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The fearlessness of Sloppy Jane

Haley Dahl’s punk orchestra brings the energy onstage and off

Music SloppyJane6 1 17
Photo credit: Mikaela Lungulov-Klotz
SHOCK AND DESTROY: Haley Dahl injects passion into every performance.

Blending performance art and music is always a risk. For notorious shock rockers such as GG Allin, concerts were more of an unruly theater for confrontational stage antics than an outlet for music. With her ambitious punk orchestra Sloppy Jane, founder and frontwoman Haley Dahl masters this balance, using the power of live performance and fearless songwriting to leave audiences spellbound.

Since the group’s inception in 2010, striking photos from Sloppy Jane’s live shows have circulated throughout music blogs, building underground notoriety. Typically, photos feature Dahl fully nude, prowling over audiences while spewing imitation blue vomit onto a rabid crowd. Yet the NSFW pictures are more than gimmicks to mask mediocre music, as proven by the band’s recent debut album, Willow. The 10-song LP rewrites the boundaries of punk by sewing together poetry, Captain Beefheart-esque dissonance, and unconventional arrangements to bring Dahl’s vivid, and often nauseating, vision to life.

“Sometimes you have a really bad stomachache and you wish you could give it to someone else for a second so they would know how much your stomach hurts,” Dahl says. “The school nurse is telling you you’re not sick when you are about to throw up, and you wish you could make her throw up. That’s all I want to convey with music.”

Since she was a teenager, Dahl knew she wanted live performances to be central to her music. Iconoclasts known for their anarchic behavior such as Frank Zappa, Marilyn Manson, and Courtney Love, inspired her to explore the possibilities for performance.

“When I was a teenager, something being big, brave, and interesting just meant having a punk band, but that idea has grown a lot,” Dahl says. “The goal is always to make something that’s highly conceptual and massive.”

Her behavior onstage is magnified by her live band, which features up to 12 musicians, playing everything from saxophones to kazoos. Every member is an essential part of the mix, necessary to recreate Willow’s erratic atmosphere. On opening number “King Hazy Lady,” Dahl establishes the album’s mercurial mood with a bouncy melody that turns manic as laughter morphs into washes of distorted guitars while she menacingly chants, “It’s heaven all the time.”

The effect produces a sort of musical psychosis, as your brain races to catch up with the dizzying array of instruments and ideas. Yet with every aspect of the band, Dahl is always intentional about the chaos she creates. Willow is structured around a single, cohesive narrative about a woman in a Los Angeles strip club who runs away and ultimately burns herself alive.

For Dahl, the importance of audiences consuming the record as an unbroken story is so crucial that she’s re-recording a version of Willow to incorporate instrumental passages between songs that the band performs live.

“I first made Willow with my bandmate Sara [Cath], and it was really just the two of us working and playing on it, and it was done with overdubs, and all of the vocals are mine,” Dahl says. “I wanted to capture how it sounds with the live band, where you have these weird instrumentals tying everything together, and you have different people screaming things, and everyone has different pitch control.”

Her unrestrained approach to live performances is similarly employed to convey the emotional energy of the recorded material to audiences. It’s also a survival strategy to build momentum and controversy, cutting through the endless sea of bands accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
“People can hear records at any time for free, so having an engaging live show is more important now than ever,” Dahl says. “By doing what I’m doing, I know people will pay attention and that the photos will be noticed afterward.”

As Sloppy Jane moves away from DIY spaces and house shows, Dahl brings her vulnerable performances to larger crowds who might be more attracted to the spectacle of seeing someone perform naked than the actual music. This realization doesn’t faze her in the slightest. Dahl is just as fearless in her personality as she is in her songwriting.
 

“If I was to walk around the world with a fear of anyone doing something like that, I would never get to do anything at all,” she says. “You can be hurt in your own home by someone you know, so whatever, it’s all the same. It doesn’t matter.”

That spirit of fearlessness courses throughout Sloppy Jane’s aesthetic, connecting the chaos of the group’s live performances with the unbridled ambition of the music. As a result, the band transcends the lazy taboo-breaking of shock rockers and banal provocateurs. Dahl channels a creative energy she’s maintained since the beginning — an aesthetic bravery that makes her one of the most innovative and exciting artists of her kind.

Sloppy Jane plays 529 on Fri., Jan. 18. $10-$12. 9 p.m. With Material Girls, Karaoke, and Shouldies. 529 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. 404-228-6769. www.529atlanta.com.



More By This Writer

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  string(6182) "The legacy of Prince casts a long shadow. A group of immensely talented musicians remains in his absence, charting new careers after devoting years to translating his creative whims into a visceral, funky reality. As the musical director of New Power Generation (NPG), keyboardist Morris Hayes is the longest-employed member of Prince’s backing band, spending nearly two decades on tour with one of the most demanding and notoriously perfectionist bandleaders of all time. Now, Hayes and pivotal NPG members are embarking on a Herculean quest — proving their worth without the iconic artist who made them famous.

“What’s frustrating about what we’re doing now is that we’re the same guys, but still the biggest void is Prince,” Hayes explains. “When people see us, they’re like ‘This is amazing!’ But beforehand, the biggest obstacle is for people to understand that we’re a great band without Prince.”

Hayes’ storied career alongside the pop deity started by chance. One night during their 1986 tour with Prince, the Revolution stopped by a Memphis club after the show to see a band in which Hayes happened to be playing. Impressed with their performance, the Revolution invited the band to record a demo in Minneapolis, after which Prince’s bassist Brownmark invited Hayes to play with his new band Mazarati.

While the band didn’t last, Hayes stayed in Minneapolis where he played with the Time, and his own band G Sharp and the Edge. Dumbstruck by Hayes’ ability to simultaneously manipulate samples and play keyboard lines, Prince invited him to perform with his then-girlfriend Carmen Electra before inviting him to be NPG’s musical director in 1992.

“Getting discovered was like the stuff you see in movies,” Hayes says. “Of all the places, of all the chances that something like that could happen, it’s crazy. It’s like when I watch Mission Impossible, and the one switch Tom Cruise hits saves the whole movie. That’s what it was like to have the Revolution come about.”

Hayes became essential in perfecting one of the trademarks of Prince’s distinct musical formula. Though he idolized the tight horn sections of James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone, Prince wanted to reimagine all of their intricacies with a few synthesizers.

“In the ’70s Prince loved the crazy horn sections of Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire,” Hayes says. “But he wanted to have a smaller crew to emulate the horn parts, still keeping everything fat but minimalistic. After that, everybody started to rethink how their bands were structured — he put a lot of horn sections out of business.”

Prince also prided himself on his ability to perfect genres outside the bounds of traditional funk and pop molds. Immortalized most famously by his earthshaking guitar solo during the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Prince’s talent transcended genres, and he wanted the world to know.

Hayes recalls one instance in 1994 when Prince initially turned down the European MTV awards but decided to do the gig after hearing Steven Tyler complain that Prince was headlining even though Aerosmith’s record Get a Grip was topping the charts.

“In his impish way, Prince said that we were going to play rock and roll and teach them a lesson,” he says. “So after the show, Steven’s in there saying, ‘Hey, Prince, that was amazing, I don’t know who started this whole rumor about what we said.’ And Prince, with his shades on and a lollipop in his mouth, wouldn’t say a word. It felt so wrong to me, so I finally said, ‘Hey, Steven, thanks, man, I really appreciate it.’ Prince was so mad at me because he was loving him groveling like that.”

Prince’s immense pride in his showmanship often came at the expense of Hayes’ own sanity, when verbal tirades followed any mistakes made during shows that could stretch for hours over multiple encores. Hayes still remembers the nausea that washed over him whenever he saw Prince’s car in the garage, not knowing if the loving or dictatorial Prince would emerge.

Today, comfortably removed from the stress, Hayes better appreciates and understands Prince’s uncompromising expectations. When album sales dropped off in the late ’90s, the stage remained Prince’s eternal proving ground, the one arena where his raw talent eclipsed the corporate trappings of record labels and brought life to thousands of people.

“Before every show, whether it was 10 or 10,000 people, he said to always leave everything out there onstage,” Hayes says. “Prince could announce a show a week before, and it would sell out, at a stadium! Because of that, he didn’t care about selling records, and he wasn’t afraid of any of the record labels.”

Now, that reputation for live excellence leaves a massive pair of purple high-heeled boots for Hayes and NPG to fill. Every Prince fan has a different Prince song is embedded into each fan's DNA, which is especially daunting for NPG given his impossibly long discography. Even after playing 52 songs at the Prince Tribute concert, Hayes still encountered fans demanding to know why he hadn’t played their favorite. Since then, the band behind the exploratory funk of Prince’s prolific ’90s output, such as the supremely underrated 1995 LP The Gold Experience, have toured the world spreading the purple gospel with new lead singer MacKenzie.

However, if Hayes learned anything from Prince, it’s to trust your own judgment. But that doesn’t mean he’s stopped looking to his old friend for guidance.

“What made Prince so great is that he would go with the flow, sometimes he would just forget the set list and call it onstage. Sometimes it would give me a heart attack, but it would be great because Prince was a great leader,” he says. “Even now, that’s my litmus test for myself and for the band. ‘Would you do it if he were here? What would Prince do?’”

New Power Generation plays the Masquerade (Heaven) on Wed., March. 6. $37.50. 7 p.m. 75 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.W. 404-577-8178 www.masq.com.
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“What’s frustrating about what we’re doing now is that we’re the same guys, but still the biggest void is Prince,” Hayes explains. “When people see us, they’re like ‘This is amazing!’ But beforehand, the biggest obstacle is for people to understand that we’re a great band without Prince.”

Hayes’ storied career alongside the pop deity started by chance. One night during their 1986 tour with Prince, the Revolution stopped by a Memphis club after the show to see a band in which Hayes happened to be playing. Impressed with their performance, the Revolution invited the band to record a demo in Minneapolis, after which Prince’s bassist Brownmark invited Hayes to play with his new band Mazarati.

While the band didn’t last, Hayes stayed in Minneapolis where he played with the Time, and his own band G Sharp and the Edge. Dumbstruck by Hayes’ ability to simultaneously manipulate samples and play keyboard lines, Prince invited him to perform with his then-girlfriend Carmen Electra before inviting him to be NPG’s musical director in 1992.

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Hayes became essential in perfecting one of the trademarks of Prince’s distinct musical formula. Though he idolized the tight horn sections of James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone, Prince wanted to reimagine all of their intricacies with a few synthesizers.

“In the ’70s Prince loved the crazy horn sections of Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire,” Hayes says. “But he wanted to have a smaller crew to emulate the horn parts, still keeping everything fat but minimalistic. After that, everybody started to rethink how their bands were structured — he put a lot of horn sections out of business.”

Prince also prided himself on his ability to perfect genres outside the bounds of traditional funk and pop molds. Immortalized most famously by his earthshaking guitar solo during the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Prince’s talent transcended genres, and he wanted the world to know.

Hayes recalls one instance in 1994 when Prince initially turned down the European MTV awards but decided to do the gig after hearing Steven Tyler complain that Prince was headlining even though Aerosmith’s record ''Get a Grip'' was topping the charts.

“In his impish way, Prince said that we were going to play rock and roll and teach them a lesson,” he says. “So after the show, Steven’s in there saying, ‘Hey, Prince, that was amazing, I don’t know who started this whole rumor about what we said.’ And Prince, with his shades on and a lollipop in his mouth, wouldn’t say a word. It felt so wrong to me, so I finally said, ‘Hey, Steven, thanks, man, I really appreciate it.’ Prince was so mad at me because he was loving him groveling like that.”

Prince’s immense pride in his showmanship often came at the expense of Hayes’ own sanity, when verbal tirades followed any mistakes made during shows that could stretch for hours over multiple encores. Hayes still remembers the nausea that washed over him whenever he saw Prince’s car in the garage, not knowing if the loving or dictatorial Prince would emerge.

Today, comfortably removed from the stress, Hayes better appreciates and understands Prince’s uncompromising expectations. When album sales dropped off in the late ’90s, the stage remained Prince’s eternal proving ground, the one arena where his raw talent eclipsed the corporate trappings of record labels and brought life to thousands of people.

“Before every show, whether it was 10 or 10,000 people, he said to always leave everything out there onstage,” Hayes says. “Prince could announce a show a week before, and it would sell out, at a stadium! Because of that, he didn’t care about selling records, and he wasn’t afraid of any of the record labels.”

Now, that reputation for live excellence leaves a massive pair of purple high-heeled boots for Hayes and NPG to fill. Every Prince fan has a different Prince song is embedded into each fan's DNA, which is especially daunting for NPG given his impossibly long discography. Even after playing 52 songs at the Prince Tribute concert, Hayes still encountered fans demanding to know why he hadn’t played their favorite. Since then, the band behind the exploratory funk of Prince’s prolific ’90s output, such as the supremely underrated 1995 LP ''The Gold Experience'', have toured the world spreading the purple gospel with new lead singer MacKenzie.

However, if Hayes learned anything from Prince, it’s to trust your own judgment. But that doesn’t mean he’s stopped looking to his old friend for guidance.

“What made Prince so great is that he would go with the flow, sometimes he would just forget the set list and call it onstage. Sometimes it would give me a heart attack, but it would be great because Prince was a great leader,” he says. “Even now, that’s my litmus test for myself and for the band. ‘Would you do it if he were here? What would Prince do?’”

''[https://creativeloafing.com/event-418561|New Power Generation plays the Masquerade (Heaven) on Wed., March. 6. $37.50. 7 p.m. 75 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.W. 404-577-8178 ][http://www.529atlanta.com./|www.masq.com.]''
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“What’s frustrating about what we’re doing now is that we’re the same guys, but still the biggest void is Prince,” Hayes explains. “When people see us, they’re like ‘This is amazing!’ But beforehand, the biggest obstacle is for people to understand that we’re a great band without Prince.”

Hayes’ storied career alongside the pop deity started by chance. One night during their 1986 tour with Prince, the Revolution stopped by a Memphis club after the show to see a band in which Hayes happened to be playing. Impressed with their performance, the Revolution invited the band to record a demo in Minneapolis, after which Prince’s bassist Brownmark invited Hayes to play with his new band Mazarati.

While the band didn’t last, Hayes stayed in Minneapolis where he played with the Time, and his own band G Sharp and the Edge. Dumbstruck by Hayes’ ability to simultaneously manipulate samples and play keyboard lines, Prince invited him to perform with his then-girlfriend Carmen Electra before inviting him to be NPG’s musical director in 1992.

“Getting discovered was like the stuff you see in movies,” Hayes says. “Of all the places, of all the chances that something like that could happen, it’s crazy. It’s like when I watch Mission Impossible, and the one switch Tom Cruise hits saves the whole movie. That’s what it was like to have the Revolution come about.”

Hayes became essential in perfecting one of the trademarks of Prince’s distinct musical formula. Though he idolized the tight horn sections of James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone, Prince wanted to reimagine all of their intricacies with a few synthesizers.

“In the ’70s Prince loved the crazy horn sections of Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire,” Hayes says. “But he wanted to have a smaller crew to emulate the horn parts, still keeping everything fat but minimalistic. After that, everybody started to rethink how their bands were structured — he put a lot of horn sections out of business.”

Prince also prided himself on his ability to perfect genres outside the bounds of traditional funk and pop molds. Immortalized most famously by his earthshaking guitar solo during the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Prince’s talent transcended genres, and he wanted the world to know.

Hayes recalls one instance in 1994 when Prince initially turned down the European MTV awards but decided to do the gig after hearing Steven Tyler complain that Prince was headlining even though Aerosmith’s record Get a Grip was topping the charts.

“In his impish way, Prince said that we were going to play rock and roll and teach them a lesson,” he says. “So after the show, Steven’s in there saying, ‘Hey, Prince, that was amazing, I don’t know who started this whole rumor about what we said.’ And Prince, with his shades on and a lollipop in his mouth, wouldn’t say a word. It felt so wrong to me, so I finally said, ‘Hey, Steven, thanks, man, I really appreciate it.’ Prince was so mad at me because he was loving him groveling like that.”

Prince’s immense pride in his showmanship often came at the expense of Hayes’ own sanity, when verbal tirades followed any mistakes made during shows that could stretch for hours over multiple encores. Hayes still remembers the nausea that washed over him whenever he saw Prince’s car in the garage, not knowing if the loving or dictatorial Prince would emerge.

Today, comfortably removed from the stress, Hayes better appreciates and understands Prince’s uncompromising expectations. When album sales dropped off in the late ’90s, the stage remained Prince’s eternal proving ground, the one arena where his raw talent eclipsed the corporate trappings of record labels and brought life to thousands of people.

“Before every show, whether it was 10 or 10,000 people, he said to always leave everything out there onstage,” Hayes says. “Prince could announce a show a week before, and it would sell out, at a stadium! Because of that, he didn’t care about selling records, and he wasn’t afraid of any of the record labels.”

Now, that reputation for live excellence leaves a massive pair of purple high-heeled boots for Hayes and NPG to fill. Every Prince fan has a different Prince song is embedded into each fan's DNA, which is especially daunting for NPG given his impossibly long discography. Even after playing 52 songs at the Prince Tribute concert, Hayes still encountered fans demanding to know why he hadn’t played their favorite. Since then, the band behind the exploratory funk of Prince’s prolific ’90s output, such as the supremely underrated 1995 LP The Gold Experience, have toured the world spreading the purple gospel with new lead singer MacKenzie.

However, if Hayes learned anything from Prince, it’s to trust your own judgment. But that doesn’t mean he’s stopped looking to his old friend for guidance.

“What made Prince so great is that he would go with the flow, sometimes he would just forget the set list and call it onstage. Sometimes it would give me a heart attack, but it would be great because Prince was a great leader,” he says. “Even now, that’s my litmus test for myself and for the band. ‘Would you do it if he were here? What would Prince do?’”

New Power Generation plays the Masquerade (Heaven) on Wed., March. 6. $37.50. 7 p.m. 75 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.W. 404-577-8178 www.masq.com.
     Peter Lodder  THE NEW OLD GENERATION: Morris Hayes and NPG chart a new course without Prince.                                   New Power Generation finds life after Prince "
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Article

Thursday February 7, 2019 09:28 am EST
Musical director Morris Hayes reflects on his years with the pop legend | more...
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  string(101) "The trap-themed haunted house from 13 Stories and 2 Chainz offers cheap freights and profound anxiety"
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  string(6310) "The trap isn’t in the shadows anymore. In 2018, you can take your family out to the trap, pose for photos in front of the trap, and wave to the police ushering you into the parking lot. Because arguably the most visible trap house in the world is safe and sterilized, drug-free and decked in pink — and also one of Atlanta’s premier haunted houses.

Created in partnership between 13 Stories Haunted House and 2 Chainz’ management team, Street Execs Studio, the Haunted Pink Trap House is the latest and weirdest entry in the current outcropping of Atlanta’s trap-themed tourist destinations (see the the Trap Museum and Trap Escape Toom that T.I. recently opened).

While on the surface it’s just another kitschy Halloween attraction among many, the Haunted Pink Trap House is a physical metaphor for the consequences of trap’s rabid commodification, a disorienting walk-through of what remains when the brutal social context of art is stripped away.

Trap music has traveled a long way from home over the past two decades. The trademark trap sound of earth-shattering bass and skittering hi-hats that defined an entire generation of Atlanta rappers has migrated across the globe, spawning countless subgenres along the way. As trap music continues to disseminate through a worldwide game of musical telephone, the genre gets reduced to a few powerful signifiers — bricks of cocaine, ostentatious displays of wealth, and endless partying.

It’s these symbols in which the Haunted Pink Trap House revels. After entering through a replica of the iconic cover from 2 Chainz’ 2017 album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, visitors walk through a confusing mix of typical haunted house scenes and shabby animatronics before arriving at the trap house in question.

Inside is an unsettling pastiche of these trap symbols weaved together in a maze-like array of different rooms and dimly-lit halls. These markers include, but are definitely not limited to, a grimy kitchen overloaded with cocaine-coated pans, a few massive junkyard dog props, phony cannabis plants, a stripper pole featuring a real dancer, and non-stop blasts of 2 Chainz soundtracking the whole nightmare.

However, the real problematic pièce de résistance comes towards the end, when actors dressed as cops and SWAT team members bark orders at oncoming visitors while sounds of whizzing gunshots echo throughout the area. Immediately after this scene, a live DJ celebrates your survival as you exit into the gift shop and spill back into the parking lot.

This is where all of trap’s, and by extension Atlanta’s, global success, cultural exportation, and frenzied commercialization coalesced into a gut-punch of deep, existential nausea.

The eminence of trap music’s cultural cachet has necessitated the purging of its historical roots. At the Haunted Pink Trap House, the fear of police execution for selling drugs to survive in a society defined by economic exclusion and systemic racism is a crude set piece. Visitors come in, have a fun scare, and go home while so many living in Atlanta’s historically black west and south side communities — the cradle of trap music — don’t have the luxury of exiting their realities.

To the credit of 13 Stories and Street Execs Studio, this effect isn’t exactly as intended. In an interview with Atlanta Magazine, 13 Stories owner Allyn Glover said that he wants the Haunted Pink Trap House,“to not glorify the trap lifestyle, but bring attention to it, and maybe bring about some change… Maybe people will think, ‘This is not for me. Maybe I’ll give to the Boys and Girls Club and try to help out, so people don’t have to live that lifestyle.’”

This idea is already gaining some traction among virtual reality advocates who say that VR visualizations of refugee camps and impoverished neighborhoods can inspire empathy in those who otherwise wouldn’t experience the reality of such environments. On the other hand, these sorts of exercises can also be misguided, giving off an air of absurd poverty tourism, similar to what Mark Zuckerberg was criticized for when he paraded his cartoon avatar around the flooded streets of Puerto Rico.

This isn’t to say that the Haunted Pink Trap House is inherently insidious. As art gets consumed and endlessly recontextualized, it’s inevitable that the creator’s original intent will get lost in the wake of success. And it would be misleading to say all of trap’s original practitioners wanted the genre’s social context to be its guiding characteristic.

The influential Atlanta-bred trap producer Burn One it simply in an interview with Stereogum: “In Atlanta, trap music is strip club music.”

However, during the promotion of his iconic 2003 record Trap Muzik, T.I. clearly wanted listeners to understand what it truly means to be in the trap, often against one’s will.

“Before, trappin’ was cool, but now trappin’ ain’t cool,” he said in an interview with Uproxx. “It’s necessary for some, but no, it ain’t cool – even if you a hustler. All the hustlers I know – sellin’ dope is the last thing they wanna do.”

The real problem the Haunted Pink Trap House symbolizes is the asymmetry between trap music’s rise to international fame and the socioeconomic stagnation of trap’s birthplace in Atlanta neighborhoods such as Vine City and Bankhead.

Maybe watching crowds laugh through a garish funhouse representation of poverty would be less upsetting if, as reported by Curbed Atlanta, the life expectancy of a resident living in the ultra-wealthy, mostly white Buckhead wasn’t 20 years longer than a person living in the predominantly black Bankhead — despite the two neighborhoods being a few miles apart.

But to expect or hope for trap music to recede back into the depths of obscurity would be an offense to the genre and to the people that risked their lives to start it. Other than calling for our leaders to address the racial scars of income inequality that continue to divide Atlanta, there is no easy way out of the Haunted Pink Trap House.

Steer clear of the “Zombie Crackhead Experience.”

The Haunted Pink Trap House closes Sun., Nov. 11. $11-$39. 320 Temple Ave, Newnan, GAwww.hauntedpinktraphouse.com."
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Created in partnership between [https://www.13storieshauntedhouse.com/|13 Stories Haunted House] and 2 Chainz’ management team, [https://www.streetexecsstudios.com/|Street Execs Studio], [https://www.hauntedpinktraphouse.com/|the Haunted Pink Trap House] is the latest and weirdest entry in the current outcropping of Atlanta’s trap-themed tourist destinations (see the the Trap Museum and Trap Escape Toom that T.I. recently opened).

While on the surface it’s just another kitschy Halloween attraction among many, the Haunted Pink Trap House is a physical metaphor for the consequences of trap’s rabid commodification, a disorienting walk-through of what remains when the brutal social context of art is stripped away.

Trap music has traveled a long way from home over the past two decades. The trademark trap sound of earth-shattering bass and skittering hi-hats that defined an entire generation of Atlanta rappers has migrated across the globe, spawning countless subgenres along the way. As trap music continues to disseminate through a worldwide game of musical telephone, the genre gets reduced to a few powerful signifiers — bricks of cocaine, ostentatious displays of wealth, and endless partying.

It’s these symbols in which the Haunted Pink Trap House revels. After entering through a replica of the iconic cover from 2 Chainz’ 2017 album ''Pretty Girls Like Trap Music'', visitors walk through a confusing mix of typical haunted house scenes and shabby animatronics before arriving at the trap house in question.

Inside is an unsettling pastiche of these trap symbols weaved together in a maze-like array of different rooms and dimly-lit halls. These markers include, but are definitely not limited to, a grimy kitchen overloaded with cocaine-coated pans, a few massive junkyard dog props, phony cannabis plants, a stripper pole featuring a real dancer, and non-stop blasts of 2 Chainz soundtracking the whole nightmare.

However, the real problematic pièce de résistance comes towards the end, when actors dressed as cops and SWAT team members bark orders at oncoming visitors while sounds of whizzing gunshots echo throughout the area. Immediately after this scene, a live DJ celebrates your survival as you exit into the gift shop and spill back into the parking lot.

This is where all of trap’s, and by extension Atlanta’s, global success, cultural exportation, and frenzied commercialization coalesced into a gut-punch of deep, existential nausea.

The eminence of trap music’s cultural cachet has necessitated the purging of its historical roots. At the Haunted Pink Trap House, the fear of police execution for selling drugs to survive in a society defined by economic exclusion and systemic racism is a crude set piece. Visitors come in, have a fun scare, and go home while so many living in Atlanta’s historically black west and south side communities — the cradle of trap music — don’t have the luxury of exiting their realities.

To the credit of 13 Stories and Street Execs Studio, this effect isn’t exactly as intended. [https://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/whats-inside-2-chainzs-haunted-pink-trap-house/|In an interview with Atlanta Magazine], 13 Stories owner Allyn Glover said that he wants the Haunted Pink Trap House,“to not glorify the trap lifestyle, but bring attention to it, and maybe bring about some change… Maybe people will think, ‘This is not for me. Maybe I’ll give to the Boys and Girls Club and try to help out, so people don’t have to live that lifestyle.’”

This idea is already gaining some traction among virtual reality advocates who say that [https://www.wired.com/brandlab/2015/11/is-virtual-reality-the-ultimate-empathy-machine|VR visualizations of refugee camps and impoverished neighborhoods can inspire empathy in those who otherwise wouldn’t experience the reality of such environments]. On the other hand, these sorts of exercises can also be misguided, giving off an air of absurd poverty tourism, [https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/9/16450346/zuckerberg-facebook-spaces-puerto-rico-virtual-reality-hurricane|similar to what Mark Zuckerberg was criticized for when he paraded his cartoon avatar around the flooded streets of Puerto Rico].

This isn’t to say that the Haunted Pink Trap House is inherently insidious. As art gets consumed and endlessly recontextualized, it’s inevitable that the creator’s original intent will get lost in the wake of success. And it would be misleading to say all of trap’s original practitioners wanted the genre’s social context to be its guiding characteristic.

The influential Atlanta-bred trap producer Burn One it simply [https://www.stereogum.com/1115091/from-t-i-to-tnght-a-look-at-trap-rave/top-stories/|in an interview with Stereogum]: “In Atlanta, trap music is strip club music.”

However, during the promotion of his iconic 2003 record ''Trap Muzik'', T.I. clearly wanted listeners to understand what it truly means to be in the trap, often against one’s will.

“Before, trappin’ was cool, but now trappin’ ain’t cool,” [https://uproxx.com/hiphop/ti-trap-muzik-retrospective-review-rap-revival-run-it-back/2/|he said in an interview with Uproxx]. “It’s necessary for some, but no, it ain’t cool – even if you a hustler. All the hustlers I know – sellin’ dope is the last thing they wanna do.”

The real problem the Haunted Pink Trap House symbolizes is the asymmetry between trap music’s rise to international fame and the socioeconomic stagnation of trap’s birthplace in Atlanta neighborhoods such as Vine City and Bankhead.

Maybe watching crowds laugh through a garish funhouse representation of poverty would be less upsetting if, [https://atlanta.curbed.com/2018/10/17/17989562/life-expectancy-buckhead-english-avenue-bankhead-income-inequality|as reported by Curbed Atlanta], the life expectancy of a resident living in the ultra-wealthy, mostly white Buckhead wasn’t 20 years longer than a person living in the predominantly black Bankhead — despite the two neighborhoods being a few miles apart.

But to expect or hope for trap music to recede back into the depths of obscurity would be an offense to the genre and to the people that risked their lives to start it. Other than calling for our leaders to address the racial scars of income inequality that continue to divide Atlanta, there is no easy way out of the Haunted Pink Trap House.

Steer clear of the “Zombie Crackhead Experience.”

''[https://www.hauntedpinktraphouse.com/|The Haunted Pink Trap House closes Sun., Nov. 11. $11-$39. 320 Temple Ave, Newnan, GAwww.hauntedpinktraphouse.com.]''"
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  string(6916) " Attach79925 20181107 140854  2018-11-09T21:49:38+00:00 Attach79925_20181107_140854.jpg     The trap-themed haunted house from 13 Stories and 2 Chainz offers cheap freights and profound anxiety 10891  2018-11-09T21:45:20+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Exiting the Haunted Pink Trap House chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Paul DeMerritt  2018-11-09T21:45:20+00:00  The trap isn’t in the shadows anymore. In 2018, you can take your family out to the trap, pose for photos in front of the trap, and wave to the police ushering you into the parking lot. Because arguably the most visible trap house in the world is safe and sterilized, drug-free and decked in pink — and also one of Atlanta’s premier haunted houses.

Created in partnership between 13 Stories Haunted House and 2 Chainz’ management team, Street Execs Studio, the Haunted Pink Trap House is the latest and weirdest entry in the current outcropping of Atlanta’s trap-themed tourist destinations (see the the Trap Museum and Trap Escape Toom that T.I. recently opened).

While on the surface it’s just another kitschy Halloween attraction among many, the Haunted Pink Trap House is a physical metaphor for the consequences of trap’s rabid commodification, a disorienting walk-through of what remains when the brutal social context of art is stripped away.

Trap music has traveled a long way from home over the past two decades. The trademark trap sound of earth-shattering bass and skittering hi-hats that defined an entire generation of Atlanta rappers has migrated across the globe, spawning countless subgenres along the way. As trap music continues to disseminate through a worldwide game of musical telephone, the genre gets reduced to a few powerful signifiers — bricks of cocaine, ostentatious displays of wealth, and endless partying.

It’s these symbols in which the Haunted Pink Trap House revels. After entering through a replica of the iconic cover from 2 Chainz’ 2017 album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, visitors walk through a confusing mix of typical haunted house scenes and shabby animatronics before arriving at the trap house in question.

Inside is an unsettling pastiche of these trap symbols weaved together in a maze-like array of different rooms and dimly-lit halls. These markers include, but are definitely not limited to, a grimy kitchen overloaded with cocaine-coated pans, a few massive junkyard dog props, phony cannabis plants, a stripper pole featuring a real dancer, and non-stop blasts of 2 Chainz soundtracking the whole nightmare.

However, the real problematic pièce de résistance comes towards the end, when actors dressed as cops and SWAT team members bark orders at oncoming visitors while sounds of whizzing gunshots echo throughout the area. Immediately after this scene, a live DJ celebrates your survival as you exit into the gift shop and spill back into the parking lot.

This is where all of trap’s, and by extension Atlanta’s, global success, cultural exportation, and frenzied commercialization coalesced into a gut-punch of deep, existential nausea.

The eminence of trap music’s cultural cachet has necessitated the purging of its historical roots. At the Haunted Pink Trap House, the fear of police execution for selling drugs to survive in a society defined by economic exclusion and systemic racism is a crude set piece. Visitors come in, have a fun scare, and go home while so many living in Atlanta’s historically black west and south side communities — the cradle of trap music — don’t have the luxury of exiting their realities.

To the credit of 13 Stories and Street Execs Studio, this effect isn’t exactly as intended. In an interview with Atlanta Magazine, 13 Stories owner Allyn Glover said that he wants the Haunted Pink Trap House,“to not glorify the trap lifestyle, but bring attention to it, and maybe bring about some change… Maybe people will think, ‘This is not for me. Maybe I’ll give to the Boys and Girls Club and try to help out, so people don’t have to live that lifestyle.’”

This idea is already gaining some traction among virtual reality advocates who say that VR visualizations of refugee camps and impoverished neighborhoods can inspire empathy in those who otherwise wouldn’t experience the reality of such environments. On the other hand, these sorts of exercises can also be misguided, giving off an air of absurd poverty tourism, similar to what Mark Zuckerberg was criticized for when he paraded his cartoon avatar around the flooded streets of Puerto Rico.

This isn’t to say that the Haunted Pink Trap House is inherently insidious. As art gets consumed and endlessly recontextualized, it’s inevitable that the creator’s original intent will get lost in the wake of success. And it would be misleading to say all of trap’s original practitioners wanted the genre’s social context to be its guiding characteristic.

The influential Atlanta-bred trap producer Burn One it simply in an interview with Stereogum: “In Atlanta, trap music is strip club music.”

However, during the promotion of his iconic 2003 record Trap Muzik, T.I. clearly wanted listeners to understand what it truly means to be in the trap, often against one’s will.

“Before, trappin’ was cool, but now trappin’ ain’t cool,” he said in an interview with Uproxx. “It’s necessary for some, but no, it ain’t cool – even if you a hustler. All the hustlers I know – sellin’ dope is the last thing they wanna do.”

The real problem the Haunted Pink Trap House symbolizes is the asymmetry between trap music’s rise to international fame and the socioeconomic stagnation of trap’s birthplace in Atlanta neighborhoods such as Vine City and Bankhead.

Maybe watching crowds laugh through a garish funhouse representation of poverty would be less upsetting if, as reported by Curbed Atlanta, the life expectancy of a resident living in the ultra-wealthy, mostly white Buckhead wasn’t 20 years longer than a person living in the predominantly black Bankhead — despite the two neighborhoods being a few miles apart.

But to expect or hope for trap music to recede back into the depths of obscurity would be an offense to the genre and to the people that risked their lives to start it. Other than calling for our leaders to address the racial scars of income inequality that continue to divide Atlanta, there is no easy way out of the Haunted Pink Trap House.

Steer clear of the “Zombie Crackhead Experience.”

The Haunted Pink Trap House closes Sun., Nov. 11. $11-$39. 320 Temple Ave, Newnan, GAwww.hauntedpinktraphouse.com.    COURTESY OF ATLPICS HAUNTED AND TRAPPED: The Haunted Pink Trap House offers an unsettling meditation on the consequences of trap’s success.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Exiting the Haunted Pink Trap House "
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Friday November 9, 2018 04:45 pm EST
The trap-themed haunted house from 13 Stories and 2 Chainz offers cheap freights and profound anxiety | more...
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  string(3597) "Among the endless sea of sterile music festivals overstuffed with the same set of big-ticket headliners, corporate-sponsored chill-out tents, and dizzying admission prices, Afropunk Fest stands apart. Originally co-founded by Matthew Morgan and filmmaker James Spooner, the music festival has explicitly focused on anti-racist activism and black representation as its core values since its first iteration in 2005. Morgan has helped the festival grow exponentially from its home in Brooklyn to include satellite Afropunk events in Paris, London, Johannesburg, and since 2016, Atlanta.

“Atlanta is very important because it has a history of activism, it’s a gateway of the South, and obviously there’s a large black community, which is really important to us,” Morgan says. “Whether it’s OutKast or Joi, Atlanta has always had an interesting, eclectic, and diverse black music scene that we want to pay homage to.”

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However, Afropunk’s rapid expansion and move away from strictly punk music has invited its fair share of critics who accuse the festival’s organizers of abandoning its DIY roots. Morgan hasn’t shied away from accepting some corporate sponsorship in recent years. He’s also weathered criticism from allowing acts such as Cee-Lo Green on the bill after Green was accused of sexual assault. Despite valid concerns of Afropunk losing its ideological underpinnings, the festival is still one of the only available to Atlantans who want to sprint from seeing experimental R&B singer Kelela on one stage to listening to anti-racist activist Darnell Moore speak at another.

“Our festival is not like any other festival,” Morgan says. “The importance for young kids of color to not only see themselves on the stage but in the audience is very important.”

For those who worry whether large-scale music festivals can still represent something truly subversive in society, Afropunk is a beacon of hope.

Afropunk Fest Atlanta feat. N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Kaytranada, Death Grips, Noname, and more. Sat., Oct. 13-Sun., Oct. 14. 12 p.m. $50-110. 787 Windsor St. Mechanicsville, GA."
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While Brooklyn’s Afropunk events are organized in a more traditional festival format spanning multiple days, the Atlanta iterations are more contained and experimental. The inaugural 2016 Afropunk Atlanta, which was slated for a 2015 debut but then canceled after inclement weather from Hurricane Joaquin, wasn’t even billed as a festival, but as the Carnival of Consciousness. The distinction between a carnival and festival may seem spurious given that both feature a variety of bands playing on different stages, but the smaller size of the Atlanta edition gives it a more intimate feel that’s been lost as Afropunk Brooklyn’s attendance has skyrocketed.

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Despite the difference in size, Afropunk Fest Atlanta still retains Morgan’s penchant for curating lineups that are unique both in their representations of musicians of color and in the variety of genres. “I read something this morning where someone asked, ‘Where else but Afropunk can you see Trash Talk and Janelle Monae within an hour of one another?’” Morgan says. “Nobody else curates acts quite the same as we do. I don’t believe in genres in that way.”

This year’s Afropunk Fest Atlanta exemplifies that diversity with a range of stellar headliners such as N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Noname, Death Grips, and Joi. Despite the festival’s name, punk only comprises a part of its stylistic portfolio as hip-hop, electronic music, soul, blues, and rock all receive equal weight.

However, Afropunk’s rapid expansion and move away from strictly punk music has invited its fair share of critics who accuse the festival’s organizers of abandoning its DIY roots. Morgan hasn’t shied away from accepting some corporate sponsorship in recent years. He’s also weathered criticism from allowing acts such as Cee-Lo Green on the bill after Green was accused of sexual assault. Despite valid concerns of Afropunk losing its ideological underpinnings, the festival is still one of the only available to Atlantans who want to sprint from seeing experimental R&B singer Kelela on one stage to listening to anti-racist activist Darnell Moore speak at another.

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N.E.R.D., Kaytranada, Death Grips, and more bring diversity in thought and sound for the two-day block party | more...
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  string(1625) " Music Soundboard2 1 12  2018-07-19T13:18:47+00:00 Music_Soundboard2-1_12.jpg     Doodlebug, Ladybug, and Butterfly refute time and space July 26 7592  2018-07-23T04:30:00+00:00 Digable Planets play the Masquerade chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Paul DeMerritt  2018-07-23T04:30:00+00:00 Doodlebug, Ladybug, and Butterfly aka @digableplanets
refute time and space @masquerade_atl July 26 https://creativeloafing.com/content-410527-Digable-Planets-play-the-Masquerade-2
 A glimmer of hope flickered out for ’90s hip-hop in 2012 after Digable Planets cancelled a reunion show, and Ishmael Butler declared that the legendary group was finally done. However, as with so many groups who announce definitive and final breakups, Digable Planets returned. The rap trio of Butler, aka "Butterfly," Craig "Doodlebug" Irving, and Mariana "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira has expanded to a much larger ensemble, and embarked on numerous reunion tours since 2015, showcasing the group's influential, jazz-infused style for new generations of hip-hop heads. While Butler has charted a new stylistic legacy as half of experimental duo Shabazz Palaces, his return to Digable Planets is a godsend to anyone who’s eager to witness the group’s renowned ability to connect both the musical, political, and avant-garde legacies of hip-hop and jazz.

$28.50. 7 p.m. (doors). Thurs., July 26. The Masquerade. 50 Lower Alabama St. S.W., Suite 22. 404-577-8178. www.masqueradeatlanta.com.    Chris Lee CRUISIN' WARP 6 WITH MR. WIGGLES IN THE MIX: Digable Planets                                   Digable Planets play the Masquerade "
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Monday July 23, 2018 12:30 am EDT
Doodlebug, Ladybug, and Butterfly refute time and space July 26 | more...
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Qarlo’s music reflects the artistic diversity of their cohorts as deep house, pop, and R&B dissolve into each other. The song “Melt” subverts mainstream pop tropes by skipping a defined chorus and embracing the power of repetition and minimalism. A mellow house beat carries the five-minute track, lulling listeners into a trance while giving Qarlo’s voice space to explore its full range, from whispered confessions to soaring harmonies.
 
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Qarlo’s forthcoming EP takes its title, Alfeñique, from the Spanish word  for weakling, which references their experience growing up queer and dealing with homophobic slurs about being effeminate. “One of the stereotypes of queerness is that folks are weak and sissyfied,” Qarlo says. “Alfeñique transcends that by being proud and certain and provocative in a domineering way.”

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Qarlo has played a key role in fostering a collective identity among primarily queer artists of color who are unable to find a consistent space for performances. After meeting like-minded artists through activist groups such as Southern Fried Queer Pride, Qarlo and other friends started CLUTCH, an underground party that combines the grandeur of pop performance with DIY solidarity. For Qarlo, whose shows harness the power of performance for celebration and resistance, music and activism are inseparable.

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Qarlo’s music reflects the artistic diversity of their cohorts as deep house, pop, and R&B dissolve into each other. The song “Melt” subverts mainstream pop tropes by skipping a defined chorus and embracing the power of repetition and minimalism. A mellow house beat carries the five-minute track, lulling listeners into a trance while giving Qarlo’s voice space to explore its full range, from whispered confessions to soaring harmonies.
 
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Qarlo’s forthcoming EP takes its title, Alfeñique, from the Spanish word  for weakling, which references their experience growing up queer and dealing with homophobic slurs about being effeminate. “One of the stereotypes of queerness is that folks are weak and sissyfied,” Qarlo says. “Alfeñique transcends that by being proud and certain and provocative in a domineering way.”

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Article

Thursday June 7, 2018 12:39 pm EDT
The rising artist combines queer and black identity with pop excess | more...
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