In a bedroom accented by lime green and pink decor, a 12-year-old Alexandra Lily Cohen hacks away at bulky Toshiba laptop. It’s 3 a.m. She’s competing in a round of Lord of the Rings trivia through an automated software called “Trivium” in an AOL chat room. By night, the fellow chat room regulars are some of Cohen’s closest friends. By day, she worries about the frizz creeping into her meticulously straightened hair and wears over-priced graphic tees with cringe-worthy innuendos to fit in at school. It works. She leads a double life.
Dominic Sen, the extrinsic and exaggerated persona of producer and songwriter Cohen, is a byproduct of that split. They blend together a love for pop and sci-fi/fantasy, and present themself as a manifestation of Cohen’s extremes and deep-seated desires. “I always felt torn between two parts of me — the need to be perceived as cool and my interests in what were often judged by my peers to be nerdy, especially as a young female,” says Cohen of her adolescence and early adulthood. “With Dominic Sen, those things aren’t mutually exclusive. I am both aspiring popstar and fandom enthusiast.”
Their first release aims to achieve this marriage of nerdom and pop with a song that brings together dance-worthy hooks, science fiction and a poignant social agenda, told through an operatic tale. It delivers in full force (pun-intended) with a video that leans heavily on retro-futuristic sci-fi movies and dance choreography from the 80’s. While it is an artistic statement that confront subjects currently on society’s brain, like emotional vulnerability and systemic misogyny, the track uses the sound and looks from our collective past.
Can’t Tell You was co-written and co-produced with Cameron Wisch (Cende, Porches) and Ronnie Stone (Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders) during a month-long recording retreat, isolated in the woods of upstate New York. The song, part of a larger and thematically intricate collection, encourages its audience to engage fully with its intersections of aural and narrative nuance. The bassline is infectious. The vocal melodies hinge on glittering, soaring hooks. The percussion ebbs and flows through swung grooves with a unique vivacity, while the lyrics draw intimate portraits of a life defined by duality.
Can’t Tell You will be released with Roll Call Records on April 26. It marks the public birth of Dominic Sen, but they barrel forth into the physical realm, fully-formed, ready to dance and embracing their convictions with a firmly clenched fist. They oblige the listener to do the same.
What is the difference between Alex Cohen and Dominic Sen?
Alexandra Lily Cohen is a songwriter, producer & artist currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Dominic Sen is the 7th and only surviving child of the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy called M64 (The Evil Eye Galaxy). Barely escaping their mother’s event horizon shortly after birth, Dominic traversed the void of intergalactic space to Earth where they fell in love with pop music, fandom, and the myth of stardom.
What pronouns does Dominic use?
They/Them or She/Her
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Okay, so, predictions for Episode IX then?
Rendemption. Stormtrooper uprising.
Dominic Sen’s alchemical element?
Sporty Spice, Chris, the Jedi, that picture of Britney and Justin at the 2001 American Music Awards, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Gems and Minerals (RIP)
Suggested reading to better understand Dominic?
Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer (Terra Ignota series)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch trilogy)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Machineries of Empire trilogy)
The Black Tides of Heaven by Jy Yang (The Tensorate Series)
Let the past die.