Sem&Sténn are a musical duo of milanese guys, ambassadors of the gay pride, who started their own journey as DJs spinning records during the monthly collaboration with Plastic club in Milan, to later take the road of the synth pop in 2011, which took them to release their first EP “Wearing jewels and socks” last year.

Hello Sem and hello Sténn, we start by talking for a moment about your journey; simultaneously to your current career in experimental synth-pop, you have always participated actively in the reality of the clubbing scene, working as DJs in different occasions. Which are the different elements that you look for to add in your performances?

We like variations, create dynamics that continuously change. In the production as much as in the dj setting. A fair mix of pure electronic and electro pop. Pop is so suitable for this game.

Do you think these two ways can be tightly connected? They are very different jobs, but at times very similar nowadays.

For us in the discographic project there is something more: the performing act. Which is by now an essential element. When we were just Djs, it was like there was missing something, like our bodies asked to be freed. I think that is the element that differentiates both things and makes us feel more performers than Djs.


How do you live the transposition from experiencing the Clubbing as a costumer and now as a host or even as the responsible for a DJ setting?

On the first case you live more intensely the situation, the people, your favourite piece that the DJ puts on; in the second case you are the one who is going to give something to the others. The experience starts to change when you are on the other side of the console.

Let’s talk a bit about your projects, your first EP “Wearing jewels and socks” has strong and clear 80´s influences. Are you very attached to that period (muscly and aesthetically talking)? Do you think it would still be possible to propose a “Studio 54” mood nowadays?

We are very attached to the 80´s, to its explosion of subjective aesthetics, whoever makes electronic music has to compare oneself to the 80´s.

A reality like the one of “Studio 54” is such because it is child of its time. On that period there were exhibitions of artists like Donna Summer on the beginning of her career. And we feel like the Club Kids, a bit naïve, that are starting their career in the clubs like they used to do before, even if today the world of discography is a bit different. The scouting happens but somewhere else.

How can an Artist live without a real support from a record company? The self-production is something admirable, but I guess it involves many problematics. Does the reality of Clubbing pays back?

Now is more possible, compared to the 80´s, for example. You can produce yourself, you have the web, the social medias; means are not lacking. In most cases, the ideas are the ones that lack.

The reality of the clubbing scene has not allowed us to live, economically speaking, but this is not even our focus. Nowadays, we would like to live from our sold Albums, of international tours and SIAE bank transfers.

You have a decisively captivating image; how does it feel to be an openly LGBT artist who is not scared of being it or make it notice? We are used to active representatives in the music industry who tend to propose a very “heterosexualized” version of their gay- friendly image?

We do feel, unusually, pioneers in Italy, where nobody has anything against gay people but “it’s better if they don’t kiss publicly, it’s better if they wear suit and tie; where it’s better if they stick in their place and kids don’t get the chance to see them”. Our idea is to demolish these ideas, the idea is to spread the message that being gay is neither a choice nor a curse, it’s a blessing. You can and have to express yourself in the best way you feel, in spite of conventions and dress codes.

Lastly, we want to make a question we already asked to other interviewers; How do you think that the clubbing scene will evolve? We have lived different eras and it feels like we arrived to the seed of the fruit, arriving to a clubbing situation which has lost its sense of freedom, to make space to a more economical side. What do you think about this?

We don’t know what will come in the future but we would honestly like to turn this situation back in time to its origins: a place that includes people who seek in the Club a world where they can be themselves, or someone else, where they are able to love and leave problems outside the entrance door.

Instagram Sem&Stenn:

An interview by Stefano Riva

Photography Ting Yang

Post-production Matteo de Toma

Jokestrap by Lyan Leeyiyang