In Conversation | Mylets on ‘Arizona’, Stanley Kubrick, kittens and The Twilight Zone
If you’ve yet to get acquainted with Mylets, a one-man wrecking crew with a taste for multi-layered musical structures and a keen sonic edge, sort that out quick smart.
At just 20 years young, Henry Kohen has dropped out of college, crashed on the floor of his record label – the good people at Sargent House – and released not one but two records, the second of which, Arizona, sees him significantly raise his game. Currently on tour with label-mates And So I Watch You From Afar, Kohen took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions…
Hi Henry. I just saw on Twitter that some guy smashed your car window. Did you catch him yet?
No, I replaced the window, but the spineless person who did it goes unpunished.
You’ve also been hanging out with some newborn kittens…
Yeah, I was their dad for the first five days and then left for a six week tour like any responsible 20-year-old parent.
Congratulations on Arizona. There’s a lot going on across those 28 minutes…
Thank you very much. Speak less and say more, I like to think.
Speaking of, your recent Audiotree session often resembled a gym session. You make it look easy but have you had any notable onstage disasters, technical or otherwise?
Yeah, every show (including the Audiotree session) has mistakes. I have to accept that as part of the show.
What have you learned between Retcon and Arizona? Has anything significant changed?
Well there were four years between the two and I don’t particularly relate to the person who wrote the songs on Retcon at all.
The production is really impressive, particularly on the guitar sections.
Thank you. That was a collaborative effort between myself and Sonny Diperri, though I’d say he had infinitely more of a hand in how excellent it turned out.
‘Trembling Hands’ has garnered a lot of comparisons to Trent Reznor. Does this please you?
Definitely. I’m a massive fan of his body of work.
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Do you read reviews of your own work, generally?
No, I read one and it was very nice, but it reminded me that this album isn’t mine anymore so I decided not to read reviews anymore.
You’ve said previously that “Mylets came to be through a mental need to write and perform music in order to function as a person“. Where do you feel you’re at with that now?
I’m still in that frame of mind. There’s a Twilight Zone episode called ‘A Passage for Trumpet’ where Jack Klugman’s character says it better than I ever could.
Sargent House seems like a pretty cool label to be involved with.
Yes, it’s the best. I don’t know that I could ever trust any other group of people like I trust my friends and family at Sargent House.
You’ve said before that you may one day pass the Mylets moniker onto someone else. Is that still the plan?
Yeah, I’d like to do something like Batman where I can bring in my own Jason Todd, Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, Barbara Gordon, Terry McGinnis etc. in on the Mylets family without giving up the title myself.
You hail from Indiana. Can you sum up Governor Mike Pence in one sentence?
He’s just the current idiotic face of a much bigger problem stemming from that area of the country.
You’re a noted Stanley Kubrick fan. Would you agree that Eyes Wide Shut gets too much hate? I mean, it’s kind of brilliant, no?
Yeah, Eyes Wide Shut is in my top three of Kubrick’s. It’s incredible and I wish Stanley had gotten to see it fully through to release.
A friend maintains, quite vehemently, that Tom Cruise is wildly miscast in it. Can you tell my friend he’s full of shit?
Both Cruise and Kidman are THE perfect actors for that movie. It couldn’t have been made with anyone else. People who claim they’re not right for the roles are missing the entire point of what that movie is about.
What recent films have caught your eye?
I watched Whiplash and Foxcatcher on the plane ride over to Europe, both were incredible. Snowpiercer was also extremely well done, I love Bong Joon-Ho and it felt a lot like a slightly more in focus Terry Gilliam film.
You tweeted out of a photo of John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank recently. Fuckin’ great movie, right?
It really is. Minnie Driver circa 1997 and a stabbing scene soundtracked by 99 Luftballoons.
Is soundtrack work something that you’d consider moving towards in the future?
I would absolutely love to. At the moment, I’m mainly listening to only soundtracks and ambient projects. I think it requires a completely different talent to be able to tackle soundtracks.
What’s the worst gig you’ve ever been to?
Probably one of my own, but I wouldn’t be able to remember it.
Please name one album literally everybody in the entire world should own.
Achtung Baby by U2 has been and will always be incredibly important to me and I would recommend it to any music fan.
Thanks for taking the time. Come back to Ireland soon, yeah?
And thanks to you as well. I hope to be back very soon, I love it there.
Arizona is out now on Sargent House