On October 17th, two dudes from Germany arrived in Toronto, dressed in two psychedelic-looking sweaters. Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch, members of Milky Chance, smoked their cigarettes outside the Mod Virgin Club, where they later on played that day. This is what they had to say.
IXDaily: So actually, the first question I have is, you met in school right? When?
Clemens: Mhm. 11th grade, start of highschool, 5, 4, 6 years ago… [A lifetime perhaps?]
IX: Was it love at first sight?
Philipp: Yeaaah, yeah.
C: Hell yeah! (laughter) No, I mean we were going to the same class, first day of school, then we just started hanging around together making music, getting friends…
IX: And later on in 2012 you guys started the album? I’m very curious why did you call it Sadnecessary?
C: It describes the whole album in the best way because it is always about a mixture of sad and being happy and dancing and using sadness in a positive way.
P: One of the songs was “Sadnecessary”, and I remember one day I came to him and he told me I made this song “Sadnecessary” and he was like, “I made this word up!” (laughs) and yeah its cool.
IX: It is a perfect word. The first song I heard was “Fairytale” A friend sent it to me, and I thought it was gorgeous, but my favorite song is “Feathery.”
C: “Feathery”, yeah?
IX: What is your favorite song?
P: I can say that Feathery is my favorite lyrics; we don’t have a favorite song but lyrics “Feathery” is good.
IX: Ok but if you were to die, before you died what song would it be?
P: I wouldn’t pick a song from our album. I would pick something else… When I was younger I always heard this song from John Frusciante, so I would want that on my funeral.
C: Maybe I could have “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.”
[They break into song]
C: Should be a happy song.
IX: Most happy songs have an undertone of sadness. Any song that happens is a rebirth of music. like your songs, it’s very melancholy and it has undertones of all kinds of things and you never wanna feel one thing.
C: Balance of feelings, yes.
P: Your battery is just running low.
IX: Don’t think about it dont look at it! [Laughter]
IX: You can tell me, so far how many shows have you played? Since you were born?
P: Last year, since last year. Over 300 shows. I mean we did a release (unofficial) in May 2012, but then we had an offer to release august the same year. Canada last week.
IX: That’s amazing, are you guys proud of it?
P: We always did music and played shows even before milky chance, doing this after school and as a job.
IX: So, why did you name it Milky Chance?
P: It’s all his fault!
IX: No I get it. with that hair it’s probably ALL his fault. [Laughter]
C: Well, when I was young I created the name just for fun. You know.
IX: What does it mean?
C: Nothing really. Afterwards we put a meaning on it. And people put a meaning to it, “not clear” cause sometimes we see… not clear. [Smiles like Cheshire cat]
IX: Alright, haha.
C: But there’s no meaning. Just a song.
IX: I like it though. it;s like you say we’re going to live like pilgrims, and this is our music. do you ever wanna get famous famous? Beatles big?
P: “Beetles” ar every small actually [Good joke Philipp] I mean we’re not trying to get fame we just want to spread music. We definitely won’t do it for fame and being celebrities.
C: The good thing about all that fame brings concerts and bring people together and they all share taste in music and yeah…
IX: That’s a great answer. yes; but even the Beatles were famous and they spread their music. and you are creating sounds that are unique and different and amazing… [BLUSH!]
IX: -(To Clemens) Ok your hair what is going on with that? [Laughter]
C: As you can see I am always (flips hair) playing with it…
IX: What is going on dude? Is it naturally like that?
IX: Is he lying?
P: No he is not lying, I met him with this hair.
C: Actually, there is a picture of me 1 year old and hair is like this [makes hand gesture over his hair]
IX: It’s like gravity doesn’t affect you.
P: He’s always flying hiiiiiigh! [Yep!]
IX: So, is there any of the songs in the album about a girl?
C: Well, of course.
IX: Just A girl?
C: A lot of the songs are about one special girl
IX: For the same one, both of you? [Confused look…pause.. reply]
P: We are not sharing one! [laughs] We are sharing the love but not girls!
IX: does she knows the songs are for her? like which songs
C: Yes she knows, for example; “Down by the River”, “Becoming.”
IX: Now… If you could do anything else in the world what would you do?
P: Ah man… I think I would teach… But I would probably teach music.
IX: You want to write music no matter what then.
P: Anything I would do would be concerned to music.
C: I would maybe… assist him in teaching. [Laughter]
P: He would be my sample subject
C: Like when he’s sick I would teach.
IX: Part time teacher: That would make a lovely bromance.
C: Haha… that’s a good word.
IX: what is the worst thing you’ve done?
C: Well, you’re always making mistakes but you should not regret too much. Is it part of your being? yes, so just work with it
IX: So, you have accepted everything you are everything you have become?
C: Well, yes you have to.
P: ‘Cause if not it breaks you, it breaks you if you don’t accept it.
IX: I like that I will remember that. So, what would your life philosophy be?
P: Let things go. appreciate as they are. to not make it too complicated. easy-living hippie, not too much hippie.
C: I think hippies are less caring about things than we do.
IX: Well, they’re high all the time, haha.
P: Well take it easy because nowadays everything seems more complicated.
C: A balance between take it easy but not not care.
IX: So, back to the music, what would be your favorite band?
P: I was totally influenced by guitar player of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also with his solo stuff. also with singer songwriters Bob Dylan, cause my om showed to me when I was little. Cat Stevens. Hmmm, since we met is a lot of Ray Charles, James Blake.
IX: James Blake… James Blake?
:: JAMES BLAKE! (both)
C: We love him. we met him actually. He is SO TALL. he’s like 2 meters.
P: He also has this kind of sadness. but his music is darker sadness.
IX: You think his music is dark?
P: Oh yeah. We saw we met him at his concert and afterwards we both couldn’t talk
C: We were like in a… deep deep floating river…
P: But he isn’t dark, when you meet him is very chill and very shy.
IX: But you know that’s a contrast. like I feel any artist would have some kind of alter ego, they do not necessarily are aware of, cause I do too…
P: In Germany we would say “the calm waters are deep” (pause) But I’m okay with that!
Bjorn *band manager* walks in:
B: You left my backpack downstairs. No but I’m so happy and it still there! to is the best city in the world!
IX: Bjorn, Goddamn man! you made me forget my question! Hmm… oh! I was gonna say, you guys like poetry, reading things like that?
C: There are a lot of German poets.
P: We have the best writers and poets. I took philosophy as well and I love sharing ideas.
IX: I say poetry because I love listening to lyrics; I think music should not just be about the sound. You should have layers of sounds and beautiful words.
C: But honestly, I always listen to the melody and harmony first.
P: First thing that touches you are not the words.
IX: But you would not say “baby come dance with me” all the time.
P: I would say he can make a song like that and some people would be touched. You could also take shitty words like “baby dance with me” and it could also be touching by hearing it
C: There is a surface on the lyrics and surface on the music. And very easy and simple lyrics but you also such a deep touching melody it can push the lyrics
IX: Bring them higher. Yes, I understand that.
IX: Yeah okay. think my phone is dead anyway… 18%
C: Oh we’ve been talking for 23 minutes not bad!… One bad thing about the US and Canada you’re not allowed to smoke backstage.
P: I don’t know if that is bad is it bad? sound healthy to me…
IX: Haha… But who cares about that really? You will die one day anyway. Enjoy it one cigarette at a time…
P: I don’t want my body to stop doing what I want.
IX: Well, is there anything you want to tell me? ‘Cause we have covered the music, life and the love…?
P: Music, life and love, that’s what it’ all about.
C: THAT’S WHAT IT IS ABOUT!
P: Nice ending words.Oh yeah…
C: Ohhhhh yeah……
I came back to Virgin Mod Club at around 8:15 PM. The rain was pouring and angry (but it would not stop us). Milky began playing, and the crowd did not care they were wet (oh yes) and cold. We all smiled in unison, as we heard the sweet, sexy tunes from these German villagers.
They played all the songs from Sadnecessary; like they had just de-virginized each song and played it with the passion of French poets. The vocals were raw and unique, and the sound-mixing spectacular. A guitar man and his beats master, side by side, working for love and music.
As they played on, they arrived at “Stolen Dance”, a song they said was coveted by North America, and boy were they right. The crowd went into a frenzy of dancing and clapping, and we all moved at once, holding our beers to the beats and to the gift of music. Personally, once they reached “Feathery”, life stopped. Every word was sung with an underlying darkness of yearning, and “Even though love’s gonna kill [them]” they were the ones who killed the stage.
Finally, after stepping out for a light period of time, they finished with “Down by the River”, which was barbarically beautiful. Clemens began with a more mellow guitar version of the song, and resumed as Philipp built it up to a faster pace, where all the things were felt. The sounds were both euphoric and soft and so honest, which is what I love about music. It was a true Renaissance of Music, and we all knew it and we all loved it. Whatever flaw there was during the performance, it was unnoticed and un-cared for; we got what we wanted and we felt what we wanted; and one thing proved truthful once again that night: Music will save the world.