Article | Onlythebeat

Behind The Beat | Smokin' With The Chainsmokers

Friday, August 09, 2013
Sam Storch

Already known for their brilliant production skills and dashingly good looks, Chainsmokers are quickly becoming a major name in EDM. With a musical style that seems to be influenced by indie, progressive and pop music, what The Chainsmokers have been able to do is invent and establish their own unique sound within electronic music that has contributed to their rapid ascension up the EDM popularity totem poll. The Chainsmokers duo that is Drew Taggert & Alex Pall has already toured all over the world and is soon to be playing at TomorrowWorld in Atlanta, GA. On top of all of their production and touring success, these guys still manage to be two of the most down to earth, funny ,and humble people in the entertainment industry. OTB was lucky enough to be able to interview The Chainsmokers and find out what The Chainsmokers are really about. OTB: How did you get started with electronic music? Chainsmokers: The unemployment rate in America was pretty high, and electronic music industry seemed like a really solid place to build a future since 401k’s were just bombing all over. We had also just seen a bunch of photos of Guetta, Afrojack, and Steve Aoki all in front of private jets, so we were curious and bought a couple house music compilations CD’s from Sam Goody and fell in love. OTB: If you could be in any other profession other than this what would you be doing? Chainsmokers: Alex would be a fine art dealer and Drew would be some sort of entrepreneur or actor. OTB: When did you first feel that you had accomplished something in the EDM scene? Chainsmokers: Honestly, we are super thrilled about how well our music has been received and the progress we have made personally as artists, but if anyone looks back at music right now I don’t think our 5 consecutive HYPEM #1’s is going to hold up. So for now, we are happy but we don’t feel accomplished. But don’t get this wrong; we are unbelievably blessed. OTB: What are your goals for The Chainsmokers and where do you believe you will be in 3-5 years? Chainsmokers: We can map this out super easy: 1) Married to Ashley Sky (one of us; not both of us) 2) Forbes List 3) Best friends with George Clooney 4) Happy OTB: If you could meet 3 people in this world (alive or dead) whom would they be and why? Chainsmokers: Hmm. The first person would be Oscar Wilde as he has awesome quotes on Instagram. Then we would have to say Larry David because he is hilarious, and finally Ashley Sky because she is hot as hell. OTB: What was/is your favorite place to play or what was your favorite gig? Chainsmokers: Hmm, Pacha NYC is a wild time. Marquee NYC and Vegas were good times as well. We honestly have a lot of venues where we are excited to play. A great night consists of so many things like were there hot girls, was the booze easy to come by, were the DJ booth monitor speakers good, did the club/venue host us well, were your buddies there, how did the opener do, did you each a nice dinner before hand, etc., so it's super subjective. OTB: If you could pick one DJ to play alongside of who would it be and why? Chainsmokers: Madeon, because he has a really unique amazing sound that we love. OTB: Who has influenced you and helped influence your style and sound? Chainsmokers: Madeon, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, Lil Wayne. OTB: Recently, many people have been negatively commenting on the state of EDM. How do you believe the EDM scene is doing and do you believe the negative opinions (I.E. every song sounds the same, all a DJ does is press play etc.) of EDM have any merit? Chainsmokers: We will answer this in three separate parts Part 1- The scene is great; festivals are bigger and better than ever, more people are participating in it than ever before. Part 2: I don’t disagree; the music being heard on main stages can be quite homogenous, but that does not mean if you want to seek out many different styles of electronic music you can’t do so. There's a deep house scene, disco house, etc. Basically, there is a lot of music out there. But yes, the music that is being pushed the most and seeing the most success does sound very similar, but so does Miley Cyrus and Kesha’s new song, so does Adam Levine’s last 5 songs (which are excellent, by the way). We definitely think musicians could challenge themselves a bit more, but you have to see the temptation of hearing Animals, seeing people react to it, and then thinking "Shit, I am already popular. What if I did my own sort of rendition of it with a twist?". It’s like an explosion of reality TV. Part 3: DJing definitely isn’t tough. Look at the stage set up for a DJ versus Dave Mathews Band. But, that isn’t to say it's talentless. We definitely think the bar is pretty low, but at the end of the day, the 300 thousand people there are still  loving life. Whoever is going is paying to see their favorite producer play his favorite tracks in a way he thinks you will enjoy it. Not quite Dave Mathews violinist doing a solo, but they each have their own charm. OTB: What advice can you give all the up and coming DJs/producers who want to make it in this scene Chainsmokers: The scene is a business, understand it, understand trends, etc, etc. Do good business, work your ass off, be loyal, become a master of your craft, and never sign a contract if you can avoid it. If you are as good as whoever wants you to sign they will work with you regardless, but most of all love what you make and believe in it.