When the after-dark sounds of Rhye first made their way to our ears way back in 2012, we were all kept in the dark. All we had to contend with were the hushed, sheets-twisting R&B slow-jams, initially the near-anonymous joint project of Danish producer Robin Hannibal and Canadian singer Mike Milosh.
Last year, founding partner Hannibal bid adieu to the act, leaving Milosh to steer the ship. But if anything the second studio album, Blood, released in Feb, reinforced the fact that that Rhye is still very much intact – and still strongly evoking a hip-snaking response in us.
Earlier this month Rhye dropped Blood Remixed, featuring 14 reimaginings of songs from his sophomore album, harnessing the power of big names such as Little Dragon, Moon Boots, Jacques Greene and more.
We chatted to the R&B act below…
There was quite a lot of mystery surrounding Rhye at the beginning – what was the reason for this?
There was no intentional mystery, I was more interested in people discovering the music without bias. I wanted the music to speak for itself.
What’s been the biggest changes since Robin left? Has the sound changed at all as a result?
I wanted to make the second album to feel less constructed in the studio and to have more of a live feel. A number of the musicians who play in the live show came and played on the record. We added more live drums to sound more earthy and add warmth.
Rhye’s previously been described as the “sound of seduction” – how do you feel about this?
I think the idea is that I want listeners to feel however they can connect to the music. The music is inherently intimate so hopefully that translates to where they feel a lot of intimacy and connection to the songs.
Blood was released in February and your Blood Remixed album was released last week – what made you want to do remixes for your next album?
I think its really nice to see other artists re-envision the songs in their own way. Seeing how they take something that you’ve created and twist it creatively is what separates the remix album from the original.
What’s the biggest change from your debut Woman to now with Blood?
From Woman to Blood, it’s just an evolution. The sound has naturally grown and changed, influenced a lot by a number of years spent performing live in front of people all over the world. That experience has shaped the sound.
How did you go about choosing who you wanted to collaborate with? And what was the recording process like?
It comes very naturally, the people that are already involved with me musically are musicians that I tend to gravitate more towards when collaborating. Every song on Blood is personal and unique, so I try to capture that experience sonically with the people that I’m working with. Most of the songs start on piano and keyboard and evolve from there. For the remix record, Blood Remixed, we chose artists that we felt would have something unique to add to the Blood songs; a perspective of their own. Some of them are friends, and some are people I didn’t know but whose work we respect.
You had quite a big hiatus of years between your debut and your sophomore album Blood – what was the reason for this?
We ended up touring the first record longer than we ever expected to. Throughout that time there were some business issues that needed to be dealt with. While those were working themselves out, we were touring. At some point, I started making the transition in to recording the songs that are on Blood and then slowly began putting those out.
What influences your music? What’s been the most influential album of your life?
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was the most influential album of my life. I started listening to it at 5 years old when my dad first played it to me. I was completely taken aback by the production and never lost that feeling for the album. In terms of influences, everything for me comes from personal experiences. Music can create a lot of feeling.
Who would you love to collaborate with next?
Thom Yorke. I recently saw the new Suspiria film which was incredibly inspiring to someone who creates music. Thom has an incredible range both with production and his voice.
Will you be going on tour? Do you still love the experience?
I love traveling and playing live in front of people and will be going out to Asia at the start of next week. After that, early in 2019, we are off to Australia and New Zealand. So, we will continue to tour in the future. It’s become an important part of the creative life.
What’s next for you?
I’m always working on new music, and making more visual pieces, videos, short films. I’d really love to explore the film world more.