While it’s a rare commodity for a band to tour as consistently as Slightly Stoopid, the group’s diligent commitment to live music provides some insight into why it's been a few years since the release of their last studio album. But on August 14, 2012, the Ocean Beach, California-based group—led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald—will drop their latest studio effort, Top of the World. As heard throughout the disc, the layoff between albums has not affected the group's penchant for cooking up the tasty fusion and massive groove that permeates Stoopid’s trademark sound.
"We're a touring act, and we've been on the road pretty much non-stop over the last decade," explains Doughty. "It really came into play on the release of the new record. Our last studio record [Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid] was about three and a half years ago. But with the band, we were starting families, we'd been on the road so much, we really didn't have time to sit down and
focus on actually recording it."
Doughty also admits that the creation of the band's own recording studio and rehearsal clubhouse, within the warehouse district of Mission Valley (just inland of Ocean Beach), certainly aided the creation of Top of the World.
"In the past two years, we started our own studio, which really enabled us to make the record at our own pace, and to make the right record for us at this time in our career,” Doughty continues.
“What's nice about it is having our own environment to record in
and analyze the music, and it really lets you keep an organic feel. For us, I feel like it's a step into the next level, as far as understanding the process of recording, understanding the process of songwriting. We took everything that we've learned over the
years and really put it into this record.”
Another key ingredient to what makes Top of the World so special is the inclusion of several musical guests. "It really kept that 'family atmosphere' for us,” says Doughty. “I think it really
shows in the music—it flows. It's like one of those records that feels like it's one giant song. It keeps building and building. For us, we couldn't be happier. Top of the World speaks volumes as to where the band is today; just lyrically and musically, we're really happy with the direction."
"We had G. Love, Angelo Moore from Fishbone, Don Carlos, Barrington Levy, Ian Neville from Dumpstaphunk, Tory Ruffin from Morris Day and the Time and Fishbone, and singer/songwriter Angela Hunte. We've been friends with G. Love for over 15 years, and we've been able to work together quite a few different times in the studio. It seems like second nature. Whenever you're recording with G., it's almost
like you're really just hanging out with your bro, and
you happen to hit record. We've done so many shows
together and so many studio sessions, it becomes second nature. Angelo Moore to me is one of the greatest frontmen to ever step foot on a stage. As a fan and out of respect, I try to do something with Angelo every time we have a record, really. If you listen to his lyrics, his vocal performance—I don't know who could keep up with Angelo on stage. Don Carlos from Black Uhuru is one of the legendary reggae singers of all time, and we've had the pleasure of working with him the last few years."
Riffing on some of the album’s highlights, Doughty says "I really love 'Hiphoppablues,' the song G. Love did. I love the song 'Way You Move,' Ian Neville did a great guitar line throughout the whole song. We worked with Barrington Levy on 'Ur Love,’ he is a true architect of the dance hall! Definitely 'Ska Diddy' with Angelo—it’s a fun rant and shout out to a lot of the nooks and crannies we play across the country.”
Besides recording at their own studio, Slightly Stoopid has always been extremely hands on when it comes to their career, going back more than a decade to when they founded their own record label, Stoopid Records.
"We started Stoopid Records around 2000,” Doughty clarifies. “At that time, we were in transition as far as what we were doing with our
records, and we thought it would be good to have
our own independent label—like Sublime showed us back in the day with Skunk Records. What's nice is we've had a following with the fans, where people understand that Stoopid Records is Slightly Stoopid and other bands we want to help break out."
"For us, it was a big turning point, as far as having complete creative control over everything we do. That's something big for this band—we want to make the music for ourselves and for our fans. We don't really make music for someone in an office that tells us something needs to be there. We've always had a very organic, do-it-yourself attitude. I think it's paid off in dividends."
In addition to the arrival of Top of the World, Slightly Stoopid should be very busy for the rest of 2012. "This summer, we're doing The Unity Tour with 311. That was really cool— those guys approached us about doing a tour with them. For the last five years, we've been headlining all the amphitheater tours, so it's kind of nice that we're going to
co-headline with them. It's a good chance to not only play for our fans, but to play for 311 fans and show them the new direction of the new record. After the summer tour, we're going to do a fall tour and a winter tour, stay on the road as much as possible, promote the record, and keep making more music."
Slightly Stoopid’s current line-up, featured on the Unity Tour 2012, consists of Doughty (guitar, bass, vocals) and McDonald (guitar, bass, vocals), along with Ryan “Rymo” Moran (drums), Oguer “OG” Ocon (congas, percussion, harp, vocals), C-Money (trumpet), Dela (saxophone) and Paul Wolstencroft (keyboards). Additionally, “unofficial 8th member” Karl Denson of Greyboy Allstars also lent his talents throughout Top of the World, and is joining the band on tour this summer.
Nearly two decades into their ongoing metamorphosis, Slightly Stoopid continues to progress into new musical territory, defining their signature sound even further and creating a contagious feel-good vibe. An entire subculture has grown around the social statements the band makes with their music—and it’s been done entirely on their own terms.
No wonder they feel like they're on Top of the World.
Imagine how many cigarettes, beers, tour dates, international flights, all-night drives, backstage shenanigans, countless hours in a van, low-budget hotel rooms, notebooks filled with lyrics and endless hours of recording sessions have been consumed, experienced and sustained by Atmosphere over the course eight years?
Let’s count to eight.
Remember 1997, the year beginning the next phase of independent rap artists and a new era of imprint-based record labels with the major label exploitation; the dividing period of: Mos Def, Jay Z, Company Flow and 2 Pac. Our story begins at this time in Minneapolis, MN. Eight years ago, when Atmosphere released their debut album Overcast!, on the artist’s collectively owned Rhymesayers label. Slug, Ant, with then member Spawn, delivered the premier staple album defining Minnesota Hip Hop. It would introduce a small audience to Midwest rap, not music from New York or California, but Minneapolis, MN. Atmosphere, a group built on Hip Hop principles influenced from the pioneering years of rap music, but with their own personal, honest and original mid-western contribution.
A year had passed and Atmosphere’s song, Scapegoat, received national play on college radio and mix tape support in: Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Atmosphere was becoming discovered outside of the Twin Cities; the secret was out. During this time, both Slug and Ant were also involved in one of independent rap’s first underground super groups, The Dynospectrum (Slug, I Self Devine, Ant, Musab, Gene Poole), and had featured tracks on Industrial Warfare (volume six of the legendary Headshots four-track cassette series). For Atmosphere, 1998 was a year of collaborations (including recording Deep Puddle Dynamics) and a year well spent crafting their live performance at venues like First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry.
With heavy influence from Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Midnite, this new and unique group brings a refreshing rock vibe to roots style reggae music. Spiritually driven and musically talented, Tribal Seeds have created an art form for rebel music enthusiast! With comparisons to the legendary group, The Police, they bring an authentic sound that reaches a broad demographic.
The group is headed by two brothers, both raised playing instruments since early childhood in San Diego. The lead singer Steven writes the lyrics for the group, and his brother Tony-Ray along with the band produces all their music. The final product is an original collection of songs for their debut album ..Youth RebelLion.. released under the 1980 Entertainment label. They have toured throughout North America as well as Mexico and Hawaii, and have shared the stage with Matisyahu, The Wailers and Gregory Issacs. Experience them live on tour in 2007 with other headliners including Barrington Levy, Yellowman, Israel Vibrations, Tanya Stephens, Elan and many others.
- 1980 Entertainment