‘We give each other a lot of space and leeway to be ourselves’ A pre-LouFest interview with Catherine Harris-White of THEESatisfaction
Catherine Harris-White and Stasia Irons are soaring with THEESatisfaction. Well known among fans of the Seattle hip-hop scene, the duo has taken off with a European tour and buzz both abroad and at home following the release of their debut album, “awE naturalE.”
Fresh off a flight landed in Seattle, Harris-White discusses the group’s new album and its first-ever St. Louis appearance at LouFest 2012.
Francisco Fisher: You guys have been recording and making music since 2008. I’m talking about ThEESatisfaction, but you were also on the Shabazz Palaces’ [a Seattle-based collective] album. How does it feel to have this album come out, an album of your own?
Catherine Harris-White: It’s really nice, you know. This is the first project we’ve had that’s been advertised and distributed around the world. In the past, we’ve just come out with projects like mixtapes and sold them basically by hand and at shows and put them online. So it’s kind of cool because this has been put out there in such a big way.
What is it like working with Stasia [Irons]? Do you prefer working in a duo or larger groups?
I really love working with Stas’. She’s got a great style and a really great ear for music. It’s a joy to work with her. I’ve worked with a couple of other bands before, but I like working with Stas’ and the two-person dynamic and how we can build off that.
Would you say you guys complement each other?
We definitely complement each other, rhythmically and vocally. We harmonize a lot when we’re on stage. We just have a solid idea of what the other person is doing or might do, and if we don’t know what’s going to happen, we can work it out. It’s not like any problems, like, “What the hell is she doing?” or “Why would she do that?” We work through everything, so it’s cool.
In the studio, onstage or both?
Everywhere. Definitely onstage, too, because since it’s live, things can always change. But we give each other a lot of space and leeway to be ourselves.
Do you enjoy live performance or are you more comfortable in the studio?
Recording and working on stuff at home is a totally different process, because you have hours, days and weeks to work on things sometimes, so you can get into a different vibe and chill out on it. When it’s live, it’s a different kind of high, because you have to do everything within an hour and people are watching it. There’s a lot of editing and mixing down and different things you can do in the studio — which is another kind of science, or another kind of game you can play — but you can’t do that same stuff onstage.
Would you say there is one overarching message your album is trying to get across?
There are many messages. I’m constantly learning them too, myself. But I think that it’s more of learning to feel comfortable in the skin you’re in kind of thing.
Does that reflect your mission both musicians and as individuals, in your lifestyles and personalities?
Yea, it’s about living your life the best you can in a positive stance and hoping the best for people and putting out that kind of energy. And trying to understand your own purpose here in this universe. That’s why we’re here, and we do what we do.
Does being from Seattle influence your music?
Seattle has a real spacy-ness to it. It comes in many varieties; there’s not just one kind of Seattle hip-hop. There’s gangster hip-hop out here, there’s what people call “backpack hip-hop” and things like that. It’s all kinds of different varieties, and it sounds different from other cities. It rains a lot here, and the weather is different than most places, and the way the city is populated, so, yeah.
Is there anything you want your St. Louis audience to know, anything you’re anticipating for LouFest?
We’re just really excited to be playing. This is our first wave of festival seasons, and after the album, we are excited to share it with everybody. It’s exciting to be going to St. Louis. It will be a good time.
THEESatisfaction performs at LouFest on Sunday, August 26. 88.1 KDHX is a media cosponsor of LouFest 2012.