"We have written a lot of music because we had a lot of time, so we want to release new music this year for sure. We made so much music that we want to make an album..."
Milky Chance consists of Philipp Dausch and Clemens Rehbein, the duo come from a town in Germany called Kassel. The two met on the very first day of high-school way back in 2009, and instantly found their musical connection when they hung out after school and started jamming. What started as a bit of fun and passion, soon lead the duo to global success. They released their first single, Stolen Dance, which put Milky Chance right into the spotlight. Their song was playing everywhere, and their name was quickly becoming a household name all across the world.
While they did not grow up in musical households, their parents still gave them endless amounts of support. “Both of our parents listened to music, but they weren't musicians or anything.” they tell me. Phillip’s father is a gardener, and his mother is a software engineer. Clemens’ family is more on the medical side of things, is father is a doctor and his mother is a teacher for nurses. "There was still a lot of music around though, from LPs to going to concerts, even their support helped us really get into music.” Their parents both gave them space to create, their houses would open up and turn into their go-to spots for rehearsals. “Our parents gave us a lot of space and supported the music, they never questioned it too much, just watching us. In high school we had a five-piece band together. We were rehearsing at my parents' house, and they gave us a room so we set it up like our little studio, and we were rehearsing every Sunday.” Clemens tells me.
The band have come a long way since their debut chart-topping single ‘Stolen Dance’, and their classic first album ‘Sad Necessary’. Now with three critically acclaimed albums under their name, the diverse duo have made their return with their latest single, Colorado – and after the ever so strange year that 2020 was, the duo has had time to put their penmanship to paper, and there is plenty of new music to come.
How did you two first meet?
We started hanging out together from the first day of high-school in 2009. It was us two and another friend, and we were just hanging out after school playing music together - that’s how we got to know each other.
Do you remember the first time you both felt chemistry when making music together?
It was probably back when we met, probably on the first day of school when we didn’t know each other at all. We went to my place, and I think we played for a couple of hours. It felt really good, we understood each other instantly. I think it can be the same in a conversation with words, but I feel like in music its quite quick that you can feel whether it flows or if it doesn’t. So yeah, from the very first day onwards pretty much, we felt the flow straight away.
You have finally started playing shows again, how does that feel?
It feels so nice, very nice! It started three weeks ago, we played three festivals and next weekend will be the last run of shows in Germany. It was really nice; it is so much fun and just good to be back on stage again playing for actual people. The first time we played I was like “Oh! That’s how it feels to play... We remember again!”
"I think musically we have just evolved as writers, songwriters and producers. The music just became more diverse. The whole first album is a very special album, it's very raw and simple. But since then, I think we write songs differently - we try a lot of different things so the world of our music is more colourful."
Where do you often start when making a new song?
Where do we start...? Uhhh with the fifth chord on the fourth fret... I’m kidding, it is different every time depending on the day and where we are. If we are in the studio just jamming out with two guitars or a bass and a guitar or whatever it is, someone will find a nice riff or some nice chords, and then that turns into a rhythm. If we talk about our new song Colorado, we were just jamming in the studio with two other guys having a session, and we decided to make something new. Phillip was jamming on the guitar, and found the main riff in a few minutes. I started mumbling some lyrics, and the Colorado word really stuck out, it sounded cool, it’s a nice sounding word. We got the first line, ‘I get high like Colorado” and we thought that was funny. It happened pretty quickly, sometimes people already have progressions or riffs or melodies in their head, and you just go from there – and eventually you get a song!
Tell me more about ‘Colorado’.
When we were working on that song, we were thinking further about it - we were thinking about how it could make sense and become a story. The story behind it is when it's all getting too much, whether you're in the middle of a break up, or are heartbroken by something... it doesn’t necessarily even have to be a relationship song, it's about being overwhelmed by all the emotion in everything that’s going on in life right now, and taking a step back from all that and have a good time.
How have you evolved between Colorado, and your very first album?
I think musically we have just evolved as writers, songwriters and producers. The music just became more diverse. The whole first album is a very special album, it's very raw and simple. If you look at it as a whole album it probably isn't very diverse, it lives in its own world which makes it very special. But since then, I think we write songs differently - we try a lot of different things so the world of our music is more colourful. The sound is different, we first sounded very DIY... a lot of our music now is still very DIY, but we have learned a lot and became more professional – so it might not sound DIY. One of the biggest differences would be back then, we had an idea and would be trying out so many different things and hearing how it sounded. Whereas now, we can have a vison of a sound and we know how to get there technically, we know what to do to get the sounds that we want, we are able to work more precisely.
What’s next musically for Milky Chance?
We have written a lot of music because we had a lot of time, so we want to release new music this year for sure. We made so much music that we want to make an album, which will be in line for next year. Once the world starts to normalise again, we will be out there playing shows!
New Zealand has a special relationship with you guys – why do you think that is?
That is so cool, I remember in the beginning New Zealand and Australia always showed us love. I think because they both are a big spot for backpackers and tourists – even a few weeks ago I met someone here in Berlin randomly on the streets, and it has happened a lot over the years - there are so many people from Europe telling us that they took a trip to New Zealand and our first album ‘Sad Necessary’ was their album for the whole trip, all the backpackers were listening to it. I feel like there was a backpacker invasion that brought our music to you! We also think that we just nailed the vibe of ‘Sad Necessary’ that is specifically fit for the New Zealand and Australian vibe, really easy, smooth and relaxed. It is very free spirited, and it fits well to travelling and holidays and sunshine. It also has its depth to it; they both just go together so easily. There are some great folks over in New Zealand!
Listen to Milky Chance's latest single 'Colorado' on Spotify below:
Milky Chance is Tenner Magazine's first digital cover
Words by Oli Spencer
Photography by Oli Spencer, shot over FaceTime