Denitia and Sene Promote Good Vibes, Talk Changing Lives and Perform ‘Side Fx.’ for ‘Next Up’ [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW + VIDEO]
Keep blinking to a minimum during denitia and sene's stage performance because the nuances that separate them from their singing counterparts can't be missed. This is art in motion. From denitia's use of a synth keyboard and vocal processor to sene tapping away on a trigger pad that houses original music, they're a self-contained unit creating mood-enhancing vibes. Think of them like a musical pop-up shop; they have all the components necessary to deliver their sound in a way that they want a listener to experience it -- anywhere in the world.
When it comes to their songs, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based duo cover the gamut from chilled-out soul to futuristic electro to sanguine pop. They deliver a playful back and forth on the bittersweet "Casanova," share matters of the heart with the ethereal "Divided" and get straight to the point on the warm synths of "Because We Are Fools." These two exude sexy through their music with a shared vision, which is best exemplified on their previous efforts like 2012's Blah Blah Blah EP, their 2013 album, His and Hers, and their 2014 side fx. EP. Their lyrics, which cover complex ground, never sound contrived and their rhythms are minimal yet sublimely effective.
"You either like it or you don't," sene, who hails from right off Brooklyn's Nostrand Avenue, tells The Boombox inside Smalls Jazz Club in New York's Greenwich Village. "There's such a hierarchy among musicians. I know it sometimes comes off rude maybe, so I say it with a smile, but I just think it's music."
Denitia, who grew up on a healthy musical diet of Smokey Robinson, Lauryn Hill and Al Green, isn't a fan of all of the modifiers used to describe their work. If there's one she is comfortable with it's "underground pop" because it encompasses everything they want to dabble in. "I'm pretty influenced from so many different types of music," the Houston native shares. "I've really found my voice in soul music. I'm talking about '60s, '70s. Aretha [Franklin], Al Green. I feel like when we first started out and some of the beats were kind of hip-hoppy, we were able to go there a little bit. Go a little R&B with one style, and from there, it's just evolved into whatever it is now."
When denitia and sene (no caps, please) formed in 2011, they had no crystal ball to look into to see what their future held. They each had a solo vision with a passion for music before they crossed paths at the Brooklyn art and music collective known as the Clubhouse. Two heads are always better than one, and now over three years after teaming up, they've changed the dynamic not only for themselves but for those in their inner circle -- just by using their innate talents.
"We were in very different places before we started working together. It's crazy to think of -- in the most humble way possible -- we've literally changed the lives of so many people around us that our lives affect. Not that we're changing lives out here," laughs sene, who cites the Cadillacs and Mos Def as early influences. "But we changed the day-to-day lives of our loved ones. I'll forever be grateful of that. I don't know if it's proud, but I'm very cognizant of it and every single day I remind myself. I enjoy working; no, don't take that time off. Go work on something because this is really helping a lot of people."
Currently, the pair, who find joy in cracking jokes on each other, are crafting their sophomore opus. "The Fan" is an indication of what's to come from the project, which will be full of their pop and soul-driven sensibilities. "Just like a fan, you cool me down, you love me now, just like I am," they sing in unison on the track.
Denitia and sene's next agenda is to bring their movement to a wider audience by touring. Their ingenuity and desire to color outside of the music industry's lines will likely find them traveling far away from their roots in Beyonce's hometown and Biggie's stomping grounds, respectively. As The Boombox's #NextUp artists sit beside each other in Smalls, they finish each other's thoughts without rudely chiming in and throw in a few laughs for good measure. The positive energy is palpable, which translates into their music. But just like any working relationship in a group, there's always that one little thing (call it a pet peeve or a quirk) that can be pointed out about the other when it comes to their personality.
"If you can't fall asleep and you have counted all the sheep, just get sene to tell you a story and you will be sleeping like a baby in no time," denitia admits with a chuckle. "It could be up to 30 minutes. Just wind him up and let him go."
Just don't sleep on these two when it comes to their sonic chemistry.
Watch above as denitia and sene discuss their musical direction, changing lives and perform the silky sounds of "Because We Are Fools and "Side fx." for The Boombox's #NextUp series presented by McDonald's.
Watch denitia and sene Perform "Side fx." for The Boombox's #NextUp Series
See Photos of denitia and sene From The Boombox's #NextUp Performance