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Premiere: Rhye's Mike Milosh brings a storm to life in new 'Phoenix' music video

Melody Lau

The five-year period between Rhye’s two albums signified a rebirth for Mike Milosh.

Between buying himself out of his record deal and going through a divorce, Milosh was confronted with a lot of change during that time. “Phoenix,” a track from his latest album, Blood, goes on a groovier tangent than Rhye's signature R&B sound and reflects some of that upheaval. This is Milosh's sonic cue that he's exploring his sexual awakening while rediscovering himself in the context of a new relationship.

“Phoenix” is the latest music video directed by Milosh, who has helmed all the visuals for Blood including the cover art which features his new girlfriend and collaborator, Genevieve Medow Jenkins. This video was originally conceptualized by Jenkins, who translated their discussions about materialism into a narrative.

Milosh explains: “She came up with this idea that was ruminating in her mind about this woman representing a storm who kind of, like a forest fire, shakes people of their materialism.”

The video is very much a reflection of that initial pitch. A witch-like character, dressed in a tasseled, all-black ensemble, is the physical manifestation of a storm, coming to disrupt what looks like a page ripped out of Vogue: apathetic models, clad in head-to-toe couture, performing mundane tasks. (These early moments in the video are inspired by Milosh’s love of fashion photography.)

When the storm arrives, though, the models are transformed. Their rigid poses break out into fluid dance moves as the track breaks down into a spastic guitar solo — they’re discovering new limits to their bodies. The storm “draws this humanness out of the girls,” Milosh notes.

Milosh says his recent foray into music video directing came from a fairly simple place: “I just like directing.” It’s not a critique on other musicians, but he says that, personally, “if you are the artist, you’re the one that creates so it feels mildly fraudulent to just hire a director to put something together.”

While Milosh has had plenty of experience in photography over the years, directing videos is a new skill he acquired from an accessible source. “I didn’t go to film school,” he says. “I just need to watch YouTube tutorials, get everything that I can and figure out what to do with it… also, I have to try to convince my label that I can actually pull it off.”

The results, so far, prove that Milosh definitely has an eye for videos. But his ultimate goal as a director seems to be a feature film, something he reveals he’s already started writing. (Milosh also disclosed plans for another EP to be released later this year.)

“I think videos are a good way for me to cut my teeth,” he adds. “I’m the client so I don’t have to impress anybody. I just like those artistic challenges. It feels good.”

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