When we began the interview this week, Cat Harris-White of THEESatisfaction—was monosyllabic. Shy and hesitant in her answers, I was worried that being interviewed was not something that was going to come naturally for her. That is, until I heard Stasia Irons, Cat's partner in crime, come in through the door. On a dime, the mood shifted: “Mmmms” and “oooohs” replaced the “uhms” and “likes.” As their music suggests, alone they are mere humans, but together they are SUPERB.
I discovered the hip-hop duo through a strange source: MTV. Well, MTV by way of independent Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton, who directed a series of five-minute shorts for “Music” Television this past year. The show blended a fictional storyline with a non-fictional cast of Seattle musicians. Of all the bands highlighted in the doc-tional series (and there were some good bands in there), it was one of the smallest that really stood out as a genuine gem.
THEESatisfaction is tag team magic, one that has an uncanny sense of style, rhythm, and words. Being so small and so new, it's a rare treat to get see them in our own hometown. This duo is making some of the finest Northwest hip-hop, period.
Kat: If you were born anywhere, where would you choose?
Cat: I don't know, probably where I came from: San Francisco.
Can you describe for me one of you favorite relatives—excluding your mom, dad, or sibling?
C : My cousins Ethan and Nathan.
What are they like?
C: They're really cool. My cousin, Nathan, we actually share the same birthday—he's just three years older than me—and Ethan lives in Switzerland.
Can you describe one of the last times you saw them.
C: Last time, what did we do? We had dinner and stuff. Went to the Seattle Center. Ethan was visiting Seattle actually for the first time. We got to see the Space Needle. It was really cool.
If you had to choose would you become a director, a movie star, or a screenwriter?
C: Movie star?
Yes Movie Star.
C: I like acting. So I guess movie star…
Do you have a go-to Thai dish, Indian dish and sushi roll, and if so what are they?
Stasia: Mmm. Butter chicken.
C: Oh Stasia's here now. Butter chicken, definitely.
S: I love butter chicken.
S: Garlic naan. Coconut chicken?
C: Coconut curry. Mmm. California and Seattle roll for sushi.
S: Any of the rolls that are fried. Mmm.
S: Deliciousness. And what was the other thing?
C: She said Thai.
S: Definitely Pad Thai.
S: And the garlic chicken.
S: And spring rolls.
How spicy can you go?
S: Three stars…?
C: Yeah. Three stars.
How bout sushi? Is there any fish that you will not touch?
S: I don't think I've come across any.
C: I've had a lot of seafood in my time.
What was the thing that surprised you that you didn't get grossed out by?
S: Yeah. Squid.
C: Yeah. I did not get grossed out. Mmm.
What's your favorite song to cover?
C: I like a lot of jazz standards. Like “How Insensitive.” I really like covering that song.
S: “Trouble is a Man”
C: “Lover Man.” Those are really nice songs. “Gentle Rain.”
OK. Another kind of cover question: What's your favorite cover or bedspread look like?
S: I'd say solid earth tones. Nothing too crazy.
C: Autumn colors, yeah!
Do you have a favorite one that you've had for a while? Something sentimental?
S: I have a Mickey Mouse blanket. It stays at my mom's house but sometimes I like to go to her house and sleep in it. It's very small. I've had it since I was seven. Six or seven. It's just got Mickey Mouse's face all over it. It's a white blanket and he's printed all over, doing weird things.
C: I had a Winnie the Pooh one, too. That was a good one. But, yeah. Definitely got tossed.
If a plan to rob a bank was presented to you, and it seemed totally fool proof—no chance of getting caught that you could see—would you participate in it?
S: You wouldn't?
C: No. I'm not really into thieving or robbing banks.
Yeah. It's pretty dangerous. I can understand.
C: I like living, and not in jail or prison…
Yeah. I suppose so…unless you were in a heist movie. If you were in a heist movie, then maybe?
C: Yeah. Maybe if I was a movie star…
S: Set it Off Part II
C: Yeah. Set it Off Part II
Vegas or Disneyland?
C: I've actually never been to Vegas, so it'd have to be Disneyland. Last time I was there it was like my 16th birthday.
Did you go there often when you were a kid?
C: No. I've been like twice in my entire life.
Do you remember your favorite part of it?
C: The ride—oh! I don't even remember which ride it was. All the rides? I just like rides in general.
When's your birthday?
C: August 22nd.
Oh! Happy Birthday!
How'd you celebrate it this year?
C: I just chilled out….
S: Whatever. It was a week-long celebration! (laughs) Yeah, we threw her a surprise party—a gathering. We got drunk a couple of nights. We had a couple of different dinners.
C: We went to the Digable Planets concert. It was cool. I had a lot of fun.
How old did you turn?
Would you consider yourself a plant person?
Do you have any plants right now?
C: My mom has a garden; we help her with that from time to time, but I guess we've just been getting more into nature in general.
Is there a fruit or a vegetable that you that you picked fresh that blew your mind this summer?
S: French squash.
C: Oh, yeah, French squash. There was that. There were some really great blueberries, some raspberries. And strawberries.
Did you make anything out of them?
C: Fruit salads. And we sautéed up the squash.
Also a fruit or vegetable question: If you were a fruit or a vegetable what would you be? And you can answer it for each other.
C: Ooooh. What kind of fruit do you think I am?
S: Cat, you would definitely be a grapevine.
C: A grapeVINE?
C: OK. Yes. I think you're kind of a mango-papaya…
S: OK (laughs).
What's the grossest hotel you've stayed out?
C: I try not to go to a hotel that's gonna be like that. I'd rather sleep on a friend's floor. If there are chances of it being nasty, I'm probably not even down to do it. I mean, we've slept on a lot of floors and a lot of couches and chairs.
S: But I don't think there's a nasty hotel.
S: Not that I can think of.
C: All the hotels, they've all been pretty good. We wouldn't stay at any rinky-dink ones, I don't think.
If you could get a famous visual artist to do a portrait of you guys who would you get to do it?
C: Just overall? Dead or alive?
Yeah. Dead or alive.
S: Jean-Michel Basquiat.
C: Jacob Lawrence.
S: Yeah, Jacob Lawrence.
C: Keeping it Seattle.
Have you ever made homemade ice cream before?
C: You know, I have not. My brother has made some. It was cool. I'm supposed to make some next time.
What kind do you think you're going to make?
C: I'm probably going to try to make a sorbet because I'm lactose intolerant. It'll probably be like a mango sorbet or something. I like mangoes.
Saxophone: sexy or nerdy.
C: I think the saxophone has sexy…qualities…I think it can be sexy from time to time. I feel like sometimes it's, um, arranged inappropriately. It's like a voice. It's like a certain kind of voice in a band, you know. So it's so delicate. Like all instruments are. I don't know. I think sometimes people get a little confused when it comes to stuff like that. Not to say that I could put it together myself. Not yet.
Skaters or breakdancers?
C: Well…I know a lot of breakdancers…but I know a lot of skaters, too. It's hard to say.
How about if you could be really good at one or the other?
C: Breakdancing is really cool…but skateboarding helps get you around…I want to skate. Yeah, I want to skate.
What super power do you think you would have? Not the one that you want, but the one you think you'd have if you got hit by some kind of radioactive lightning bolt. What kind of power do you think you would acquire?
C: I have to imagine myself being there, cause that's a weird situation. You get out of your truck, cause the engine's not working. The storm's coming and a green lightning bolt comes out of the sky…I'm going say Sonic Boom Singing; where you can just hold a note for years
S: I think I would talk to animals.
C: Yeah. Stasia would probably get the power of being able to talk to animals, for sure.
OK. Final question. I've been asking everyone this one, been trying to find the definitive answer, so I thought I'd ask you too…In the Meatloaf song “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)” What is “that”?
C: I'm wondering…uh… “but I won't do that! No no!”
S: I don't think he wants to suck her toes…?
C: Yeah. Something like he doesn't want to shave the corn off of her foot. I don't know. He's like “I love you, a lot, and I'll do a lot to be loved, but I, eeeh. That? Not so much.”
S: Oh oh! She asked him to go to the store and buy her tampons!
C: Ah ha ha.
S: “But I won't do that!”
Well that is definitely the best answer I've got so far.
THEESatisfaction plays at Jimmy Mak's during MusicfestNW on Saturday, Sept. 11 with Shabazz Palaces, Champagne Champagne, Cloudy October and Mosley Wotta. Entry with MusicfestNW wristband or $10 at the door. Doors open at 8 pm. THEESatisfaction goes on at 9 pm. 21+.