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Atmosphere Talks Rap, Minneapolis and Aesop Rock

Sean “Slug” Daley, half of the rap duo Atmosphere, chatted with The Minaret about past projects and the rap community. 

M: You incorporate a lot of piano and funky instrumentals into your music– do you usually start with the composition or with lyricism?

Slug: We usually start with the composition. and then the music tells me what kind of song I should be writing.

M: Two years ago you did an AMA on Reddit where you said “pirates are an important part of the food chain” when someone asked about stealing music. Can you explain your stance a little more?

Slug: I was raised in a culture of bootlegging. Before file sharing, we used to dub tapes from each other. Same thing. I’ve never been an opponent of file sharing.

M: You’ve listed Aesop Rock as one of your biggest inspirations and you two even collaborated on “I’ll Be OK” in 1999. Did he become an inspiration to you before or after that experience? What was it like to work with him?

Slug: He’s a lot of fun. Most of the inspiring he has done to me has been during our friendship.

 M: You’ve been putting out music as part of Atmosphere since 1997. What would you say a good starting point is for someone trying to get into your music right now?

Slug: I’m the wrong guy to ask. I stand too close to the music to have a proper opinion of it.

M: Aside from Atmosphere you’ve worked on other projects like “Dynospectrum,” “Felt,” and “Deep Puddle Dynamics.” Can you tell me a bit about those? What did you take away from those experiences?

Slug: I have no recollection of dynospectrum or deep puddle dynamics. afraid I’ve probably drank those memories away. i remember making the felt projects though. a lot of rapping and a lot or arguing.

M: How has growing up in Minneapolis influenced you musically?

Slug: Winter makes me productive.

Atmosphere will play the Orpheum in Tampa on March 27 as part of their Welcome to Florida tour.

Selene San Felice can be reached at


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