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20 Minutes with Slug

On Friday, January 27, Atmosphere, Minneapolis’s legendary hip-hop group, will headline Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre during the ski industry trade show. We called Atmosphere’s frontman Slug to chat about the concert’s lineup, headphone music, and the great equalizer.
By Kevin Luby
posted: 01/19/2012
Atmosphere
Photo by: Dan Monick

You played a massive Red Rocks show in August and now you are back for the second time in six months, what keeps you coming back to Denver? 

You guys make us feel like we’re really awesome and that’s validating. You know, once in a while you’ve got to feel awesome. Na. The real reason is people keep asking us to come back. Playing music is our favorite thing in the world to do so how can we say no.

As the headliner of the first ever winter Red Rocks Show, what has got you most excited about this particular gig?

The nervousness. I’m the type that thrives on nervousness. For starters, its in winter and anything could go wrong. There could be a blizzard while we played and that alone scared me enough to agree to it. Then the organizers asked us to put together a bill and told us we could get anyone. So we asked about Common and they said yes. Common is one of my heroes. He’s a legend. And now I have to go out on stage after him. Do you know how scary that is for me?

And if there is a blizzard?

The show goes on. I’ve played outdoors in the winter. It’s great. It’s exhilarating. People always worry about the weather. I’ve learned that when it storms, it’s actually a beautiful thing for outdoor concerts because it equalizes everybody. When everyone is wet or cold, they come together. It makes the party better. Of course though, I’m hoping for great weather.

A huge crowd of skiers and snowboarders consider themselves fans of Atmosphere. What makes your music so appealing to the snowsports audience?

I’ve always thought that we make headphone music. We don’t make music for clubs and it doesn’t necessarily sound as good as other people’s in your car. We make the kind of music that you listen to intimately. Music that makes you pay attention to the words or the weird shit that Ant (Atmosphere’s DJ) put into the beat. We make headphone music and I think snowboarders and skiers have a relationship with their headphones that you don’t find in other outdoor activities. Also, there might be a little bit of a weed factor. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t really want to generalize.

Have you ever gotten out on the slopes yourself?

I have a very deep respect for people that ski and snowboard and I’m intrigued by it. But I’m also intrigued with the fact that I’ve never broken a bone. So no. Actually I tried skiing once when my 6th grade class went on a ski trip. I stayed on the bunny hill and spent most of my time in the lodge playing video games. My wife does it and lots of my friends do it but at this stage of life, I don’t need to find more ways to get adrenaline. I get go on stage in front of 8,000 people. That’s adrenaline. Plus, I’m unathletic. People like me really covet the athleticism that skiers have.

Plan on going to the SIA show?

I might wear a disguise but I’m totally going drop in and check things out. I wanna peak some gear for my wife. I want to see what’s crackin’ cause she hasn’t gone out and bought nothing in a minute. I want kick it and socialize and rub elbows a bit too.

For tickets and more info, click below.

Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks

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