Pic by Lutz Soedibjo

INTERVIEW: Deniz Reno

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

I’m great. Really excited to share my new album EP Lovers with you. Thank you for having me. 

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

Pirates is the last song I wrote and recorded on the LOVERS album EP. Mike Schlosser (my producer) went for really minimalist punchy production style on that one. It became the “I’m taking my power back” single of the album. LOVERS EP explores the various dynamics of love and I would say that ‘Pirates’ definitely touches upon relationship dynamics which are not very healthy, hence the title. However I find the song to be quite empowering in the way it untangles said dynamics. I think that anyone who has been in a “situationship”, an abusive relationship or has been in a relationship where the power dynamics are off and there is more give than take on one side than the other could relate to it. 

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

Pirates was inspired by a personal story, but on a grander scale it touches upon the universal themes of emotional unavailability in relationships. I feel like I grew up in a generation where a lot of people my age have a “pirate” approach to dating. There’s lots of take and not a lot of give. There’s a fear of depth and the emotions that it may bring up. There have been a few years recently where I pulled back from the dating scene to just channel energy into myself and my creative pursuits. As I observed what was going on with friends, I noticed a lot of patterns emerge. I saw a lot of “Coming in high when you need somebody, going out low when the current gets deep”. These lyrics from ‘Pirates’ are a metaphor for high tide and low tide, used to explain fear of emotional vulnerability, of people being ok with asking for andexpecting full emotional and physical disclosure, but being unwilling or unable to remain in a space of deep connection with one another. I use ‘Pirates’ to fully illustrate this dynamic. Of course the song is also about choosing to bow out of relationships like this. It’s about valuing yourself above the pirates who think it’s ok to steal your love.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

I have a few ideas swimming around in my head about visuals for the song. It would have to be in collaboration with the right director and team. I have imagined a sort of urban punk rock take on the song when it comes to visuals.

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

The title LOVERS came to me when I had just finished the record. It seemed like an appropriate name for a body of work which explores the various sides of love. I drew the cover art for the album to represent all inclusive love. It showcases five pairs of hands belonging to interracial couples making heart shapes between their fingers which I filled with the colours of the rainbow to pay homage to the pride flag. This record is for all the lovers out there. The songs on the album touch upon universal themes which I think everyone can relate to. Funny story about the title actually, months after I finished the album and came up with the name, I went online and saw that Taylor Swift released a record titled “Lover”. I briefly had a “should I change the title of the EP?” moment, because the two were so very close and she is such a high profile artist, but in the end decided to keep it. I thought it was a cute coincidence. 

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process for LOVERS was full of flow. I tackled some difficult emotions while writing ‘Brightest’ and ‘Lovers (Crash & Burn)’ because the stories which inspired these songs were very personal and vulnerable for me. The rest of the record came together pretty quick. I wrote most of the songs over the Christmas holidays at home on my piano. Siren’s Song was inspired by an Australian Netflix tv series called Tidelands. ‘Forbidden Fruit’ and ‘Pirates’ became the perfect additions to an album which explores the different sides of love. I had an absolute blast recording these songs. We were cooped up in a recording studio in the middle of the Canadian winter, snow blasting outside while we were tracking vocals, recording samples and layering harmonies indoors. 

What role does Toronto play in your music?

Toronto has played an integral role in my recording process. Both of my recent album EPS Narcissus and LOVERS were written and recorded in Toronto. I mean, the city has been my home for the past 20 years and no matter where I go in the world it remains one of my prime spaces for creating. I would say that of all the places I have ever written in and recorded on this planet, Toronto, Los Angeles and Barcelona have a flavour to them which makes it really easy for me to concentrate and to get things done really quickly. When I’m in Toronto I get in the zone. The speed at which the energy of the city moves inspires my productivity, especially when it comes to making records. Up until last year my producer Mike had a studio in Toronto, now that he’s moved to Edmonton I guess we will be recording my next album there. 

As your music gets much momentum – does that put any pressure on you as you work on a new material or rather the opposite?

I would say the opposite. With every new record I feel less and less pressure and I attribute this to becoming increasingly comfortable in my identity and voice as an artist. With every release I am motivated to work more on my craft and create more songs. If there is any pressure at all, it’s to do as much as I can creatively with the time I have.  

You are also known for collaborating with other people – do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

I would say that my approach to songwriting tends to be different across the board. I can’t say that when I work solo it’s one way and when I collaborate with other writers it’s another. I think the major difference usually is that when I work on solo material it’s a very private affair and no one has any input into the songs until I take them to my producer. When you are cowriting you are almost always in the same room as other writers or communicating back and forth online from the very inception of an idea. The question I get from people all the time is , what comes first, the lyrics or the melody, and the answer to that is – it’s always different for me. Sometimes I think of a great couple of verses in my head and start working out chords to fit them, or sometimes I  come up with a fantastic melody and then try to tap into the mood of those particular chords and come up with relevant verses. 

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

From everywhere and everyone, mostly my own life and stories. Human relationships inspire me, world affairs inspire me, philosophy inspires me. I wrote a lot of material that’s based on personal experiences. I think it’s an effortless process because the story and all the emotional content is already present, it’s just making sure that the puzzle pieces fit. 

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

At the moment I’m really focused on promoting the album and starting on the next record. In the coming months I will release collaborations with Matt Lange. Two months ago I started a blog called TheFearlessNomad.com which has become a big passion project. I write weekly blogs on conscious living and self development, travel, curate weekly playlists and interview fascinating people who lead extraordinary lives: top athletes, filmmakers, actors, artists and entrepreneurs. Between these two passions my life is pretty full right now, I feel very grateful. 

LISTEN HERE

For more info, visit her website

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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