Cincinnati, OH – Another day, another seedy, strange motel room. “Say Hey There” is the latest music video from Atmosphere, the popular Midwest underground hip-hop duo of Slug and Ant, and their new album “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having.” The video premiered on MTV and will also be shown on mtvU, the network’s 24-hour college channel.
Watch: Atmosphere “Say Hey There”
Directed by motion design and production collective Lightborne, “Say Hey There” is a voyeuristic view of an evening in a seedy roadside motel. Within the low-lit rooms, you see a variety of different “slice of life” experiences that range from an orgiastic suicide girls’ sleepover to gospel singers singing on the road to who-knows-where.
Atmosphere is 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. The “Say Hey There” video was inspired by Atmosphere’s non-stop and grueling tour schedule and all the shenanigans that come with life on the road.
Slug (aka Sean Daley) is the lyricist of Atmosphere and part owner of Rhymesayers, an indie hip-hop label, which represents many other artists. Ant (aka Anthony Davis) is the producer of the group. The label has had a longstanding relationship with Lightborne Creative Director Chris Gliebe who was responsible for designing Atmosphere’s logo, the Rhymesayers logo, and several album cover designs for other artists on the label. Lightborne was later commissioned by the group to create the video for their 2003 song, “Trying To Find A Balance.”
Upon seeing the promotional materials and cover of the group’s new album, Gliebe was enthused by the candid look of the photography and chosen subject matter.
“The struggle of life as a touring musician is what much of this album is about as evidenced by sarcastic title,” explains Gliebe. “That’s where the motel theme came into play, as well as casting some of their friends to play parts. I decided to take the sleazy motel, road/life concept one step further in my treatment and push it into the realm of retro motel fetish with stylized pin-up girls, colorful locals, and weary travelers all mixed together to create a colorful visual feast.”
The wardrobe, casting, lighting and set design were created to have a dark cinema noir type of feel, but with a few modern twists. Besides Slug’s interactions with the various girls in the video, the other characters help to create odd back-stories and additional meaning to Slug’s heavy lyrics.
Gliebe cites Atmosphere’s busy tour commitments as the main challenge to picking a location and shooting the video, which was rescheduled several times. Finding the right motel and cast also proved to be much harder than initially thought.
“Rhymesayers and Atmosphere has always put a lot of trust in Lightborne and me to come through with a quality product,” concludes Gliebe. “They are very involved in the creative decision-making process, which is why they are so successful as an indie label. It’s easy to get good results when the client and you share common interests, viewpoints, and aesthetics. There is also a certain level of comfort when you’re working with a return client that puts everybody at ease and allows you to create something really great.”