Premiere & Track x Track: RHY - 'Calling Control' EP
With his charming new EP of beat driven indie pop out in a few days, Boorloo-based producer and songwriter RHY takes us through it track by track - take a first listen
Image credit: Pete The Photographer
Here to leave us with more questions than answers while reminding us to stop trying to control everything and just enjoy the beautiful chaos of life is RHY on his sophomore EP, Calling Control, out February 15 but premiering on Pilerats today!
Picking up where his 2022 DUMB FUNK EP left off, Calling Control sees RHY further build on his unique and engaging style, fusing hip hop and electronic production techniques with addictive indie pop songwriting and instrumentation, featuring recent single Thai Milk Tea as well as a feature from Pile fave Jewel Owusu on About You.
The EP’s title track comes with a fun and playful music video directed by local legend Cedric Tang (who has created videos for the likes of Spacey Jane, PJ Morton and Tame Impala). Featuring a striking colour palette, the video for Calling Control sees RHY in a wide range of settings and scenarios from under a bridge at a river through to a house party, all the while completely oblivious to his surroundings as he’s absorbed by his phone.
Reflecting on this EP’s creation, RHY shares “Thematically this EP is a mixed bag of ideas - I simply wrote about the various things that had been on my mind - though as I pieced each of the tracks together I found a common thread in the way I approached each topic. As I enter my mid-20’s and time begins to speed up I’m realising just how much is out of my control. There are circumstances, events, things about myself or others even, that I can’t or downright shouldn’t change. Musically these tracks were born of my chaotic studio experiments and developed with a fun assortment of alt-pop and indie-rock stylings.”
Calling Control is the latest feather in RHY’s musical cap, having previously been handpicked by The Jungle Giants as a victor of Smirnoff's Ads for Artists competition, dropping a single on the iconic French-Japanese label Kitsuné Musique (Bloc Party, Cut Copy, Parcels, Two Door Cinema Club et al.), getting triple j and community radio love around the country and being added to a myriad of playlists, including Martin Garrix's Martin Garrix Radio.
Premiering on Pilerats a few days ahead of release, RHY was kind enough to take us through his new record track by track - have a listen and get to know, and see below for all of RHY's upcoming W.A. shows:
Hey! Thanks so much for checking out my new EP! These 5 tracks were written over the period of a year, recorded and produced at home then mastered by James Newhouse. I had heaps of fun creating each song and am super keen to share a bit more about the process.
I remember playing around with this riff in my studio when all of a sudden I found myself standing in my kitchen doom-scrolling through instagram, then looking up and thinking ‘I don’t know how I got here’. That became the opening line, with the rest of the song playing out this constant, conscious battle I have trying to resist my phone when there’s stuff to do. Phones are great but also really suck. This song also features band/housemate Will Lintott on guitar, who laid down these strange, dissonant guitar licks in the final section that I think are extremely hip.
Thai Milk Tea
Maybe the only song I’ve ever written that had a chorus before any music was written. Something about ‘Sweet like a Thai Milk Tea’ just rolled off the tongue in a really fun way. I wanted to capture the feeling of a fresh relationship during the phase of dating where everything is new and exciting, like a sweet drink that you can’t put down. Of course I still feel the same way about my now-wife, but it’s always fun to reminisce on those early months.
This was for sure the most fun to make, experimenting with various percussion, flute, recorder, shouting and banging on things. It’s also me and the band’s new favourite song to play live. Despite the title Socialite is actually supposed to be an introvert’s anthem as the lyrics express the frustration and helplessness of withdrawing socially on a night out. Also the random sample in the middle is from a drunken vid of our drummer on a night out, which has now made its way into the vocabulary of our friend circle.
About You (ft. Jewel Owusu)
This collab came about after Jewel posted to her story something to the effect of ‘anyone wanna make an indie-pop song?’ and obviously I replied. Jewel liked the first beat I made, sending me back a full verse and chorus with the bittersweet theme of reminiscing on a past relationship, then I wrote and sung the second verse and bridge. The instrumentation leans pretty hard into the happy summer vibes which I think contrasts the lyrics in a cool way. The song to me has a nostalgic feel, like missing summer during winter. The wacky Will Lintott guitar solo in the outro was supposed to be a total piss-take but I got attached to its weirdness and kept it in there.
Before dating my now-wife and even during the early stages of our relationship I had this subconscious, preconceived idea that we had to be boringly similar for our relationship to work, and it was easy for our differences to cloud my judgement. With time I realised that those differences are actually what I loved and our relationship is all the better for the learning, adapting and sacrificing that came with embracing it. I got quite into highlife music for a minute which I think seeps into the production of this one. Musically it was really refreshing to create as it’s quite different to the other songs I’ve made, but I think it sits nicely as a conclusion to the EP. Todd Pegrum contributed his incredible feel to the majority of the guitar parts in this one.
- Rhyan Lyndon-James, February 2024