"There’s gotta be some light in all the darkness that’s all around. We’re constantly fed with a lot of dark images and bad things, watching the news and even not watching the news, you know? Life can get tough."
"There's gotta be some light in all the darkness that's all around. We're constantly fed with a lot of dark images and bad things, watching the news and even not watching the news, you know? Life can get tough. You want something to look forward to or be hopeful about. That's what we're on,” explains Stasia Irons, one half of the hip hop soul fusion that it is THEESatisfaction. Describing the duo's general outlook, she also goes some way to outlining their sound, a heady mix of smooth beats, soulful vocals and unashamedly positive hooks – “funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics” according to their website.
“Writing and just creating songs is a way to release a lot of the pain and stuff that we went through growing up and just being in school and being rejected and feeling on the outside of things a lot. We definitely are happy that we're able to turn that negativity into something good,” Irons continues.
Irons and Catherine Harris-White, better known as Stas and Cat, first met in high school and have been making music together ever since. The partners in love and music released a series of self-made EPs and mixtapes, before dropping their debut album awE NaturalE earlier this year to rave reviews. Eternal outsiders, the pair stand out through an inability to be stapled to any one particular genre, an unusually positive force in hip hop from the outset while continuing to make inroads into the indie music circuit. With a buzz around them in their hometown of Seattle and after years of working independently, they signed to the legendary Sub Pop label early last year.
A label known more for their indie-rock influence than anything else, signing to Sub Pop has seen the pair's music reach audiences most hip hop groups wouldn't always be able to. For Irons and Harris-White, the indie connections were just a natural progression for the group. “We're already into the indie and grunge scenes ourselves,” suggests Harris-White. “We've always been a part of the do-it-yourself scene and everything like that, which is kinda just how we feel in general. Before we were doing a lot of hip hop shows we were doing a lot of just different kinds of shows – there'd be a rock band opening or an indie group headlining or whatever and we would just find our way into it. So it was just more about fitting in where you fit in and less about what genre it was. So it's not that far off what we are as hip hop.”
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With the increased attention comes a workload the pair are still adjusting to. Between recent appearances in Europe and their upcoming tour of Australia, the pair have been in a constant stream of media interviews. “I mean I would much rather be doing this then the stuff that we were doing before,” laughs Irons. “We were working in like, Starbucks and pushing carts at Costco, and just doing a bunch of things that we did not enjoy doing! It's a lot of work now, but it's really, really rewarding.”
THEESatisfaction's reputation as a live act is becoming a force in itself. A feel good, life affirming groove accompanied by the pair's ever present dancing, the show has unexpectedly become the highlight of festivals around the world. “I really do love Stas,” enthuses Harris-White. “I love performing with her and I'm in love with her, so that comes through in us performing. We just love to perform, we love music, we love sharing it with people, we love peoples' reactions, and that they love the music. So I guess it's just kind of a lovefest! There is a lot of love going on. We're just trying to have a good time and make sure that our music comes out the way that we want it, and everybody's just having a good time.”
THEESatisfaction will be playing the following shows:
Friday 19 October - GoodGod Small Club, Sydney NSW
Saturday 20 October - The Bakery, Perth WA