Discover the interview with Sem&Stènn and the mystical atmosphere of their new music video
The electro-pop, eccentric, sexually fluid couple, Sem&Stènn, that last year broke up the scene on the stage of Italian X Factor, released the new single “You, Your Friend, Another Guy”. The music video, directed by the duo itself, is inspired by Derek Jarman’s 1976 film “Sebastiane”, including blasphemous tribute to the saint, crowned as “the gay martyr”, sexual freedom references from Roman Empire era and fashion forward outfits for a mystical foursome date.
“We need to raise our voice as LGBT+ members, in a country where bigotism is taking over control and compromise our freedom of expression. Gays are threatened by some damaging ideas that Church and politicians in Italy encourage freely” – Sem&Stènn said.
The social relevance of their music has been largely recognized, from being on cover of Pride Italia to achieving the Diversity Media Award for Best TV Show.
They met in 2011 when both were pursuing DJ careers at Milan’s trendiest clubs. Both DJs gravitated towards a darkwave, electropop sound, and in 2016 they teamed up to release their first record “Wearing Jewels & Socks”. They took inspiration from Basement Jaxx, Justice, Goldfrapp, Robyn, The Beastie Boys, Pet Shop Boys, and many more when crafting their sound and identity as a duo.
Now let’s see what the duo told us…
“Sem & Stenn”: where does this nickname come from?
They were our children’s nicknames and they played very well together so…
X Factor has been your springboard, what impact did it actually have on your style and music?
The talent is like a meteor that felt on you, allowing to work with expert and relevant figures. But we have always fended for ourselves almost for everything. From productions to stage outfits. In this experience we met Michele Magnani and the team of Mac Cosmetics, Claudia Tortora, queen stylist, Daniela Pianese for nails and, of course, Manuel Agnelli, our mentor, with whom we even sang together in “Baby Run”.
You are not just professional partners but also sentimental ones… how do you manage to carry out the two things together?
As with any relationship, you need to take care of it. There is a lot of affinity between us, and sometimes we launch chairs off each other… but we believe it is still functional to the creative process.
Is the path for Italian artists, produced in Italy too, singing in English hard? Have you planned to record a track in Italian?
We are “offbeat” (the name of their first album) for several reasons: we are open to our sexual tastes, we bring a genre that here in Italy perhaps has never found wide consent, and we dress up with glitter and latex. And then we sing in English and this penalizes a lot. We are writing new pieces and some are in Italian. But an Italian language that is a bit different from what we hear lately around.
Your style is iconic, you definitely would be that poster driving any teenager mad. What are you inspired by? Which are your icons?
There are many references in our heads: from Bowie and Jim Morrison to Christina Aguilera, from Marylin Manson to Tove Lo. And it’s nice to mix everything and see what comes out.
Interview by: Leonardo Persico
Edit by: Fiammetta Cesana
A film by Sem&Stènn
Directed by Salvatore Puglisi
Fashion: Leonardo Persico
Hair Style: Lucio Ocria ( Raywell Milano )
Make Up: Nicole Attanasi x Mac Cosmetics Italia
Camera & DOP: Ludovico Watson
Camera Assistant: Pier Alvise Amistani Guarda
Choreofgraphy by Marla Francesca La Spada
Fashion Assistant: Mirella Viale Marchino
Set Assistant: Federica Cerabino
Your Friend, Another Guy: Giulio Donvito, Lorenzo Matera
Special thanks to Mac Cosmetics Italia, Rocket Club Milano