Rainy Milo's "Deal Me Briefly"

Exclusive: The alt-R&B singer plays card tricks in her new GIF video

17-year-old SE Londoner Rainy Milo has an air of prudence way beyond her years. She’s an effervescent bubble-bath of character and modesty and creates a sound indefinable by one genre – it’s a medley of trip hop and new-wave R&B. Today Dazed brings you a video exclusive for her latest track “Deal Me Briefly”, where she ditches the highly-polished pop-vid formula and brings some rawness: stripped-back, GIF-inspired and homemade, all whilst playing cards.

Dazed Digital: How did you first get into music?

Rainy Milo: Just literally through writing songs on a keyboard I had in my loft, I couldn’t even play the piano, I was just like key bashing. I was always just writing songs as a kid it was self-healing really, so maybe if someone had upset me or I was really happy, I’d just write it in a song, it’s totally an expressive process for me.

DD: Your Granddad was quite a big influence in those sorts of things for you?

Rainy Milo: Yeah, totally, he was a reggae DJ so when I went round my Grandmother’s house after church on a Sunday he’d always be playing music really loud, and he still does it! He’s like sixty-something and last year he was doing a nineteen year old girl’s birthday party, I was like ‘oh my goodness, I’m going to have to help you out with the playlist’.

DD: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

Rainy Milo: My music is so personal, I’d hate to get someone involved that really didn’t understand what I was trying to do. But I think maybe Kid Cudi, he’s really cool, I think we could do something interesting together.

DD: A lot of your music videos are inspired by .GIFs, what’s the reason behind it?

Rainy Milo: I’ve just come from being on Tumblr like 24/7, so I always saw that people had .GIFs of things that they thought were hilarious or really sad, so I just thought why couldn’t I make .GIFs with my music. I didn’t have a clue how to make them myself but luckily my boyfriend is really good at doing that cool stuff on the computer so we made them together and that was it, we had a lot of fun making them too. I’ve got into making actual music videos recently but then of course, on my new track we made another .GIF video because we just enjoyed making them and so many people liked them.

DD: Why choose a pack of playing cards for the video? 

Rainy Milo: I just felt it was a cool match considering the track is called "Deal Me Briefly", and in card games a card gets dealt. I wanted a little lyrical and visual link.

DD: How do you like to write songs?

Rainy Milo: I live in South-East London, and I travel into central to hang out with some friends on the weekend so I spend some time of a train, and when I’m on the train I come up with two lines of lyrics, I’ll put them into my phone quickly and then I’ll just chill for the rest of my journey. Then maybe a couple of weeks I’ll be looking for songs on the internet and then eventually I’d find something I liked, and I think of those two lyrics I wrote the other day that sort of match the mood of the music. So I pull out those two lyrics and carry on writing with the music this time – that’s how all of my tracks get written.

DD: Off the back of your debut track “Bout You” record labels flocked to sign you up, what made you turn down the earlier offers?

Rainy Milo: It was kind of crazy, because I didn’t even want to put it out, but my friends forced me. I had just got a Blackberry, so I’m sitting in class and my phone is pinging non-stop, I see it’s emails from A&Rs, I didn’t even know what an A&R was at the time, so I Googled it – cool, it was loads of people from labels.

hey this is what I’m going to create, if you’re about it then we can get together, if not then that's fine I’ll go somewhere else

I met a whole bunch of people and it got a little bit ridiculous at one point. I thought you know if I want to be an artist signed then I want to know I can be completely in control and be allowed to do whatever I want, and it would have been hard, because they would have got the basis of who I was as an artist off one track “Bout You’. I didn’t feel like they understood me. I thought let me go away, let me make a mixtape (Limey, 2012) and come back through the door saying ‘hey this is what I’m going to create, if you’re about it then we can get together, if not then that's fine I’ll go somewhere else’.

DD: You’re only seventeen now, what would you like to have achieved by the time you’re twenty?

Rainy Milo: I’d like to have an album out by that time, hopefully like a debut album out by then and then be working on some other new music, and hopefully like to be an artist that people can acknowledge as somebody who has their own sound – my own stamp, my own trademark.

DD: Any eighteenth birthday party plans?

Rainy Milo: I didn’t get a sweet sixteenth so I’d love to have a party on my eighteenth, but I only have like eight friends… hopefully I’ll meet lots of people in between now and then and I’ll have a massive party!

Rainy Milo's Black & Blonde EP is out now on Universal Records.