From Sister Soleil to Dub Witch
Music fans around Des Moines have been hearing Stella Katsoudas' music for years, even if they don't know her by that name. In the late '90s the Chicago musician made frequent visits to Des Moines, performing under the name Sister Soleil at Dotfest, and her song, "Red," got heavy airplay on the now defunct KKDM.
You might remember her brief turn as a pop star under the name Stella Soleil (though she would prefer you didn't). She even had a top 40 hit with the song "Kiss Kiss."
Most recently she was the singer of Shawn Crahan's Dirty Little Rabbits, even living in Des Moines for a time. Saturday she'll return for her first Des Moines show in years with her latest project, the EDM-inspired Dub Witch.
"Des Moines was really the first place I had a fan base," Katsoudas said during a phone interview. "My music was played so much on the radio that people thought I actually was from Des Moines."
The heavy radio play attracted attention in Los Angeles, and play there finally got her on the radio in Chicago. She brought in Slipknot's Corey Taylor to record a song, "Liar," and regularly had the band open for her in Chicago. The early connections and support of Slipknot prompted Crahan to bring her onto Dirty Little Rabbits.
"That was, I think, the best band I was ever in," Katsoudas said. "All the musicians in that band were phenomenal. I had to work really hard to keep up with them."
After Dirty Little Rabbits broke up, Katsoudas briefly moved to Omaha, then back to Chicago. It had been nearly 17 years since she had lived in the city and had lost touch with most of the city's music scene. She was set up on a date with her now husband, a DJ, and he suggested she give EDM a try.
"I didn't really know what to do, should I start a new band?" Katsoudas said. "He said 'You could totally do this on your own, I'll write the beats.' "
Katsoudas said Dub Witch's sound is a combination of dubstep and the more occult-themed witch house genre. She said she's essentially writing music for horror films, like she did with her song "Killer & a Queen" for the 2012 film "Underworld: Awakening."
Saturday's show will be only the fifth Dub Witch show. Katsoudas said it's fitting that Des Moines be home to one of her new project's earliest shows.
"I was inviting people to a Chicago show and realized that only, like, 350 of my Facebook fans are from Chicago and, like, 2,000 are in Iowa. That made me realize I really need to go back to Iowa. All my diehard fans are based out of Iowa."
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lefty's Live Music, 2601 University Ave.
Cost: $6 in advance, $8 at the door