Until recently, all we knew about Rhye was that it was Los Angeles-based duo who crafted gentle bedroom pop.
Rhye emerged earlier this year with ‘Open’ and ‘The Fall’ (the latter of which was remixed by Two Inch Punch), two mesmerizing songs featuring touches of strings, crisp piano, and a vocalist evocative of Sade. While not exactly a secret, as they explain below, the duo weren’t forthcoming with their identities, or much else.
As revealed to Pitchfork, Rhye is the collaboration of singer/producer Mike Milosh (who released three albums under his last name on Plug Research) and Robin Hannibal of Quadron. FACT spoke to Rhye via email about the band’s unveiling, their inspirations, and what to expect next.
In addition, we’re premiering the video for the live version of ‘The Fall’, which is full of retro, Super 8 footage — a nostalgic feel that matches the tone of the song. The song is available for free on the band’s website, and Rhye’s debut full-length is out early next year on Polydor/Innovative Leisure/Seven Four.
For the last nine months, your identities have been secret so that people would focus on your music. Do you think this had the opposite effect as intended, since the anonymity became the focus of a lot of the coverage?
Well, I’m guessing that though journalists might have focused on that bit a tad the kinds of people that actually gravitated to our music because of the music probably didn’t care that much (or hopefully they didn’t). I mean, it wasn’t actually that secret, if you bought the record on itunes our names were in the credits. So, no I don’t think it had the opposite effect at all and we definitely didn’t intend for that to be the outcome. It’s interesting how out of our control things can spin. People have their own experience with what we put out there, even if it’s a lack of what we put out there.
Is it a relief to be “out” now?
It doesn’t really affect me to be “out now” as it wasn’t a huuuuge secret. Life is pretty much the same for the both of us.
What was your reaction to most people assuming the vocalist of Rhye was a woman?
I personally found it a little funny. I was surprised that there was that number of individuals out there that actually thought I was a woman but it didn’t effect me in any negative way.
What are the inspirations behind Rhye’s music?
Our own experiences, being in love, life in general, music. We both just love making music, inspirations come from so many things it’s hard to just narrow it down to a couple of things.
Can you describe the band’s writing and recording process?
We basically just get together and start working. We start with a note, a chord and just let what we think sounds cool guide where we want the song to go. We reflect on things happening in our lives and let that come into the songs, let our lives inspire the lyrics and just kinda keep building.
There is a period where we stop and listen to the song and adjudicate what else it needs, be it strings, horns or a synth patch and then proceed accordingly. We both love producing in Logic and have a very similar work flow so it all just meshes really well. I would say what takes the most time is mixing, there is a lot of instrumentation in the tracks and it takes a careful hand/ear to get that right balance.
What can fans expect from the LP?
Well, the entire record has its Rhye sound but I would like to think each song on the record has its own special place, everything is there for a reason. I would say, if you have heard what we have released to date, the full length makes complete sense, it’s a natural progression from what we have put out thus far.