By Joey Lopez
Michael Milosh, the driving force behind silky smooth, melancholic alternative R&B outfit Rhye, knows a thing or two about “do it yourself.”
“I direct the music videos myself. Sometimes I edit. I find editing is a lot like making music, but it’s easier since you’re not dealing with a hundred tracks,” says Milosh, who not only writes, produces and performs all of Rhye’s music, but is also in charge of creative direction.
Rhye’s music videos in particular are known for their arthouse cinema flair; and usually come in the form of three-to-four minute short films with a moody, surrealist take on love and relationships. The dark aesthetics go hand-in-hand with the atmospheric soundscapes and androgynous vocals that feel like the soundtrack to reoccuring dreams of lost love, or an alternative score for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Before Rhye, Milosh worked as a professional photographer—a career that began as a teenager developing photos with his father in his own darkroom. Every album cover for Rhye’s albums have been shot by himself except for the first, Woman.
“That was something that has always bothered me,” Milosh shares. “I had some disagreements with the label I was on at the time, Polydor, and they ended up choosing a different photographer. That’s not something I like and it’s something that really irks me. I felt like a phony because that was one aspect of the album that wasn’t completely me.”
The birth of Rhye was the result of Milosh’s frustrations with Berlin’s electronic music scene. As iconic as it may be to others looking in, Milosh felt the scene never expanded outward and stayed within a very confined box. His desire to break out of electronic music and sing his heart out is what brought about the incredibly unique album Woman. Loved for its heartfelt and sultry sounds, many listeners associated it with their own heartbreak, often interpreting it as a break-up record. Milosh sees it differently: “If you listen to a lot of the lyrics they’re actually not that sad. It’s a lot more charged than that. There’s a lot being said in there and you either have to know me more or really try to decode stuff to figure out what’s really going on.”
With Rhye, Milosh wants us to listen closely and understand him on a deeper level. For the next record, Milosh is taking inspiration from the state of his family, in particular his parents’ illnesses, getting older, and not taking life for granted. Instead of taking the opportunity to speak on the woes of life, Milosh chooses to see things more optimistically and aims to make a groovier, dancier record to interpret life’s beauty, rather than the inevitable toll time takes on everybody.
“I’m just realizing the importance of experiencing joy and happiness with the people you love. I also think that my role in my family is to bring smiles to everyone. I really try to bring humour and something positive to everyone around me.”
Rhye performs Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Palace (Calgary), Friday, Sept. 20 at the Mayer Horowitz Theatre (Edmonton) and Monday, Sept. 23 at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver)Rhye