KEXP Q&A: THEESatisfaction

Local Music
Jake Uitti
photo by Matthew B. Thompson

THEESatisfaction are the wise goddesses of Seattle soul. Their celestial music is wrapped up in a shaman spirit and street sounds. They're also about to embark one perhaps their biggest tour to date with NW darlings, Sleater-Kinney. We had a chance to catch up with the duo and ask them about their favorite featured artist, why hiphop hits them hard and genre comparisons. Enjoy!

What does the world of music feel like to you in an age when you can stream your new album on NPR before it’s released?

Stas: We couldn't wait for people to hear our music! I think it's fascinating how much music is made available to us, it's almost overwhelming.What sort of musical balance do you try to achieve together when you’re writing? How is this reflected in the recording and performing process?

Cat: Stas and I both have different writing styles. So we allow each other to write about whatever we are feeling and it winds up working. I tend to free write a lot. I have tons of lyrics and poems that I sometimes refer to, but I also can write in the studio on the spot or to a specific beat. That's more of how like Stas likes to write, right there in the moment before we are about to record.

When was the moment that you knew music, or specifically hip-hop, was where it’s at for you?

Stas: I had a series of moments, once when I was a kid listening to my pastor at church "riffing" and "freestyling" his sermon. I had another moment watching Pearl Dragon of Champagne Champagne perform at an open mic at the University of Washington. My most recent moment was listening to the way Guru flows on the Gang Starr's Daily Operation album.

There is a certain celestial quality to your music, as if I’m staring up at the Milky Way and I’m seeing the stars shake like speaker cones. Is this at all what you’re going for at all?

Stas: That is a great interpretation of our jams. I agree totally with star gazing, astral zoning and celestial vibing. It's best to take our minds outside of themselves for a little bit just to appreciate what you have when you come back.

What are your favorite things about Seattle and its creative culture? Do you ever pine to live and perform in other cities?

Cat: Seattle is a special place to me, especially since I am not originally from here. I never really saw myself living in such a cold place growing up in Hawaii as a young kid. But it's perfect when I think about it now. There's an abundance of nature and water, which is where I draw a lot of my inspiration from. I do think about moving to larger cities like L.A. or even Shanghai, but something about Seattle keeps me planted.

Which were the guest features on hip-hop tracks you loved as a kid?

Stas: I would always look forward to Busta Rhymes as a kid. He appeared on some of my favorite projects like Missy Elliot's “Supa Dupa Fly”, Zhane's self titled album, Janet Jackson's “What's It Gonna Be”. He always knew how to accentuate the track and not overpower.

Is there any band or style of music you vehemently dislike being compared to?

Cat: Not really. I think if someone called us "country" it would be bizarre but I can't think of any genre that really grinds my gears.

You have a tour planned with Sleater-Kinney, culminating with three shows in Seattle at the Showbox. Your partnership with Sleater-Kinney means what to you?

Cat: I am beyond excited to tour w/ Sleater-Kinney! We met Carrie a few years ago at Sasquatch and I had to say hi. Unbeknownst to me, she had heard of THEESat. I pretty much fanned out but she was kind about it. I think it will be the ultimate girl party.

Lastly, you have a line “you’re the number, I’m the math”. Could you explain what you mean with this idea?

Stas: When I was younger and a bit more raunchy, I used to add up all the girls I'd been with.

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