By Pat Gunther
With a new album that dropped on Sept. 23rd solidifying his reputation as a bonafide MC and one-of-a-kind artist, Milo has been thrust into the driver’s seat of the left-field LA rap scene alongside his Hellfyre Club counterparts. The prodigious philosophical and introspective rapper also known as Rory Ferreira has graced Bandcamp with a number of impressive and unique releases since his critically acclaimed I Wish My Brother Rob Was Here in 2011. So, in an attempt to catch a quick glimpse of the process of making his newest record, A Toothpaste Suburb, I caught up with Rory to break down the LP track-by-track.
1. Salladhor Saan, Smuggler
Milo: “I had just gotten off tour with the other dudes in HC, and we’d been playing my album throughout and it didn’t have a good starting track. My music has been evolving a lot especially with all these social justice problems going on, and so that first song ends with this co-opting of we will not tolerate fear, by freestyle fellowship. These things such as Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, the names go on. We won’t tolerate this stuff from a music perspective, from an art rap perspective.”
2. Yafet’s Song
M: ”Yafet was a kid I went to kindergarten with in Chicago. I never knew him outside of kindergarten, but I still just sort of reflect on him as a best friend. It’s just my take on that.”
3. Peanut Butter Sandwiches
M: ”This was kinda like the title track on the album, it’s sorta like the mission statement. Given all this abundance, why do things still kinda suck? Is there sincerity in music? That’s just what that means.”
4. Sanssouci Palace
M: “Ok so, in Haiti they had a corrupt king who took all this money and he built himself all these palaces, and this was one of these palaces, it means care free. And that’s where they killed him. It’s like being in your room and contemplating your own demise.”
5. In Gaol (feat. Kool AD)
M: “This song is just like, how is it that you are you? Like it all happened before you could remember, which is such a curious phrase. But I feel like that’s kinda how we experience ourselves. Then Kool AD came through and gave it this fly self-leering capacity, which is good cause
6. Thatness and Whatness
M: This is a poem that I wrote for my ex-girlfriend. A lot of this record, I dropped outta College and my girlfriend and I moved to Chicago together and then I moved out to LA and we broke up. A lot of this record is about
7. Fragrant Pee Farts (feat. Scallops Hotel)
M: Scallops Hotel is for whenever I can write a song that’s just the most honest me. Basically when you finally have that moment of refuge taking a pee and that little fart comes out.
8. Ought Implies Can and I Cannot
M: Yeah, ok. So ought implies can is a philosophical principle from Hume. And David Hume basically proposes the problem ethical theories, what you ought to do as if you could’ve done that. Your ought commands are fucking stupid because you give me ought commands that I’d do if I could do it.
9. You Are Go(o)d to Me
M: That was for my girl man. Its about wanting to be used by someone in a bad way. When someone loves you enough to lie about themselves it’s just kinda moving.
10. Objectifying Rabbits (feat. Open Mike Eagle)
M: I was on tour with Mike and we had two days off in Chicago. We were having a really good time, his old friends and my old friends, and I had beats and just started writing that one for my girl right on the spot. I’ve never heard of anybody doing that, just so blatant. What’s up! And then I played it for Mike and he loved it man, and he kinda had this flow that he’d wanted to try out that didn’t fit on any songs, and I loved that. This song is a gift. You make a pretty thing for someone that you’ve been ugly to.
11. Argyle Sox (Hellfyre 5ever) (feat. Busdriver)
M: This song to me is just how we do business, y’know. I felt like it is me at top form, it’s clever a little braggadocio, its informed and its also a mission statement about who Hellfyre is. The way Regan took on that hook was so incredible. It’s sort of self-parodying.
12. Buck 65’s Knee
M: This came about because I really wanted Buck 65 on my album, mostly because I didn’t think anybody thought it could happen. I didn’t want to do a normal collab because he’s a legend and I wanted to make art. So I was like, what if I gave you your own track, like your own interlude. The centerpiece was the song for Rob and I told him I’d love to put your bit before the reprise so he just came with it and knocked it the fuck out of the park.
13. Just Us (A Reprise for Robert Who Will Never Be Forgotten)
M: The album started with this song. This is the engine, the heart, and the nucleus of this whole record. I knew that I had a lot more fans now then when I started. The first tape was about my buddy Rob who drowned when we were 19. It’s like the impetus of why I rap and most importantly to make sure people don’t forget my buddy Rob. So, I thought of this reprise. I just wrote to these beats in my dorm and I’ve just had that for so long, it’s just like sometimes I forget about it.
14. A Day Trip to the Nightosphere (feat. Anderson Paak)
M: I wrote all the lyrics on that, and there are actually a few editions where I sing the hook, but I just didn’t like how my voice sounded. I’m lucky enough that I’m in a crew with one of the flyest singers out right now, Anderson Paak. He heard it and was like ‘dude ill sing this hook for you’ and it kinda reinvigorated me and I wrote this very long verse. It’s like some Isaac Brock shit. It’s about feeling uncool and having that shit leak into your nightmares.
15. MAY THE DAYS BE AIMLESS (Sorcery) (feat. WC TANK)
M: Ok so WC TANK is my homie from Milwaukee. We took him on tour to do our live visuals, and he also raps. He’s a great rapper. This song is a thesis from White Noise, which is also in line with what my record is about. So I got the hook directly from white noise. That was like buried in this book in all these weird different sentences I found. I just do my thing and let it go, that’s what this song is.
16. Gaudeamus Igitue (for Kang Min-gyu)
M: This song is about, originally, the Latin title ‘therefore let us rejoice’. It’s about like despite all this it seems worth it to continue trying, and to be nice to people and to seem honest. It’s about duty, knowing when something is done. Kang Min-gyu was the principle in a school in Korea, and these 300 students died. SO the next day he went into the school and he hung himself. I read that in my room and cried, so I wanted to write something that countered that. Despite all the awful things going on, we should keep going and keep hoping. This ends on the lyric “who had the courage to keep on hoping’ I made sure that these were the last words on the album. The last song isn’t the answer, but it’s me saying that I’m still gonna keep trying.