Alt-pop powerhouse Satu releases Maidenprince, an Utena-esque journey into non-binary identity and becoming. Maidenprince is an EP, zine, AND performance (GOOD GOLLY!)> ʕ •̀ o •́ ʔ
Satu (the person) comes from London, UK where they just finished a fine art degree at UAL and are currently working towards a music masters at Goldsmiths.
Satu (the project) is ‘DIY’ in the truest sense: every track written, composed, sung, and produced in a bedroom on a rickety old MacBook. Minimal equipment, personal sound, you know, real deal bedroom pop. Learning every stage of the process is important to Satu. It’s the only way they feel their music is theirs, and theirs alone.
Satu owes their start in music to an obsession with baroque-pop star Patrick Wolf. Belting Wolf’s albums is how they learned to sing. It all started in 2009, when Satu, aged 12, picked up the violin at school. Then Satu began writing their own songs on a baritone ukulele. Influenced by long-time favorites such as Björk, Massive Attack and Grimes, Satu eventually moved into electronica. In 2014 they put out their first five-track EP titled ‘S.A.T.U’.
Since then, Satu has self-released three more EPs, refining their eclectic brand of ornate, maximalist pop with every release. With eccentric production choices and heavily conceptual lyrics, Satu’s emotionally-charged songs contain nods to many genres; from trip hop to hyperpop to industrial rock, the factor that Satu always gravitates towards is the theatrical.
Satu’s current major influences have circled back to the emo and pop-punk of their teens, citing Three Cheers-era MCR as the ultimate dream collaboration. This influence can be found in their latest single, DEVILS – equal parts playful and abrasive, the song deals directly with the dynamic of being both a superfan and a performer. Feeling as though your idols are cheering you on from afar – but are nowhere to be seen in your hour of need. The track came accompanied by a downloadable zine, featuring a short comic depicting the themes of the song.
This performance of MAIDENPRINCE – from 2019 EP AN ARCHANGEL – was filmed in lockdown, revisiting the track a year on from its release. Similar to DEVILS, this EP acts as the soundtrack to a comic of the same name (available to download as a bonus item when purchasing the EP on Bandcamp). Within Satu tells the story of coming out as non-binary through fantasy worlds with utopian themes. The term ‘maidenprince’ describes the idealised version of Satu depicted in the comic, the song reflects their journey to reach and become that prince.
Satu’s visual work connects to their music in many ways, from carefully illustrated cover art to accompanying comic stories; each an integral part of the wider vision of their musical project. Drawing has always been Satu’s way of superimposing magical dream-worlds over reality. They feel as if their songs are the spells that bring those worlds to life.
Above all, Satu hopes their work reaches introverted young queer people like themselves. Defying their insecurities through fantasy and performance, they use world-building as therapy and hope to offer that escape to others. They craft real experiences and emotions into fairytales, with the hope that the words might resonate with or inspire someone who needs it.
Satu will be releasing their next EP this November, following on from January’s UNHOLYTHINGS EP.