Canadian artist, Rhye, now residing at his new home in Topanga Canyon, California, rejected the concept of ‘home’ for most of this adult life. However, his newest album Home is somewhat of a sentimental ode to this new stage in the artist’s life. Michael Milosh's vocals, mixed with the fresh strains in the background and the help of the Danish National Girls’ choir, creates the perfect interaction between warm-heartedness synchronisations and instinctive decision-making.
Slightly different from his previous album, Milosh often refers to his tracks as dairy entries, formed from intimate strings of personal experiences that have found their way to Rhye’s creative yield. Not only has he made a name for himself as a musician, but from a young age, he has always had a strong pull towards the art of cinematography and photography. He has actually designed the album's cover by overlapping mountainous landscapes with graceful women figures in the wind and has helped direct short films. His desire for creativity does not stop with his tender lyricism, it goes far beyond.
You have mentioned a while ago that you wanted to explore and produce more visual pieces, videos, and short films. Have you been able to experiment as much as you would have liked to? And are you working on something at the moment?
Right now, it has been only videos for my own project, but I’m still interested in shooting a short film or a long format film in the future.
What are some of the films (or other visions) that sparked this interest for you?
Tons, so many films – everything from Gasper Noé’s Love to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, really anything by Stanley Kubrick. Also, films by Jean-Luc Godard, and Michael Haneke. I thought Haneke’s Funny Games U.S. was one of the craziest movies ever. I really like movies that are, well I don’t want to say low budget, but where they’re not inhibited in that. La Haine is my favorite movie, it’s shot on a low budget but what’s amazing about the1 film is the storytelling.
How did you choose your band and the people you collaborate with?
A lot of the band is made up of people I met naturally or that came to me because they heard the music I was making and asked if we could play together. A lot of word of mouth with string musicians especially, and meeting people through other string players. There’s an amazing pool of musicians in Los Angeles, so I’m lucky that I have these people to play live with and tour.
How has your Canadian upbringing influenced Mike Milosh as an artist’s today?
Work ethic is probably the number one thing. There is something about the long cold winter where it feels like there is nothing to do but dive into what you’re interested in creatively. Canadians as a whole have a strong work ethic which I think is due to the weather, but also because there is a culture of honoring the arts. I went to art school, and there are public art schools because there is a lot of energy and pride around supporting the arts. It’s a very Canadian thing.
You mention that touring is an important part of your creative life. How has this changed over the course of the year with Covid?
Well, there has been no touring at all, and because of that, I’m not able to get the feedback from a crowd that I’d want. You don’t get the immediate response from a crowd to see if a song works live and I think that’s something that’s very important to musicians. I’m lacking that, but on the positive side, I’ve been able to make a lot of new music and record.
How have you translated your intimate performances all over the world to something less tangible (virtually speaking)?
I think that it’s very hard to translate the energy of a live show into a virtual experience. We’ve been experimenting with different ways to do it. Diplo and I have been doing these Corona Sabbath performances as a tribute to the Secular Sabbath events my partner and I were doing pre-pandemic. I’ve been doing things that are not typical Rhye shows because I need around seven musicians on stage to get it right, so I’ve been experimenting with ambient music performances.
We recently did one in a church in downtown Los Angeles where we had a camera person following me around the church with Joel Shearer on guitar. It was all improv and super special. We’re trying to find a way to put it out that feels just as special.
Does not preforming for all this time emphasise your insecurities as an artist, and if so, what would be a good advice for other artists to keep on creating during a pandemic?
I don’t really have a lot of insecurities as an artist, to be frank. I don’t have a lot of inner judgements around music – I just try to go with what feels right intuitively. I don’t put music out if it doesn’t feel good. I’ve been making music for a long time and I feel like I know the world I operate in. I’ve been doing vocal improvs to broaden my skills and help me work on improvisations in pressure situations.
Your new album is titled Home. What were the thoughts behind the album name?
I was buying a home with my partner around working on this record. We bought the house pre-pandemic and that’s how I came up with the name. I always knew that the record would be called home, and although I understood it would likely feel as though it had a different meaning post-pandemic, it was important to me to keep the name and the original intention of the record.
You have collaborated with the Danish National Girls’ choir. Why did you choose that choir in particular for this album?
Because we did a concert together and I got to know them as a choir. I was so awestruck by their sound and ability, so I asked if they wanted to do a record and they generously agreed. With them agreeing, I really wanted to follow through and figure out a way to get them on the record because it was such a wonderful experience working with them the first time.
How is the process of creating yet another album that is so intimate? Where do you find the inspiration?
I mainly find inspiration within my own life and what’s actually going on in my life and then I turn that into music.
Are the submissive undertones a coincidence for the cohesiveness of the album or is it a chosen underlining theme? Lyrically I’m referring specifically to Safeword and Sweetest Revenge.
I wouldn’t say I found those tracks to be submissive. For example, Sweetest Revenge is a song about how when your angry, instead of stewing in that anger with a person, the best revenge is to actually move on and live a good life not focusing on that person. It’s not submissive as much as it is about positive empowerment.
You stated a while back that you have somewhat of a piano ritual. You made it a thing to play the piano every day, before breakfast. I bet it’s a wholesome way to retreat from the chaos of today. Is this still part of your daily routine?
I try to play the piano as much as I can to improve and keep the mind and hand connection going. I enjoy playing outside of the formal session environment.
If so, have you had any epiphanies during this meditative ritual?
Yes, definitely. I’m constantly drawn to B-flat and I’m trying to fight that. It’s that I don’t consider myself a piano player, but I really love playing the piano.
You mention that you reject a lot of the technical advancements of today. Why is that?
I’m interested in music that is incredibly human. A lot of the technology associated with music today pulls you away from being human. I love real instruments, but it’s not like I’m an anti-technologist; I like to use technology to bring out the beauty of those real instruments and voices. That being said, I don’t do a lot of editing.
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