Slug (Atmosphere) - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Can’t You Imagine Atmosphere Having Fun?

November 2005

MVRemix: Rhymesayers just released the new Atmosphere album, ‘You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having’. Tell us about the new LP.

Slug: It’s the new record, man. A lot of people are telling us that they really like it. To me, it’s probably the record that had the least amount of problems to make.

MVRemix: The album does flow with an ease.

Slug: Thanks. It kind of made itself. I finally think that me and Ant reached a place where we both accept the fact that this is what we do. We don’t have to worry about doing a good job this time. This is what we do. We made it right on the tail end of Felt #2. We made Felt #2 with Murs. When Murs flew home, me & Ant stayed in the studio and started this album immediately. I was in the studio for about a month and a half between the 2 records. It seems like all of the energy I put into the Felt #2 record was basically depleted in me. I depleted that type of energy with the sex rhymes and party shit. When we started the Atmosphere record, it was almost like a hangover. We had so much fun making the 2nd Felt record, this Atmosphere record was like the day after. In a weird way, when I hear some of it, I think it feels like the day after you did a bunch of drugs. It’s that day that you are sitting there on your couch, the shades are pulled down, you are still taking it in, and saying, ‘Damn! I partied too hard last night!’

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title, ‘You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having’?

Slug: Actually, I chose the title because I have been pigeonholed as this guy, who because of the songs I make, you may think I am this brooding upset dude with issues. They think I am the dude who doesn’t like men or women. Like I say, ‘Get away from me!’ They think I’m just sitting here, observing all of you assholes. People get really surprised when they see how happy I really am. They see that I can be a fun dude when you put a couple of beers in me. The irony of the title is that there is no irony in the title. That was really what me and Ant were doing. Even though the songs don’t seem like we’re having fun, you can truly not begin to think of how much fun this really is. We are having the time of our fucking lives! I used to be a courier, dude!

MVRemix: How do you think ‘You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having’ different from ‘Seven’s Travels’?

Slug: Both of them, to me, are concept albums, even though nobody gets the concepts. They are the same concept. Here’s a look into or a few more chapters of what the hell I’ve been doing or thinking about. For ‘Seven’s Travels’, my dumb ass thought that I would make an album about touring. I didn’t stop to think that most of the kids that listen to these records don’t know shit about touring. How the fuck are they supposed to relate to any of this shit? I guess it didn’t matter because I felt that I needed to make that album. Not only that but, touring had become such a big part of my life, what the fuck else am I supposed to write about?

MVRemix: Everybody does travel in some way and ‘Seven’s Travels’ is a good record to travel with.

Slug: That’s true. I kind of hope that is the bond that allows cats to get it. Also, just for my own benefit, I try to keep my raps not so obvious so I don’t get bored. I have concepts inside Twinkies, inside this and that.

MVRemix: On the new album, which song took you the longest to do from conception to completion? Why?

Slug: The song, ‘Pour Me Another’ on the new record, took the longest to do. That was the hardest for me to bite into because it had such a ‘God Loves Ugly’ feel to it. The mood of the song is very similar to the song, ‘Fuck You Lucy’ (from ‘God Loves Ugly’). The mood is so similar that I heard people tell me that we used the same beat! No! We didn’t use the same beat! But, the mood is so similar that people immediately put them together. I think ‘Pour Me Another’ was the hardest to do because the 4-track version of that song was done incredibly well. It captured the moment so good the first time. It captured the mood so good the first time that, when I tried to recreate it in the studio, I thought I was trying too hard.

MVRemix: Do you find that the 4-track demos are often better than the final results created in the recording studio?

Slug: For the first couple of records, yeah. For ‘Overcast’ and ‘Lucy Ford’, definitely, because I didn’t quite learn how to. Now, I take the 4-track version and find the flaws and problems. I still have an okay time re-creating the mood. I usually create it better just because the song had a chance to breathe, have it’s own life, and have it’s own meaning to me.

MVRemix: Is that also the case with songs that you perform live?

Slug: Yeah, it’s just like performing it live. Honestly, live, to me, are my favorite versions of any of these songs. I love the live version of ‘Panic Attack’. I also love the way the mic sounds on the studio version. That is a sound you cannot usually get live, unless you use that real cheap plastic microphone. Just audio wise, there are certain situations where live songs do not come across as good. But, as far as feeling wise, live versions are always the best for me.

MVRemix: In the song ‘Watch Out’, you say, ‘They don’t want to see you climb out of the underground.’ Atmosphere has been getting more exposure & fans throughout the last couple of years. Have you received some criticism from those dedicated to the ‘underground'?

Slug: It’s very common. There is always this kid who says that they used to love us for ‘Overcast’ and ‘Lucy Ford’. We used to be their special secret. Now, they think suburban girls know about us and it ain’t cool. Are you serious? Come to my shows! Wouldn’t you rather come to a show that has a lot of girls at it than a show with a whole bunch of dudes? I throw that at the identity search of the American fucking teenager. Between the ages of 16 and 24, you will define yourself by what you hate, most of the time. That is how you find your like-minded peers and friends. ‘I hate that shit!’, someone says. Another says, ‘I hate it too. Let’s go over here and talk about how much we fucking can’t stand this’.

MVRemix: You know what, the Nazis grew that way.

Slug: Yo! I didn’t put that together, but that’s true. Here we go, backpacker rap Nazi! I understand growing up and hating shit When I was a kid, I was mad at L.L. Cool J when ‘Walking With A Panther’ came out. ‘I’m the type of guy…’ I didn’t give a fuck about all of that shit. I was mad! Now, as an older and more mature adult, I see the forest through the trees. It’s important, man. Hopefully, kids go through that little phase of hate until they figure out that it is not what life is all about. They’ll blossom, like the rest of us hopefully will. In the end, it’s just music, man. It’s just music, movies, books, and all of this shit. The other catch to it is, that it’s not even the have-nots that do that. The have-nots do not even get a chance to go out on an identity search. The urban, non-white kids, who are 16 years old, do not have the Internet in their homes for the most part.

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"They think I am the dude who doesn’t like men or women. Like I say, ‘Get away from me!’ They think I’m just sitting here, observing all of you assholes. People get really surprised when they see how happy I really am."