Clemens Rehbein, singer and guitarist of Milky Chance, took some time off from enjoying San Francisco and called us from the beach on Wednesday afternoon to discuss their current tour.
SF Culture Shock: First off, last night’s show was fantastic. Have you been able to explore the city a bit today?
Clemens Rehbein: Thank you! Yeah! We went to Haight-Ashbury today. We’re just chilling now at the beach looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.
SFCS: Have you tried burritos yet?
CR: Not yet. Should I? We’re going out for dinner, maybe I will tonight.
SFCS: How was Coachella? Was that the biggest show you’ve ever played?
CR: One of them, yes. We’ve done big festivals in Europe and Germany as well. But this was one of the biggest, maybe the biggest!
SFCS: You briefly toured America in October and managed to consistently sell out venues. In San Francisco, even as an opener, you were called back for an encore. What was that like?
CR: It always feels very good when we get reactions from the crowd. If you want to give them more, no matter where you play, if you can give them more, you should.
SFCS: You essentially blew up overnight here. How has the reception in Europe and Germany compared to here in America?
CR: In Germany we started in our hometown. We made only 500 copies of our first album, just in our town for friends and family, so this year we had a label from the beginning, so more professional work (laughs). But it’s been a similar reception.
SFCS: There’s a great picture on your Twitter (here) of your first In-N-Out Burger in LA a few months ago. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to try since you’ve been on the road?
CR: It’s really cool that we can see a lot of different places. America is a very diverse place. It just depends on the space or which city. People are different. The food is different. It’s very exciting and interesting. There’s so many things. It’s just huge (laughs)!
SFCS: When you performed last night and had this massive backlighting, all we could see was the top of your hair. Would you say that your hair has become part of who you are as a band?
CR: By accident, it’s now a little bit. I always had my hair like this and now it’s kind of stuck. People on the street recognize me because of my hair. It’s a thing people like to keep on their mind. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. Maybe I’ll cut it off next year and see if we lose 50,000 followers on Facebook (laughs).
SFCS: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on the road so far?
CR: There are so many small situations that happen on the road. Just meeting people or just seeing people’s reaction to something and you just think oh my god. I don’t think that many crazy things happen to us. It’s overall very chill, very comfortable for us.
SFCS: Who are some of your musical influences?
CR: Oh man there’s a lot. A lot of music from the ‘60s and ‘70s like Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones. But also new electronic music like James Blake or singer-songwriter Ben Howard or Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. But there’s a difference between musical inspiration and influence. Like people influence us — our friends, our guitar teachers. They show us what they like, different styles, how to play. I think that’s very important.
SFCS: You were trained as a jazz musician right?
SFCS: If you could take credit for one song and claim it as your own, what would it be?
CR: (Laughs) I don’t know, maybe, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Something that people listen to forever and ever and will always be on the radio.
Photo by Sam Engel // Senior Staff