Melodies behind smoke and mirrors – interview with ’Henry Derek Elis’

Hello Henry Derek Elis and a warm welcome to the Dark Folk Nation! I am truly glad to feature your music on our blog. How are you feeling today?

All is as well as it can be I suppose, considering the current climate of the world. Today, I am simply okay. Thank you for having me.

Would you like to introduce yourself first – where do you come from? How long have you been writing these kind of darker folk songs? 

Well, my name is Henry, a name I’ve learned to embrace after along complicated history. I’m originally from South Georgia. From a sleepy, yet somewhat strange little town with a dark past. It was perhaps the catalyst for my music.

When it comes to your music, what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by a lot of poetry, still life, symbolism and metaphors. There’s a lot of smoke & mirrors involved in being an “artist” and I think that many things are open to interpretation. Nature is a great motivator as well.

How does the songwriting process work for you? Do you write music with other people as well?

I tend to write by myself when I am composing my songs. It just makes more sense on a grand scale. Usually, I’m focused on my own personal experiences, so it’s easier to go down that rabbit hole alone. However, I do enjoy collaborating with creative people with the same mindset.

What instruments and elements can we hear in your music?

Musically, there are many pieces of the puzzle that help accompany the songs. Certainly, lot’s of organic instrumentation. So, of course that’s an acoustic base with the electric components pushing the song forward. I like trying to find the vibe first and then experimenting with different instruments to see what sticks. Whether it’s banjo hiding in the mix or mandolin in the forefront. Sometimes its the small things that can make a big difference. 

What about lyrics, how are they usually born?

I think the best songs write themselves in a way, so it’s really important to me that my songwriting is never forced. If something doesn’t work right away, I usually come back to it later. Lyrically, I try to be honest and perhaps take advantage of implementing things I could never talk about otherwise. 

How much have you released music so far? Are you working on anything as we speak?

So far, I’ve released a full length album and 2 EPs. I’m currently writing songs for my 2nd full length LP. 

Do you play live?

I play live occasionally and I will certainly be playing more shows in the future. It’s not easy with they type of music that I make. 

What can we expect to see or hear next from you?

My next album will be much darker and more of a rock recordI think. Of course, some of the country and folk elements will remain. Other than that, I will be focusing on my doom band QAALM.

Any wisdoms you’d like to share with the world?

Wisdom with age will come and hopefully there’s enough to go around for all of us. Be well and give ‘em hell. Cheers! 

You’ll find Henry’s music at:


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