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14:12 LA

17:12 NYC

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Welcome to Staysie Atoms Dreamworld 

Memphis native, Staysie Atoms has been floating on a cloud all of 2021. 

Cece Moll, Editor-in-Chief

Cece Moll

Editor-in-Chief

Updated

Raised by the internet, and inspired by different pockets of digital life, be it video games or memes, Atoms is sometimes rapper, sometimes singer, writer, producer and DJ. She channels her deadpan wit and carefree charm into infectious, playful trap music, on projects like her seminal album THEE HITZ, while also creating dream-like, soulful songs under the alias Sienna Cigarette. Her music is ever-evolving, much like her personal journey itself. “There’s so much you can do in this life, there’s so much you can see and be and go.” 

No song sounds the same and that’s part of her allure. Coining her style as “Memphis but prettier”, Atoms brings listeners into a fantasy-filled wonderland, where anything goes. She records on her iPhone, as to be purposefully unclear, playing with murky vocals and fried-style-trap beats that are chopped, screwed and reused; often shifting tempo and pitches on the same track. Zooming through her animated world, and taking us along for the ride. 

With lyrics as hilarious, crude and honest as the song titles themselves: POP A BITCH LIKE A COLLAR, IDGAF ABOUT UR EX THAT BITCH CAN ROT, THT 1 TIME I MADE A JOKE ABT SPACING OUT N SEEING U ON THE MOON ND U THOUGHT I WAS CORNY, Atoms doesn’t take things too seriously, much of her experience is simply “living life”- with all of its highs and lows.

2021 has been an important year for Staysie Atoms, she’s released multiple projects including THEE HITZ, 2 Eps SIENNA CIGARETTE’S GREATEST HITS parts 1 & 2, as well a multitude of singles. We met when she was on a trip to NYC, where she had originally come to perform a few shows and ended up spontaneously staying a month longer than expected. The city has her in high demand- she is adored out here. 

Read her interview below where she talks about her life, her music and her dog Benji:

Firstly, how did you get into making music?

Cece

This might sound extremely fucked up… but when Michael Jackson died that really sparked a lot in everybody my age, he was always on the radio.You couldn’t escape it. I already knew how to sing but I wanted to take it more seriously, so I got into dancing and actually performing. And I grew up with a lot of old rap music, old Memphis rap, Project Pat, Three 6 Mafia, but when I was younger I was like ewww but when I got older I was like yeaaaa..

Staysie Atoms

So being from Memphis has definitely influenced your taste, sounds and style?

If you’re from Memphis, they cherish you, so I feel like it does. But before I do anything I like to study it and execute it in my own way, and before I had started releasing music, i was listening to Three 6 Mafia non stop, and a lot og Gangsta Boo, and that’s when I started writing, I wanted Memphis...but like prettier.

I feel like your music is so distinctive, and it can be hard to pin-point but maybe that’s the whole point..do you think you could ever describe it?

I can’t describe it either I just be doing it! But i would say just carefree, letting go, could fuck the club up!

Are  there any specific things sonically that you would look for in a beat and be like ok this is for me. What do you look for in production?

Lots of different progressions, transitions, if its a loop, it gets really hard to focus on what the artist is saying cus the beat is always the same, so i like something different-, one thing i really do like is the cowbell- 

I love how some of your songs kind of stop mid-track and start again and the pace is faster and you play with your voice pitch- so i'm curious to know  what inspired this?

I got into Djing earlier that year, i really wanted to learn how to chop and screw...and so i did- and then i was like oh i wanna do some new stuff! So i just started fucking around with my stuff… Three 6 Mafia they do that, they constantly loop, reuse, recycle. It was on 3cool5u- that was the first song where I ever fucked with the mixing, and I sped it up and ever since then I been doing it!

Do you create with different moods? Does something spark an idea?

My dog! I call him my therapy dog… i'll be writing and he’ll be looking at me and I’m like why he looking at me like that?! hot ass breath dog! And yeah my dog inspires me to write a lot, whenever i’m writing i’m with him. 

He’s so cute, what’s his name?

Benji! I call him boobie and sometimes fish…

Aww! So you make beats as well?

Yes- I do! I feel like there’s so much you can do in this life, there’s so much you can see and be and go. I feel like a lot of people be like “I'm a painter so I'm just supposed to paint for the rest of my life” and I’m like nooo! You have the ability to do lots of other stuff. Like I started with singing, and then I was rapping and then DJing and then producing.

How is Memphis as a city to perform in, how has the response been within your home city with regards to your music?

I was doing shows there when i was 18… and then I broke off to be a rapper  because i was like i don't wanna be a soul singer anymore. Then A whole drought just came… I haven’t been getting any shows. I had a couple- 2 or 3 but whenever I do have a show it be lit! People twerking on stage..

New York definitely loves you-

Y’all are wild out here!

Could you ever see yourself living out here?

I feel like I could…. I could come flex in New York. But I feel like I’m most comfortable at home with my dog… so idk maybe i could bring him out here!

Has it been a constant process of experimenting with different things? Sometimes your music sounds really ethereal, sometimes like a video game, or super digitized- there’s just so many elements to it- has videogames and the digital world been an inspiration for you?

A lot! I hopped on that kinda late actually, in 2019- But before I was a musician I was a meme account! There’d be pics I really liked and I’d save it and so I was like ok I guess that’s my aesthetic and I wanted the music to reflect the pictures and so it all just came together.

Who did the cover art for THEE HITZ?

Ummm I kind of stole it! But it’s from an artist who made it in like 2005.. He used to make a bunch of stuff for vodka commercials… I just used to be on the internet.

Yea that early 2000\s aesthetic-

Yea i feel like it’s kind of old now though… everybody's getting into it- what’s it called when everybody jumps on something? I was like too many people have been doing this I have to gooo!

True… but i feel like you’ll always find the next thing-

True , there’s always so much to be inspired by and see and do… I feel like this whole aesthetics switch would be sexy.

Exactly.  Ok so i remember when we were talking outside of the venue for your show in August and you were mentioning how you used to curate shows and stuff.. So i have to ask- if you could put on a huge event like some warehouse shit and you could book any artists dead or alive who would you book?

Ohh wow, Britney Spears! It’s so many people I listen to, probably Beyonce, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson, and ummmm probably Earth Wind and Fire I’m not gonna lie- it’s something about bands!

Do you remember your first ever performance?

I was 18, and I didn't have a name I just knew I wanted to make music… and I had started to get integrated into the Memphis music scene and so people started to know my face but they didn’t know I could sing! And i was like ok i wanna sing, and i was at this open mic and everybody was like wtf she doing on stage?! Is she ok?! And i started singing and it sounded terrible and i was so scared and there was like 10 people in the crowd- and all my friends held their lighters and they kept trying to support me and i was like yea i love my friends.

It’s definitely important who you keep around you!

Yea, and honestly they’ve been hyping me up since i got here. And we don’t even talk like that but when i call them they’re like we knew you could do it! We are so proud of you.

How you feeling right now about everything? Your art and where your journey is at right now?

There’s this weird artist cycle, where you’re on a winning streak then something happens and you’re like oh fuck- is my music career over? Like who am i? What am I doing this for? You start to question everything… which is kind of normal I’m not gon’ lie, but when you acknowledge the problem you can be like ok how can i make it better! And right now, I've just been on the hunt for this new sound… I’m getting too old for this sound… I don’t wanna get stuck on this! So I really like to do a lot of different things, I love to experiment and none of my songs sound the same. I really just been searching for the right notes… I’ve still been making music though. 

I just like to live! I be so caught up in music it be all I can think about… music music music! And i’ll be like who am i? What kind of food do I like? What am I doing right now? And sometimes I have to come down to reality and tend to my life before I can be Staysie again and live in the dreamworld. So it’s really like reality vs fantasy.

Do you feel like a big part of your art is like this fantasy, candyland?

Yeah actually! That’s why I have Staysie and Sienna, because Sienna is like me when I'm going through it.

Is creating through different aliases important to get in a zone?

Not necessarily, sometimes I'll make some music and I'm like who even is this? So I don't know, I created the two to kind of separate singing and rapping, so I do have to separate them for the sake of my mental too- I be getting confused too. I can’t just drop 10 singing songs and 1 rap song and everyone like wtf is this! It helps me organizing.

I know you talk about your future direction and what’s new for you, is there anything in particular that you’ve been envisioning?

Mmm,,,, metal! And I really do wanna sing more, I'm a singer.. Maybe darker trap maybe not so playful… like “i’m in your closet…grr….I’m in your closet...” I’ve been listening to a lot of darker sounds. 

Do the seasons affect your music?

I cannot write for shit in the fall or the winter…. Only in the spring and summer.  Like it will start to get cold and ill be like Arrrrgh! It’s happening again! I’m losing my powers!

Are you feeling like that this time around?

No, this time I feel different- I don’t gotta be sad if I don’t wanna be sad!

Do you give yourself time  to look forward to the future as well?

...I… don’t know, I don’t know. When I first started dropping music honestly I was homeless… so it was like a lot of optimism, when I get on I’m gonna eat and I’ll make music for the rest of my life and it’s gon’ be like this- and it was exactly like that! So if anything i’m just really optimistic, because if i can go crazy like last year and drop all those songs… this year like!!  -in 2021 alone you dropped so much, including the Sienna Cigarette’s Greatest Hits, the album THEE HITZ as well as lots of singles, that were all quite different- so yea we’re all excited to hear the music you’ll continue to create- I’m excited to even create, I really wanna write again… this is really inspiring- 

How do your lyrics come to you?

When I had an Iphone I would write on my Iphone and I could record a song in 15 minutes… like i’ll sit down like I wanna make a song today! And i'll look at Benji and be like yo… da da da da daaa…! And then I'll write it down and I'll record it and it’s like done.

Wait- so you’re making songs on your phone? Omg!

Yea that’s what makes it sound different… cus people be like oh you should get in the studio and make this shit sound clearer- and i’m like dont’t y’all like my shit cus its not clear?

Exactly! Now it all makes sense.

I always tell myself it really just be hitting in a different beat- no more normal speeds.

What is something that is really important to you right now in your life?

My family… I miss them, they been supporting me so much since I been out here. I be sending them pics like look at me on this street corner! 

We weren’t really close back then….. I would just say as time goes by I need my family.. And I used to feel like i was so misunderstood like omg I hate everybody and y’all hate me! In the end … now I need them the most, now I need them more than ever. 

What is your zodiac sign?

I’m a Leo!

Is there anything you want to say?

Yea actually! I have a couple words… to Jayla my little sister, i miss you so much, to my mother i love you very much and thank you for holding me down while i’ve been out here in this scary world… and to Benji, my dog… Woof!

Listen to Staysie Atoms here:


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