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.
Starley’s path to platinum status has been filled with starts and stops. After years spent trying to launch her career in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, and later in London and the United States, the popstar hopeful grew depressed. Her anxieties heightened. She was ready to quit. But before she decided to shift her focus onto her next passion – fitness – she made one final attempt at music. Telling herself that God works in mysterious ways but to remain faithful in his process, Starley penned the personal salve, “Call on Me”. The song caught the attention of Australia’s Central Station Records. Since then, everything changed for Starley. Central Station’s subsidiary, Tinted Records, released “Call on Me” as her debut single last July. Epic Records re-released the track later in October. To date, the song has peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its remixed version by Aussie producer Ryan Riback has garnered over 338 million Spotify streams. Starley is currently touring North America for the first time supporting British electronic group Clean Bandit. Georgie got some time with the budding singer to talk about her mainstream ascent, dealing with mental health, and the importance of fitness
Jacob Sartorius’s path to fame has become an increasingly familiar story: teenaged internet sensation breaks out into mainstream pop stardom. But what sets the 14-year-old Virginian singer apart is his self-awareness and early career savvy. In 2014, Sartorius began uploading clips of himself singing and dancing to Vine. After amassing around 500,000 followers, he switched to musical.ly, where he began uploading videos of himself lip-synching to his own songs. Whereas Vine allowed him to show off his musical theatre background, musical.ly allowed him to show off even more of his lighthearted side. Musical.ly became a new way for him to promote his music and connect with his fans. Sartorius’s fan base has grown so large that he is currently touring internationally for the first time, across seven countries, in support of his debut EP, The Last Text. Georgie caught up with him by phone in London, England a day before he performed in front of 2,500 fans at the O2 Arena. In preparing for The Last Text World Tour, Sartorius has already started developing the work ethic necessary to endure major pop stardom. For 15 to 20 days leading up to the tour, he worked with his voice and movement coaches for up to ten
Every so often, an artist bursts onto the scene, seemingly out of nowhere, with a song so catchy that it dominates the charts for weeks on end. Before too long, that song will have muscled its way onto playlists at every party, wedding and club dance floor – and, love it or hate it, there will be no denying its success (or the fact that you and everyone you know can sing along, word for word). But the pop music world moves fast, and it can be a fickle friend to many musicians on the rise. To make it big, an artist not only has to navigate the onslaught of social media commentary, relentless publicity engagements and repeat performances of that hit song, but also must provide proof of staying power to the critics and sceptics wagering on short-lived success. Enter Meghan Trainor, who doo-wopped her way to pop superstardom with her 2014 track, “All About That Bass”. As an accomplished 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Nantucket, Trainor was no stranger to creating smash hits for others, like Rascal Flatts and Sabrina Carpenter. But when “Bass” failed to be picked up by any of the labels, record executive L.A. Reid named Trainor