Soon to be known by music lovers around the globe, this Alternative rock duo is comprised of Larissa Vale and Kyle Hawken. Having been writing music together for six years, Black Satellite is the culmination of a deep-rooted partnership contributing to their unified writing style. They launched their first single “Valkyrie” from their upcoming full-length album “Endless” in April 2017. Only a few weeks later, they landed a performance at NYC’s Gramercy Theatre as support for Starset on their latest tour. Their follow up single “Blind” premiered on ibobi Radio and was subsequently featured on Alternative Press via their discover playlist. Black Satellite have also appeared on The Gunz Show on idobi Radio in promotion of their new record. “Endless” is thought-provoking, modern, and tastefully aggressive. This is especially showcased through Vale’s often haunting vocals paired with Hawken’s foreboding guitar riffs and instrumental. For their new album, Black Satellite teamed up with prolific mastering engineer, Ted Jensen. This was a dream-come-true for the band as Jensen has worked with several of the band’s inspirations ranging from Muse to Marilyn Manson.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born just outside of Washington D.C. After living in NYC for the past few years, we’ve just moved to Nashville this summer!
How did this project come into formation?
We initially met in high school and knew early on that this collaboration was worth developing. I think it’s especially strong because we have essentially grown up together and truly trust and understand each other.
We love your alternative live edge, who else is in your line-up?
We have session musicians that play with us live. When we played our first couple shows after making the record, we actually had our mixing engineer play guitar with us as a sort of commemoration of our efforts together over the past few months. We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to kick off the record.
When writing lyrics is it a collaborative effect?
I typically write all of the lyrics. Sometimes Kyle will have more vague, conceptual ideas that inspire me. The song “Endless” was actually my first attempt at writing lyrics from his perspective. It was surprisingly cathartic for the both of us.
Tell us the meaning behind your song ‘Valkyrie’:
Valkyrie was a playful way for me to imagine taking control of the one thing everyone fears at one point in their life or another—death.
Larissa, you are a strong female front person and your vocals carry a heavy emotional frequency. Growing up who did you look up to as far as vocalists?
I drew a lot of inspiration from vocalists like Chris Cornell, Maynard Keenan, and Marilyn Manson. Even though I obviously sound like a girl, I wanted to do everything they were doing artistically. When I was young I never really wanted to sound like the popular female vocalists at the time, I just wasn’t drawn to that sound. I thought it was more interesting to portray a certain level of aggression in my voice. It was my way of saying “don’t fuck with me.”
Biggest moment for the band so far:
Honestly, it was crazy waking up one morning and seeing ourselves on Billboard. We had an explosive reaction from almost everyone. We got messages from people we haven’t heard from in years. It meant that after all of our efforts, people were finally listening.
Kyle the guitar work on your tracks is excellent, when getting your tones what type of gear are you using?
The guitar tones on the record are a blend of 12 different guitars using a Fractal amp simulator. I built each patch for all of our sounds.
Where do you think you are at this stage of the project and where do you wish to go?
We couldn’t be more proud of our record and our accomplishments thus far, but as workaholics we don’t exactly aim low. Ideally, the goal is for our music to touch as many people as possible. We believe in our message, and we hope listeners will be able to find a certain level of reliability in our music.
Top 3 inspirations:
Alice In Chains, Marilyn Manson, Tool.
Tell us something about yourselves people may not know:
Larissa: I am Ukrainian-American and have lived abroad for 13 years.
Kyle: I am actually colorblind, so I typically rely on Larissa when overlooking any promotional/merchandising materials for the band.
What’s next for Black Satellite?
We are currently planning a tour in North America, more announcements on that later.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
Dark Beauty is not being afraid to showcase the darker side of one’s personality. A common theme in our music is writing about significantly difficult experiences and being honest about our emotions—no matter how blunt.