Hip hop duo THEESatisfaction have just announced a UK tour scheduled for this summer in support of their debut album awE naturalE and I was lucky enough to catch up with Stas and Cat the other week before catching their show in London.

I joined the laid back duo in Soho basement club Madame Jojo's where they would later play to a sold out crowd in what was their first headline show in the capital. It's not their first time in the UK however, they have already toured with fellow Seattle natives Shabazz Palaces where they won over audiences with their intelligent, sassy sound. While their debut was only released in March the pair have been making music for a while now. Cat recalls how they started making music after meeting at an open mic night at Stas' university. "Yeah that's when we started, when we made our first mixtape which came out at the end of 2008 but we didn't have a label an everything we were just putting it out by ourselves."

Cat goes on to explain about getting signed three years later - "well, Sub Pop sells a lot its changed dynamics a lot, but it was because it was right more than just like just jumping in with any record label they have a certain kind of energy and magic to them just good vibes that made sense for us to come together and collaborate."

Despite being signed to a label all of THEESatisfactions music including that on awE NaturalE is all self produced. "I went to school for music and Stas already had big tradition of music in her life, we've both always been interested in the arts and music in general so when it came to making beats and everything like that we just started off with things like Garage Band and checking out the studios in our schools and just playing with it."

THEESatisfaction aren't the only collective out there self producing so how do they feel about the prospect of competing for sales with the likes of Odd Future and the A$AP Mob? Both answer with a refreshing honesty, Cat says "I don't feel like we're in competition really, because the people who are going to like our music they might like ASAP Rocky they might not. I don't have a problem with those guys either, like we don't know them personally but I don't mind their music we're just out here putting out music we really enjoy and music that we like listening to and creating on our own. It's fun to have more competition, there's like no bad energy or bad intentions. We're not competing for any lime light either we just want to continue putting out music and continue touring, just enjoying ourselves on stage and allowing people enjoy us as well," as Stas points out "there's plenty of room for different stories to be told, like I don't want to have my story overshadow anyone else's you know? I feel like we can all exist simultaneously and just put what our story is and what we feel at that time… I think its cool.I mean we're not from Halem or from LA either and we're not black men either so they like totally have a different story to tell than we do. But they have cool grooves."

There is an incredibly chemistry between the both of them, neither of them talk over the other and one will pick up where the other leaves off instinctively, so its no surprise when Stas tells me that chemistry has always been there since they met. "We were dating, we were co workers and then we realised we worked really well together. Like when we were at our jobs we were barristers and they would pair us up and we would have a really fast l factory kind of thing going on, calling out the drinks, just working really well together. So when we started working on music we were separately doing our own kind of creative things so we put them together and it worked really well."

Although THEESatisfaction have been compared to people like Q-Tip, Talib Kweli and Mos Def, if you haven't heard their music yet the closest thing I can compare their sound to is Aquemini era OutKast, and it just so happens Stas attributes those artists and that album in particular as influences "My aunt actually bought me Aquimini, well she played it for me when I was younger and it changed my life, that was just brilliant to me, I'd never heard anything like that so like yeah we grew up listening to all that type of music, cos that was like our age group, we were in high school middle school listening to Mos Def, Common, Talib [Kweli] and a lot of our peers weren't really listening to that. At the same time there was Puff Daddy, Lil John, Mase that kind of flashy hip hop, which was cool and I appreciate that too but we were kind on the earthier side."

Hip hop isn't their only source of influence however and there isn't much the girls don't cite so it comes as no surprise their music is so intelligent and diverse, with Gospel, Jazz, Funk, Soul and R&B influencing the sound they pair that with knowledge gained from an extensive reading list. "We used to listen to a lot of speeches, Malcolm X speeches, Angela Davis speeches, a lot of black panther speeches, Nikki Giovanni poetry..." Stas explains. "I studied english at University of Washington all of that literature on top of all my outside reading has definitely influenced my music."

That spark carries between them on stage too, I asked them what to expect from the show and Stas simply replies "Just us two, our laptop, our beats and our rhymes..." while Cat cooly slides in "and dancing," they aren't joking either, with their time perfect dance moves and retro fashion the duo look like they could have taken Kid ‘n' Play in a dance off in the House Party films. THEESatisfaction really entertain as well as putting their message across. However, just as Stas predicts the crowd is a little tentative at first, "If people haven't seen us, or haven't seen girls rapping in a long time or ever, they are initially like ‘whoah' but people get more into it further in the set," but it doesn't take long for them to warm to Cats soulful vocals and Stas' witty and intelligent verses and as Stas continues "the more we're coming back to the UK the more its been more rowdy and there are more people that know about us and our music."

With that in mind the pair like to keep to the script as much as possible on stage, "we change the arrangements sometimes, sometimes we forget the words but we don't tend to stray too far away from the record people enjoy the record they kinda wanna hear it the way that they heard it so we try and stick to the script for the most part, we jam on some stuff sometimes we might play some beats that we've just made and jam out a bit on the interludes and stuff and dance around on the choreography, we like to have fun, whatever keeps the audience happy but what ever else keeps us entertained."

You can catch THEESatisfaction at the following dates throughout the summer, and we couldn't recommend you do so enough.

  • Sat, 2nd June - Open Air Festival - Rouen, France
  • Sun, 3rd June - Sneaky Pete's – Edinburgh, UK
  • Mon, 4th June - Soup Kitchen – Manchester, UK
  • Tue, 5th June - Harley – Sheffield, UK
  • Wed, 6th June - Birthdays – London, UK
  • Thu, 7th June - Pavilion – Cork, Ireland
  • Fri, 8th June - Love and Death – Belfast, UK
  • Sat, 9th June - Bird – Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Sun, 10th June - Melkweg – Amsterdam, Netherlands