I’ve got an interview to share with you all that was actually done earlier in the year with Henry Kohen otherwise known as Mylets. Henry’s music was first recommended to me whilst conversing with a good friend about how I was trying to find an artist who was a creative cut above what I was listening to at the time.. What followed from that conversation was an intense binge of continuously watching Henry’s live performances on YouTube as well as a lot of headphone listening to his brilliant 2013 LP Retcon.
Henry’s over the top lyrical and instrumental style is complimented appropriately by his wild voice and genuinely intimidating guitar skills, this kid is absolutely set to be a trailblazer over the next few years, mark my words and enjoy the interview!
Firstly, I’d like to start off by saying thanks so much for being a part of taken by sound.. For those readers out there that haven’t heard of Mylets before.. Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Henry Kohen and I have been writing and performing music under the name Mylets for a couple years now. My aim as Mylets has been to compose and perform everything by myself both live and in studio.
When did you get your start in music? And do you remember what your aspirations where before you ended up falling into being a full-time musician?
I feel I would’ve fallen into the world of music eventually, but I got an early start thanks to growing up in a house with a dust-covered guitar in the closet and my dad’s drum-kit in the basement. After my brother and I got a starter electric guitar for Christmas, I was pretty set on what I wanted in life. I’ve really never had any other serious aspirations; everything else has seemed like a distraction even since that Christmas almost a decade ago!
The best word to describe your sound would have to be unique.. Who were some of your influences whilst recording your LP?
Even though that LP was just released last year by Sargent House, I recorded it over two years ago and some of the songs are well over three years dated. My memory isn’t the best, but I do remember watching a performance of King Crimson’s ‘Waiting Man’ about a thousand times to study its song structure and realising that music could be built in a way far removed from my previous approaches.
After watching some of your live performances on YouTube, I couldn’t help but be blown away by the amount of pedals you use at gigs.. How many do you usually play with? And how many do you think you actually own? Is it safe to say you’re a pedal addict?
While I definitely am using what seems to be an absurd amount of pedals, I think it’s important to note that I am very intentionally trying to compensate for the fact that I have no musicians along with me to provide low-end or high-end and that my signal all runs through one amplifier. This means that if I can’t separate the individual parts of my song with instruments spanning multiple octaves or accentuating melodies with distortions and modulation, then I will inevitably fail in delivering something representative of what was in my head while performing in a live setting.
You were recently on tour with TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns), What were some of your highlights of the tour? And what were your favourite parts of Europe? I’ve been meaning to get over there!
The tours with TTNG in both Europe and North America were incredible. As my first touring experience, it was pretty up in the air as to whether or not I would enjoy the lifestyle or not and I think that being around such funny and friendly people really made it for me. The same goes for all the guys in And So I Watch You From Afar, I’m not sure that tour could’ve felt more fraternal if we tried! Europe was great everywhere, beautiful cities, really nice people, and the greatest food.
Your music tends to build quite thick and fast at all times.. How do you go about forming the structure of your songs?
Most songs arise out of doing guitar exercises that I make for myself. I’ll be doing these practices for hours on end and every once in a while I’ll screw up by leaving a note out or speeding up briefly, only to find that I’ve just unintentionally created what (with a lot of work) could become a very catchy verse or chorus. I don’t believe I’ve ever written a song by sitting down and saying, “I will now write a song”, I’ve been very lucky to keep the whole process organic so far.
What would you classify as your favourite album of all time and why? Also, who’s your favourite artist of all time and why?
My favourite album at the moment is Good Morning Spider by Sparklehorse. It’s not fast paced or full of prodigal musicianship, but it is, in my opinion, one of the most honestly composed and cleverly produced albums of all time, especially since it was all done by one brilliant man. I don’t have a single favourite album or artist of all time, but Adrian Belew has always been special to me in a big way.
What are you working on at the moment?
As I’m writing this in January of 2014, I’m actually working on literally nothing and instead am taking the month off to enjoy being a human for a bit. I’ve got a full album ready to record in February that I demoed over Christmas break. Other than that, I’ve got some potential collaborations coming up that I’m looking forward to. I hope to get around to some more touring, more recording, more enjoying being a human.
2013 was a crazy year for music in general.. What was your favourite album of 2013 and why?
My favourite album of the year would have to be 184.108.40.206 from TTNG. The Collis brothers are obviously incredible at what they do and having Hank come in and bring his contributions for this album really made them an important band for me, not that I didn’t like them before. Another big reason is the production of the record; I feel that it was one of the only albums to come out this year that didn’t hide behind ‘washed-out’ production.
Also, what are you most looking forward to musically in 2014?
Continuing with where my answer ended, I’m hoping that more artists start to see production as a creative identity and experiment with new and more layered techniques rather than carrying on the apparent fad of throwing reverb and lo-fi compression on every track and calling it a day.
What do you find yourself getting up to when you’re not writing and recording music?
I really love driving around aimlessly for hours on end, but it’s hard to do here in Southern California where gas is so costly. My life outside of music is pretty low-key. I like the small simple things like sitting with the dogs or exploring Wikipedia using the random article feature.
What’s your favourite part of playing to a live audience? It looks like you’ve played a few house shows over the past few years!
I really only started playing what would be called ‘legitimate’ venues when the 2013 touring started and even then, a lot of the European shows were pretty rough. I played countless house parties, public parks, and café shows around where I grew up in Indiana before I got here. Performing my set live is always nice, it’s good to cut loose up there and hopefully the people enjoy it, but it’s really a nice enough experience for me to do it regardless of the feedback. I do heavily appreciate it though.
What advice do you have for up and coming musicians like yourself?
My only advice is to be wary whom you are getting advice from. Trust your instinct for the most part, I guess. There’s far too many mislead or malicious people out there and they’re far more likely to tell you what to do with your life than someone who’s busy actually getting work done and living a good life.
Being that we’ve just started out with 2014, did you have any resolutions that you plan to stick to for the year?
I’m trying to be on top of keeping a clear head, never turning down experiences that’ll lead towards growth, and learning to trust myself a bit more.
And finally.. What does music mean to you?
Music is an extremely aggravating, but rewarding form of self-expression that is helping me figure out who I am as a person and meet other people who share the same intense passion I found in myself.
First off, I’d like to personally thank Henry for being a part of taken by sound, and I wish him the best of luck in recording his follow up to Retcon which I’m sure will be monstorous! And as always I’d like to thank you the reader for sticking with me whilst I’ve been away! I’ve recieved a ton of emails and I’m gradually getting through all of the new stuff that’s been sent my way over the last 3 weeks! Also, all photo credits in this article go to Dan Finnegan who was with Henry whilst he was in Dublin, Ireland.
And as per usual, If you’ve got some great music that you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me by using the contact form at the top of the page, I’d love to hear from you! Well, that’s me done for another week! I’ll be back this time next week with an interview with a very talented artist that’s carving out her own path in electronic music.. Until then..
Best, Michael Dorian