INTERVIEW: Milky Chance Talk Upcoming Album and Interactive Documentary
    • WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2017

    • Posted by: Mandi Dudek

    In less than three years, Milky Chance have become a multi-platinum success after releasing their debut album, Sadnecessary, in 2014. The electro-folk duo - made up of singer-songwriter Clemens Rehbein and producer Phillip Dausch - come from a small village in Germany but within months of releasing their debut album, they were topping charts in several countries around the globe.

    And their success is for a good reason, too. Milky Chance sets a foundation of electronic and house vibes that bring influences from reggae and R&B with some haunting electropop vibes. Clemens Rehbein brings in the lyricism and raspy crooning vocals that you hear in folk music. With such a unique sound, it's no wonder why their songs have millions of streams.

    They're gearing up to release their sophomore album, Blossom, (out March 17th) and they've already released three singles, "Cocoon," "Doing Good," and "Ego." I was able to chat with Clemens Rehbein on the phone while the duo was rehearsing in Kassel, Germany to talk about the upcoming album, tour, and their interactive documentary.

    MANDI DUDEK: It must be nice to perform in your home country. Do you guys play over there a lot?

    CLEMENS REHBEIN: It's great. The last few years, we didn't play a lot in Germany. So it's nice to play with a German audience. But, I mean, [laughs] it's also nice to play for other audiences as well. It's always cool to play for the people at home.

    MD: Do you think the audience is more hyped up for you at home versus America?

    CR: I don't think so. Maybe a little bit. It's also based on where they're coming from. But, more like the mood and the venue - if it's more of a club - but it's also about the origin of the people.

    MD: Awesome. I wanted to ask you - I noticed the "Doing Good" video was filmed in San Francisco, why did you choose that city? I'm excited to ask because I'm from there!

    CR: Well, it's a really great city! [laughs] We just really enjoyed playing there for the past few years. We've been to San Francisco a couple of times and it's always been really good. The west coast and the east coast are very supportive and there are a lot of people who just like our music so we always enjoy coming over there.

    MD: I love how in the video is filmed all around the city from Golden Gate Park to Broadway. That made me extremely happy but also extremely miss home.

    CR: Yeah, it's pretty rad. [laughs]

    MD: You must be excited for your tour that's coming up!

    CR: Oh yeah, we're super excited! Right now, it's just like hard work, you know? Now we're in the last steps so we just need to get ready. Next week, we have a show in London, which starts our five months of touring.

    MD: How do you think you stay sane while touring?

    CR: Well, we go outside. Take walks. One thing we did a lot last year when we were touring in America - one special thing about America [laughs] - was there are a lot at basketball courts. That was really cool. Every city we visited you could find a court to play basketball. It was really nice to just calm down, you know, and not think about anything else.

    M: That's awesome. What about before going on stage? Do you have any routines?

    CR: We do warm-up and then we just hug each other. [laughs] You know? We get close and, yeah, that's about it.

    [both laughs]

    MD: Aw! That's so great. Where did the name Blossom come from for your record?

    CR: It was last year while on tour in America. I don't remember where we were exactly but we had just played at a festival and we were hanging out backstage, thinking about the upcoming album. And we first came up with the idea because the song was already done called "Blossom" and we were just talking about all the things that happened to us in the last two years - music wise - but also in our private lives. There were a lot of things blossoming, kind of, and it felt perfect.

    Milky Chance Album Artwork

    MD: Do you think all the songs create a theme of something blossoming or are they pretty much independent tracks?

    CR: It depends on the perception. There's a lot of songs when you focus on the lyrics, you might not think of something blossoming or something positive. It's also a lot of deeper problems or issues. I think all-in-all, there's always a certain hope in there - like, something blossoming. [laugh]

    M: I can see that! That totally makes sense. Can you tell be about the album artwork a little bit?

    CR: With this new album, we thought maybe we should just do blossoms or flowers but that was too easy for us. We were picturing it but not in an obvious way. One friend of ours showed us microscopic photographs of [chemical] change and, uh, I don't know how to say it in English...

    [ both laughs]

    CR: But the interrelating of the globe that you see on the album cover just reminded us of a blossom or something blossoming.

    MD: Oh, I get it. I like that! So you released "Cocoon" recently and it did so well very quickly. It must be surreal being such a successful international duo. But there are three of you on stage? Or am I wrong?

    CR: Well, this year we actually have four on stage. We were three people on the stage for the last two years but we added one more. So this year we are a four-piece band. Working on the album, it was just us two. But working on stage with a more electronic style, we need more people on stage with more instruments.

    MD" Whats the biggest difference now with more instruments on stage?

    CR: One thing we always wanted to do on this album was to record everything ourselves. All the sounds and drums. We wanted to add a mixture of electronic and recorded with live instruments. One big change in the way we were working on songs was recording them with lots of different instruments all around. Working on that and not having to sample things anymore, you know? I think you can hear the songs become more organic.

    MD: I definitely can hear that when I listened to parts of the album. So, what was the writing process like? Where were you when you wrote the lyrics and how did it differ from your debut album?

    CR: Actually, it was pretty much the same process. I always write songs constantly - whether I'm back home and have nothing to do or whether I'm on tour through the night. It can happen everywhere. Some of the songs came into existence last year while being on tour. There was a jam session, kind of spontaneously, and out of that, two songs were written up. Different ways of how these songs came together.

    MD: So the Blossomentary that's on your website, which allows fans to have an interactive experience, where'd that idea come from?

    CR: Ah, the Blossomentary. I don't know who came up with it first but it was just the idea of making it more interesting for the people who are interested in us and the music we do. We just wanted to have this interactive world and interactive videos where if you really wanted to check it out the session or really go into, you can do it but you have to. That was kind of the idea behind that documentary.

    MD: I love it. I think it's such a rad concept. I just watched the second episode where you had photos spread out on the coffee table. Where was that one filmed?

    CR: That was in the studio where we recorded the album.

    MD: And that's in Germany?

    CR: Yeah, it's actually about 40 minutes away from our hometown in a small village.

    MD: And is that where you also recorded the first album?

    CR: No, the first album was recorded at my parent's house. It's also one thing that changed was we felt like we need a space to record the second album because we wanted to record more instruments, but we didn't feel like we had a lot of opportunities back home. So we moved to a bigger professional studio to make the live album.

    MD: I'm curious - who are you listening to these days?

    CR: There's this African rapper called Sampa The Great. Both of us were blown away and it's really, really cool stuff.

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