Irish DJ and producer Ryan Ennis has quickly become one of the most exciting names in dance music, having risen as a leader of Dublin’s highly-fertile house scene over the past year after throwing weekly party-starting gigs in his home city. It’s surprising, then, that pursuing music as a career never crossed Ryan’s mind until lockdown hit: “although it was a horrible time, it really was a blessing in disguise for myself as it gave me the chance to discover something else I could have a go at”.
Having been interested in music ever since he can remember, Ryan grew up in a family where it would be very rare to go a couple of hours in the house without some sort of music playing while they went about their daily business. Ranging from 1960s to modern-day whatever was big at that time, he always dreamed of being like the superstars he saw on TV or heard on the radio. His dad’s music taste was hugely formative for a young Ryan, who grew up listening to Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy and Oasis and was bought a guitar for his seventh birthday. As he got older and started to go to the local underage discos with his mates, Ryan discovered Avicii, an artist whose influence would prove pivotal; “he just knocked it out of the park for me and introduced me to a whole different level of music which was definitely the key realisation moment of the music I loved”.
And, growing up with an older brother who would DJ in clubs all around Ireland, Ryan watched on jealously as he was too young to join him; “my mam always asked if I was going to follow in his footsteps,” he remembers, “but as I got older I enjoyed the buzz in the crowd too much to ever want to try it”. However, when his brother, Jamie, bought a new set of CDJ 2000s, Ryan started to get the bug himself. When he was out, Ryan would sneak into his brother’s room and play on every button until he got the hang of DJing. Seeing his brother’s unreleased tracks clock up millions of streams on SoundCloud opened his eyes to the “unbelievable” world of music production, too; “how you could create a song on a laptop, whereas as when I was young I was under the impression my guitar was going to be the only way possible”.
When he had this epiphany, Ryan started to really put the work in, making unofficial remixes of songs he liked including ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘Moving On Up’ by M People. He also spent countless hours searching YouTube and rewinding tracks until he developed his own sound. However, Ryan says it didn’t cross his mind to make a serious go ofmusic until the pandemic struck. “I was solely making music for the pure enjoyment and to make people happy,” Ryan says, having never imagined he would end up getting signed to a label. And, while clubs were forced to remain closed, Ryan adapted and overcame by uploading his tracks online and letting the music do the talking. His Tupac-sampling track, ‘Lick Your Lips’, was one of many that picked up viral momentum. “It was the people streaming on SoundCloud who got me to where I am now,” Ryan says.
Then,when he was able to get back behind the decks for real-life crowds, Ryan started amassing a growing fanbase, becoming a key member of the rising Dublin house scene in the process, alongside artists like Belters Only and Shane Codd. “Credit has to go to the lads that have smashed it so far,” Ryan says, having built an army of supporters at home by playing out at local clubs. He also cites a recent DJ gig at TRAMLINE in Dublin where Robbie G and Bissett came in to see his set; “it’s great that they have beenso supportive of any music I put out, and it’s great seeing the lads do so well -long may it continue.” Alongside continuing to put his hometown firmly on the clubbing map, Ryan says he wants to “go bigger than anyone”. He’s on track, too, as word is spreading quickly; having landed a monthly Ibiza residency at Play 2.0, he says “being offered these types of opportunities is an eye-opening thing for the start of what could be a dream come true as a career”.
When it comes to his own high-energy DJ sets, which he says are always based on a happy vibe that, on any day of the week, will make you want to go out that night, Ryan wants “to be able to feel that the place has lifted”. People who haven’t yet seen him DJ can expect “an atmosphere like they haven’t seen before and the best music ranging from songs you forgot you knew, to belters rocking at the minute and, of course, my own songs”. He’s got plenty of tracks ready to go, having knuckled down in the two years since signing with iconic dance imprint Positiva. “I’ve got so much music that I can’t wait for everyone to hear,” he says, having juggled making tunes with studying (and recently finishing) his law degree. “I am working all the time on getting more and more belters out, and I won’t be stopping any time soon!”
One of those belters is his highly-anticipated debut single ‘Close’, a track that Ryan has been waiting for the perfect time to release. “Now that we’re coming into the first proper summer since everything has opened, I don’t think there is a much better time to showcase what I have been working on”. He teases that the uplifting chart-destined piano-house anthem is “going to give an insight of what is to come”. And, when it comes to the future, Ryan has huge ambitions. From Creamfields to Coachella and Glastonbury, he says “like every artist’s goal, I want to play at all the major festivals, and have residencies around the world”. Another goal is to perform his music in a live show that includes playing guitar: “that was always the original dream,” he adds.
For now, though, with the long-awaited arrival of ‘Close’ on July 8th, he is happy to see where the next few months take him. One thing’s for sure, though: Ryan Ennis is about to have the biggest summer of his life.