Planetary Group took some time to get to know SATE, a Toronto-based artist with a grungier take on blues rock – think Gary Clark Jr. & The Black Keys, but with a heavy spoonful of extra grit.
Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?
SATE: My name is SATE and my latest release is called The Fool. It is named after ‘The Fool’ in the tarot deck, and it is centered around The Fool’s journey and myself being The Fool. When I started recording this in 2018, you know, mixed and mastered, released the first single and then something inside of me told me that, uh, I just needed to, to revisit.
So I put it on pause before releasing the entire album. And since then, a lot of things have changed in the world. There was global pause and it, and it gave me the opportunity to go back inside and, um, as all of us… And then my mother transitioned. So that really shifted a lot of things, shifted a lot of perspective.
So when I did go back in to finish the album, to excavate, to dig back inside of me, dig back inside of my message and my focus and my goal, my intention, I was able to add things that I’ve always wanted to add, like interludes and just… to create more of the story around my fool’s journey. So that’s The Fool. That’s how I came to make it.
PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.
SATE: I come from an insanely musical and creative background. My mother was a singer, and her brother and her sister [as well]. So my aunt, my uncle, cousins, my sister, so many of us are singers or actors or just creatives. So that was something that started my career, started my love and my curiosity and my desire to express through the arts.
I went to a school for the arts and studied dance. And so I was constantly around this world. I was in a rock band and sang backgrounds for people, sang backgrounds on albums, did various different projects, very diverse projects to then finally find my voice and what I wanted to say.
I put out RedBlack&Blue and have traveled the world with it. And it brought me back to the fullest journey so that I could put [everything] together. And that’s where I am now.
PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!
- An album you grew up listening to:
SATE: One of the albums I grew up listening to is The Wiz, the original cast album with Stephanie Mills and Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André De Shields. I had the opportunity to see it live and I think it changed my life when I was a kid. This is the type of musical theater that I love. I’m a little bit of a, you know… I went to a school for the arts, so I was doing theater and dance and musical theater and everything. The richness of the music, the legacy of the sounds, the calling on African traditional, like gospel and soul and blues, the movements and the sentiments just spoke to me.
So as a kid, I would put on this album all the time and actually make my own The Wiz, where I was every single character. And my favorite was playing the lion with Dorothy – Dorothy and the lion going back and forth and being the lion.
- An album that inspires you as an artist (I’m sure there are many, but pick one of your choosing):
SATE: The Reality of My Surroundings by Fishbone. That album was so dynamic with the interludes. I feel like I saw them perform it before I actually heard the album, so I knew the music. Then listening to the album, it felt like I was there and could feel the energy in the room. They translated so well on record.
And there was a clear story for me. The interludes were perfect because it made for a storyline for me to follow. And the music is so, so energetic. It’s so electric. Seeing them and hearing that album really inspired me; I felt like I got permission to be that electric, animated and raw, on record, in the recording studio and live as well.
- The album you currently have on repeat:
SATE: I’m going to break the rules right now and give you two: Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV and Moses Sumney’s Græ. Just… inspiring. [It] almost feels like I want to say I’m an escape artist or want escapism or desire escapism. I desire a story, a space to travel to and explore, and taste and feel and touch.So I love textured sounds. I love things that are visceral in my body.
PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?
SATE: I would like for people to feel empowered, for people to resonate with the tones, the textures, the words. I set out to make people feel, to invite people to feel and move and allow themselves to move, to allow the energy of the music to move through them.
So what do I want people to take away from my music? I want them to be empowered and I want them to be moved.
PG: What’s next up for you?
SATE: I have tarot cards that I’m designing to go along with this album, The Fool, that is out now, and the film that goes along with The Fool is [also] out. So I’m designing tarot cards. I’m designing the first 22, which is focused on The Fool’s journey. That’s really what’s next for me right now. And I’m basking in the love that I’m getting from all of the people about The Fool.