The last place you would probably hear a Rhye song spinning is the club, not because you can’t dance to those smooth R&B tunes, but because their music is more for taking things slow and steady on the dance floor. Back in February, the Michael Milosh-fronted group released their sophomore album Blood. Today, we’re premiering RY X‘s remix of “Waste,” the opening track off the LP.
In terms of the mood that’s being set on this version, RY X told us that he was inspired by the club scene in Berlin which thrives off techno. Anyone that has paid a visit to this charming city will instantly be reminded of the club atmosphere while listening to this remix as it fully channels that distinct energy.
“I come from a lineage of a certain type of remixing and club records from my time living in Berlin so that tends to be the backbone of the way I approach remixes in general,” RY X said in an email. “For this track I wanted it to be able to live and work in club contexts and many different spaces than the original, while also retaining the rawness and fragility that the song already held.
While you stream the rework of this breakup ballad in the visualizer, scroll down and read our exclusive interview with both of the musicians.
How did you initially cross paths with each other?
RY X: Mike and I met through our shared community in LA where we are both based. There was a mutual connection based on friendship first which is a beautiful way to begin any creative process together.
Michael Milosh: [RY X] was really good friends with my girlfriend, Genevieve, and I went out to an art gallery or something like that. I ended up meeting them outside and there was another guy there that had a little baby goat. That’s how I remember that night. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but he had a little baby goat and we were all like petting this goat and I met RY X.
Ry and me have these crazy connections. Probably because of the name thing, but we have the same management as well which is coincidental and we’re on the same record label [Loma Vista]. I met him through Genevieve who he spent a lot of time with in Berlin ’cause they lived in Berlin together. Weirdly, I lived in Berlin at the same time as them or like before that, but I know I met them in Berlin. So it was always weird like hovering around him and the next time I met him it was at like a dinner party. Genevieve commented that there was like a competitive nature to the two of us. We were trying to see who could sing higher or something like that… We’d been drinking or something.
I’ve read that “Waste” was a breakup ballad, could you elaborate on the intent behind the song?
MM: “Waste” was the first song that I thought we should mix for the Blood record and it was the only song I really wanted to deal with the fact that I had this break up emotionally from my partner at the time, but I was also making really big changes in my life. After any breakup, obviously, the next thing that follows is huge life changes so that all occurred at that time. I was writing a song and I knew I wanted to start the record, and that’s the song that I started showing people, that this was gonna be the starting point of the record. It doesn’t represent the whole record, but it really set the tone as to where the live Blood record was gonna go, but that’s the opening act emotionally.
In terms of RY X and what he did to it, it was really interesting because we had talked about the concept of remixes and what are remixes. He kept talking about how he could really see this dark Berlin techno version of a remix done to some of my music, and I’m also like “Well, he’s kind of the perfect guy to do that.” We were talking about it more abstractly, something about, “Wow, it would be so cool if you had a remix done with that.” So when were starting to put together the remixes–I also don’t like to pressure friends to ever doing anything–I quietly put that in my manager’s ear that I think it would be really cool if he’d do a remix, and then everyone was very excited about that idea. I don’t know exactly how they approached him originally, ’cause I left it up with them to approach RY.
I didn’t want to steer it either so I didn’t say like, “Hey, I want you to do this dark techno remix of it.” I just said, “Can you do a remix?” That’s what he came back with and I was really… I don’t know what the word is, I just think it’s the perfect interpretation of the song “Waste.” If you were gonna do a remix, if the whole concept was to get it into out of maybe people listening to it in their living rooms, sharing it in the clubs or other environments. It’s such a cool re-do of a track. It doesn’t even feel like a remix, it feels like a re-do, it’s a reinterpretation of the song. I like what he kept, vocally. He didn’t use every vocal and I like the way he honed in on it.
Would you say that this version of “Waste” is an extension or departure from the original?
RX: I like to experiment with the possibilities of context and genre a lot when I’m making music, whether that be in remixing or producing. For this, I really wanted to add a weight and depth to it. Almost an element of darkness or melancholy too. I think Mike and I make similar music in certain ways, which is really interesting. It seems I tend to lean into the heavy emotionality and melancholy a little more I guess, so I wanted to paint this remix with that tone too.
Blood has been out for a while now, so what’s next for Rhye?
MM: I’m putting the finishing touches on an EP that I want to release in January or February. The focus was to do stuff that’s more vocal and piano for this EP. At this point the way I’m looking at it, all the songs on the EP are going to be vocal piano songs. It’s a collection of slow songs. It’s a little bit more somber in nature. They’re not upbeat, they’re a little more gentle and hopefully beautiful.
I’m also working on the LP, the long version of the next record that will hopefully be finished by Spring. I’m trying to not tour as much so I have time to actually do all of this stuff. These next couple weeks is the last touring I’m going to do until February, so I can spend the next couple of months working in these studio environments. And then I’m probably going to be touring a lot by next Spring and Summer.
I’ve been pushing to try to do some shows with symphonies. Trying to make that happen. But that wouldn’t be something that we could tour, it would have to be more like select dates which is a logistic nightmare… But growing it and seeing where it goes, getting a little bit psychedelic at moments, and then bringing it back into really traditional song structure. I’m also really interested in this idea–I think this comes from Secular Sabbath–in how to get the crowd to participate vocally. Sometimes I get the crowd to sing the whole ending set with me, and I go off the microphone and try to just be there with people. It’s a really interesting experience when you get 2,000 people singing along with you, but then the music drops out and you just kind of let that be. You can see the people that really enjoy singing. It’s like “Okay, where can I go now?” I don’t know, I’m gonna try and work on that.
Do you have any visuals that are going to come out soon?
MM: Before Blood, I bought a red camera and I started DP-ing my own videos which makes it a little easier to accomplish videos. It’s not as hard to put it together, I can just do things. Like even the “Hymn” visual, we just went to Big Sur and shot for two days with no narrative, and I shot things that I felt intuitively that matched the song. Genevieve just did a video for this remix that I haven’t seen the shots yet for so she produced and directed this remix video that I’m going to help edit on the weekend, but I haven’t seen anything yet. I’m very excited to see what she shot ’cause I know everyone involved is really talented so I’m like “Okay, this is really cool.”
For the EP, I’ve got two music videos planned. I think the idea is, “Let’s see what my budgets are and see what I can accomplish and get done financially.” That’s always a hurdle to get over, like how do we put this together? I’ve got two really lead ideas that I want to put together for this EP. I want to keep making visuals that dance between narrative videos like the “Song For You” and “Open,” and then also visual videos that are a little bit more dance-orientated, simply visual like the “Hymn” video. I don’t want everything to be hyper heavy-handed or narrative, sometimes I want to go back to that narrative.
Michael, can you tell me about the Secular Sabbath that you were both a part of?
MM: The Secular Sabbath is something that Genevieve started. That’s how I met her, she got me to play one. The whole point of the night is that we experiment, it’s a very improv, but faith based experiment. I really try to dip into some really weird things vocally. I use it as almost a place that I can try out different melodic ideas and then I often turn them into songs. “Blood Knows” was born at Secular Sabbath sonically and then I turned it into a track that would be on the record Blood. It’s kind of this weird, experimental zone where we get to bring people together in different cities. The whole point of it is to bring musicians together in a really not traditional way. It’s definitely not capitalistic, ot’s very forward in a lot of ways. The focus is on experimentation and ambience.
The whole pull of it is to have beautiful experiences with people and to share time with people. When I do these concerts I’m just flying to the shows, setting up, playing, leaving, trying to get some food, and getting on a plane. The Secular Sabbath is the opposite of that where you’re dropped in with people. We only let 100 people max come to them. We actually talk to people that come and be witness to some of these events, and we also bring in a lot of other musicians and people that are interested in a holistic view on life. We all have shared experiences together so it feels like a positive exchange versus performing. It’s a really nice thing to hinge on all this touring because I’ve been touring like a mad man for a long time now, it’s been five or six years of constant touring. This year’s particularly heavy on our touring. It’s refreshing to drop in with people.
Ry, you just released a new single called “Untold.” What else do you have in store?
RX: I have a whole record coming in January/February next year and new songs coming out every month until then with video work alongside. So I’m busy in that respect and I’m continuing to work alongside orchestras on my tours and building the visuals for shows to come. I’m also working on new albums with my other project The Acid and Howling too.
Can we ever expect a bigger collaboration between you two?
MM: I would love to do that with Ry. I think the other thing is that we both like the same type of music. I love techno, but I also love singer-songwriter and classical music. I’m also really interested in… Should I almost say classic rock? That sound that’s like Fleetwood Mac was getting out of the drum. Whenever we talk about music we definitely meet and all the variants work. We have these similar outlooks and so when you hear our music separately you’re like, “Oh, that kinda makes sense.” I don’t know what either genre either of us fit in, but it makes sense why we sit in a very similar world. We talk about music similarly whenever I have been talking to him about it. That’s my interpretation of it. I don’t know what he would say, but that’s how I look at it.
RX: We often joke about that together… A ‘RY X RHYE X RY X RHYE’ record or some other iteration of creating together. When we find some time together in studios I’ve no doubt it will be inspired and full of possibility.
For more of our premieres, check out Kadhja Bonet new B-Side “The Watch” right here.