THEESatisfaction Talk Art, Life on the Road, and the Importance of Good Mojo
By: Katrina Nattress
Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White (better known as THEESatisfaction) have had one hell of a year. The indie world fell in love with the funky, soul/hip-hop duo after it released its debut album, awE NaturalE, this March via Sub Pop. Though the ladies broke into the scene this year, they have been working hard creating and distributing music themselves since 2008, beginning their careers by handing out homemade mixtapes.
But persistence pays off, and the two-piece has spent most of 2012 on the road in support of its successful debut. The tour, which spans this summer, has made stops in Europe and all over North America, with an appearance at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana scheduled for tomorrow, June 20. While in Europe, we caught up with Irons and Harris-White for a few minutes to chat with the Weekly about their amazing journey thus far.
OC Weekly: You are currently touring in Europe. How are gigs different there than in the States? Where do you prefer to play?
Irons: Gigs in Europe are well attended and provide a different vibe than gigs in the States. I feel that Europeans are ahead of the time literally and figuratively. The admiration for blackness is ever-apparent [there]. We prefer to play where ever the music is accepted and needed.
What has been the highlight of your European tour?
Harris-White: Chillin' with The Internet (Syd tha Kyd & Matt Martians) in London after their set at Deviation. And meeting Benji B & LeFtO. All rad people.
Your sound is quite interesting--combining elements of funk-psychedelic, jazz, soul, and hip-hop--what would you say are your largest influences?
Irons: Black art in general. Painters like Jacob Lawrence, Kara Walker and Romare Bearden, orators like Marcus Garvey, Steve Biko and Paul Mooney, and dancers like Carmen de Lavallade, Debbie Allen and Alvin Ailey.
You got your start by handing out homemade mixtapes in 2008. What kind of advice do you have for emerging artists that are trying to break into the scene?
Irons: Enjoy the music that you make. Never force the groove. And don't work with anyone that doesn't compliment and enhance your sound.
You have collaborated with Seattle hip-hop collective Shabazz Palaces. How did you hook up with those guys?
Harris-White: We are like energies and spirits. We've run together for many generations.
Can we expect more collaborating between you two?
Harris-White: Always expect the unexpected. It's bound to go down.
You ladies are known for your electric live performances. What do you believe are the most important factors for a live show?
Irons: Its always important to have fun and let the stage be your sanctuary. It's a feeling and a relationship that is indescribable if you allow yourself to tap into that realm.
What's the most memorable live show you have attended?
Irons: Janet Jackson did a show in Seattle on [Michael Jackson's] birthday. We'd just got back from a short tour and were extremely late to the point that security almost didn't let us in. It was a year after [Michael] had passed. We walked in while she was performing "Together Again" and their were pictures of Michael and her projected behind the stage. I'd never cried at a concert until then.
Harris-White: Prince was amazing live. He doesn't take shit from anybody. And the Janet concert killed of course. Seeing your favorite artists in real life can be mind blowing.
What can your fans expect from your show at Santa Ana's Constellation Room?
Harris-White: We will bring the music to life and share our world. We're geeked.