Rhye spills a little ‘Blood’ at intimate session in Santa Monica

Rhye (Photo by Larry Hirshowitz)

“If you don’t leave crying,” Rhye’s Mike Milosh told a crowd in Santa Monica on Tuesday night, “we kind of failed.”

The occasion was an intimate session at Bob Clearmountain’s Apogee Studio for radio station KCRW during which Milosh and crew performed 10 songs, highlighted by seven from Rhye’s new album “Blood.” Milosh also had a sit-down with DJ Aaron Byrd for a short Q&A.

Milosh noted the band now has 478 shows under their belt, with this Apogee Session being number 479, and that their first radio session was for KCRW in 2013, illuminated by candlelight.

It took 2 1/2 years to make “Blood,” said Milosh, which is “about love, the discovery of love, and falling back in it,” following a divorce after their debut “Woman” was released in 2013. His current girlfriend Geneviève Medow Jenkins graces the cover of “Blood,” which he explained by saying she “kindly gets naked in cold environments and allows me to shoot her.” “Waste” was the first song written for “Blood,” and is the first track on the record, and it is the only song that addresses breaking up with someone, as a way to bridge the two albums.

Much of their debut was written with the group’s co-founder Robin Hannibal after he contacted Milosh about remixing a song from his group Quadron, and utilized a lot of programming in lieu of live instrumentation. For the follow-up, Hannibal was not involved, nor did he ever tour with the band. Milosh, who studied to be a jazz drummer, wanted more live drums, utilizing a drum kit captured with two mics as “the heart of the record.” “Blood” was recorded all over the world, including at the studio Revival at The Complex, the former home to Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as in Berlin, New York, Sussex and Toronto.

“Making a live record feels good,” he said, as it keeps the energy in it, and also “makes it very dynamic, allowing for different versions of the songs.” He learned this while converting the first album into a live show, and figuring out how the songs would translate on stage.

The first song of the set, “3 Days,” showcased this transformation, pulling out the backing drum beat and melody of the studio cut for a stripped-down, string-heavy interpretation that is wildly different in its jazzy feel. “Woman” track “Last Dance” also sounded like a new song, with Thomas Lea strumming his electric viola like he was playing ’70s porn guitar. “Blood” standout “Taste” was also a highlight here with a killer baroque groove.

Setlist: 3 Days, Waste, Please, Major Minor Love, Softly, Last Dance, Count to Five, Taste, Stay Safe, Song for You

||| Live: Rhye play the sold-out Orpheum Theatre on March 17. Tickets.

||| Previously: Live at the Moroccan Lounge, Ears Wide Open.

||| Also: Watch the video for “Count to Five”

||| Also: Stream “Blood” in its entirety