Atmosphere: Ant, left, and Slug.
Sean Daley picks up the phone ready to talk.
You can just tell. The guy –- who you may know as Slug, founding member and principal creative force of veteran indie-rap stars Atmosphere –- is a pretty good talker at any given moment. But on this day, he’s relaxing on his back porch on a sunny, family-filled day in Minneapolis.
“I’m f––in’ awesome,” Daley says. “My little brother came over earlier to visit the new baby. We’ve got a four-month-old here.”
I’ve called Daley to talk about music, of course. After all, Atmosphere is one of the most successful and longest running acts in underground rap, formed in the early 1990s and churning out inventive, intelligent and introspective hip-hop ever since, thanks to Slug’s mic skills and the clever production work of his longtime partner in rhyme, Anthony “Ant” Davis. The two are part of a team that founded the influential Rhymesayers Entertainment record label, which has released their critically acclaimed and increasingly commercially successful albums (2008’s “When Life Gives You Lemons” debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200). They’re also relentless tourhounds who’ve played all over the world and will roll into Bend’s Midtown Ballroom on Tuesday night (see “If you go” at the bottom of this post).
All good reasons to talk about music. Another: Atmosphere just quietly and unexpectedly released a surprise double EP called “To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy,” the cover of which features four hands, three holding cocktails, and one holding a baby bottle filled with milk.
Indeed, Daley’s life is all about that baby these days, and in this interview, he spoke with another guy (me!) who loves to talk and is currently looking after a four-month-old kid. So, for all those reasons to talk about music, we spent 75 percent of our time on the phone talking about babies. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation:
Frequency: In addition to your new baby, you also have a 16-year-old son. That’s a pretty big age gap!
Slug: I didn’t know I was going to have another one, honestly. But then two years ago, my wife was like, ‘Let’s have a kid.’ I was hesitant at first. I had all these reasons why I wouldn’t have another kid. Any excuse you could think of: I’m too busy. I’m too selfish. The carbon footprint of having a child. And then she said something to me that clicked. She said, ‘If you really want to make the world a better place, you’ve got to have kids and raise ’em right. You’ve got to balance out all of the idiots that are having kids.