At Zürich Openair I also had the pleasure to have a chat with Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch, respectively singer and DJ of the German Duo Milky Chance. A band that I’ve been playing on repeat for basically the entire year. They talked to me about their album Sadnecessary, how they deal with their success and so on.
Thanks a lot to Milky Chance for their time and answers and thank you to Jennifer Ibanez from Musik Vertrieb for making this interview possible.
The Liberation: Your debut album Sadnecessary came out in October 2014 and it was recorded in a homemade studio. How did you do that? Was it easy for you?
- Philipp Dausch: Yeah, I mean, we always made music in his house because we had a band before and we practiced there. After school we made it a little home studio because some people went abroad so we had that room. We just started recording there for fun and that’s how we started recording the album, trying out… Just write simple, not a lot of equipment.
The Liberation: Wow ok! You are signed to Lichtdicht Records which is an independent German label. Is this your own label?
- Milky Chanche: Yeah.
The Liberation: Why did you decide to create it?
- Clemens Rehbein: I don’t know. At that time we wanted to try out something, we wanted to be independent yeah other than that we thought we’d gonna try to make our own label before jumping into big structures to learn. That was the reason probably.
The Liberation: Do you think you’ll keep on being signed to this label or you want to go to a major one?
- Philipp Dausch: Erm, I mean we kinda of work already with major labels cause our label is collaborating with major labels so it’s more of a structural question of how we’re gonna do it but we’re already working with major labels
The Liberation: Do you promote any new artists through your label?
- Philipp Dausch: Yeah, there are two more it’s Kafka Tamura and James Hersey.
The Liberation: Ok cool! I’m curious, where does the title “Sadnecessary” come from?
- Clemens Rehbein: One song is called like this so it was the word that fit perfectly to the whole album describing the mixture of feelings in the songs and the different moods so it’s just a mixture of a dance with the happy moves and the melancholic side as well lyric-wise. It’s just a good description for the songs.
The Liberation: So would you consider the album as happy or not?
- Clemens Rehbein: I don’t know it’s both, it’s balanced I guess.
The Liberation: Cause I feel like the sound is really happy but the lyrics sometimes are quite sad, it’s a bit mysterious but I think that’s what’s awesome about it.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah that’s it.
The Liberation: Before becoming Milky Chance you were playing in a jazz quartet. How did you choose to form another band with a completely different style?
- Clemens Rehbein: Well we had this band before and we both come from band instruments just the one you play in a band: we had a guitar, drums and bass. But at the same time I always did music on my own and that’s kind of where this music comes from and after finishing school we decided to co-work these songs together. But I think there are still a lot of different styles that we still like to play or discover.
The Liberation: Are you already thinking about a new album or new material?
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah, we’re doing new songwriting and we’ll record new stuff next year and want to release a second album.
The Liberation: Cool! And do you feel any pressure because Sadnecessary was so successful?
- Clemens Rehbein: Well I think there can be pressure but you just have to kind of push it away and kind of forget about all the things that we did in the last two years and stay focused on the music again and on ourselves I guess. It might be good to have the same feeling as we had at the beginning, so kinda that we’d never been successful so if you have this mindset you can focus on the music.
The Liberation. Yeah OK. So you’re both really young. How do you cope with success? Did it have an influence in your private lives?
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah some points
- Philipp Dausch: Yeah in some points definitely. I mean success is something definitely life changing. It’s just an experience everybody makes once in a while. You just have to learn to handle things and like find yourself balanced in it though. So yeah I think it was a great lesson for us as very young people. So we can be happy that we got the chance to experience success and of course at the very beginning pretty big. We had a big piece of the cake! (laughs)
The Liberation: (laughs) Yeah! Was it a shock or were you prepared?
- Philipp Dausch: Sometimes, I mean of course it was something we didn’t really know before and sometimes you’re all harmed and shocked then there are times where you’re more safe with it, you can deal with it.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah, it goes up and down.
- Philipp Dausch: Yeah, it’s like up and down. But all in all I would say we learned pretty good to deal with it.
The Liberation: Yeah, that’s important.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah (laughs)
The Liberation: How does your composition process work? Do you come up with the lyrics first or with the music itself?
- Clemens Rehbein: The music first, so melody and chords and harmonies just on the guitar. Sometimes some lyrics and we start building beats and just have a jam on it. It’s not the same for every song.
- Philipp Dausch: But it’s all growing out of the guitar.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah.
- Philipp Dausch: basically. I would say the guitar is a very basic thing for you.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah, guitar. I mean now for the new songs there are maybe one or two songs that we grew out of the piano. So that may be special for the next album. But basically it’s always the guitar.
The Liberation: Yeah. So this is a difference for the new album that is more based on the piano than on the guitar?
- Philipp Dausch: Not mostly, I think he just wrote two songs that he played on the piano but it’s not like this is a typical thing for the new album. It’s just like two songs where he tried it.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah yeah (laughs)
- Philipp Dausch: To develop and I think that’s the thing about the second album, developing different things.
The Liberation: Ok that’s cool. And are the lyrics autobiographical?
- Clemens Rehbein: Autobiographical? Which means that it’s our own experiences that are made?
The Liberation: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
- Clemens Rehbein: Yeah, it is. (laughs) No, I don’t tell someone else’s stories, it’s personal stuff.
The Liberation: And do you find it easy to write about your own life and experiences?
- Clemens Rehbein: Well sometimes it’s not. It’s a process of reflecting. Yeah, thinking about yourself and what you do or about persons you have to deal with, friends, relationships, whatever. It’s always, how do you say? You have to put effort in it. It’s kind of working on yourself. Yeah, it’s a bit like a therapy.
The Liberation: Yeah, I was gonna say that, yeah.
- Clemens Rehbein: Maybe sometimes. Yeah.
The Liberation: That’s good. So when you are on stage how do you feel when you actually play that?
- Clemens Rehbein: Well it depends on the moment, on the day or just on what you have to cope with at that moment. If the previous week you had a lot of struggle you feel different when you go on stage then maybe. To get it all out or I don’t know. And sometimes you’re really easy so being on stage is really easy kind of I guess (laughs).
The Liberation: Yeah, cool! (laughs) I’m really looking forward to see you!
- Milky Chance: Good! Thank you!
The Liberation: Thank you very much!