Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch first met in the 11th grade, when they started performing together in a jazz quartet known as the Flown Tones. Although the band later disbanded, Rehbein and Dausch stuck together, and the pair went on to experiment with folk, reggae and electronica sound combinations. Eventually, this led to the formation of Milky Chance and the 2014 release of their debut album, Sadnessecary, which later went on to become a multi-platinum success.
Now, three and a half years later, Milky Chance is ready to embark on a new adventure with the release of Blossom. The album’s first single, “Cocoon”, continues to climb the charts as the Blossom Tour makes its way across North America.
Lead vocalist Rehbein spoke to Georgie about touring, writing and how being close friends with Dausch has benefited the band.
G—It’s been about 3 ½ years since the release of Sadnecessary. How has your approach changed between your first and second albums?
Clemens Rehbein—I wouldn’t say it’s changed in the way I write songs, but rather how we’ve developed as musicians. The songs are made of the same foundation, but they’re influenced by our experiences on the road and playing on stage.
G—Was it those experiences that inspired you when writing Blossom?
CR—All the songs are about things we’ve experienced these last few years. Life in general gives you so much to think about and take in—from the very particular and unusual, to normal stuff that happens every day. It’s about being in the moment…like taking a walk in a city you’ve never been to before and looking at the scenery around you. Something as simple as that can lead you to write a great song.
G—What helped you set the tone for this album?
CR—We knew being in our comfort zone was important to us, which is why we came back home to start recording the songs for the album. It was just the two of us in this small, intimate environment we were familiar with. We were in completely in our element.
G—What do you think you write about the most in your songs?
CR—It depends on the song. There’s a lot of songs about self-discovery and self-reflection—connecting to your inner voice and emotions—the deep stuff from within. But there are other songs that were written for people who are really important to me, where I’m speaking to them through the lyrics.
G—How much is the writing and producing a collective effort, and how much of it is each of you on your own?
CR—I do the songwriting, and Philipp and I produce together. When I finish the songs, we’ll meet in the studio and start working on them together. From there, it’s just a ping pong of ideas between us. That’s how we’ve always worked, and probably always will. It’s just easy for us that way.
Our friendship definitely gives us a strong foundation. Philipp and I are on the same frequency in everything we do. Musically, we have the same ear and sensibility to music.
G—Aside from being good friends, what do you think makes you two a good fit?
CR—Our friendship definitely gives us a strong foundation. Philipp and I are on the same frequency in everything we do. Musically, we have the same ear and sensibility to music. And as performers, we really help each other out. We’re just in sync a lot.
G—Has having the addition of Antonio changed the way you perform?
CR—Antonio is a good friend of ours and a great musician, so he was a perfect fit for us. He first joined us in 2015 as a guest musician, playing harmonica. He can play a lot of different instruments though, so we added him on stage so we could perform the way we always envisioned. This year, we added a drummer for that same reason. We wanted there to be instruments and not computers. Now we feel like a live band.
G—You’ve said you weren’t expecting much from the release of your very first single, “Stolen Dance”, and it went on to reach the top of numerous charts worldwide. Do you have a different outlook this time around?
CR—I think it’s a different situation. It’s been a few years now, and we didn’t want to repeat ourselves, musically. Like any success, it’s always a guessing game. So, we don’t worry about it. We just focus on creating music we love. And if people happen to be paying attention to it, that’s great. But it isn’t our priority.
G—You are currently making your way through the Blossom world tour. How have audiences been reacting to the new songs?
CR—So far, our European and North American audiences are responding well. They’re singing along and really celebrating the music. It makes us happy to see people liking what we’re doing and wanting to come to our shows.
G—Which songs from the new album are you most excited to perform live?
CR—”Alive” is a good one. It has a special cover and production to it. We really like performing that one live. “Ego”, “Doing Good”, “Firebird”, “Peripetia”…[laughs]…honestly, we’re really having fun with all of the new stuff.
G—What can fans expect from the Blossom Tour?
CR—Four guys on stage playing handmade electronic music. We’re more dynamic. There’s some nice harmonica solos, but at the same time, we’re danceable. It’s really about sharing our music with people, which we really enjoy doing.
Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad
Since his 2005 breakthrough, Breaking Kayfabe, Cadence Weapon has been an artist to watch. The two-time Polaris Music Prize nominee, writer, producer and rapper is known for his innovative musical style and has made waves worldwide. Following a five year hiatus – which included a move from Montreal to Toronto and a stint as Edmonton’s poet laureate – Cadence Weapon returns with a new self-titled album. Cadence Weapon is armed with furious flows, big collaborations and themes that include dance-party politics and dystopian futures. For his latest effort, the rapper is noticeably more focused and is reintroducing himself in a big way. Georgie caught up with Cadence Weapon to talk about the new album, his musical journey, and the L-word: legacy. G—Your new self-titled album is being called a “reintroduction to Cadence Weapon.” What does that mean? Cadence Weapon—I feel like I’ve matured a lot more and the music really reflects that. There is a reason why this album is self-titled. It feels like a rebirth for me; it feels like my first album in a lot of ways. I feel like the creative process for this album is what I’ve always wanted to do in my career. I was
Using his life experiences growing up in downtown Toronto as a source of inspiration, Langston Francis is on his grind as a young artist discovering himself and the world of music around him. We caught up with Francis on the heels of his debut single release to talk about his foray into music, early influences and his direction as an artist. G—You are still in high school. Do you find it hard to juggle your new music career with school? Langston Francis—It’s challenging. For example, I had two exams in one day, then a show at night and I was feeling under the weather. I have school every day, so it definitely gets hard to juggle things sometimes, but it’s sort of something I just have to take in stride. I’m just so grateful for all the opportunities I have. G—Can you tell us a little about your first single, “FCKD IT UP”? LF—I wrote the song and beat when I was 14. At the time, the song had a certain meaning to me. We ended up finishing the song about 12 months later, after that it took on a whole new meaning. As I grow up and change