Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Stas and Cat of THEESatisfaction for one of the most enjoyable interviews I've ever been involved with - so it's fair to say I jumped at the chance to speak to them again. Unfortunately, this particular time we're not speaking in Madame Jojo's but via a transatlantic phone call. Thankfully, their honesty and openly candid style remains the same.

Our conversation coincides with the release of the duo's new album, EarthEE, which follows 2012's awE NaturalE. So my first question is, why has it taken this long for a follow-up? "[It's] funny you say that because this is the longest we've ever waited to put out a project," explains Cat. "We were touring and everything that went with that." And touring is something this pair are somewhat enamoured with. Following a handful of shows to promote the new record, and a SXSW appearance, they're set to join Sleater-Kinney on their US tour. "We've ben touring since that record, literally having at least a show a month since that project came out - if not more."

Speaking of the new album, both members of this sophisticated and intelligent rap group are protective and proud of their latest project, with Stas in particular expressing paternal feelings towards it: "It's like our second kid you know? We already had one kid and now we know how to raise children a little bit better." She expands on this analogy by explaining, "it's sounding different and probably better produced because we know how to use our programs a lot better." It's true, they ask me what I think and with the short time I'd had with the album, it was clear that the production has been tightened up when compared to their debut album.


On Society and Race

Society is growing and changing, both in how we communicate via social media, but also attitudes towards race. Stas explains how that's influenced their music: "We've always been attuned and looked behind the veil when it comes to race relations in the States and in general but this past year in particular has been really, really, prevalent in that things are changing pretty quickly and people are becoming aware and awake, so I think that has definitely effected our record especially with the song 'Post Black Anyway'. I know from my lyrics that I was really affected by black twitter and just the idea of people sharing their thoughts and emotions on things that were happening. We were able to access it quicker than hearing it from the news."

To explain the term "Post Black" further Stas explains, "I came up with that title, and not in the sense that we are in a post racial society but the fact that when we make posts on twitter or Facebook me and Cat usually talk about blackness so it's literally, like, post blackness."


On Cosmic Artwork

This outlook is encapsulated by Rajni Perera's terrific album artwork, which features the duo sat upon a throne, floating in space: "All our artwork has always been a little psychedelic and trippy, but we wanted to do that with more of a sci-fi twist," claims Stas. "It works with the whole idea because the concept of EarthEE is that, you know on awE naturalE we were very much grounded and in the earth and seeing earth as humans and now we're looking on at earth more distant from it, so it really is like we're floating through space on that throne, revolving around Earth and witnessing what's going on and reflecting on it musically."


On Collaborations

Just like on their debut, THEESatisfaction worked closely with fellow Seattleites Shabazz Palaces: "We worked with them on awE naturalE, it's always fun when it comes to [working with] them, we trust them and their style and it's quite easy," and that trust is explicit considering how hard it is to combine the talents of two of the hardest working hip-hop groups around. "I don't think I was able to get into the studio when Tendai got down but he is a beast when it comes to percussion".


On Touring

Despite the heavy touring schedule, we've not seen much of them on this side of the atlantic but hopefully that will change: "We've been missing Europe, we haven't there in a little bit. I think its been a year-and-a-half or so and we've been busy doing all the stuff in the US," says Stas. "It's been getting picked up pretty well across the globe just from our music videos standpoint and the press is picking it all up quite well but we really won't know until we get there - we're pretty excited to make our way back there this year."


On Keeping Busy

Busy is one way of describing what they are doing stateside, a more accurate term however would be relentless. In fact, how they've found time to create an album as strong as this is remarkable considering their solo output. "We release our individual projects a lot, we have our own individual Bandcamp, Soundcloud and all different things so we continue to put out music, we started Djing, so we DJ a lot now individually and as a team, we throw black weirdo parties which are essentially dance parties that celebrate blackness like everyone is invited, it's all inclusive but we really try to focus on the dancing aspect and the loving aspect when we bring artists to perform in there, so there are a couple of projects like that. We started writing for a column for a magazine in Seattle so there are a lot of cool new things going on." There's also Cat's hats which, when mentioned, receives a collective cheer from the duo: "I make hats and jewellery, and I'll be selling that stuff on tour. I've been knitting for 18 years now and I've recently taken to selling stuff from my Instagram." Seriously, is there nothing these two can't do?

EarthEE is out now on Sub Pop.