Hi Reddit! This is Enya – I’m here to chat with you guys about anything – my music, my life, so let’s get started!
Autumn-Moon: What made you want to come to Reddit to do this AMA?
Our Digital guy Daniel keeps up to date on this stuff, and we use him as a guide. He thought Reddit was really good, so we were happy to do it! It’s a totally different experience being asked questions and how they are being received – with those really fast fingers.
Lucia: You have written many beautiful songs throughout your career, do you still remember the first one you composed?
I do. It was called * The Lonely Ghost* – it was an instrumental and it was a piano piece called The Lonely Ghost.
Candace: Was it ever recorded? If not, do you still have the song?
Yes, we did a recording on the rebox because it was set up next to the piano, but that’s all there really is. It was a piano instrumental melody.
Nicky – It was an upright piano.
Roma – We still have that little piano!
Amelia: I heard Breaking Bad was one of your favourite shows which is also one of mine. Are there any other shows you’re enjoying currently?
Vinyl – Martin Scorsese does really great TV programs and it’s the earlier insight into what the record industry was really like so it’s quite fascinating.
Amelia: What are your favourite subjects to paint?
I haven’t painted in a while, but it would be landscapes that I would paint.
Candace: Recently in an interview, you described how the song “Even in the Shadows” was written using a very different approach than usual. Could you please tell us more about that process, and the reasons for the different approach?
The Even in the Shadows was a different approach because it stared with an idea that Nicky Ryan had as the producer, and he wanted to work with a specific rhythm. I haven’t really worked that way before, so it was – on this song, the different approach was that the rhythm was the first thing we worked on before the melody.
Otherworldly: What was your favorite song to produce?
I’d say the most important song would Orinoco Flow because of introducing the music worldwide, because the album was very diverse. A song in Gaelic, Latin, instrumental and it helped to have the album be listened to.
Caoilte: Have you visited any of the places mentioned in Orinoco Flow? If so, which ones; if not, which ones would you like to visit?
I’d say Angel Falls – we’ve always talked about it. It would be so spectacular. I’ve only just seen it in documentaries, but it just looks so amazing.
Applebucked: Have you (as in you, Nicky and Roma) considered working with other artists for collaborations? If so, with who?
My answer is that I’ve never been drawn to collaborate with anyone else because I like the control of writing the melody and I feel the way we work, we have a lot of freedom of creativity. If we brought someone else, I don’t know how that would work for us.
Nicky – Opinions don’t work very well for us. It has kind of a steering effect. We’ve made it a policy to not ask for other artists.
applebucked: Have you ever listened to Fleetwood Mac and if you did, do you like them?
I would have heard the famous albums Rivers [Rumours — Ed.] – that was played when I was younger, growing up so I would be aware of their songs, yes.
Kasia: I always wanted to know what’s the story behind “I want tomorrow” video, especially the blowing up car moment?
The song was really sort of a modern Celt that I was playing in the video.
Roma – It was David Richardson, it’s based on Boadicea. The lyric is actually based on Boadicea.
Nicky – The scene is in Glasgow, it was raining, there were tramps around and the car. You point your finger at the car and it explodes.
Enya – But he did want us to experiment with what Celtic music was in the past, what it is today, and what the future was. It was a great experience.
freeflowfive: What are the songs or artists you listen to when you want a change of pace?
I would have to say it’d be, for me on work in the studio, I would listen to classical music. Artists would be Rachmaninoff – it’s a foray for me when I switch into classical music!
ReginaldLADOO: What do you think about the Jean Claude Van Damme Volvo ad that used your song?
I thought it was fantastic. It just worked – bizarrely worked with Claude Van Damme doing that fantastic stretch. It was just fun.
Bruna_Santos: Which song of Dark Sky Island was the most difficult to be recorded?
Nicky – It’s always an interesting question because difficult can be different form different points of view.
Enya – I think every song as a difficult stage. We work on it over 3 years, because we work on a song, set it aside, and them come back to it later and that’s when you can see what you want to change. And that’s how we get through the difficulties of a song. But I feel they all went through stages of difficult because looking so long on them, rewrites.
Nicky – There was a lot of work on Dark Sky Island (the song), a lot, but sometimes you have a piece that’s calling out for more and more harmony and input. Sometimes that just defines a piece, and because the stars are involved, the heavens are involved – that feeling, the multi-vocals and all that, winds itself into the song.
Roma – I didn’t find that one so difficult from a lyrical point of view.
Nicky – I think once you’ve got the melody, we’re over the worst part, or the hardest part I should say. At least we think we are.
Enya – To me, that’s where the time factor is so important because you’re able to oversee the songs when you come to a difficult part.
CBernard78: What is your least favorite song from your own repertoire, or a song you think “I could have done this differently” or that you’d love to re-record?
To me, it takes 3 years in the making of each album – that is the reason it’s 3 years. Because when we finish the album – we’ve done the rewrite, and we’ve done all the changes we want in those 3 years. So when I listen to the albums now, there isn’t any piece we’d want to do different because we get the opportunity in those 3 years.
N1I2N3: What song can you have on repeat all day?
It’s kind of like when I’m in the studio, we have a song on repeat when I’m working on a song, so I get the opportunity to have my own music on repeat when I’m working on the album. I’m quite diverse in what I’m listening to, so I don’t really have any one thing on repeat!
MusicIndustryChick: Is there any particular reason why you don’t sell any merchandise such as tshirts or bags?
It actually came from a friend – the quality (in like 1988) it wasn’t great in merchandise. When it came to doing merchandise for pop stars, it didn’t really relate to the image I had. It goes hand in hand with a tour, too, which is where you expect people to have merchandise.
IEatBabies666: What would you consider your best work so far?
mattonna: At what point did you decide you wanted to live in a castle? What appeals to you about a castle?
What appeals to me about the castle is the fantastic view it has because it’s overlooking the Irish Sea with the Wicklow mountains, and then to left Dalkey Island. And it was at a time when I was looking to buy a home and it was by accident I came across it, because I was living nearby to it at the time. It kind of feels like it found me more than anything else.
Sawyer_R: One of your latest Loxian songs – ‘The Loxian Gates’ – is so serene and relaxing. What was the inspiration behind this melody?
The inspiration would come from what’s known as a “waulking song” and we have written a few songs that are inspired by waulking songs. With the Loxian, I haven’t sung in Loxian since Amarantine. So Roma, what inspired you to write the lyrics in Loxian?
Roma – Well, basically, it’s the melody that will dictate the language used and sometimes we will try different language and experiment with them. We had already used Loxian on several pieces on Amarantine, so this was a continuation if you like. There was a book written at the Amarantine explaining the history behind it. This particular one you’re talking about – the Loxians are technically our descendants, so they are looking back and describing Earth. Describing what they know of it, because through time many things get lost. It’s interesting. It was a continuation of Alderbaran, it was about the Celts. Although it was written about the Celts migration, that was’t he Loxian inspiration came from. The songs don’t necessarily fall in the order of the Loxian journey but they are all to do with that.
sp__88: Do you have any behind the scenes information on “Drifting” from Amarantine?
It’s very much sort a piano melody. I ended up writing instrumental pieces – not for all albums, but it has to kind of evolve. I don’t really kind of force having an instrumental piece on each album. It’s very low and very drifting.
Celtic-Heart: What are some of your favorite classical music pieces?
My favorites are Rachmaninoff, the Piano Concert No. 2, and The Foray – it’s a requiem [I believe Enya meant Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem but I could be wrong — Ed. ].
Mutt1223: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I actually don’t eat ice cream!
tkr567: You wrote a really great piece for Irish Roots magazine on your childhood. Have you thought of doing any more autobiographical writing?
With the Wall Street Journal, it was a little insight on my childhood growing up, going to school – you know, what were the big influences on sort of growing up within the area in the Northwest of Ireland.
tkr567: What do you do to take care of your voice?
I warm up my voice with scales, it can vary from half an hour to 45 minutes.
Kasia: Is there an architect or maybe a particular architectural/design style you’re really fond of?
With the castle, it was very traditional Victorian but at the moment with France, it’s more sort of contemporary. I like both styles, because it kind of suits the building.
LyssaWix: I am a young composer still getting my education in music and just starting my career. Do you have any advice for young composers like myself?
Well thank you. I would encourage you to stick with what you believe in regardless of anyone else’s opinion unless it’s someone you’ve been working with for a very long time. And just continue to work on what you are drawn to.
totorose: If you could contribute a song to a soundtrack for any film (past, present or future!) which film would it be and why?
Lord of the Rings was a book I read as a teenager and really loved it, and having written two songs for it was really kind of a wonderful moment. That really answers the question!
skittlebrau8: Do you play any other instruments besides piano?
I play the saxophone, suppose the accordion, the tin whistle, and I play cello – a little bit of cello.
Dee253: Who is your favourite fashion designer?
There’s quite a few, but I’d go for an Irish Louise Kennedy. I wear a lot of her clothes.
BoyWithStrings: Your vocal expression is very delicate and beautiful. We haven’t heard much high-energy sounds such as belting or more operatic sound from you. Have you experimented with that kind of singing and considered it not relevant to your artisic expression?
I had for a while opera training with a wonderful opera singer in Ireland, Veronica Dunne – I studied with her about a year. It was a different way of singing for opera singers, but I couldn’t continue that training because it would have changed my voice for singing. But it was a great experience.
Giacioffi: Where do you get your inspiration from?
The inspirations all vary – it can be a story I’m told or it can be when I travel – a landscape, story, culture in different countries. So I’m unaware at the time of what the inspirations are, but they all kind of come with me to the studio and evolve into a melody.
SarahCat: Would you ever consider releasing an album containing the original arrangements of your previous work before the lead vocals were added?
Not really, because it’s the melody. The arrangement is really an enhancement to the melody, and the melody is really the core of the song it wouldn’t really make sense for me to do that.
Samantha: You’ve spoken about The Lord of the Rings a lot, what are some of your other favorite books?
It would be Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, and it would also be Oscar Wilde A Picture of Dorian Gray.
Dana_XF: Are you surprised that Dark Sky Island became so successful?
Absolutely. With a 6 year gap, working on this album for 3 years after taking 3 years completely away from the studio. I had no idea how the album would be received, who the listeners were – it was a wonderful reaction to the album.
manuschuh1: When you are alone, in your beautiful castle, you imagine live in another time?
No, because the exterior of the castle is of an 1840 era, but the interior is very much a home.
Samantha: Do you have any pets?
No, but on the grounds there are squirrels and also they are grey squirrels but they released recently red squirrels. So they stay on the grounds, and the grounds are pretty busy.
tkr567: What do you do to unwind?
On the big picture – travel. On a daily sort of basis, it would be going for a walk!
trangquility: Hi Enya! What are you most looking forward to this year?
Nicky – A break!
Enya – Projects I can’t talk about really, but one of them is an idea Nicky has about doing an orchestral arrangement of a selection of the songs over all of the 8 albums and record it in Abbey Road and to work with an orchestra and a choir.
Nicky – And you!
Enya – Of course me! But it would be very interesting. And Abbey Road because Nicky is such a Beatles fan. It was actually in Abbey Road where we did Lord of the Rings.
Thank you for having me, it’s been a lot fun talking to you. And a truly new experience, which I enjoyed!
Music.reddit.com | 15 March 2016
Transcribed and edited by enya.sk. Greetings and non-answered questions were removed to make the interview easier to read.