Premiere! Trouble In The Street’s Debut Full Length ‘Satisfy Saturn’ Is The Future
By Nathan Leigh
April 13, 2023
Back to Back, radioactive black magic
Trouble in the Street’s 2019 Rule Breaker EP is one of those records that sticks with you long past the first listen, so the announcement that their debut full length is finally ready is a Big Fucking Deal. The band blends so many sounds it’d be reductive to list them; it’s electronic with a punk rock heart, it’s beautiful, it’s furious, it’s retro, it’s futuristic, it’s decidedly radical. From the opening introduction to “The Interstellar Travel Syndicate” Nnedi, Andy, and drummer Kenny Schwartz are committed to taking the listener on a journey with a confidence of purpose that you can’t help but come along.
The opening run of songs is one for the ages. “Can I Breathe” and “Get High” are diametrically opposed examples of what Trouble in the Streets does best. The sonic beauty of Nnedi’s plaintive hook on “Can I Breathe” floats over the frustration in the lyrics. Sci-fi and fantasy references pepper the verses while warm synths wash over the listener. “Get High” finds the band at their most industrial with guitars distorted within an inch of their lives pushed to the front. There’s a defiance to the way the band mixes hope and rage. The frequent refrain “we’re all screwed” creeps its way into otherwise optimistic lyrics, echoing the tension of the moment. As the record hits its stride in the center, run times expand to the intoxicating heights of “Late Night,” “Dreaming of Forever” and “Best of Your Worst Years” which each imagine a future through retro analog synths and some of Nnedi’s deepest lyrics.
They keep us polarized so we can’t mobilize
What Trouble in the Streets have accomplished with Satisfy Saturn is truly rare. This is an album that rewards the listener on every level. From the impeccable production by Mike Machinist to the stunning performances to the depth of the lyrics, if you can’t find something to love in it, then you’re exactly who should expect Trouble. Ahead of the album’s release everywhere April 14th, we got a chance to talk to the band about the past, future, and the distance in between.
What’s the meaning behind “Satisfy Saturn?”
The album touches on a lot of themes that the archetype of Saturn encompasses, such as time and timelessness, sacrifice, life cycles, metamorphosis, lessons, and detours. These are all ways that life teaches us to evolve and challenges us when we aren’t able to overcome for whatever reason. The way that Saturn is satisfied is to reset and restart and that is neither a win or a loss, it’s just the program, the natural progression of life and death.
Was there a guiding idea or philosophy you followed while recording?
Don’t rush the process. This was the first recording that we really had a chance to take our time and get everything right. Andy had already pre engineered a lot of the album during lockdown when we brought in an amazing producer, Mike Machinist, who set up shop in our home studio. Mike became a really great mentor for us and really brought a great spirit of collaboration to the process. This really helped us to take all the time we needed to find the sounds we wanted, rewrite sections and add all kinds of ear candy to the album.
You all work with so many disparate sounds and genres that you wouldn’t expect to fit together so well. Did you ever encounter any styles or sounds that you couldn’t find a way to tie in? Is anything off limits to Trouble in the Streets?
The only real rule is that we all have to like it. We have a pretty diverse background of music that we either grew up with or have been drawn to more recently. We like to be influenced by certain styles without ever trying to emulate them too closely. So when we make music we’re just kind of picking up instruments and letting it flow. Our influences shine through but they all get kind of mixed together.
If you could convene a recording session with any musicians of any genre in history for the next Trouble in the Streets record, who would be invited and what would your instructions to them be?
Thundercat. Definitely Thundercat. We love his artistic perspective and he has been a major influence for us. Both Andy and Nnedi play bass and it would be a dream come true to work with him. It wouldn’t be an instruction but more of a request; would his Holiness like to Produce a bass heavy space odyssey song with us?
It feels like there’s a strong sense throughout the album of connecting to both the past and future. How do you find that balance? Did you discover anything through the process of making those connections?
We think it goes back to the concept of time surrounding the album. Some of the songs we had for a few years, but were just sitting on them, while other songs were written in the recording process. Finding the balance in that was also a process of learning to let go of things that weren’t working while being open to trying new things.
What does Afrofuturism mean to you?
Being that Nnedi is a first generation Igbo American with a Pan-African upbringing, the term ” afrofuturism” is a broad reaching term that can and should be an ever evolving expanse that allows for the creation and distribution of artistic influence from the African Diaspora. This is not a linear progression but more fluidic as artists reach back in time to reimagine the culture and how it resonates with them.
What’s in store for Trouble in the Streets moving forward?
We are playing an In-Store performance at Waterloo Records on April 14th to celebrate the album release. Mark your calendars for April 27th – We’re throwing an INTERGALACTIC Prom and Album Release at The Parish, the night will feature Trouble in The Streets playing Satisfy Saturn from top to bottom. 10% of album sales for the evening will go to Equality Texas – working to secure full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans through political action, education, community organizing and collaboration. We will travel to California to play Joshua Tree Music Festival on May 19th.
Follow the band on Instagram @trouble_in_the_streets. Satisfy Saturn is available everywhere April 14th.
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