If you haven’t heard Mylets yet, the best way I could describe his sound would be to smash together WU LYF with Sharks Keep Moving and add a touch of Maps & Atlases. I discovered the blissful chaos that is Mylets randomly one day on the internet and upon first listen of his latest EP 타락한 (Korean for “Morally Corrupt”) I was hooked. Since then I have been intrigued by Henry Kohen’s one man musical project especially, because he is only 18 years old. Then a couple of months ago I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Sargent House, one of the labels responsible for releasing many off my favorite artists (These Arms Are Snakes, Hella, Chelsea Wolfe, This Town Needs Guns, Marriages, Tera Melos, Russian Circles, etc.) and a label I have a huge amount of respect for had signed my favorite 18 year old musical prodigy. So to celebrate this new union I thought it would be fitting to get in touch with Mylets (Henry) and ask him a bunch of random questions.
How stoked are you about signing with Sargent House? How did this come about?
Words can’t express how excited I am to be involved with Sargent House. I couldn’t be happier or more optimistic about what this relationship will bring about. I’m not entirely positive how it happened, but I caught Cathy’s (Pellow, owner and founder of Sargent House) eye or ear I guess, through this long, incoherent, but heartfelt email that I sent to her one day. I don’t think I even included my music in that first email, but the next day I got a reply asking me to send my music to her and the day after that I got a message telling me to send her my phone number and that she’d give me a call! It was surreal.
Sargent House has had a pretty cool roster of bands throughout the years, any favorite past or present artists on the label?
I definitely couldn’t pick a favorite Sargent House band. They’ve all got their unique traits and I am blown away by all of them.
Explain your songwriting process, do you come up with the guitar and build from there or is it a vocal melody or a drum beat? How are your songs built?
Guitar always come first and it is a pretty open process after that initial “thing” is written. It is also really hard to pinpoint exactly when a song can be considered fully written. I’m still writing new layers into songs that I recorded a year ago. It’s really daunting to write music in a one-man band format because I make the only and final call on whether a song gets saved or tossed away. That responsibility combined with my lack of an attention span and judgmental nature regarding my own art makes for a dangerous song writing process. I’ve gotten much better about putting a little faith into my own compositions.
What is the plan for the next release?
My next release will be a full length that will be released some time in 2013 through Sargent House. I’m really very anxious to see how it will turn out. I’ve written seven songs so far and I’d like to think it’s a progression from the last couple songs I recorded.
I noticed on your latest EP that the backing tracks seemed like a mix between organic drums and programmed beats. On the new album which will be more prominent?
All of the drums on the EPs are performed with a drum machine, but they were edited and mixed to sound more organic. Creating a hybrid of acoustic and electric drums is something I have been eager to do and I intend to work within that format on this next full length.
It seems like judging from your YouTube videos that you are pretty busy when you play live; between starting the backing track, guitar playing, pedal switching and singing. Does this take a while to nail down for each song?
I dislike the use of the term backing track! With the exception of two or three drum beats, there are no backing tracks in my live performance or in-studio. Every drum beat and guitar note is recreated and looped live, which can lead to failure every now and again, but it is very important to me to not use pre-recorded samples. I play guitar for around eight hours a day and about 4 of those hours are spent playing past material over and over again. My live performance has come a long way in the past few months, but it is still always subject to failure. I’m only human!
What is the hardest song to play live?
I always play “Hungover Tehran” about 3 times faster than I should, so I’m usually out of breath by the time I get to the chorus. Other than that, it varies on a show to show basis. It’s pretty comparable to juggling, so having a clear mind before I play is crucial.
What is your favorite song to play live?
“Seven Diamonds Plus One”, that song is my set opener right now and its a song that I’m very proud of. If that song doesn’t rope you in or showcase the Mylets live performance, I don’t know what will! I’ve got a new song called “Honeypot” that tends to get people moving in good ways and it may be creeping up to snatch that favorite song spot.
What’s the music scene like in Columbus, IN? How did you first get into playing music?
I haven’t lived in Columbus for a few months so I’m not sure what’s going on there nowadays, but it has been a pretty productive place, mainly because there’s not much else to do. I got into music by being exposed to bands and live music through my Dad as a kid. My parents bought me an electric guitar starter kit for Christmas when I was eight years old and I have been playing and teaching myself ever since.
Who was your favorite musical artist / music when you were 10 years old? 13 years old? 16 years old?
My memory is a really deceptive thing so ages might be off a bit, but when I was 10 I was heavily into U2 and The Beatles, 13 was AC/DC and Weezer, and then when I was 16 I started to getting into bands like The Mars Volta, Andrew Bird, Marnie Stern, and others like them.
What is the best concert you’ve ever seen?
Seeing Tera Melos live for the first time was pretty terrifying and eye-opening, but being right in front of Ian Williams during a Battles concert has to take the cake.
Favorite album or band of all time?
My favorite band of all time would have to be early 1980′s King Crimson line-up with Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford. Those guys were doing so many things that were years ahead of their time musically and always looked so thrilled to be performing onstage.
Most inspiring music you have heard this year?
I’m really into the stuff that Bosnian Rainbows have been touring with this year. It’s a unique sound and the whole group has this unreal amount of energy going into what they do. I’m much more excited about all the new music that’s coming out next year than most music that came out this year.
Favorite movie of all time?
Either Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn) or Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schrader)
Any touring plans in the future?
I hope so. I’m not sure when or where, but live shows are a crucial part of the Mylets experience and I have every intention to take the show on the road and see some new places along the way.
I am pretty excited to see what the future holds for Mylets and I am interested to hear what the new album is going to sound like. I do have to say though that I am a bit jealous of Henry, because when I was his age, I dreamed about being signed to a label and having my tunes released all all over the place. So congrats, to you Henry and Sargent House. This next album better be as good if not better than the two previous EP’s or I’m gonna be pissed. Ha!
For more on Mylets back story check out this great interview: http://www.wiux.org/blog/2012/10/26/pledge-fest-interview-mylets/