When Denitia Met Sene

Published August 21, 2013

ABOVE: (LEFT TO RIGHT) SENE AND DENITIA. PHOTO COURTESY OF MATS BAKKEN.

denitia and sene.’s debut album, His and Hers, feels like summer love: dreamy, loose, freewheeling days that seamlessly flow into night. Released on their own imprint, input., last March, the 10-track album highlights the pair’s chemistry; even the LP interludes offer quirky banter and late-night laughs (and freestyles of Usher’s “Make Me Wanna”). It’s hard to believe that the duo had only met, at a party in Brooklyn, a year before recording it.

In early 2011, Houston native Denitia Odigie was recording as a soul singer and Sene had started gaining traction as a rapper and producer. The two met the day Denitia moved into The Clubhouse (aka Club Casa), a Victorian home that doubles up as a commune and recording studio for musicians across the board. After a few experimental sessions together in the Casa studio, the duo crafted a collection of songs that pushed them both into a new sonic realm: part folk, part lo-fi, part electronica, with an allover pop sheen.

Their latest single, “It’s Your Fault,” showcases the rounded, unbiased feel of all of their tracks: seeing both sides of the equation rather than just a male or female perspective. We spoke with denitia and sene. about their dynamic, releasing their first album, and how Brooklyn inspires their artistry. We are also pleased to premiere Kissey’s remix of their song “Blah Blah Blah.”

DANNA TAKAKO: Describe a typical day in the life at the Clubhouse.

DENITIA: The ambience is sonic, starts late in the day, and is unpredictable.

SENE: I like to check in with everyone in the house first and foremost. I feel like it’s important to know how everyone is doing aside from music. The house is kind of like the subway, it goes through rush hour and quiet hours and on any given night there may be a random drunk person sleeping there.

TAKAKO: Are you two happy with how His and Hers panned out?

SENE: I’m thrilled with how the record is being received. It’s the most independent project I’ve been a part of and to see it spread as it has is great. It was nice to see we can do that for ourselves by just creating and releasing music while skipping the politics.

DENITIA: The release of the LP felt like a triumph. The response was wonderful. It felt great to make something I like and have many other people like it too.

TAKAKO: What do you think is the ideal scenario to listen to your music?

DENITIA: As near as possible to speakers, in a dimly lit room, intently, but not shy, with people or a person you like.

SENE: I don’t know if there is one. I’ve had people say while making love, while driving, while partying, and while relaxing. I only hope that it’s right for everyone at some point in their day.

TAKAKO: How do you two push and pull each other creatively?

DENITIA: We collaborate. We both, individually, bring something that’s our own to what we work on.

SENE: We stay open to all different ideas. There aren’t really any rules. Denitia pushes me to keep employing and exploring our abilities and not worry about what anyone else thinks.

TAKAKO: Your music is so intimate and personal—is it difficult to not care about what other people think?

SENE: It used to be more difficult. I’ve gotten to a place now where I know and understand that I’m more secure than some folks and that I’m fine with putting these things out there. If you can’t appreciate our open-mindedness, then I don’t know what to tell you.

DENITIA: It’s amazing to give in that way and have it reciprocated, with people diggin’ on it.

TAKAKO: How would you describe your dynamic?

DENITIA: I am generally pretty chill. Straightforward, but laid in. Sene is a little more hyperactive.

SENE: We have a good yin-yang thing going. She’s the straight face and I’m the comic relief! In some ways we are extreme opposites. In other ways we are identical.

TAKAKO: What advantages do you have as a male/female duo?

DENITIA: We are a pretty balanced duo. I think our content is more universal than it is necessarily gender-neutral.

SENE: I always joke when I hear songs from different artists that they are really one sided. Beyoncé’s songs “To the Left” and “Single Ladies” are kind of girl power-ish—not that there’s anything wrong with that, and they are great songs, but I think it’s badass to show two sides of the story within one sometimes. Our songs don’t depend on the male/female perspective thing; it’s just a nice perk to some of our material.

TAKAKO: How do you work together, as far as songwriting goes?

DENITIA: We have co-written words for songs, but many times Sene writes words and I perform them.

SENE: Sometimes I buy beers; sometimes Denitia buys gin. I’ll usually come with a lot of the songs pretty far along and then we build on them and finish them together while recording.

TAKAKO: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

DENITIA: Singing.

SENE: That moment where you’ve gotten to a certain point on the production side and the words start coming to you. Then, after it’s all written, hearing Denitia silk them over the tracks just takes it over the top for me.

TAKAKO: How does Brooklyn influence you?

SENE: Brooklyn is full of creative people and trendsetters. The combination of that inspires you to do whatever it is that makes you happy the best you can do it because if it’s special enough, it can gain traction quickly in a place like this. The train is a big one for me. Seeing all different walks of life try to get to where they are going.

DENITIA: The sheer diversity of people and attitudes is inspiring. I feel free to evolve from era to era without being made to feel like a freak. I’m just excited to be here, doing what I’m doing.

TAKAKO: Can you describe your live show?

SENE: It’s always growing and changing. We have electric bass, keyboards, electronic drum pads. It’s forced us out of our comfort zone, which is always a bit exciting.

DENITIA: I love to record and I love playing shows. We use a mixture of electronic sounds, vocals, and electric bass. I’m having a good bit of fun with it and where it’s taken me as a musician.

TAKAKO: What do you feel very strongly about, as an artist?

DENITIA: I feel strongly about authenticity and quality. I hope that people remember me as being associated with or the conduit for good ass music.

SENE: Being able to show you’re not perfect—more people can relate to that. Superman is only a comic. I hope, if anything, the mark that I leave inspires folks to utilize their abilities and not let a preconceived notion of who they are affect what they can be.

TAKAKO: What’s next for denitia and sene.?

DENITIA: We’re always working on music, denitia and sene. has a healthy looking batch of candidates for a new release. We will put out a project this fall and get on the road to work it out. I’m stoked.

SENE: The next release will be an EP this fall with Rinse UK.  We also have an upcoming tour in France at the end of September.

FOR MORE ON DENITIA AND SENE., VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.