Last time we talked with Henry Kohen a.k.a the one-man-band Mylets, he was Sargent House’s newest act, had just relocated to Los Angeles, and was in the early stages of producing his first album. Nearly two years later the fruits of his hard work are ready for our ears with the release of Arizona right around the corner. I’ve had my eye on Mylets since before he was signed and I can say personally that it has been very cool and inspiring seeing him blow up over the last few years, and he was kind enough to sit down and answer a third set of questions for B.G.M.!
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Well, I’ve actually been living mostly out at the Farm which is outside of Los Angeles. The closest city out there has a population of just over 7,000 so even though I moved from a relatively small town in the midwest to one of the biggest and busiest cities in America, I’ve found a way to keep isolated. I like spending a little time in Los Angeles though, there’s so many different cultures packed into one very tight and polluted area.
Since we last spoke, you’ve been on a few tours with TTNG. What’s the funniest thing that happened on that tour?
Picking one thing would really be impossible. I’m not even sure their humor comes from ‘antics’ or anything like that, I think it’s just ingrained in their personalities. I can definitely say the humor never stops though. They’re my best friends and I’ve learned so much from them.
After spending many months writing and tweaking the new album, what did you learn most from the whole process?
The importance of organization, maybe. Having a good idea isn’t enough if you can’t first explain it to yourself and then go on to explain it to an observer. I also discovered what a massive fan of coherence and conventionalism I am, as boring as that sounds.
What inspired the heavier sound on Arizona?
I must have just felt like a heavier person writing these songs. I don’t listen to much ‘heavy’ music anymore. I wanted the songs to reflect my emotions both in composition and production so if they come across as heavier, it’d seem I was going through something heavy at the time.
Arizona represents a person and a mindset for me. It 100% has nothing to do with the state of Arizona. I don’t want to be vague about its meaning and I’m not attempting to be mysterious or deep, but I think it is better left abstract so that it can mean something unique for a listener in the same way it means something unique for me.
Your first two EPs are pretty hard to find online now. What’s up with that?
Well, we combined the 2011 EPs: Colossal Grin and (I’m blanking on the other one’s name) into one album which Sargent House released back in 2013. I called this Frankenstein’s monster of a record Retcon. I have one or two physical CD copies of Colossal Grin left somewhere. As the person solely responsible for their existence, I have pretty much disowned all of those songs as I don’t think they reflect the style or potential of any music I’d wish to make.
Name some of your influences in writing Arizona.
Mark Linkous, U2, Trent Reznor, Adrian Belew, Daniel Lanois, and Jeff Cronenweth are all heroes to me and had a great impact of the record, but honestly I’d say the biggest influences were the people I was around while I was writing it. All of the artists I’ve become acquainted with both on and off the label, all of my friends who work in and run the offices of Sargent House, and my brother and parents, everyone has been amazingly supportive and that was crucial in getting through writing the record.
Have you added any new pedals to your repertoire?
No, I don’t think so. I think I have beyond what I need to get by and so now I can start limiting myself to work in smaller spaces rather than continuously reaching outward and never finding a comfortable spot to work.
You’ve opened up for Balance and Composure and have a couple more of their California dates this weekend. How did that come about?
I’m not entirely sure, but I’m really glad it did. They’re some of the nicest guys I’ve met and they are way up there as far as live professionalism goes. They put on such an absurdly well rehearsed live show, I was very impressed and inspired.
Last time we spoke you mentioned getting to know a lot of the Sargent House roster. Any cool collaborations planned with any of the artists?
Not anytime soon. I think I have another Mylets album to write before I put a cap on my control issues and learn to write with other people. I did play a little guitar with Rory (from ASIWYFA) earlier this year and that was fun. I like taking a back seat to the writing process, it’s so much less stressful than what I put myself through.
You seem to like to travel a lot. Any places you like visiting in particular?
I’m more of a fan of the travel than I am of the destination, though I’ve definitely been to some beautiful and memorable places. I think my favorite feeling around travel is being alone in an airport, especially in other countries. It’s the weirdest feeling of ‘I don’t know a single person here, they don’t know me, and I don’t know that I could communicate with a single one of them’. Something about it makes me feel really small and on an adventure in the truest meaning of the word.
How are the Sargent House Dogs? Cats?
All good. I look after them out at the Farm. We had some stray cats wander into our property very recently and one of them just popped out a litter of kittens inside of a couch.
Yeah, that’s just this looped phrase that is then played at double speed so both tempo and pitch are twice what they are originally. I wrote that song almost four years ago after first being introduced to electronic music. That pretty much explains what you’re hearing there.
What artists are making their way through your rounds lately?
I’ve been reading, listening, and watching everything I can find around Stanley Kubrick. He was pretty much the first and last of his kind. There will never be another artist like him, but I still get a lot out of studying his work. Musically, I’ve been way into The Social Network soundtrack. I listen to it probably three or four times a day. Not much outside of that. I’m really excited about all of the Sargent House releases this year. Marriages, ASIWYFA, No Spill Blood, Mutoid Man, and a few more. Really honored to be among them. There’s a series of paintings that I’m really excited about, but I might be writing some music based around them and would hate to give away their identity so early.
I’m sure a North American tour will follow at some point and I’ll be back in the UK for ArcTanGent Festival in August. I would love to be touring as often and as widely as this album and the reception it gains allows me to. I really want to spend time with my brother, maybe he and I will go on an adventure and I’ll write some music to record for next year.