When I started producing radio stories for KEXP Documentaries in 2005, interviewing was always the part that intimidated me most. It’s such a crap shoot. First of all, you never know if the person will want to talk. You might get stuck in a room of silence, every interviewer’s nightmare. Second of all, most artists (especially ones not familiar with KEXP) see you as the “media,” which means usually to them that you have no integrity, that you will embarrass them if you can get attention for it, that you will switch their words around to make the story sound more interesting.
The thing about producing for KEXP is that I have the freedom to not be like that. You should see the artists’ faces when we tell them that we will only air what they are comfortable with. That they can review the material, if they’d like, before we broadcast. Also, they are not the only ones under the microscope. As the interviewer, my personality is also being exposed. Instead of assuming some kind of “neutral” (which in my opinion, is fake) news persona, I am free to be the imperfect dork that I am deep inside. To be personal without overshadowing the material... This atmosphere makes for a very comfortable interview, and I believe that the artists actually end up telling more about themselves because they trust me.
Enter THEESatisfaction, the only female group on our current series “Hip-Hop: The New Seattle Sound”. Not only do they create otherworldly, intelligent, danceable hip-hop. But they also come to the table with a plate full of honesty and strong opinions on what they believe. And they aren’t afraid to serve it.
Years ago, as a less-experienced producer, I would have edited out our conversation about racism, since it was downright uncomfortable. Now I know, that this kind of real talk is what we are here for. And that art doesn’t always make you feel good, good art just makes you feel.
THEESatisfaction play the Capitol Hill Block Party on Saturday, July 24th, and will be live on KEXP from the Block Party on Sunday, July 25, at 6:30PM!
KEXP Documentaries are created by Michele Myers. With assistance from John Felthous. Executive Producer is Kevin Cole. If you would like to follow along more closely in the creation of these radio stories, we post research materials, songs and videos on our Facebook page and on Twitter.