Straddling Top 40 pop and Electronic Dance Music, The Chainsmokers, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pell, have had extraordinary success since 2015 with such hits as “#Selfie”, the Grammy Award winning “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Closer” and “Something Just Like This”. They moved onto a new phase with the single “Sick Boy” which is distinctly darker than their earlier work. Taggart imparts that the darkness is out of frustration and some anger caused by fame and how other people characterize you who don’t know you and you become a caricature. So they determined to put it into their music. It’s an expression of what it’s like right now for someone of their generation. Also, people of their peer group using social media to express themselves and they concern themselves with taking it all so seriously and the anxiety it causes is conveyed through this darker, more somber phase.
Pall and Taggart find pushing themselves in this new direction exciting and getting too wrapped up in chart statistics and the like is not what it should be all about. It should be about making the best music they can.
They plan to keep pushing themselves and doing new and fresh things that can be scary, but they don’t want to produce music just because they think people will like it. They know what they want to say and they know what sounds good to them.
Taggart and Pell feel it’s important to balance out the fact that they’re kind of in-between pop and EDM and they’re going to be working with some fresh, young producers and they feel they complement each other very well.
Taggart was nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy, “1-800-273-8255”, that he wrote with rapper and songwriter Logic and he feels grateful to have been a part of something so positive. When Def Jam Recordings submitted the song for the Grammy nomination Taggart’s name was omitted. Fortunately, that was corrected and he did get credit for it.
Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers was interviewed in July 2016 about the success of this musical duo. It was right after “Closer” was released which went onto huge success internationally. This song featured Halsey which is someone that Alex Pall said they had a really good time working with. The other member of The Chainsmokers is Drew Taggart who sang as well on this song.
That artists would sing their own songs seems pretty obvious to most people. However, most DJ acts these days don’t write their own songs and also don’t sing in them. Alex Pall says that he and Taggert are pretty involved in the writing of everything they produce and sing in most of them as wells. With some songs they write the actual lyrics while in other songs they help guide a professional songwriter on where they want a particular song to go.
By being so involved in writing their songs, Alex Pall says that it really helps as it creates more coherent albums than if they featured 12 songs by 12 different songwriters, for instance. They also want the songs to feature themselves as they don’t want to just be the faceless creators of music hidden behind a DJ booth and production stand.
Alex Pall says that when he and Drew Taggart started working together, introduced through both of their’s agent, they figured out pretty quickly what each of them could bring to The Chainsmokers. He says that they are both observant people and so when they went out and saw other DJ’s they could see what could work for them and what would not. They eventually shaped the identity of The Chainsmokers and formed their own sound to play.
Starting out, Alex Pall said that like most musical acts they sounded like other people’s stuff in their genre. There’s a ton of competition out there all looking to stand out in some way, he says. The Chainsmokers were able to do so by creating something that was intrinsically about themselves and their own lives while still being really relatable to fans of the duo.