Interview: Milosh on Blood, the enigmatic new album from Rhye

Over the weekend RHYE‘s long awaited sophomore album Blood saw its release; an album of seductive and hypnotic R&B drenched music that has come as a result of Milosh riding this current journey solo, following Robin Hannibal‘s departure in 2017.

Moving the project more into a focused effort surrounding Rhye’s live instrumentation, Milosh’s direction for a new creative path has been one that has, as we’ve listened, been realised with great attention to detail and flair. As we chatted about the album recently, Milosh opened up about the sense of relief surrounding the release of Blood, almost two years after the process started.

The focus for Milosh is now on the live element of bringing this record to Rhye fans. As extensive touring is on the horizon, the writer and musician takes us through where he’s at, in terms of getting this new band dynamic strong.

“The music that were putting on on stage is definitely the way I’d love to see a concert. I want people to feel satisfied; it’s such a bummer when I get that feeling of, ‘I wish that band did something more inventive,’ or, ‘I wish they paid more attention to certain elements of their record’. For me, it’s very thought out based on being disappointed as an audience member, or being blown away – the first time I saw Sigur Rós in Toronto, I was so blown away. It just brought me in so much and that’s also an amazing feeling; it’s like, ‘Okay if I could somehow achieve that for some people, that’s also incredible’.”

“You get to a point when you’ve played enough shows you start to really figure out what you want to accomplish live,” he explains. “A magical period when you get to a place where you’re like, ‘I think I know what I’m really to accomplish now’. I’m at that place now where I want to see people really affected by the music; I don’t want it to be a passive experience for anyone in the audience. I want to actually see people faces ignited or crying or super happy – you want to engage people and it’s an amazing communicative thing.”

Milosh is open to admitting the concept of translating Blood in a live arena was initially a challenging one to comprehend.

“I thought about that when I was making the record in the first place,” he remembers. “‘How am I going to translate this live with the band? How do we perform these songs?’ [With] the first record, there was a challenge because I wasn’t even thinking I was going to tour originally, it was kind of a bedroom project. We were using a lot of samples like drum machines and computer techniques to do certain things. With this record, I deliberately didn’t want to be like that because then when you go to do it live you’re like, ‘Okay I have to re-imagine everything‘.”

“We’re considering where it’s going to be when it’s performed for people,” Milosh says of Blood. “I wanted to make sure all the drums were live, there’s no MIDI on the record, really, it’s all played live. Everyone that’s on the record is performative in nature; I’ve also been lucky enough to have the people that I’m playing with they’re on the record. Everybody knows what they’re doing already. We’re just playing it up and exploring different things for the live show.”

As a follow up from 2013’s acclaimed effort WomanBlood can be seen as a fitting continuation of the music audiences fell for quickly with the Rhye debut.

“That’s actually kind of a sweet thing if someone discovers us now and I don’t have to kind of re-sell [it to] someone,” Milosh says, as we talk about Blood being a potential entry point for newer listeners coming to Woman. “Some people feel so connected to the first record and so you feel almost like a responsibility to provide something on the second record that lives up to people expectations. If you think of it that way, it can kind of freak you out.”

“I purposely try not to think about it because I don’t want to get freaked out. If someone hears this new material and they like what they hear, and they buy a ticket to come see a live show, that’s incredible. It also helps me feel really good about the fact that I made a second record because it was difficult to put a second record together. I didn’t buy out a record label to be able to do it. So it’s nice if people like it because it’s like, ‘Wow – it was worth it’.”

“I’m a pretty hard working guy,” he continues. “I’m just going to keep trying and hopefully win people over and make them feel something and ultimately, contribute to something beautiful that someone gets to experience.”

Such a beautiful experience often aligns with that of live music and it’s with Blood that Milosh hopes to present these moments to every person to come through a venue door.

“Maybe they’ll think about it for a while, and hopefully it brings something good to them in general. Things like that have happened to me at concerts I think about concerts that I’ve seen when I was young and I still think about them.”

Blood is out now.

Photo by Genevieve Medow Jenkins.