Music

THEESatisfaction blaze a path for futuristic hip-hop soul

Fri., Feb. 8, 2013 12:15 PM EDT
by Stereo Williams

THEESatisfaction have a sound that’s both organic and futuristic, aggressive and ethereal—it sounds so unique, yet oddly familiar. The Seattle-based duo of Stas and Cat have a bond that is literally audible, the two women complementing each others’ sounds the way Miles Davis fed off of John Coltrane, or how Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye vocally tapped into a tangible romantic synergy.  Its clear that they were meant to make music together.

Stas revealed that, initially, she was afraid of a voice as honest and moving as Cat’s. “It sounded so smooth and gritty at the same time,” she explains, drifting off to the moment that she first heard that distinctive sound. “You could just hear that she’s been through a lot–without her even saying any words, just scatting. It sounded so good to me. Her voice is really special.”

The two bonded over a similar taste in music, (they both love Georgia Anne Muldrow), and through a series of retail jobs at places like Starbucks and Costco. “We noticed we worked really well together on that and we just kept going with it on music!” Stas says, smiling. “[We] started making beats, and singing over it and rapping over it.” Through those simple beginnings, Cat began to notice how gifted Stas was—both with her wordplay and her production skills. “She’s got a lot of flavor,” Cat says of her partner. “I listen to her write and recite poetry and she has a way with words, flipping them and just doing all kinds of things to and with the English language that people just don’t do! [And] her production is really ill. We’ve only been making beats for a couple of years now but she’s just, like, excelled at rapid rates. I still have days, five years in, where I’m like ‘Wow–you made that? Are you serious?’ I’m trippin’ and dancing and losing my mind, like ‘Play that one beat again! I need that!’”

Living in Seattle was a double-edged sword for THEESatisfaction. The environment was both creatively-inspiring and culturally-stifling for the pair. “There’s not really a place that plays underground stuff. You have to go create it yourself,” Stas explains. “Because there’s nothing to do, you have to make it. Just being bored influenced us to make stuff.”

“Seattle is just very spacious,” adds Cat. “In the sense that there is no smog and you can see the sky and stars and the moon and embrace it. The air is really clean, there are mountains all around us–it’s just a totally different vibe. It’s its own space.”

The contrast of their hometown, the complementary nature of their personalities—it’s all audible on their debut album Awe Naturale. From the punchy sway of “Sweat” to the hypnotic groove of “Earthseed,” Stas and Cat combine all of these disparate elements to craft a sound that’s completely theirs. They are among a new generation of artists re-inventing what hip-hop and soul music can sound like in the 21st century.

And the world is noticing. Awe Naturale found its way onto numerous “Best of 2012” lists, and the ladies have gotten acknowledgements from many of their idols, including Georgia Anne Muldrow and Ish of Shabazz Palaces (formerly of Digable Planets.) “Erykah Badu tweeted us and we lost our minds!” Cat says with a laugh. “We’d just put out our ‘Erykah Badu’ mixtape and she hit us up on Twitter–and I know it’s not a phone call, but a tweet is a huge thing!”

That tweet and the acclaim is likely only the beginning of huge things for THEESatisfaction. For now, these two modest creatives from the Pacific Northwest are enjoying the moment. And they’re enjoying sharing it with each other.

“We get in a serious groove when we’re onstage,” says Cat. “We both forget we’re onstage, but we’re doing stuff so in-sync. Our bodies are waving the same way, I don’t know—we go into a different world. I really love and appreciate that.”

As does their ever-growing fanbase.

Whatever you do—don’t funk with their groove.

-          stereo williams

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