When Black Belt Eagle Scout, moniker of Swinomish musician Katherine Paul, began working on her latest album The Land, The Water, The Sky, she was yearning for a return to her ancestral homelands. She journeyed back to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in 2020, searching for a ways to heal.
Healing is a major theme on The Land, The Water, The Sky, and is present throughout the project. Tracks like “Spaces” and “Don’t Give Up” are ethereal and flowing, evoking the wonder and majesty of the natural world. The album itself is touched with community. Both her parents lend backing vocals on the album, celebrating the voices of those who came before her. Over all, Paul’s music is a lesson in perseverance. The Land, The Water, The Sky sifts through the deepest feelings of grief and trauma and resurfaces grounded and blissful.
To celebrate the impending release of her new album, Paul sat down with Uproxx to chat about Sleater-Kinney, baking pies, and Thor in our latest Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Serene, quiet, loud, connected.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
Well 2050 isn’t that far away so I hope I’m still alive and kicking! And I hope that people find out about my records and come see my shows as I hope to see be playing them!
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
Geneviève Castrée is probably the person who I think of the most when I remember why I’m doing all of this. She was the first person I looked up to in music who told me that I inspired her and that changed my life and empowered me to do that I do.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
My husband Camas is the best chef and makes the most delicious meals in our home.
What album do you know every word to?
Probably Sleater-Kinney’s The Hot Rock.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Probably Sleater-Kinney’s farewell shows at the Crystal Ballroom before they went on their long hiatus.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
Anything that makes you feel your best and that doesn’t have too long and floppy of sleeves so it doesn’t impact the guitar neck while playing.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
I rarely do twitter but I love IG and one of my favs is @kimi_swimmy.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
It changes every tour but on the last tour, the hit song in the van was “Woman” by Doja Cat.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
Lost and Found at LAX 🙁
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Mayahuel by Sávila.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
I do not recommend but when I was in a different band back in the day we used to ask the audience from stage for lodging and some of those places I hope to never have to stay at again! My bandmate got ringworm at one spot unfortunately.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
My favorite tattoos are my finger tattoos in honor of Sedna, sea goddess of my Iñupiaq people.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Most likely if I’m listening to the radio it is on a random channel and if any grunge or rock music comes on like Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins the volume comes up.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Given me life.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Just be yourself and know that what you’re doing is exactly what is supposed to happen.
What’s the last show you went to?
Lucy Dacus at the Moore Theater in Seattle.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
Any of the Thor movies!
What’s one of your hidden talents?
I love baking pies.
The Land, The Water, The Sky is out 2/10 via Saddle Creek. Get it here.