Photo by Julia Reihs
Katherine “KP” Paul, who writes and performs under the moniker Black Belt Eagle Scout, opened yesterday’s Studio 1A session with a song from her Mother of My Children EP entitled “Indians Never Die,” a title and subject in no way arbitrary to KP’s songbook or identity. Raised on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in Washington, KP grew-up around the traditional music and dance of her culture and community, but it was the help of an Internet forum, a willing stranger somewhere in the UK, and a couple of VHS tapes featuring Nirvana and Hole that placed music firmly at the center of her life.
A self-taught musician, KP moved to Portland for college and became entrenched in its local music scene. But as she developed her craft and growth, the geographical and cultural separation of her and the reservation began to resonate deeper within her, branding her indigenous identity as a driving creative force and behind both the “what” and “why” of her music. While none of her music reflects traditional Native American themes or sounds, the subject matter and lack of rigid structure to her music have deep, thick Swinomish roots. Her music is dark, introspective, and dynamic, and even when her lyrics seem abstract, they’re always deeply personal. Listen to the full session below to hear KP talk in-depth about her roots and using her platform as a musician to discuss them.
-Taylor Wallace, Weeknight Host
Host: Taylor Wallace
Producer: Deidre Gott
Engineer: Jake Perlman
Cameras: Julia Reihs, Guilia Hjort, Richie Loria
Video Edits: Julia Reihs