Welcome to the raw, vulnerable, and precious world of Enis. The Denmark-born singer is releasing his debut EP, E01 demo collection, a five-track record where he opens his heart to the audience and discusses subjects such as queerness, family, rejection, the passage of time, and love.
Being his first release, one might think this is the direction the artist is going for. However, Enis clarifies that his debut EP “doesn’t really identify with the type of music I want to make in the future. It was more like a diary that I was writing during the very beginning of when my life turned upside down.” Written during those months of uncertainty and produced remotely, E01 demo collection allowed Enis to pour his soul into the lyrics after losing his ground. “Everything I knew my entire life was all of a sudden covered in smoke. My youth ended the day my parents found out I am gay,” he explains.

But the artist endured thanks to music, a safe place he could always go back to. "I wanted to kill myself, but life is too beautiful to have others live it for you. You have a choice to make: either you let the pain burn you, or make it shape you.” Fortunately, he went for the latter and let those negative feelings turn into blossoming songs like Fadeaway, Floor is Lava, and Lavender Garden. Today, we speak with Enis about overcoming such a traumatic experience, putting together his first EP, and his hopes for the future.
Hi Enis, thanks for speaking with us! First of all, where are you answering us from and how are you feeling today?
Thank you for starting off this interview by checking in on how I’m feeling. That’s very kind of you. I’m sitting in this cute apartment in Istanbul that my friend just moved into, facing the Bosphorus bridge. It used to be a struggling queer writer's home.
To be honest, I’m feeling a lot these days. Since I released my debut single I’ve been without a home, just moving from place to place to piece everything together as an independent artist. Sometimes it makes me wanna scream and cry and disappear, and at the same time, I feel so excited and hopeful about life because I’m continually working on this dream of mine, that the little boy in me has had since forever.
I guess you loved music as a kid already. What are some of your earliest memories listening to music? Songs you heard at home, or in the car, if you sang already as a child…?
Oh, for sure I did. I wasn’t the child who grew up watching Disney that much, maybe with the exception of Sunday mornings on the couch with my big brother. Instead, I have always been so captivated by watching music videos on MTV and music awards shows.
I have this vivid memory of me driving the car with my dad, blasting “to the left, to the left” to Beyoncé’s Irreplaceable at the age of 9, telling him very convinced, when I grow up I’m going to be an artist, dad! This was a wholesome moment for me because, a few years later, my dad came home and surprised me with a studio session. An old customer from his restaurant happened to be a producer with a studio nearby. This was my first experience recording and it made me feel like I was on my Hollywood shit. A core memory of mine.
Growing up with an older brother and cousins, I was also introduced to artists like M.I.A, Amy Winehouse, and Paolo Nutini quite early on. I was so obsessed with Paper Planes by M.I.A.
When you were only 16, you moved from Copenhagen to California for a year, and when you came back, you lost your ground, family, and home because they couldn’t accept having a gay person in their household. This must’ve been so hard… How did you cope with that situation? What role did music and your creativity play in all that?
It was hard. And it still is. Everything I knew my entire life was all of a sudden covered in smoke. I wanted to kill myself, but life is too beautiful to have others live it for you. You have a choice to make: either you let the pain burn you, or make it shape you. My creativity and music give me purpose. It helps me to be introspective and be true to myself.
You’re releasing your first EP, titled E01 demo collection. Congratulations! You created it remotely during Covid-19. Tell me more about the context and mental place you were in when you started this project.
Thank you. Indeed, my producer Sekko and I produced and recorded the EP during the pandemic, all remotely, while one track, If I Want To, was co-produced with my friend Joe Harrison from Los Angeles. My debut EP doesn’t really identify with the type of music I want to make in the future. It was more like a diary that I was writing during the very beginning of when my life turned upside down, which happened to turn into a musical piece. This is why I chose to title it E01 demo collection; it’s a body of work that only shows parts of me. Metaphorically, I see it as a bridge built to bring me to my next destination: a freer me.
The EP sounds so personal, so vulnerable; I can feel you poured your heart and soul into it. Is music- making a sort of escape for you? Or maybe a therapeutic practice?
Both. Having my voice silenced for decades, making music and being creative was definitely a way for me to be able to find home in my own words, which helped me to embrace and stand up for myself. It’s now become an outlet for me to channel my emotions.
The lyrics are so beautiful, even though they’re about heavy subjects like dark and deep feelings. How do you go about songwriting? How does your process look like?
The process often looks like a moodboard. I write down words, poetry, personal anecdotes in my notebook or notes on the phone in moments I feel inspired – often from cathartic bits or in the midst of chaos or complete silence, that later shapes itself when I start to envision the melody or a production that fits the universe. Often, I like to attach images next to the words I write as it helps me mould the song and picture it. Sometimes it can take me thirty minutes, and other times, months.
Some of the lyrics are heartbreaking. In Fadeaway, for example: “Met few ones who did me wrong / Now I cannot trust anyone / Missing out on being young / Oh, I don’t wanna waste my love”. The ‘missing out on being young’ one really hit me. Do you feel like that? What exactly do you think you’ve missed about your youth?
No, and yes. My parents immigrated to Denmark in their early 20s and built a beautiful nest for my brother and I. They’ve nurtured us with so much love, experiences and travels, that I never felt I was missing anything. And for that, I’m feeling very grateful and privileged. In fact, they inspire me more than they probably know. But, yes, then I left home at 16. And my world started to turn upside down. Suddenly I was completely alone. I had nothing and no one in my life anymore. I had to grow up in a matter of weeks, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived – metaphorically and literally. My youth ended the day my parents found out I am gay.
You’re still very young though, and as the famous LGBTQ+ rights campaign says, it gets better. As time goes by, do you feel more secure in yourself and happier in your place in this world?
Haha, cute. I felt hugged by this question. I feel more secure in myself nowadays. I’m moving through life conquering the fears I never thought I would face. I’m heartbroken, and I always will be… But I believe you can be heartbroken, yet hardly broken.
Let’s go back to the EP. The sounds are so ethereal, hypnotic, and captivating. How did you work on your own style and sound during the creation of the five tracks? How did producer Sekko contribute to it?
Those are nice words, thank you. The style and sound came together quite naturally as I was going through it and feeling every part of it. I was very lucky that a mutual friend in London connected me with Sekko. It was a lot of back and forth with hours of video calls, which is not the way I usually like to work, but Sekko made these circumstances feel a lot more effortless. His patience and eagerness to grow with me, producing a whole EP all remotely, is more than you can wish for. He contributed a friendship I will always cherish.
For the visuals, you’ve collaborated with film director and friend Leonardo Casalini. How did you two meet, and what about his work is so special to you that made him the perfect fit to direct your videos?
I had heard of him from an acquaintance in London and checked out his work, and what stood out to me was his rawness, so I reached out to him and he immediately responded with a super warm and welcoming response.
We started to plan everything remotely as the pandemic was happening. Months later, I managed to move to Florence, Italy during the lockdown. The moment I met Leo, it felt like we had known each other for years! This whole period is a chapter itself – an Italian dream! Espresso, gelatos and pizzas all day, every day, and parties in warehouses at night with new friends I made that I will cherish for life. The dedication of Leo and Lisa inspired me a lot — I was in good hands! What a trio!
You’re just getting started, so I guess you have big dreams. What are some of your short-term and long-term goals? Where are you taking Enis next?
I like to think that I’m the architect of my own life, so I’m designing it the way I envision it. The way I want it. There will be a lot more music coming from me. EPs. Albums. Creative collaborations. A design concept is already in the making. Performances. Concerts. Festivals. Tours. I want to do it all. Maybe a movie? I just want to have fun doing it. Grow and expand my archive. And move a heartbeat or two while doing it.
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