Rhye enjoyed a brief moment of anonymity back in 2012 after the group’s “Open” and “The Fall” dropped online out of nowhere. Those sparse, yearning, R&B-leaning love songs with Sade-reminiscent vocals came with few details about the band members themselves, but by the year’s end, the jig was up: Rhye was identified as the L.A.-based, Toronto-bred singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Mike Milosh and Danish producer Robin Hannibal, also known as one half of Quadron. The duo put out its first LP, the understated though emotive Woman (Republic/Innovative Leisure/Loma Vista), in 2013 to much acclaim and hit the road soon after — only, Hannibal was absent.
“He doesn’t tour because he doesn’t play any instrument,” says Milosh, sitting in a hotel room in New York City a week before the release of Rhye’s latest album, Blood (out Feb. 2 on Lorna Vista Recordings). “He’s more like a computer-y kind of guy. So he was never a part of the live show.” According to Milosh, the road was not the only thing creating distance between himself and Hannibal: He suggests that contracts Hannibal signed as part of Quadron interfered with their collaboration. “He wasn’t even allowed to work with me,” Milosh says. “He made a couple choices that weren’t the best for him. He suffers from what I call self-destruction.” There were talks about bringing Hannibal back into the fold for the new record, but ultimately, Milosh went on without him. (Hannibal provided the following statement through his reps: "Mike and I formed Rhye together. We came up with the concept, the name, and the visuals and co-wrote all the music for our debut album, Woman, together in the spare bedroom of my Los Feliz apartment. At the time I had just been signed to Epic Records as a member of the duo Quadron and so was not legally able to sign to another major label, instead signing on as our project's producer with an equal share. I'm very proud of Woman - it will always hold a special place in my heart. I wasn't involved in the making of the second album, but I wish Mike the best of luck.")