6 Songs to Know: Denisa
Getting to know Denisa through her favorite songs
Starting out as a sound engineer for names like Tashoora to Pamungkas, Denisa Dhaniswara or more familiarly called Denisa, is one of the most anticipated names in the indie music scene today.
The journey she took with these fellow musicians paved the way for Denisa to finally make a career as a solo artist. She’s been releasing a series of singles and mini albums since 2018. Having established herself with various experiences, Denisa now reintroduced herself again as a solo artist through her debut album which came out last October, called bloodbuzz (her first selection below might explain where the title came from.)
Denisa admitted that the idea of being an audio engineer and a producer came to her after watching Jason Reitman’s Juno back in high school, and she initially did not plan to be a musician. “It sort of happened out of the blue,” said Denisa.
In this episode of 6 Songs to Know, we have Denisa talking us through the songs from which she learned a lot at different stages of her life.
“I’d describe me and these 6 songs as a scenario or the feeling where you’re at a concert and you have that moment where you just space out and blank for a bit. You’re there but you’re not there and you just feel time and people go by.”
Read her selection of “6 songs to know Denisa” below:
1. The National: “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”
I came across this song scarily in the timing of my life where I was questioning a lot of things about people in power and a time where I was questioning my existence. I wouldn’t say this is my ideal album pick from them but I can say that this album is one of the best things I’ve came across in my life. The darkness, the hue, the upsetting guitar tones.
The National is one of those bands that brings a whole army when they play live but even if I don’t remember how much band members they bring, I’d bet that if one player isn’t present, it wouldn’t sound whole. I discovered this band pretty late, and I remember it was a full live set of them playing by the Sydney Opera House. Not going to lie it brought me to tears by the last song.
The National never fails to capture every mood into how they play and Matt Berninger really can pack emotions into his vocalization.
2. Elliott Smith: “Bottle Up and Explode!”
I tend to obsess over artists that aren’t afraid to write about their addictions and pain. Elliot Smith is one of those artist that really is vulnerable in the most amazing way, to the point that it makes myself as a listener feel very at home whenever I listen to his music. This track hits home like a truck. From the title itself you can feel the irony and metaphor, listeners can perceive it as bottling up emotions until you do combust, or see the song as an alcoholic purely being stuck in a rut.
Elliot Smith has been an inspiration of mine in terms of writing, and really inspired me how to story tell in the most painfully honest way. If I could have dinner in a room with 5 artists, dead or alive, he’d be sitting right next to me.
3. Thom Yorke: “And It Rained All Night”
When I was still in college I had this really big synthesizer-modular phase. This was all because I discovered Kid A by Radiohead. I started really learning into it and religiously listened to Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Ed O’Brien. It isn’t really music I could listen to all day but once I do come back to it, it feels like the first time I listen to it. I guess Thom Yorke has been and will always be a big part of my life because I saw myself learning a lot of hardware and synthesizers because of his music.
4. IDLES: “Mother”
A song written about women by men has never sounded this empowering. Props to IDLES for always writing about what actually matters! This song discusses the role a mother has in one’s life, and the specific lyrics where Joe Talbot sings “I know nothing, I’m just sitting here looking at pretty colors” really hit me. It took me back to a time where I was young and I didn’t know how much my mother is doing just for me to continue my piano lessons or buy my first guitar. The long hours she worked and the overtimes she took, I wouldn’t have took what I took in college and pursued my dreams if it weren’t for my mother.
5. Olafur Arnalds: “3055”
The most beautiful album there is. How he managed to use a lot of MIDI but make the seams sewn so well is beyond me. I adore this specific track because it really taught me a lot about song build up. My dream has always been to be able to produce anything for anyone but I haven’t really been getting around it.
I’ve always focused on writing first rather than the music itself, because I tend to pin point the base emotion upfront before I make something. Olafur is a musician who put the idea in my brain that you know, you can try making music and its build ups before you write about your sappy problems.
6. Deftones: “Please Please Please Let Me Get Want I Want” (The Smiths Cover)
Don’t get me wrong, The Smiths will always be the saddest band that hits home. But this cover by Deftones is something else. This is what I learned from Deftones; if you’re consistent with your sound and how you deliver, you can make anything yours. Deftones is one of those bands that even a new listener can guess that it’s a Deftones song playing. I hope I’m making sense, but this whole Covers album by Deftones really sent me into a world of finding tones that I use frequently and I how I can stick with them without being too repetitive.