Interview: milo talks Hellfyre Club, philosophy, ‘a toothpaste suburb’ & more


I have interviewed Riley Lake and iglooghostbut I was first introduced to these two producers from their work with Rory Ferreira, better known as milo. milo has crawled through the internet and dropped gems collaborating with relationships he’s made along his journey. He began his career with I wish my brother Rob was here with borrowed beats from Madlib, Flying Lotus, and others, but he began to have his philosophical knowledge, non-sequiters and spoken word-inspired flow heard among many with the release of his Hellfyre Club debut double-EP things that happen at day/night (which I ranked it my number one project of 2013). After releasing three projects (one being two EP’s) in 2013, I look forward to hear what milo has been keeping in the vault that will make up his next project.

I got a chance to have a conversation with milo and ask him a few questions ranging from the origin of his name to toothpaste suburbs, in which his answers are more than an entertaining read. Check it out below.

When and why did you coin yourself with the name milo?


because my first rap name was “wise owl, himself”

i coined this when i was probably 16. maybe 17.

Did you release any music under your name “wise owl, himself”?

i don’t think i did. that was just what i called myself in the high school rap circles. i might have said it on record once, on the early Nom de Rap mixtape. it’s an atrocious name that needs to be co-opted or resurrected and subsequently redeemed. right now that name’s social standing is somewhere above posting a selfie with a cucumber in your butt on Facebook but lower than an ignored tweet to your favorite celebrity.

When I’m blogging your music, I’m always conflicted with whether I should choose to go lowercase or uppercase, but I follow your lead and go lowercase. What’s with the lack of capitalization?

there’s a tradition in black art, especially black writing and by extension black poetry of all lowercase formatting. that ties in with my conception of rap art which is fundamentally making rap song is about becoming bigger or smaller and i make music that’s about becoming smaller.

Before meeting the go-to producers you’ve made projects with and are making projects with, you borrowed a few beats from producers you enjoyed. Baths being one of them did not take too kindly to this with your Milo takes Baths project. Can you describe your relationship with Baths and Anticon?

i don’t have a relationship with them and i’m not looking for one. my commitments are to my family, my friends, my audience, and to making good art. their commitments are to something other, i’m guessing.

You’ve said it before and you work close by him, but Open Mike Eagle and Busdriver are big inspirations and influences on your music. How surreal was it to become apart of Hellfyre Club and was it as easy as just sending them some links to your music?

it was as easy as growing up young and brown and hating yourself for being so unlike everyone else around you. it was as easy as having people hurl glass bottles from speeding vehicles at me and screaming, “NIGGER!” at the top of their lungs. it was as easy as spending many 12 hour sessions playing Ultima Online in lieu of playing for a school sports team. it was as easy as choosing to jump into Franz Fanon and Kwame Appiah in college instead of Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. it was as easy as being born to high school dropouts. of course when you say “as easy as just sending them links” that simplifies the matter too much. the things i make communicate an experience and if you have had that experience the music will resonate, i think. because so many of my experiences have been theirs, it made sense they liked what i make. it’s an honor. it’s such a tremendous honor and sometimes i am smothered by the weight of it. i’m fucking paralyzed some days to have to send them drafts of songs or whatever because a lot of days i just don’t feel like i’m as good. i’m trying though. i’m trying very hard to keep up. 

It seems like being a part of Hellfyre Club creates a burden on yourself, but the battle through it is worth it. If you were not a member of Hellfyre Club, what would you be doing now?

uhm. it’s like Schopenhauer says, you forfeit 3/4ths of yourself to be like everyone else… but when you’re in a crew that’s like you… how much is being forfeited actually? how much is being condensed actually? i don’t know. if i wasn’t in Hellfyre Club i would still be in the Penobscot Expedition, i would still be rapping, i would have never gone to LA, i would be moving to Maine to play rhythm guitar in a folk band most likely.

Do you actually play guitar?

yes! i have a really shitty imitation of a telecaster and have been taking lessons for a bit. i’m actually in a band with some fellows… called REDWALL… but that’s a different matter entirely.

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