An Interview With Atmosphere

Minnesota natives Sean Daley (Slug) and Anthony Davis (Ant) from rap group Atmosphere, in their 25 year partnership having released eight studio albums together and five EPs. The two have also held the responsibility of running their own independent record label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, which they founded in 1995 and has grown to be the biggest record label in Minnesota. Their seventh studio album, Southsiders, released in May and debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over 23,000 copies in its first week.

Sean had us laughing as he belted out, “I’m so bad at interviews. Let me just put that out there before we start. Hi, my name is Sean Daley, I’m from a rap group called Atmosphere, I’m hanging out right now with these two guys who rep Marin County to the fullest and we’re talking about rap music.”

FFW ~ Any unique challenges you face as an artist?

SD ~ There was a time where some of us were vying and competing for album of the year. I don’t have to do that anymore. The main pressure is to make sure that I’m able to juggle all of the responsibilities of making music, trying to tour it and make a career out of it, but also being a dad and staying connected to family and my community. I’m learning, I’m figuring out my roles in my community, my family and on the stage.

FFW ~ Recording the album and then touring it, what’s more enjoyable?

SD ~ When I’m in the middle of making an album, I feel like making the album’s my favorite part and then when I’m on tour, I feel like touring is my favorite part. I’m fortunate to enjoy both sides of that. In the long run, I have to believe that making albums will still fuel me and be a lot of fun whereas at some point, I’m going to get old and tired of sleeping in a bunk on a bus and waking up and taking showers in hotels everyday.

FFW ~ Are there still goals you have yet to accomplish?

SD ~ Every goal you accomplish allows you an opportunity to set a new goal in its place. Goals are a non-stop thing —I want to rap on the moon and film it for a live stream.

Follow Atmosphere on Twitter at @atmosphere.

An Interview With Greensky Bluegrass

When you envision the typical bluegrass band, you think of five people with cowboy hats on strumming away on guitars while they sit in their living room, not five dudes from Michigan on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, playing for 9,000 people with strobe lights flashing in the background. The five members of Greensky Bluegrass have managed to turn the stereotypes of bluegrass upside down and as Rolling Stone said, they are “representing the genre for a whole new generation.”

Following their set, Anders and Paul from Greensky Bluegrass talked to us about their approach to “bluegrass” and just how far they’ve come in the 14 years of the group’s existence. Nine hours later, leaving Golden Gate Park, we hear a knock on our car window and a man asks us to roll down our window. It takes us a couple minutes to realize it is once again Anders, who tells us, “Good job on the interview.”

FFW ~ Who do you think makes up most of your demographic?

A & P ~ We’re turning a lot of younger people onto this type of music, which is really cool, because that’s happened over years and years. A lot of the younger jam band and rock n’ roll fans not familiar with bluegrass hear us and say, “Oh hey, I like bluegrass, that was fun.”

FFW ~ What was it like playing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre?

A & P ~ Amazing. I’m probably never going to have another bad day for the rest of my life because I’ll just be able to look at the photos from that night and think to myself, “Wow, I play mandolin and I got to do that.”

FFW ~ What are you still hoping to accomplish, that you haven’t yet?

A & P ~ A lot of dreams have been coming true for us recently as far as places to play and people to play with. Our plans are just to keep doing what we’re doing and creating music that’s turning people on and that they enjoy with songs they like. Hopefully, when we’re grey old men, you’re still coming to see us, the idea is to keep on keeping on.

Follow Greensky Bluegrass on Twitter at @campgreensky. Catch one of their shows at The Fillmore in San Francisco on November 14-15.