20 - Sean "Slug" Daley from Atmosphere/Rhymesayers Entertainment
WARNING: I recorded this interview on my phone due an SD card issue. The audio quality is dicey. The chat itself though? Awesome. Slug even recorded an intro for this one!
On this episode of The Curator Podcast I spoke with legendary rapper, and one of the founders of Rhymesayers Records, Sean ‘Slug’ Daley from Atmosphere. It was an interview that almost didn't happen. We all make mistakes, right? If I listen to some past episodes I can hear my mistakes quite clearly, but at least I recorded those interviews. I almost didn’t get a chance to record this one.
After a work trip to London, whereby I’d recorded some people talking at a conference, I arrived home and threw together last week’s podcast (the one with B. Dolan). I then booked this interview with Slug, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
I rolled up to the venue on time and was led through The Garage’s labyrinthine backstage area into a nice room with two couches massive leather couches and of course, Slug. I sat down, pulled out my microphone, the Zoom H6 recorder that I use for all of my recording and my headphones. I turned the recorder on and my heart sank: 'No SD Card Present'.
In the last blog post I briefly chronicled my “hip hop journey". While it did indeed begin with ‘A Healthy Distrust’ by Sage Francis in 2005, that year I also came across ‘You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having’ by Atmosphere. So you could say that the tide turned for me after hearing those two records.
I’ve been a fan of Atmosphere ever since, and talking to Slug was a momentous occasion for me (and hopefully for this podcast). So you can imagine how I felt when I realised that I had no SD card in my recorder.
I told Slug about my stupidity and he suggested using my phone. I pulled out my iPad to check my questions only to find I had no mobile signal backstage and thus no way to access my questions…
We looked through my iPad for the voice recorder app - it was conspicuous in its absence. In the end, we used my phone and I just did my best to try and remember all the questions I’d written down.
The resulting interview is shorter than I’d have liked, but a lot of time was taking up by trying to find a solution to the various problems I had. Is it possible to look less professional than I did that day? It seems unlikely.
In the end though, we had a cracking conversation that went in a couple of unexpected directions. We lingered a little more on Slug’s creativity than I expected, which was ace. I had a bunch of questions about Rhymesayers that I just couldn’t remember, yet the insights he gives are utterly fascinating and absolutely made the hassle worth it.
*Getting more sleep on the road than at home *Rhmyesayers being 20 and how Slug doesn’t really reflect on their legacy because he’s so focused on what his community are doing *The search for the perfect song *How to know when you’ve written that perfect song and how close Atmosphere have come to it *Being more an introspective lyricist… *But also appearing to be even more introspective when writing about fictional characters like on ‘When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold’ *The dichotomy of how being an artist who makes art for a living can be both fun and a curse because of how dependent people get on having to make art to make ends meet *Slug embraces that dependency as part of his relationship to music *“Just because people might like a song or two I’ve made has no bearing on how I see myself” *The importance of having passion *How passion and hunger has changed the longer Atmosphere have been doing this *Some Prince chat and the “genius” of Prince’s Batman record
Afterwards Slug showed me out and he went to speak to the fans in the queue outside the venue. I’ve never saw an artist do that before whilst I’ve been in their company. It was very fucking cool. Slug is one of the nicest and most intelligent dudes I’ve interviewed on this podcast and I could have spoken to him for hours about his craft.
And of course, later that night Atmosphere absolutely crushed it. I love seeing hip hop live, it’s a concert experience unlike anything else.
Maybe next time I’ll chat to Ant. I hope you enjoy this episode.
Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here).
Atmosphere - Pour Me Another (Another Poor Me) Atmosphere - Fortune
'Pour Me Another' can be found on the album You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having. 'Fortune' is on the latest official Atmosphere album Southsiders.