Music Portrait | posted 20.06.2012
THEESatisfaction
Ain't no stopping these two
They read Afro Sci-Fi novels, say ESG is one of their addictions, and describe themselves as »Empresses of Time« from a »pre-Egyptian Dynasty«. With THEEsatisfaction is another great Hip Hop act coming from the creative environment of Shabazz Palaces.
Text Grashina Gabelmann , Photos David Belisle , Translation Julia Hinz
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What to expect from a musical duo that describes themselves as »Empresses of Time« from a »pre-Egyptian Dynasty« and »Queens of the Stoned-age«? It’s an open guess with the answer becoming not much clearer after listening to THEEsatisfaction’s music: here funk, jazz, R&B, soul and hip hop are all swirled together to form a colorful kaleidoscope of musical references topped off with a dose of witty feminist swag. Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White are the »Empresses« behind THEEsatisfaction ruling the city of Seattle where the two met in 2005. »We were running in the same circles and open mic nights. We have always had a strong connection through music, constantly making up songs,« explains Cat who has jazz, funk, soul background whereas Stas is more influenced by gospel, rap and New Jack Swing. The two would jam out together and sing each other songs. Then in 2008 they took the next step and began a sequence of self-produced, self-released EPs called »That’s Weird«. Although the two only had access to basic recording gear they were able to create impressive songs laced with an eclectic mixture of Malcolm X speeches and Stevie Wonder samples cheekily titling their songs »Celebrate Colonialism« and »Sandra Bollock’s Black Baby«. The two, by this point a romantic couple, showed that they could simultaneously be fierce, historical, vampish and jovial. It was hard to believe that their tracks were DIY.

»I remember seeing a drawing of Obama with a Hitler mustache, it made me feel a certain way.« (Stasia Irons) This changed though: after featuring on Shabazz Palaces debut album Black Up the two signed to underground label Sub Pop. The shift from DIY to major indie label didn’t phase the two though. »The transition was real smooth and natural. There have been plenty of changes but none that we couldn’t handle. We haven’t changed the way we create but have added more layers of experience,« exclaims Stas. Their first label released album, »awE naturalE«, a hypnotic groove and croon filled album bespeckled with witty lyrics such as »Hitler stashed Obamas wearing army colored sashes/ rainbow flags blowing, burning crosses, sprinkled ashes/ in the oiled waters of the dollars dropped on masses/ THEEsatisfaction could give a fuck about a fascist«. Their inspirations for this album came from »listening to Rap, Funk and Jazz. ESG was one of our addictions. We read some Afro Sci-Fi novels, and some autobiographies by some of our favorite artists. I remember seeing a drawing of Obama with a Hitler mustache, it made me feel a certain way,«_ so Stas. Even if you’ve got TheeSatisfaction just quietly playing the background it’s hard not the catch biblical or historical references. »We are researchers and have always had an interest in learning. I feel like there is something from everyone to take away from our music. It’s up to the listener to figure out what it is and if they like it or not,« explains Cat. The two have quickly developed a signature style: futuristic hip hop/jazz tunes rooted in old school hip hop, stream of conscience lyrics, meaningful murmurs, the the finishing off of each others sentences proving how deeply they know one another. AwE NaturalE, their debut album, surely is just the stepping stone to the couples grand scheme: »We are about love and positive energies hoping to spread that far and wide. When people challenge us and our existence we examine, explore and continue on«. Ain’t no stopping these two.

You can find »Awe Natural« by THEESatisfaction at hhv.de: CD LP
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