German duo Milky Chance have spent their festive season touring Australia off the back of Falls Festival. Hailing from Kassel, Philipp Dausch and Clemens Rehbein are a long way from home, yet their fanbase here sees their shows sold-out and in high demand.
The band recently released their third studio album Mind the Moon, featuring artists like Témé Tan, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Tash Sultana, and is a collection of tracks that demonstrate the bands phenomenal growth since hitting the mainstream with ‘Stolen Dance’ in 2013.
We got to steal a moment of Philipp and Clemens’ time in amongst their Australian tour dates to chat about the country, language and their big ten-year-plan.
Guys, welcome back to Australia! When was the last time you visited?
Philipp Dausch: Two years ago.
Clemens Rehbein: It was 2017, I guess.
Do you love it here? Do you wish you were back in our country more often?
PD: Definitely. If it would not be so far, I would come here more.
CR: Yeah, I’m upset.
Fair enough. I want to ask you about the humble beginnings of Milky Chance because you guys are a German band. Was there a conversation at the very beginning to make music in English or did it naturally happen that way without a defining chat?
PD: Yeah. No, I think our band history is very organic, if you want to call it that. We were high school friends. We played in a band in high school, then this band kind of ended because some people went to Prague, and we were the ones staying in Kassel, our hometown. Clemens had written some songs, and so we just continued meeting up and recording them. Out of that, Milky Chance got formed more without us making the decision because we recorded those songs, put them on the internet, and then they got attention and then we decided, well, maybe that’s the chance to go on tour and play.
I’m curious though, when you first started songwriting and dappling in music when you were back in high school, was it always an English repertoire?
PD: Yeah. Like even the band before Milky Chance, we always wrote in English, but it’s awesome and natural in the way that we listen to a lot of English music always more than German definitely. And it’s just kind of you do what you listen to.
Yeah, that makes sense. Would you guys ever release an album in German?
CR: The chances are very low. Actually, very close to zero. Maybe even below zero.
PD: Minus one.
CR: I mean, there are some great German artists out there. They are doing a pretty good job. It’s hard to own that language, lyric-wise. Also, when it comes to poetry, there’s great German poets out there or artists out there, but the sound of the language is so rough. It’s not that smooth. So it’s very hard to also build nice metaphors, which are nice sounding but also picturing nice things. It’s easier to do it in English, we feel.
I understand that, the language definitely has quite a staccato sound to it I would say. I’ve been reading a lot of interviews with you guys and there was one in particular that talked about how you try to reinvent ‘Stolen Dance’ in your performances. Could be interesting one day if you just did a verse in German – I wouldn’t be expecting it!
CR: That’s going to be the last thing we do to make it interesting. It’s a fun idea, but I think we’d have to do it in Germany or something.
PD: Or Spanish.
CR: Spanish, I think Spanish is a good…
PD: Or French. I love French.
Can you guys speak French and Spanish? Are you multilingual?
CR: Not really. I mean, we had French in high school, so I would say we understand it, but our teachers always been telling us that we have a good pronunciation, and our photographer who goes with us on tour all the time, he’s Spanish, so he can probably write down the lyrics in Spanish and teach us and then we can just learn it and then record it. Having a number one in Spain and South America.
It’s a big community you could tap into, for sure. I also want to chat to you about your track ‘Daydreaming’ off of your new album, Mind the Moon. You’ve got Tash Sultana who obviously the whole of Australia loves – where did you first discover Tash?
CR: On our favourite platform called YouTube.
Oh, very good. Where it all began for you…
CR: YouTube is kind of our even television, we zap through it, and yeah, I mean she put ‘Jungle’ on there so she has a similar history like us just putting like a jam on there and it blew up and we loved the song and then we met her on the festivals here and met her again at the Lollapalooza in South America. Yeah, we met and hung out and backed each other and kept in contact and then one day decided, let’s just ask her if she’s down to make some music. And she was.
It’s a match made in heaven really! You guys came a little early to Australia and I saw you were hanging out together in Melbourne with Tash. What, can you give me a glimpse into what a hangout with Tash Sultana and Milky Chance looks like?
PD: Hm, super casual. Honestly. We were just hanging out at her place, it’s a beautiful place and we played some pool, we shot some arrows, and we just made some music. So it’s a very, very casual.
So, is there possibly going to be another follow-up song with Tash Sultana then if there’s a dappling in new music?
CR: Definitely the chances are higher than a German album!
So you briefly spoke about it: you’ve done Falls Festival before, as well as this year. You’ve also played Groovin’ The Moo in Australia. How does Australian festivals stack up against international ones like Lollapalooza and Coachella?
PD: Yeah, Falls is great. We have so many great experiences playing Australian festivals. The crowd is just like, I mean, you can tell like Australians know how to party and how to celebrate music. Yeah. Such a good vibe from these…
CR: And also the setting is incredible.
You get to visit some pretty rural places in Australia. They’re not always in the centre of town, which I’d imagine you’d never have otherwise gone to.
PD: Especially. Yeah. I mean, Tasmania, not many people get to go. The Byron space is also really nice. So yeah, nice place, people are great. What do you want more for a great festival?
Exactly. Speaking of social media platforms, are you guys on TikTok at all? I feel like it’s the biggest platform at the moment. Do you guys discover music through that, seeing as you are ex-YouTube exports?
CR: Yeah, we just checked that out yesterday actually. We just got into TikTok. I mean we don’t have an account, but we heard from so many people that TikTok is the thing right now. Our photographer downloaded the app and we were just checking it out. It was quite funny. So we’re, I don’t know, just thinking about it. Social media is such a big thing and there are so many channels that you just have to put out stuff and you need a lot of content all the time. So it’s just another platform to put our content, which also, you need the time making it.
It’s exhausting keeping up with all the different platforms, but I guess you only need a quick creative thing for TikToK, I think you guys would do well on there.
CR: We have potential.
PD: TikTok potential! Time’s ticking. Tick-tock!
We’ve just begun a new decade. Considering the last decade was astronomical for Milky Chance, where will you be in 10 years time? What’s the band look like at the end of this decade?
PD: Man! We will be almost 40 by then, but yeah, dude, that’s a long time. I have no idea. Probably, we’ll be gardening a little more and we’ll be in better shape. Yeah, I’m trying to live the healthy life, do gardening probably. Hopefully doing a lot of music still, just getting older in the good and nice and cool way. Getting older without getting old.
And you’ll obviously have your Spanish album out by then.
CR: Oh for sure.
Finally, I have to ask, are you guys any good at stealing dances?
PD: Not in the very classical way of, I would say like country Texan style, but I think we are pretty good dancers. And we love to steal a dance on the dance floor for sure.
Thank you so much for the chat and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Australia!
CR: Thanks for having us!
Mind The Moon is out now!
Milky Chance is currently touring Europe – find your dates and ticket information here.