In the 1993 dinosaur thriller Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum's smarmy character Dr. Ian Malcolm asserts, "If there's one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territories, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously." That sentiment could easily be applied to Atlanta's independent music scenes in 2011. Despite the horrible state of the economy, bands, bedroom producers, DJs, and MCs broke free of their restraints, thanks to the rise of Bandcamp, local clubs dropping cover charges, and nontraditional venues and house shows springing up across town.
As the new year gets underway, the time is ripe to talk about predictions, wishes, and resolutions for Atlanta music. This week CL Staff Music Writer Chad Radford hit up dozens of local musicians, promoters, and label owners — from Fort Knox to Washed Out — to find out what they think it will take to make Atlanta's music scene better and stronger in 2012.
DJ Speakerfoxxx (Nilan)
I predict that ATL artists will continue making an impact in the music industry this year. Some of the shining stars in 2011 included 2 Chainz, Rittz, Future, Black Lips, Nikkiya, Ethereal, Burn One, and Big K.R.I.T. I'm predicting a continuation of their success as well as big things from Grip Plyaz, Gangsta Boo, Brittany Bosco, Heroes x Villains, Aleon Craft, SMKA, Blunt Fang, and the Generation X movement headed by Dungeon Family's Backbone.
It's the DJ's responsibility to expose the public to more non-mainstream music. Likewise, the public could be more receptive and open-minded to music they've never heard before. Also, the indie scene isn't the only "underground" scene that deserves media coverage. Atlanta is named "the home of hip-hop" and there are a lot of underground/up-and-coming hip-hop artists and producers that don't get the press they deserve.
Dan Dixon, of post-punk/alt-rock band PLS PLS (formerly of Dropsonic)
In regards to making the scene stronger, I think the local scene has a real fear of commitment. I'd like to see more bands really tour and actually attempt to make a record that doesn't sound like it was recorded through two soup cans attached by a piece of string. They might have to sacrifice an eight ball and a couple of cases of PBR to afford it, but it'd be worth it in the long run.
Mike Walbert, manager of hip-hop production unit SMKA Productions
There will be six new dances created in Atlanta, the Gumby will come back in style, and we will see some Atlanta staples have a very important year: T.I., Ludacris, and Young Jeezy. [But] there needs to be more collaboration between different genres. There are some great indie rock bands that I know hip-hop folks would like, and vice versa. The hip-hop scene is strong, but when artists get put on, they need to do a better job of supporting all the other artists that they came up with in Atlanta.