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.
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and