As the hip-hop and avant-soul duo THEESatisfaction, Catherine Harris-White and Stasia Irons make inherently political art, songs centered around the experience of being black, female, and queer in America. Yet they do so in an abstract, psychedelic way that registers subtly.
"The politics are there," says Harris-White, "but we like to mix them in with vibe and groove, and kind of make magic and trick people." It's this down-to-earth sensibility that has allowed them to evolve over the course of their career. Harris-White (right) and Irons met through friends in Seattle in 2008, and after honing their craft performing neo-soul covers, they formed THEESatisfaction, began to date, and released their debut album, 2012's awE naturalE. But while working on its new follow-up, EarthEE, they split up, and Irons moved to Brooklyn while Harris-White stayed in Seattle. For most, a 2,500-mile distance and a breakup would signal struggle, but for Irons and Harris-White, it's been just another way to build on the free-flowing, uninhibited promise of their project. The pair found ways to connect, collaborating over Skype daily and launching Black Weirdo, a traveling dance party and community organization that incorporates a growing group of like-minded creatives. "We're best friends, and we don't vibe with anyone else the way we vibe together," Irons says. "Even if we end up hating each other's guts, we'll still be sending each other music."