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‘Berlin is colorful on all levels.’

Gems in this

Photo>>>Anthony Molina


Explore Playbook

Feature by Isabella Jeffrey

If you’ve looked at the line-up of pretty much any festival over the last 10 years, there’s a good chance that somewhere on the bill, the name ‘Milky Chance’ has made an appearance.

They’re one of indie’s most prolific and enduring acts, and have achieved longevity in an industry that famously obsesses over the new. That’s thanks to the band’s canny mix of expressive lyrics and catchy melody-making, combined with impressive musicality that belies the simplicity of Milky Chance’s tunes. No wonder its founders, Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch, met in their German hometown’s advanced music classes. These days, when they’re not touring the globe touting their latest release, you can find the duo kicking back at home in Berlin. Ahead of the release of their sixth studio album, Living In a Haze, we spoke with them about the German capital’s influence on their music, how to keep the spark alive in a musical marriage, and their top recommendations for travelers in their Berlin Travel Playbook.


On making music with your childhood friend

CR: We often tell people that it’s a gift that we can do all this together. As a solo artist, I think parts of touring — and generally the fast and very intense lifestyle of it — would be such a lonely place. So we’re grateful to be together in this. It just really helped us develop our friendship. Obviously there have been highs and lows, but I think that’s just a great thing and it feels good.

On being married musically

CR: The consistency makes a big, big difference. It’s nice. I mean, a lot of people say we’re like a married couple almost, that’s the vibe that we have. 

PD: People compare us to one, and say we’re couple goals. I think it’s special to have that connection with someone for a long time.

First row of Milky Chance by Anthony Molina. Second row of Milky Chance performing courtesy of Milky Chance. Third row by Get Backstage.

On touring the world with one of your closest friends

CR: We literally were together every day in high school, and I spent tons of time at his parents’ house and slept there a lot. So we were just really close. It’s a nice thing, I think, to see the other one grow. Because obviously, we’ve known each since we were teenagers and now we’re young men, and obviously a little bit closer to who we want to be. And it’s nice to witness that because it shows you the truth of growth, which is amazing.

On creating a new album

CR: It’s very exciting. It’s a little bit like when we moved to Berlin: it’s a little bit of a new chapter for us. I think there’s lots of things that feel new and fresh for us. There was obviously the pandemic, and personal change and everything gave us lots of space and freedom to create. And I think that was a rare, almost special, time for us. We were busy for the last almost eight years, and could have just gone on, but we had to take a break. I don’t know if we would have taken it if it had been our choice. We had lots of fun creating it, and the new casualness of the sound.

First row of Milky Chance backstage courtesy of Milky Chance. Second and third rows of ‘Living In A Haze’ music video courtesy of Milky Chance.

On Berlin’s best coffee spots to catch a break in between recording sessions

CR: When we take a break, a really good coffee is 19grams. They do great coffee. That's a really good café. They also have a kitchen; they serve really good food.

PD: I always go around the corner to a place called Café Elsken. It's this guy from the Netherlands. And he makes extremely good coffee and really good shakshuka, which is the perfect thing to eat for a late breakfast when you need something warm, especially on cold days.

On where to get a mean sandwich around Berlin

PD: It's called dots. They have my favorite thing: their chilli cheese panini. There's also like a really nice sandwich. It's big. It's nasty. But it's so good.

‘Berlin really is our little international melting pot. I think that’s what stands out.’

On a favorite cocktail bar

CR: A really good cocktail bar that I go to is called Galander, it’s also known as Haifischbar, which is the German word for shark. They do really, really good cocktails, like insanely good. They're making science out of it. They’re very sweet guys and almost like cocktail nerds; they're very passionate about it.

On a more laid back-bar to hit in Berlin

CR: There's so many bars that you can go to which are not all about cocktails but just a nice vibe, where you can just have a beer or like a gin tonic or whatever. Another bar which is called Ä, which is a German letter actually, also interesting.

First row left of Milky Chance in Berlin courtesy of Milky Chance. First row right of Café Elsken courtesy of Café Elsken; second row by Florent Affourtit. Third row of Galander Haifischbar courtesy of Galander Haifischbar.

On Berlin in one word

CR: Melting pot. Berlin really is our little international melting pot. I think that’s what stands out.

PD: Colorful. Berlin is colorful on all levels.

‘Listening to that song, there was such energy set free. That song captured a lot of the general things of the pandemic, but also being in Berlin, because there is the big dancing scene and going out scene.’

On one song to describe Berlin

PD: I remember in lockdown, when the first one was over, normal stuff came back. Fred Again.. just released his album. And he had that one song ‘Marea (we’ve lost dancing).’ I remember I listened to that track with my wife in the car, and listening to that song, there was such energy set free. That song captured a lot of the general things of the pandemic, but also being in Berlin, because there is the big dancing scene and going out scene. So that song was a great one where I was thinking like, it's nice to be out here.

On a carry-on must-have

CR: A good snack. There's nothing worse than being on a 10-hour flight and they just give you crackers that are like dry as fuck, and you're asking for more, and they’re like ‘Sorry we don't have more.’ So a good snack — get a good snack before you go on a plane.

On a window or an aisle seat

PD: Window mostly because I don't usually have to pee.

CR: Yeah, window is nice. I mean, the good thing about the aisle is that you can stretch your legs. I like that. But I would go window.


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