Pic by Edward Demin


Hi Deniz, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi guys! It’s been really great and busy these past few months and I’m happy to be here talking to you about what’s been going on.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Over”?

Sure, Over is the debut single off my new EP Narcissus that just dropped on my label Taksu Records.  Over is about the confusion and denial experienced by a person who is being abandoned by their partner, specifically in a situation where they are being discarded in a narcissistic relationship. It explores the range of emotions felt by someone as they are desperately trying to hold on to the positive aspects of the relationship to reassure themselves. It explores the nuances of cognitive dissonance and sorrow that an individual goes through while trying to make sense of an ending of a relationship.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Over was inspired by a situation I encountered a few years ago which taught me a lot of very valuable lessons.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We have just released the visuals for the single, directed by Edward Demin and shot in beautiful Bali, Indonesia. We were very lucky to have Russian ballerina Valeriya Savvina appear in the video as one of the ‘other women’ or one of the ‘alter egos’, depending on how one chooses to interpret the video.  I’m very excited about it and grateful for everyone that was a part of the shoot.

The single comes off your new album Narcissus – what’s the story behind the title?

The EP is about the dynamics of being in love with an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder. There’s a lot of heartbreak and pain between the lines of these songs, but a lot of love too. That’s why the record is called Narcissus. It’s title derived from the Greek myth Narcissus. For those who don’t know, in the Greek mythology, a nymph named Echo falls in love with Narcissus, a young man of extraordinary beauty, he mistreats her and she spends the rest of her life pining for him and withering away until nothing is left of her but her voice. After encountering Echo Narcissus goes to quench his thirst in a pool of water and falls in love with the image of his own reflection which he sees for the first time in his life. He dares not disturb the water for fear of losing his reflection and eventually dies of thirst. In his place grows the beautiful Narcissus flower.

How was the recording and writing process?

I co wrote three of the four songs on the EP with my producer Mike Schlosser back in 2015, which seems like a while ago but I was busy doing collaborations with other artists and going through a lot of life experiences that have really shaped me since then. We always have a blast in the studio, even given the subject matter and the inspiration behind these songs, the process of writing the songs itself was very easy and it flowed naturally. We also added, cut and did new mixes of some songs from the record. Mike and I have always had a great time working together, we just get into a creative flow and songs materialize at the end of the session. The only song on the EP I wrote outside of the studio was Miles Away, and when I brought it in Mike had a different instrumental interpretation for it than the traditional piano pop melody I wrote, I found it interesting so we went with it and that became the ending of the EP.

What role does Toronto play in your music?

Toronto has been the backdrop to a lot of the material I’ve written, including the Narcissus EP. A lot of what I write about has been inspired by experiences I’ve encountered in the city.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?

I would definitely say that when I’m working on my own it’s a different process because I completely tune into my own self and channel whatever comes out very freely. When I’m collaborating I tend to give a lot of space to the other person to do their own thing and then either craft my writing around their production and music or take it back into my own space and channel my own interpretation. It really depends on who I’m working with.  I’m pretty flexible.

How do all your collaborations influence your solo work?

I love collaborations, they jumpstarted my career as a singer/songwriter. Now I’m being very selective with whom I work with and I tend to gravitate towards solo work because it allows me to express myself in a more authentic way.

As you release new material and keep gaining more success – does that put any pressure on you as you release new music?

I don’t feel the pressure at all. I feel very excited that there is an international audience for what I do and  I am very grateful that people care to hear more from me.

Known for your house driven music – what made you want to seek for a much Soul/R&B direction?

I was a soul artist when I started. Then I got asked to write a topline vocal for a house track and that took off and I ran with the direction of that for a few years. Now I’m just coming back to what made me fall in love with music in the first place.

Did you feel nervous as you embarked into this somewhat new territory?

Not at all, because as I said it was there from the very beginning, I just had to come back to it again.

What aspect of narcissism did you get to explore on this record?

The songs on this record explore the pattern dynamic of a narcissistic relationship. Throughout the songs the audience is taken through the various stages of that dynamic, starting with the Idealization stage, then the Devaluation stage and finally the Discard. I’m not a psychologist but if anyone relates to the emotions being expressed on this record I would suggest looking further into understanding NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and how individuals with NPD operate in relation to other people. As an artist you often write songs to express your own feelings but also there’s a part of you that hopes that others may relate to the subject matter and maybe it may facilitate a healing in someone else’s emotional journey.

Any plans to hit the road?

I am always on the road these days. I just came back from Los Angeles where I was working on new collaborations with Matt Lange for his upcoming record “Dichotomy” and prior to that I was in Bali for four months filming the visuals for Narcissus with my two wonderful directors Edward Demin and Jessamine Fok. No plans to hit the road on tour yet but I always update my listeners on social media about any upcoming gigs that may spontaneously happen wherever I am in the world.

What else is happening next in Deniz Reno’s world?

I have a few really exciting collab releases coming up next year as well as fresh visuals for every song off the Narcissus EP which will come out in the next few months. I also just finished a new crystal jewellery line for my label Beach Loot which has been doing really well and have started working on a feature length album.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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