Big Harp

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Chris Senseney was the guitarist for the indie band Art In Manila when he and Stefanie Drootin first met. Stefanie was playing bass in The Good Life (Cursive frontman Tim Kasher’s side project) and Chris was opening for their fellow-Saddle Creek Records label-mates. Now, married with two children, Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney take the whole family on tour together, driving a minivan and hitching a trailer in support of their first album, White Hat.

Paste: How long have you been dating?
Chris Senseney: Dating for four years, married for three and a half.

Paste: How did you first meet?
Senseney: We first met on a tour. My band was opening, and Stef’s was headlining. We started hanging out all night drinking and chain-smoking, and now we’re responsible adults with two children. Well, we have kids anyway.

Paste: What’s the best part about being in the same group as your partner?
Senseney: Not having to leave each other or our kids to go on tour. And it’s great to play with someone you live with and see everyday and raise children with—there’s a closeness you just can’t have with anyone else. And it doesn’t hurt that we love the way each other play.

Paste: What’s the most challenging part about being in the same group as your partner?
Senseney: Not getting to leave each other or our kids to go on tour. Just kidding. It really isn’t much of a challenge for us. No drama.

Paste: Describe your first date?
Senseney: It was pretty classy. It was the middle of tour, and Stef went to a wedding on an off day in Portland. I was back at the hotel with some of the other band members. After the wedding, she came back and met us at a strip club. We went back to the hotel and we’ve been together ever since.

Paste: What was it like when you started making music together?
Senseney: Fun and comfortable right away. The first thing we did was arrange a cover of “Polly” for a Nirvana tribute show in Omaha, where we were both living at the time. It was only a few days after the end of the tour we started dating on. We messed around with it for a couple hours and totally rearranged the song.

Paste: Talk about a song that means something special to you as a couple?
Senseney: When we were first dating neither of our cars had CD players, and we only had one tape, Nilsson Sings Newman. We both really love that record—Nilsson’s voice is so sweet on the surface and Newman’s songs are too, but there’s a sort of dark, mocking undercurrent in there. But the song, “I’ll Be Home”—it’s just a sweet song. And good. That’s hard to find.