The Artist Feature is a new series by Yoshitoshi aiming to tell the story behind the music, to get in touch with what lies at the core of each artist’s creative ethos in three pictures: The Roots, The Studio, The Club.
In this edition of our artist feature series, we hear from Enamour, the bubbling DC producer who has been fast making a name for himself as one of the most exciting names in progressive house. His new EP for Yoshitoshi, “Amnesia / Taboo,” is packed full of ambitious melodies, textured, tribal percussion, and huge synth swells that absolutely dominate in the club. As a DC-based label, it’s been a treat to watch Enamour grow as a producer and DJ and have him join the Yoshi roster of artists.
I’ve been musical almost all of my life, whether it was playing piano when I was very young, guitar in my teens, or messing around with tape recorders and circuit bending those greeting cards that play songs. I was an avid music fan, and was exposed to a lot of classic rock from my father, disco from my mother, and indie from my older sister. I got more interested in electronic music around age 17 first from synth-pop/indie dance groups, and then from electro artists like Daft Punk and the Bloody Beetroots. I think I was first inspired to try my hand at producing because of the low barriers to entry in making simple mashups, but then I started making my own sounds and (bad) songs in Reason before quickly switching to Ableton. Around this time I was DJing open format a lot in college, trying to bridge the gap between commercial pop/hip-hop and electronic music right before EDM really blew up. A few years after I left college, I had a clearer picture of what I wanted my artist project to be, and that’s when Enamour was born. I think my sound now draws pretty evenly on my earlier musical influences given to me from my family--the raw aggressiveness of classic rock, the groove of disco, and the emotion and delicacy of indie.
My studio sessions usually start by jamming on my hardware synths (Prophet Rev 2, Minilogue, Minitaur, MS-20, JP-08) or experimenting with new patches on my modular rig, though sometimes a song will just start with a sample or an idea I had in my head. Once I’ve identified the main theme or hook of the track I’ll start building the drums and bass groove. After getting a solid 16 bar loop I’ll drag everything out for 6-8 minutes or so and then subtract parts to create a basic arrangement. From there, I’ll add additional parts, transitional elements, and automation/effects, ear candy, etc. I usually mix as I go with a more proper mixdown towards the end. Then the fine tuning and adjustments can last weeks or months as I test it out, get feedback, and come back to the studio with fresh ears after time off.
I try to not to force an idea too hard because it usually just ends up in frustration and demotivation. Instead I’ll take a break or start something new until inspiration strikes and I get into a flow state--when this happens I’ll usually finish 80-90% of the song in one day/sitting. Coffee helps a lot too!
I was a DJ before I was a producer, and though I probably prefer sitting in the studio producing, DJing still holds a special place in my heart. My sets span a number of genres and I always try to take the audience on a journey between them. My sets usually end up being around 50% my own material, often filled with upcoming releases and works in progress--it’s a great way to get honest feedback.
I do think it’s important to maintain room in my set to showcase other artists and songs that I like. I spend so much time listening to new music that I need my DJ sets as an outlet to share my discoveries. And as a fan, I think a big part of seeing your favorite DJs perform is learning about their taste and discovering new artists and songs--if they just played their hits I would honestly go home a little disappointed.