“I didn’t quite realize that I had made an actual album.
“I didn’t quite realize that I had made an actual album. But the more that I listened to these songs consecutively the more I felt that a connective tissue was starting to form among the disparate pieces and eventually I came to a point where I couldn’t listen to one song without the others,” said Ryan Micklos about his most recent release, A Brighter Birth.
The 32 year-old, Richmond-based musician, despite stints in bands in Orlando and Brooklyn, recorded and produced his entire album from the comfort of his own home. It is centered around that concept and all of the nuances that come with recording from home.
“For me, the main goal was to create and perform everything myself, in my home. I really wanted to own every aspect of the music…Whether that be playing with mixing techniques, experimenting with repetition and various musical ideas, or just getting more familiar with instruments I don’t often play or write with,” said Micklos.
“I began to feel more like a scientist that was tinkering with what was at my disposal. I’m a firm believer in the thinking that you don’t need this grand arsenal of the latest and greatest gear to make rad art that you can enjoy.”
The musician’s new release has a certain intimacy because of it’s homemade feeling. It feels honest and real, both of which were intentional from the album’s inception. Micklos appreciates the aesthetics of raw-recording and minimal production. It’s a technique for him, a way to convey his art that is both interesting and original.
“I have really come to embrace ambient room noise and all of the sounds instruments make as part of the recording. It just feels real to me. And when it comes to hisses and hums, I find that aesthetic really exciting. It’s just another color on your palette that you can use,” said Micklos.
“I think there’s a time and place to try and get the most pristine recording possible and also a time to invite your surroundings and ambient by-products into the fold, to be apart of the auditory experience.”
Micklos’ desire to experiment was only part of the inspiration for the new album, A Brighter Birth. Like most artists, he was heavily influenced by his personal life. Inspired by the changes and creation going in his life, Micklos decided to sit down and capture moments from his life.
“This collection of music is about new change born out of past reflection. It was created with immediacy and each track is a snapshot of a single moment,” said Micklos.
“I’m not sure if it was because I was watching my wife create life right in front of me, but I felt an urgent need to create as well, as I watched her change into this beautiful mother figure. This amazing time has given rise to a new approach and process to making art.”
The changes in his life, and the desire to naturally capture those changes in a single moment, fueled the creative process. The musician found it liberating to let things be as they are. By allowing his art to manifest naturally, Micklos’ album maintains its honesty. Nothing about it is artificial.
“I would sit down with no previously organized idea and let a song come to life as I played and recorded. Each song on the album was created in this manner, one track per sitting,” said Micklos.
“I let it be what it would be, without trying to change it and force it into any certain direction. There is a freedom in this process, also a vulnerability that I felt. Kind of like, ‘Here it is. Take me for what I am. And I’m not afraid to be just that’.”
Micklos’ sound is one of a kind and born out of the fearlessness of being honest and vulnerable. He says that his music is made to. They were also made to be “mystical soundscapes where I, and the listener, can simultaneously escape and just deal with shit.” How will that translate when Micklos is put on a stage? The artist is looking forward to the opportunity that live shows will present to experiment with sound and work with other local artists.
“It may be something a bit different than how it lives now and that’s kind of exciting to me, that this music can almost have various personalities,” said Micklos.
“I’m not exactly sure what form the songs will take in a live setting. I may need to tap into the amazing musician pool here in Richmond to help really bring this to a live setting. I think there are a lot of options for how a show could transpire. Hopefully when these songs are played live the same sense of awe and magic can be conveyed.”