Satica Talks ‘Drippin’, Snoop Dogg, And Staying Humble
words by me; image courtesy of Galen Oaks
Satica was raised on steady diet of Cambodian humility and west coast old school hip hop. The result? An extra sweet, extra sultry EP titled Drippin, and an artist behind the project whose self-assured, cool-and-collected version of indie pop has us practically begging for more.
A Long Beach native born to Cambodian refugees, Satica is redefining what it means to be a first gen Asian-American coming up in the throws of California’s hip hop culture. Drippin is full of love, lust, longing, and a host of other emotions that Satica is able to tap into, and interpret—whether they’re based off of actual experiences, or made up ones (she likes to claim that she has to make up stories because her life is boring—we beg to differ). Just prior to Drippin‘s release, we sat down with the west coast songstress to dive deeper on her new project, her Long Beach childhood, and where she’s headed next; check the full interview below.
So I know Drippin literally drops tomorrow [October 20]—how are you feeling?
I am feeling super excited, and really stressed out. [Laughs] But the good kind of stressed out! But yeah, I’m super excited. It feels good to finally put a small project out there.
With songs like “You Are Here” or “Honey Whiskey”, you’re singing about a love affair—where were you coming from when you were writing those songs?
It’s interesting. With “Honey Whiskey”, I had a friend who was traveling and had this crazy experience in Europe, where she made love at the Trevi Fountain and all this stuff, it was insane, and I live a pretty regular life, so basically when I write I have to make up stories and make things interesting. She was talking about that, and I remember being in the studio and they were asking me, “What do you want to drink? We have vodka, some honey whiskey—” and I was like, “I don’t want either of those, but honey whiskey is a great title!” So that’s basically how I wrote it, just being inspired by her experiences.
With “You Are Here”, I wrote it on the piano first, and then brought it into the studio. I wanted to make a song that was simple, easy to understand, and easily digestible, but also, you know, it’s a feeling that’s familiar. You just want someone to be there. So I guess a lot of them kind of do revolve around love. It’s whatever you take it as, really. I really like making up stuff, ‘cause I’m boring. [Laughs] I love capturing very human emotions, so the idea of lust or desire or jealousy or longing—things like that. That’s where I based a lot of these songs out of.
Yeah, I feel like they’re all just universal experiences that we all go through in life.
Yeah, absolutely. And the most important thing for me is, you know, even though I can make up stories and stuff, to have people connect to it.
So I know you’re from California and your parents are from Cambodia. Do you feel like any of your music reflects growing up in Long Beach? How is your childhood a part of your music now?
Oh my gosh, it’s insane think about how much that influences me as a person. It’s so funny, because articles will talk about how I’m LA-based, but Long Beach isn’t quite LA—it’s LA county, but it’s a totally different vibe. And I grew up super fucking humble, my parents were immigrants and also refugees, so we didn’t have a lot of money, and I grew up listening to R&B and hip hop and things like that. My neighborhood was all people of color. So it was interesting. I got an urban culture upbringing but also mixed with being Cambodian and just the fact that there are like 20 billion Cambodians in my neighborhood. [Laughs] So in my music, I would say I bring up some slang and things like that, different language things, but it’s just a whole different culture, it’s funny. Especially with the west coast rap stuff, it’s such a pride thing over here, it’s so funny.
Do you feel like, just because of your upbringing and your parents, that you bring a different perspective to California hip hop culture?
Kind of. It’s interesting because I think where my parents influence me is more of a personality thing. But it’s funny because being a first generation American, my parents didn’t know shit about pop culture. They don’t the music, the language; everything is different. So being first gen, I had to figure out myself what I liked, what was around me. For them, they influence my personality and the way I look at life, and being appreciative of everything, but as far as culture and music go, I definitely feel like it was influenced by location, for sure. I had to figure out on my own what I liked and what I thought was right.
Who are some of your favorite artists or people who you feel like influenced the EP?
That’s a good question. I think at the time, when I made the EP, I was listening to a lot of Frank Ocean, cause that’s when Blonde came out. [Laughs] And also Bon Iver, 22, A Million, so there’s a song on my EP called “Fine”, and that was definitely inspired by the whole beat of Bon Iver—kind of layered vocals, and things like that. But it’s really funny because I remember watching a documentary and it was saying how artists are like the racehorse—they have blinders on, you know what I mean? So I’ll listen to a few artists, like one or two, but I don’t really listen to anybody else, ‘cause I’m just trying to make stuff. I get so caught up in making it. But in the past I would say definitely Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, I really like Banks, and as far as older stuff, I love Motown and old west coast rap like Snoop Dogg. One of my favorite songs is “XXplosive” by Dr Dre. [Laughs] I’ve just been in this rhythm of this last year, when I started to make the EP, of just making. I’m such an analytical person, after I make a song, I’ll listen to every little thing and see what I can make better. It’s really annoying. [Laughs]
Well that’s ok, it makes the music better.
Yeah, but I’m like I probably shouldn’t be listening to my own songs 20 billion times. [Laughs]
I mean with every type of art, I feel like something could always be changed. It’s never really finished you just have to know when to let it go.
Yeah, exactly. It’s funny because it’s like when you release something, it’s out into the world, and you can let it go, but it’s only kind of that way. You know, for me, not caring what other people is so counterintuitive to me. Of course I care what other people think!
Well you’re a human being, of course you care!
Exactly! I try so hard to be like, “I don’t give a fuck, I don’t care,” but it’s like, “Wait, I’m way too nice of a person to actually say that!” I want people to like it. So it’s funny, I’ll let it go like two or three weeks after it’s out. I try not to focus on that too much.
Well we love it, we’ve been listening to it here at Milk.
Thank you so much! I can’t wait for you to hear the new stuff.
Cool, you’re already working on something else?
Yeah, I’ll hopefully be releasing an album soon. I haven’t decided if I want to do another EP or an album. I have such a weird sense of it, about this EP, I mean I’m super excited about it and I’m happy with it, but it’s so different for me, ‘cause it’s so old, in my eyes. I know that I’ve made things that are better, or that I’ve grown at least.
Well if it was a while ago it’s like a chapter of your life that maybe you’ve already moved beyond if you’re already working on new stuff.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s so funny how you put out something, and it’s that one chapter of your life. It reminds you of those times and what you were going through.
Music has a way of doing that, for sure.
Right, for better or for worse! [Laughs]