Smile Politely

The viral success of The Chainsmokers

When you think of NYC-based DJ/producer/songwriter duo, The Chainsmokers (consisting of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall), its hard not to think of their viral hit, #Selfie, that broke the top 50 on the US and UK charts. With such a fast and furious ride to mainstream culture, the duo spent this last year churning out single after single, culminating into their first cohesive release, Bouquet, on October 23rd via Disruptor Records.

Before the guys pop in next week to get Canopy bumpin’ and jumpin’, I got to chat over the phone with The Chainsmokers about their success in the past, where they are now, and where they think they’re headed.

Smile Politely: Hey guys, thanks for doing this, how’s it going? Do I have both of you on the line?

Alex Pall: Hey no problem, it’s our pleasure. We’re both here, but Andrew’s outside kickin’ a soccer ball or something, so it’ll be me answering the questions.

SP: Sounds good! So how did you two meet?

Pall: Graduated from university, we were both doing music stuff here and there then a mutual friend hooked us up. We started collaborating, things sounded good and things took off after that point. Andrew is amazing at what he does and its been awesome to work with someone as talented as him.

SP: From that point, starting in 2012, to the viral success you have now, what’s that been like?

Pall: We’re still very much the same people, it hasn’t changed us at all. We live the same way, I still love cheap cold beer and James Bond movies.

SP: Have you looked at your job any differently from when you first started?

Pall: Yeah, man, definitely. You learn a lot of new things about music and that’s been a great experience. I want us to be the best, still give out good vibes though, you know? Doing what we do isn’t always that easy all the time like it might seem, especially the writing aspect of it. We’ve got big dreams so we’re never satisfied. It pushes us to be better.

SP: #Selfie shot your guys name out there, and just a couple of weeks ago your first EP, Bouquet, was released. Do you think it’s a change from what fans were expecting or wanting?

Pall: Whenever you’re releasing something after a huge hit like that, its always a risk because people have a certain expectation. We just decided to release single after single and continue writing what we wanted to write, we didn’t really think about the sound of #Selfie or trying to match it or anything. We understand what that song did for us, but we want to be known for more than just that. Like I said, we want to be the best at what we do, so that means we have continuously have to move forward.

SP: How has the reception been to the EP? Were you nervous or anxious or anything of the sort about putting it out?

Pall: [Laughs] To be honest I didn’t even think about it. It wasn’t on my mind at all, I was pretty indifferent and nonchalant about it leading up to the release. When it dropped though, I was surprised, twitter blew up immediately my phone was just going off! I’m glad that this was a chance for people to get a feel for what our music is really about.

SP: Describe the writing/creative process between you two on this EP.

Pall: Every time is different. Each song is its own thing. I’m lucky that ‘Drew is a mastermind of a producer. We work fast, we don’t get hung up on that many things while writing, and we rarely argue. Having that kind of an atmosphere helps us focus better. I’ve enjoyed getting into writing more and more of our own stuff and we’ve also had awesome writers and artist featured on this EP. That’s been real nice.

SP: What theme, if there is any, does Bouquet hold for you two?

Pall: [Laughs] It really doesn’t. We were just focused on putting out the singles and then there was “Rose”, so it kind of made sense to call it Bouquet, ‘cause you have the flowers, songs that are kind of different but fit and… yeah… you have a bouquet. [Laughs] We really didn’t approach it as a cohesive piece. If we ever do an album or something then we’ll think about that more, for sure. We’d definitely take an album more seriously.

SP: An EP, a summer of singles, a headlining tour, how does this busy schedule affect your personal lives?

Pall: We don’t really have much of one. Doing this is our personal life; it consumes all of our time. Don’t get me wrong though, we love it, we love our work. It’s not a chore to us by any means, but we have to put in this time. People that don’t give it their all don’t make it to the top, and the top is where we want to be.

SP: Which artists influence you the most?

Pall: Oh man, how do you pick? It’s a never-ending wave of music we’re listening to. Sigur Rós, Calvin Harris, Blink-182 are some of them, naming a few. There’s honestly so much.

SP: We’re in the final few weeks of the year, what would you say is your album of the year?

Pall: Wow, there are just so many options. That Drake album, If You’re Reading This…, that one was really good. Of course, Taylor Swift’s 1989. Oh, Halsey. She put out this amazing record called Badlands. All of these were amazing records that came out within the last year. With so much good music out there its really hard to choose.

SP: Halsey’s was a great record, great call on that one. So I have to ask, the name, what’s behind it?

Pall: [Laughs] Well we were/are both huge stoners and we thought it sounded cool so, we went with it.

SP: Solid. So with all these releases and moves being made now, what does the future of The Chainsmokers look like?

Pall: We don’t really think that far ahead. We know want to be the best, be at the top, so we just wanna focus on moving forward. We want to make better music; we definitely want to move away from the stigma of #Selfie. Innovation is something we’re really working on; we want to be new. Doing an album is definitely a project I want to do and of course, we want to touch fans on a more personal level.

SP: Those are some fantastic goals. Thank you for your time, I just have one last quick on before you go.

Pall: No problem man, thanks for the questions. Give it to me.

SP: How excited are you guys to play the number one party school in America?

Pall: [Laughs] You know, that’s a dangerous combo because we’re the number one party dudes in America.

The Chainsmokers will be playing an already sold out show at The Canopy Club tonight, November 17th.

Related Articles