After holding the line for a while, accompanied by what was surely the most non-descript of elevator misc jingles ever, RTL Today finally got to chat with the Canadian composer/producer/singer Mike Milosh.
Kicking off with very little chit chat, we discuss genre norms, the non-conforming to said norms, the ease with which music can be digested/created and what music means to Mike in regards to reaching his audience.
Milosh is au-fait with the nature of press and with having to trot off the same old, same old, in regards to rote responses. Thankfully, as we steer clear of the insipid and the tactile (nee ass kissing) of other interviews on the web-verse, we get some interesting insights into the craft and graft that go in to creating Rhye's signature sound.
How would you say you've adapted your writing process to the modernization of the industry?
Hhhhhmmm, interesting question, I had a different project before called Just Milosh and I kind of started that with a really lo-budget, really lo-fi ideology, because, well, I didn't really have any funds. So, it was like, one synth, a laptop, well a desktop at that time (hahaha), and NPC for sequencing and experimenting and I used to embrace these creative corners that I was backed into by....financial constraints. And then over the period from that first record (in 2004) until now, were everything and anything is possible on a laptop, with plug-ins, or software and you can do all this crazy stuff.
Anyone can start to create music on the go and in the bedroom now, right? There's no need for big studio productions....is this a good or a bad thing?
Sure, you can manage making music now without having to have a lot of money. And, so, you've got a lot of genres of music that have exploded based solely around working on a laptop, with minimal instruments involved. And weirdly, I think I have taken the opposite approach....I've almost rejected the rules you now need to make a record and started honoring instruments and instruments, microphones, and figuring out what different compressors and pre-amps do.
How has your set up changed?
Right now, my personal situation, is that I've got all my gear and equipment in my studio - which used to be Earth, Wind and Fire's studio, we've like...twenty vintage synthesizers set up and ready to go at any time, I've got my drum set there, it's always mic'd. It's probably a much more elaborate set up than is perhaps more commonly used now and I think that is because over my career I've been able to acquire not only gear, but also studio expertise and a recording situation that flows really well for ME. But I HAVE seen how easy it has become to make records and how easy it is to complete a project and that's exactly what I'm the antithesis of. I'm not doing drag and drop beats, I'm using very little plug-ins. Everything is very analogue as it is, well, I don't know...something I am, and have always been, very interested in.
Are you soaking up a great deal of the vibes and the history in that studio, then?
There's some weird, amazing vibes in that studio. There are constantly these moments where you feel that there are, like, ghosts in the hallways and stuff. It's really fascinating, it's mystical and spiritual. The other thing, though, is that George Massenburg (legendary recording engineer and inventor) he designed the room in the studio. And Prince designed his Paisley Park dimensions based on this studio. Everything about it is very special. The wood used. The treatments. It's unique.
How does that effect you as a writer, that reverence? Are you the type that looks from the inside out or rather from the outside in?
I'm almost less an intellectual writer than even that approach. For me, it's very intuitive and I am very connected to the emotional aspect. Not just the sentiment, but what I am feeling and that becomes the song. It's inherently introspective as it's connected to my own personal experience and I am writing from very specific experiences...contextually speaking. But I don't tend to intellectualize my writing, it's just connected to how i feel but IF it does get hyper-intellectual - and that can happen, as there's a huge geek side to me and I can definitely go down that route, especially with gear and equipment - I try to push myself back to it being just about the feeling of it. And that takes a shutting off of that logical mind sometimes.
Is that, then, a constant battle, keeping your love of technology and the essence of simply feeling apart?
You gotta remind yourself of the balance a lot - of why you are doing this. You are not doing it just because you love some sound or a way a compressor makes that sound, or brings a new tone to it. Sure, you can go down that hole too but it's the love of the process.
How do you react if, say, you're out and about and you hear your music in a bar, shop etc etc?
I don't get too bothered about it. I don't get tense, or intense. I'm not an intense person, inherently, I'm pretty calm. I don't really like to m make a big deal about it. I'm not the kind of person that would go 'Hey, that's me!' and be all cheesy about it. It's kinda cool, though, to sort of experience the music like someone else would. Like, if its in a cafe and I hear it, and I'm 'Oooh, that's me' in the background, it's nice to kind of sit in that moment and take it in as a listener as opposed to the person who made it. I walked into a store recently and they were playing the WHOLE Spirit album and it was only like when I was purchasing some muesli bars, did the guy mention that he knew exactly who I was. That was kind of cool as an experience to just happen to come in and they were playing my record. But there was no 'HEY MAN. THAT'S ME!'
© Dan Monick
That kind of sums you up as a character, though, introspective and reserved but constantly creating...why, then was there such a gap between Woman and Blood and a shorter period between Blood and Spirit?
It's a really interesting yet simple answer. I was in a huge legal battle with a label and I had to buy out my own contract to even be able to make a second record. That actually cost a LOT of money and I had to keep touring so as to build up the resources in order to buy that off. Once I did, it took two years to make Blood, as we were touring in the middle of it, and I calmly placed it and released it when it was ready. Now I am on a label what I am really happy with and understand me, they are really open with me creatively, so I kind of made this next EP and they were 'Yep, cool, let's do it' and we put it out.
Do you agree with genre classification, is it difficult if you get labelled with a certain genre, or is ti something you embrace?
I don't know that I have been labelled with a genre yet. I don't think anyone has been able to figure out what genre I am. So, I think it would be difficult if you were stuck only making Trap music or RnB, and that's all you're known as. That's not really something that I fall into or I am worried about.
Rhye's show took place on Monday 17 June doors were at 8pm.
Luxembourg-based artist Bartleby Delicate announced that he would be the opening act for this show.
When RTL Today caught up with BD at Fete de la Musique, the singer-songwriter was incredibly excited; "of all the bands and artists I have been lucky to have supported, Rhye is definitely one I am stoked to be appearing with."