“I’m not trying to reinvent myself,” Mike Milosh tells Apple Music. “I’m furthering my sound.” The Los Angeles singer/producer who heads up the electro-R&B project Rhye has, after three albums, a well-established aesthetic: ethereal, sumptuous soft-pop with gentle grooves and minimal production. On his contemplative fourth project, he applies these now signature characteristics to meditations on the idea of home. The album was largely inspired by Milosh’s recent move to Los Angeles’ bucolic Topanga Canyon. “I bought this home at the top of a mountain and I was very intentional about it,” he tells Apple Music. “I wanted a sacred, creative space.” He turned one of the property’s structures into a customized home studio, which he describes as “deeply analog,” and played with ways to refine his sound. “The space is set up ergonomically in a way where I can turn on all the synthesizers, their designated preamps and compressors, and float between any keyboard quickly without a lot of plugging or unplugging,” he says. “I like to have creative explosions when I’m writing, and this facilitates that immensely.” Unlike his past records, Home doesn’t have any midi or digital samples. Says Milosh: “Everything you hear, I created from scratch.” Read on as he takes us inside three key tracks.
Holy “I always have musicians supporting me on my tracks, but ‘Holy’ is unique in that there's a 50-piece choir—the National Danish Girls' Choir. Ben, a keyboardist who toured with me for about five years, was with me when I did the first concert with the Girls' Choir in Copenhagen. We both felt so moved by them. I remember he was playing organ a lot at that concert, and there were moments when I’d look over at him and he was literally crying. The sheer beauty of the sound of the choir was overwhelming. That's when I decided I needed to have them on a record. They were game, and I always assumed I’d record them at their studio in Denmark. But it happened that they flew to Santa Barbara for a concert and were able to spend an entire day with me at the studio. This was right before the pandemic, and they did ‘Holy’ in one take. Ben and I were sitting in the control room mystified that it could happen that quickly, that perfectly. It was utter joy.”
Black Rain “This weird thing happens to me where I write things that then become true. It's actually why I'm careful to not write anything very dark or angry. When I wrote ‘Black Rain,’ I didn't understand what it was; I had come up with these stream-of-consciousness lyrics and rolled with it. But pretty soon after, the California wildfires started hitting and there was one day where it rained black soot all over my driveway. It was black rain. This really creepy, ominous feeling came over me at first, but I reminded myself that the song is about not letting anything get you down, about dancing your way through it. It’s also, more literally, about not ignoring the problems we’re causing. I don’t want there to be an ingenuity gap between our environmental damage and environmental cleanup. I want us to acknowledge it all, but to have fun while we do it. Life is beautiful, joyous, and precious. Let’s make positive, conscientious decisions.”
Sweetest Revenge “‘Sweetest Revenge’ may sound like a mean song, but it’s about the realization that the best answer to negative energy is living a good life. If someone enters your life who doesn’t have good intentions or says something to get you down, the best thing that you can do is say, ‘I'm not going to let that in. I'm just going to enjoy my life.’ I’ve never been an overly emotional person; I’m the kind of guy who laughs when things get awkward or intense. Maybe that’s a way of coping, but it’s also about my outlook. I refuse to believe that anything I encounter is really that stressful or hard. I get to make music for a living. There's nothing stressful about that. Shooting a music video is not stressful. It's fun. Mixing records is fun. So I try to apply that mentality to the way I live. I believe that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything, and we train our minds how to deal with every scenario. On tour, you realize quickly that if you get stressed out when things go wrong, it infects everything. You’re better off laughing about it.”