteen when he wasn’t seeing rappers like X-Clan perform and eventually became a battling MC. At the time, hip-hop was a new thrill he associated himself with. “It was a peer thing,” he said of the game. “And then girls started liking it.”
Of the “girls,” one may or not be the prominent “Lucy” featured in a slew of Atmosphere songs. The recurring designation seems thematic. She is the title of an EP called Lucy Ford and Slug mentions her on almost every Atmosphere album. Speculation has left some believing the name could mean anything from his on/off again girlfriend to his dog.
When asked about this Slug claimed the moniker was not even his original idea and was actually inspired by another rapper. “Common did it with “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and I thought: That’s the ultimate metaphor – rap as a girl.”
Slug felt this sort of allegory was influential due to the hip-hop age he was bred in. “I come from the rap era when artists were ready to attack consciousness,” he said. “I used [Lucy] to do that with governmental, social issues and the music industry.”
With six studio albums as part of Atmosphere, Slug doesn’t take aim at people getting his songs on the web though. “Honestly, half these kids wouldn’t know who I am if not for the Internet. Download my shit if you got it,” he said. He just thinks it will spoil the experience of Atmosphere live.
“I would like people to wait. When you hear a record playing for three months and then see a show it can sometimes falls flat. You hear the songs so many times it’s inevitable. I would rather people get the same feeling I had when I’d see Big Daddy Kane.” When it comes to his own performances, Slug often meets up with show-goers afterwards and he says they usually have a similar reaction.
“I think our fans like us because they know what they’re getting. I’m the same asshole in real life as I am on the album. They also say I’m the same down to earth dude,” he said. Talking about his career with rap cohort, Ant, Slug added they’ve always stayed true to who they are. “We’re blessed because we can be ourselves,” he said.
For their sixth studio album called When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold slated for April 22nd, the rap duo does that with a different sound. Slug said the group wanted to make a tamer record and that the first track of fifteen sets up that tone. “We wanted to make a quieter album, and that was one of the songs that sparked it off,” he said about “Like the Rest of Us.”
But one of the wildest parts of the song list emerges on “The Waitress” track. Says Slug: “Tom Waits beatboxes on it. I’m friends with his son. We’ve known each other for quite a while now, going on five or six years. And I finally asked him, I think literally, ‘Have I known you long enough now to ask if I can get in touch with your dad? Or is that offensive?’
So, I sent him the song and asked if he’d sing the chorus. He sent it back and totally avoided the chorus, but instead beatboxed on it. And it sounds good. It worked. We kept it subtle. I didn’t want to be exploitive. I wanted to make sure it made sense musically, and I think ultimately it really did.” As per the latest release and the future, Slug said that he just wants to remain true to his art. “Whatever hits me,” he said. “That’s the song I want to make.”
These are the transcripts of an interview with Slug. The interview was conducted by Hugo on September 9th, 2002. Slug is a well established independent artist, who heads Atmosphere. He has worked with Anticon, the Molemen, El-P and many other well respected artists.
Slug (Atmosphere) Interview
MVRemix: Are major labels gunning for you and you’re ignoring them or is your goal for Rhymesayers to blow up on their own?
Slug: I mean, I’m doing this because I’ve got a new record and because I like to tour and I’m bringing other Rhymesayers artists out. Because its become a doorway for me, now that I’ve been able to get out there and pitch to different communities, it’s a way for me to introduce my brethren to my fans. But no, we’re not touring to try to get on a larger label n’ all. I mean that’s not really my interest. If someone makes me a stupid offer that I can’t turn down, I’m sure I’d give it some thought. But, I’m not going to ever put any work into attempting to be on a larger label. As it happens I got to do it without even having to work at it, haha.
MVRemix: What’s your view on your audience?
Slug: I mean, I think it’s probably…sociologically speaking it’s the same as my view on life or on the population in general. Most of them are probably just as lost and confused as lost and confused or found or focused as I am on any given day. Boys, I want them to buy the CD’s and play them for their girls. Girls, I want them to buy the CD’s just so they’ll make out with me. Just like everybody else. MVRemix: Have you experimented much with drugs?
Slug: Have, not lately, but as a kid. I, you know…did a few things. But, I’ve never sniffed anything in my life. I’ve never done cocaine or speed or meth or any of that kind of shit. But in high school, I think I swallowed acid a couple of times. Ate mushrooms too, but, I outgrew that. All when I was a kid, I just don’t really want to experiment too much with that now. I did try ecstasy a few times over the last couple of years. But, I wouldn’t really suggest that to anybody. That shit was so funny that I have to respect the power of it. Pretty much, solely people get caught up with doing that shit a lot, because it’s just that fun. Anything that’s that fun, you’ve got to take for granted that there’s a trade off there. You’re giving up something in order to have that much fun, and I just don’t know if I’m prepared to give up anything to have that much fun. I’m not really into having a lot of fun, I kind of like being moody and brooding, pissed off and stuff like that. MVRemix: Why haven’t you caved in and left Minneapolis for Chicago or New York?
Slug: Most of all because my family is in Minneapolis. I grew up there, there’s my mom, my brothers, and I have a son there. I’m not really trying to leave my family, I love Hip Hop, but, I love my family more. Plus I always felt that if you can’t do it in your own city, if you can’t accomplish your goals with the people who you worked with or grew up with. What makes you think you’re go into some alien scene and network your way up. That seems so strategic that I don’t really believe in the truth behind it. I’ve never really been one of those guys that thought “Well, if I lived in New York…” Face it, I’m in a city where I’m one of nearly three hundred rappers. I could move to New York and be one of three million? At least this way, I have more of a chance of clawing my way to the top.
MVRemix: A rapper who’s a mutual friend of ours told me recently that you’re light skinned black. Is this true?
Slug: Hahaha. I mean I’m mixed, you know. It’s kind of like, especially in America if you’ve got a little bit of black in you, when the revolution comes, you’re probably gonna get killed just like the rest of the blacks. So, under that guise group…My mother’s white and my father is black/native American. So, it makes me really light skinned. Most people think that I’m Italian or a very tall Spanish kid. Just by looking at me, you can’t really tell by my skin or my hair. But, girls always say that my features look like I’m not white. I don’t know, you know what, lets not talk about that kind of stuff.
MVRemix: Have disgruntled fans ever poured or thrown salt on you thinking you really were a slug?
Slug: No, never.
MVRemix: A lot of your material has been heavily bootlegged. Do you bootleg much yourself?
Slug: I used to bootleg lots of stuff. Just to give stuff to kids who I knew were doing trading and whatnot like that. Because, if I give you a 90 minute tape full of shit that I’m never gonna release. You have to bring me back a 90 minute tape full of shit that I can’t get. So I basically used to take my shit and trade it off. That’s how I really discovered people like Moka Only, or even Company Flow. I first heard them through tapes that I had gathered through trading off my tapes.
MVRemix: Are there still problems between Murs and El-P and Anticon? Does it affect you much if they have problems between themselves?
Slug: If they did have problems between themselves still, it wouldn’t affect me. I mean, I don’t even know if they still have problems because I never really talk about that shit with any of them. I don’t know if they do or not. Maybe they do, but due to the fact that it doesn’t affect me, or it wouldn’t affect me. I don’t think they do, I’ve never really seen any issues. MVRemix: What is it about Christina Ricci that is so attractive to you?
Slug: I guess just the whole package, dude. I know she’s considerably homely to most people, but I’ve always kind of liked that kind of look. I like girls that are awkward looking and whatnot. Her whole package man, her vibe, her appearance, her money. Errr, I’m just kidding about the money part.
MVRemix: I think that’s a good factor
Slug: Yeah, haha, just the whole package. Plus I heard she’s a little bit of an art buff, and I like those girls because they’ve got lots of issues and they like to argue.
MVRemix: Is the “Woman With the Tattooed Hands” in any way real or solely a fictitious track?
Slug: I mean it’s fictitious; it’s a metaphor for that same old shit that everybody has already made songs about. Just trying to find your place within a belief and faith as well as people that you want to have sex with.
MVRemix: Who killed Tupac?
Slug: Hip Hop did.
MVRemix: Who would you diss if you had the opportunity to do so right now?
Slug: The Rolling Stones…nah, fuck that – Led Zepplin. I would diss the fuck out of Led Zepplin. Fuckin’ biters dude, they didn’t bite my shit, but in the name of every fucking blues artist that was making music in the early 60’s, down in the Delta. Fuck Led Zepplin!
MVRemix: If you weren’t a rapper what would you be doing?
Slug: I’d be a courier.
MVRemix: What are you currently working on/have soon to be released?
Slug: Um, ejaculation. Right now I’m just writing, finishing up ‘Se7ens Travels’ and writing for the next release. And, I’m working on a DVD that I might end up releasing, or I might not. I don’t know. I’m in a good place right now because I have the freedom to spend my time working on whatever I want to work on. I set my year up pretty good.
MVRemix: What exactly is the Christina Ricci tribute album?
Slug: It’s a record me and Murs did as a tribute to her.
MVRemix: Any last words?
Slug: Please brush your teeth before you attempt to kiss me.