The German rock band show us just how you make a comeback on their upbeat indie offering.
The art of the comeback is a tricky one, but one that German rock band Milky Chance have nonetheless perfected. Consisting of frontman and guitarist Clemens Rehbein, bassist and percussionist Philipp Dausch, guitarist Antonio Greger and Sebastian Arman, the foursome has been kicking their unique blend of jazz, folk and reggae since the early 2010s, and show no sign of faltering their grip on the world of genre-defying indie any time soon.
Having first pricked our ears with successful 2013 effort Sadnecessary, the years since have been full of several huge tours, collaborations with the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and “White Tiger” singer Izzy Bizu, and a move to independent representation by creating their own label, Lichtdicht Records. Describing the move as ‘the next big step in [their] musical life’, Lichtdicht Records not only solidified all their achievements over the years as they embark on a new chapter in their artistry, but also opened up the floor for other rising stars to have their own big break.
Now, after a two-year hiatus, the woozy foursome are back and ready to conquer the airwaves once more. With no official announcement on what fans can expect in the coming months, besides the quick-approaching release date of June 25th, Milky Chance introduce their new era with “Colorado”, a vibrant, up-tempo tune about the uneasiness of failed relationships, and, err, horse tranquiliser. On the track, the group push away from their immediate surroundings, seeking the solace of someplace unfamiliar to help them deal with their heartbreak.
Ahead of a busy, busy year, we caught up with the group below, and spoke about their humble beginnings, changing sound, and forthcoming live shows in October! Take a look…
Hey guys! We are halfway through the year, how has it been for you so far?
It’s been a good one so far. Fairly different obviously with no touring and everything, but we think we made the best out of it and it can only get better with a new release coming up!
With everything that happened last year, do you think your creativity has been affected?
Definitely, it has been a very different time for everyone and for us as well. We did spend a lot of time in the studio working on new music but it’s been different especially because, before, we were travelling so much, saw new places every day and obviously that was a part of our inspiration and creativity, too. We just had to learn to get it elsewhere.
How did you guys first meet and what sparked the interest in music?
We met in high school back in 2009 and the first thing we did after our first day of school was to go home to my house and jam for a couple of hours. We kept doing that almost every day, until today!
Why the name Milky Chance?
Teenage mind.. random names made up for a band that might come in the future. This one made it when we first uploaded songs on YouTube in 2012 before we even thought of actually starting a band.
You’ve been in the industry for over a decade, how do you think your sound has changed over the years?
Our sound still has its DNA, melancholic but upbeat and happy vibes. We’ve always loved and still love crossing genres and styles and walking in between the worlds. Besides that, I think we became better songwriters and explored the diversity of production and different ways of recording.
You’ve just dropped your new single “Colorado”, talk us through the production process and inspiration?
We were actually working on a different song for quite some time and needed a break and listen to something else. We started jamming and it was one of the songs that came so quick and easy. First came the guitar riff, then the line ‘High like Colorado’. We built the story around it from there, and two hours later, we pretty much had a full demo of the song.
The song is all about feeling overwhelming and turning a bad situation into a good one, what sparked this topic? Was it the pandemic?
I think we were definitely subconsciously influenced by the pandemic, even if we weren’t aware of it at the time we were writing. The inspiration mainly came from the nights when you are feeling low, and what always helps in that kind of situation when you hang out with your friends and they well.. they help you get high – everybody has felt that before, right?
You’ve released it on your own label as well, why did you choose to become independent?
It felt like the right thing to do for us, the next big step in our musical life. Creating our own label has been refreshing and brought a lot of inspiration regarding how to bring out what we create for our fans, in a way that feels right to us. We’re happy to be able to make all creative decisions ourselves and be closer to our fans in that way.
Looking back at your career so far, what has been the biggest pinch-me moment?
Playing Red Rocks definitely is one of them, but the whole journey has been one great moment after another.
You’ve also been keeping busy with your Milky Change Initiative, what made you want start things, and how is it going?
We put a lot of thought into our career path and especially how touring affects the world. We love what we do, and feel very lucky to go so many places and play for so many people. But we also know the result that has on the earth and climate. That is why we try to make all things we do (touring/merchandise etc.) more sustainable.
You’re also due to go on tour this year! What can we expect from the live shows, including a stop in Brixton on October 14th?
It’s weird right? We can’t believe it properly ourselves yet… But you can expect a lot of energy and excitement. Perhaps even a few new dance moves!
Aside from the tour, what else are you most excited for?
We are so excited to connect with fans again! We can’t wait to feel and share the energy of live shows. And eventually there will also be an album, since we had a lot of time writing new music the past year!