It doesn't take much — maybe a little sweet tea vodka — to inspire the equally charismatic Elijah Jones and Dreamer. As the frontman for rock band Constellations and one-fourth of hip-hop group Hollyweerd, respectively, they both have a knack for distilling after-hours Atlanta into pop-worthy hooks and melodies. With Constellations' major-label debut Southern Gothic out this week and Hollyweerd's Edible Phat Part 2 mixtape dropping July 6, we eavesdropped as they chopped it up about Gonzo songwriting, Hunter S. Thompson-style, and making Oreo cookies out of Georgia soul.
Elijah Jones: The first time I saw Hollyweerd, I was blown away. You had the live thing going on with the drummer and stuff. You weren't doing the everyday soldier rap kinda shit that Atlanta gets saturated with — not that there's anything wrong with that. Each personality of everybody in the group is different. I dig that.
Dreamer: Yeah, same thing this way. Constellations shows are dope as fuck. My homegirl, she's very narrow-minded when it comes to music, and it's crazy 'cause now she's wearing the Constellations tank top. It's really dope, innovative, and at the same time, you have these sparks of soul.
EJ: I'm looking forward to hearing y'all's new shit. Who else is on the [Edible Phat Part 2] mixtape?
D: Rapper Big Pooh from Little Brother is on there. Joe Scudda. Don Cannon is hosting it, so hopefully we get that theatric feel on there.
EJ: I know Grip Plyaz is on there.
D: Oh yeah, Grip. We got an exclusive record with Yela[wolf] we did awhile ago.
EJ: Yela's the shit, man. Y'all got plans on touring?
D: Yeah, we're putting a couple of things together.
EJ: Man, y'all gotta get out there, show the world. We put ourselves in debt putting ourselves on tour, but you know, it works out. Get yourself out there. People will respond.
D: I was going to ask you, as far as when you do get in the zone, what are your inspirations? What causes you to write the songs that y'all write?
EJ: I just wrote all about my city. I wanted to tap into the other side of Atlanta. The rock bands, they don't really talk about their city, and with a lot of the hip-hop groups, they just talk about a very specific thing about the city. I just wanted to dive into both areas and see if I could come up with something in the middle. I do a lotta people-watching, I do a lotta partying, and I try and combine the two and just write about what I know.
D: I feel ya. It's kinda how I am. A lotta people-watching, party-going. That definitely helps.
EJ: Absolutely, if you can remember what the fuck happened that night. That's always the problem.
D: What happens is, I'll be in the club, but I'll be too whatever, out of my mind, and then I'll be in somebody's ear, and I'll be rapping. I'll be at MJQ and they'll be playing a whole buncha remix records, so I'll be rapping to the record, like, "It's too many bitches in here." We be coming up with the hooks in there [the club], boy.
EJ: I was thinking about doing the whole Hunter S. Thompson thing and strapping the recorder to me and just recording the whole night.
D: And just start rapping, freestyling off the top about everybody.
EJ: What are you listening to?
D: I'm listening to the Black Keys. I'm listening to Janelle [Monae's] project. Cee-Lo's mixtape, that Stray Bullet project, is pretty rad. You know Goodie [Mob's] got a new one coming out I heard. That's what's up.
EJ: What you drinking these days, man?
D: Um, sweet tea vodka.
EJ: No shit, man. We played Bonnaroo a couple of weeks ago and they gave us a bottle of that shit. By the time I got up on stage, I was like ...
EJ: Absolutely retarded. Probably one of the best shows we've done in awhile, man. It was insane.
D: Oh man, I bet. How's everybody else doing?
EJ: Everybody's good. We haven't killed anybody yet. It's nine of us crammed into a 15-passenger van. We're hangin' in there. We got a bunch of festivals we're doing. Lollapalooza is the next one I think we've got coming up.
D: Cool, cool.
EJ: So what artists in Atlanta do you most wanna work with — past or present?
D: I would do a song with Ray Charles. He don't even have to play. Just him and his harmonica and we can get it crackin'.
EJ: That'd be the shit. Redo "Georgia" — not Field Mob-style, but just redo that shit. I'd do a song with Cee-Lo and James Brown.
D: That'd be soul to its teeth. That'd be the soulest song ever.
EJ: I'll be the fuckin' Oreo cookie, man.