Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped them get through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.
On her new album, The Fool, SATE builds on the success of her 2016 debut RedBlack&Blue by aiming her patented ferocious soulful wails and greasy grooves directly at the mainstream. The Toronto vocalist and songwriter leads a dynamic band combining blistering hard rock with gritty blues. The empowering messages embedded in her music, and her soul-shaking live show, have quickly built SATE’s reputation as an artist impossible to ignore.
Produced by Hill Kourkoutis, The Fool also contains some compelling spiritual messages that are complemented by SATE’s continually evolving visual image. The album’s title references the tarot card The Fool, which symbolizes self-belief, perseverance and authenticity, traits that also provide the foundation for the short film directed by Andrew Hamilton (who also did Drake’s 5 AM In Toronto video) that heralded the album’s release.
SATE’s music is the natural extension of her live persona, and the culmination of a lifetime spent fully immersed in music of all forms and shades. As the daughter of Canadian blues and jazz pioneer Salome Bey, SATE learned at the feet of countless music legends that passed through Toronto during her childhood. She soon found her own voice by adding the sounds and attitudes of punk, and hard rock, a combination that immediately put her at the vanguard of new fierce female voices in rock and roll.
Essential Album: thebandknives, Knives (Knives Music, 2018)
I’d gotten a sneak preview of this album before it came out, because one of the guitarists in this band is Scarborough’s own Ricky Tillo and he’s played on both of my albums. I remember being like, mouth open, what the fuck am I listening to? I was blown away! It was the surf-rock, dreamy, relentless, aggressive layers of guitars, the drums—good lord the drums!—how do I even describe them? I’ve never felt so entranced by the drummer, it’s church meets metal. Whew, my heart! And then the vocals reminded me of Rage Against The Machine meets At The Drive-In. It just all made perfect sense. When my father transitioned, I listened to this album every day, and it carried me through in so many ways.
Essential Book: Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God (Simon & Schuster, 2010)
I re-read this book this past year and honestly can hardly remember reading it the first time. This second reading had me in tears, and I felt motivated and seen. I’ve struggled with my body image and my relationship with food since I was a teenager. The title of this book is so deceiving, it’s not religious at all. It speaks about honouring our Godself with food, and sometimes brutally looking at how we don’t honour the temples that we are. I’ve bought about 20 copies and sent them to my friends that I’d had these conversations with about our complicated body/food relationships.
Essential TV: The OA (Netflix, 2016-2019)
I think I’ve watched this series twice because I was so captivated by the storyline. It’s like a multi-dimensional sci-fi fantasy cosmic thriller something. It’s otherworldly. It was so fascinating to me that this was like a study of near-death experiences and how it connects people by jumping timelines and dimensions. So complex and enthralling.
Essential Movie: The Holy Mountain (1973)
This was Alejandro Jodorowsky’s next film after El Topo, and it is thick with symbolism and fearless commentary on the world that we live in. It’s enlightening, disgusting, inspiring, grotesque, and brilliant. I’ve only seen this movie once and I’m still processing it—it was so rich in visuals and ideas carried throughout the story. I kept saying to myself, whoa, there’s no CGI in this; everything was handcrafted and intentional. This is a holy book of a movie.