Fans flocked together in Hermosa Beach, CA to be blessed with an intimate performance by Satsang at Saint Rocke on Friday, March 8th. Lead singer Drew McManus, guitar player Karl Roth and drummer Ben Teters took to the stage for a magical night of songs filled with hope, self-awareness, personal growth and change.
... a magical night of songs filled with hope, self-awareness, personal growth and change.
Drew spoke about an artist that he and his family recently found on Instagram. He said that they could not stop watching and listening to the clip, so he reached out to a budding artist by the name of Katie Buxton. After spending a few years in Nashville pursuing her music and feeling stagnant, Buxton trusted her intuition and moved to Los Angeles. She began sharing her music on Instagram allowing Drew to discover her. When the band learned of Satsang’s Los Angeles show, they decided to have Katie join them onstage to sing the song “Between”.
With the upcoming March 22nd release of their third full length studio album, Kulture, I sat down with Drew to talk about the origin of the band’s name, their new album, lyrics, a possible collaboration and his take on current music. Satsang means “a gathering of people to share their truths; to associate with true people”. While on a trip to Nepal, Drew was invited to a Satsang by a local native. it was then he thought, “If I ever have a band, that’s what I’m going to call it.” The new album's influences come from combining the bands own unique sound with their love of 70s rock and 90s hip hop.
Drew speaks openly about his past struggles with depression and addiction; the songs he writes reflect those struggles and the beauty that comes from them. I was having a dark day myself the first time I heard the song, “I Am”. The smooth sound of Drew's voice and the spiritual lyrics brought me out of that place. Drew said the lyrics came when he himself was depressed and not sure if he wanted to continue pursuing music. Since then, fans like myself have shared with him their stories and the song has taken on new meaning to him as if he has fallen in love with it all over again. During the live performance of this song, Drew led the crowd through a meditation, encouraging to let go of the negative thinking we’ve been holding onto. He invites the crowd to scream at the top of their lungs, releasing that negative energy to open a space for self-reflection and growth.
Satsang has been linked to greats like Michael Franti & Spearhead, Trevor Hall, Mike Love, Nahko and Medicine for The People and Steel Pulse, even drawing the attention of HIRIE! When I asked Drew about a possible collaboration with HIRIE, his response was, “Hell yes! Give us a call, HIRIE!”. Now wouldn’t that be amazing?! Other influences he mentioned are Blu from Los Angeles and a young man from New York, named Bishop Nehru. We chatted about hip hop, rap music and the difference between the two. He feels that hip hop is a culture, but that “there’s a lot of dog sh*t out there.” When I asked what he looks forward to, he said, “Looking back in 50 years and be like 'we did that'!!"
Satsang has created music and sold out shows. Not too shabby for a guy from the Beartooth Mountains of Montana. The band continues to tour this year in support of the March release of Kulture. Be sure to catch them!
Photography by Jenni Lynne