Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers fame, have been enjoying mainstream success for about four years now. Their first breakthrough hit, “#Selfie”, hitting the charts in 2014. Since then it has been a thrill ride of success that has happened so fast their heads are still spinning. Now Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart are sitting down to talk about identity, pushing boundaries, and how Dashboard Confessional is responsible for their new sound.
According to Pall the duo gets together every day to work on who they are, it is an endless quest for self-discovery. “You have to try new things in order to stay engaged and interested” Pall says. This is certainly true of the Chainsmokers. They have been trying plenty of new things over the years. First and foremost, EDM DJs rely on other artists for a lot of things. Mainly songwriting and the song singing. The genre is awash in seven or eight remixes of the same source material. The 2016 release of charting single “Closer” pushed some boundaries as Taggart took the lead vocals. This is a very unique thing to do. The duo also involves themselves in the writing of their songs, taking part in some or all of its creation. When asked why they are forging in this new direction Pall responded with, “Why not? Nobody else was doing it.”
Andrew Taggart also revealed that their new wave of songwriting came from sitting on a tour bus listening to music. Namely they were listening to Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday. Taggart remembers thinking about how he missed songs like that, relatable and thought-provoking commentaries on the world at large. It was then that the duo decided to write songs about themselves. “We do not want to make an album of twelve songs that have no connection,” Pall says, “we want a cohesive album of work that relates to who we are.” Their newest 2018 release, “Sick Boy” is yet another step in staying relevant. When asked how Pall stays current with his listeners he credited Instagram for keeping him up to date on trends.
The Chainsmokers honored Avicii at the Billboard Music Awards. Alex Pall and Drew Taggart dedicated their award for Top Dance/Electronic Act to the Swedish DJ saying “…He is someone who made us all believe that this is something we could do with out lives. Inspired all of us.”
Just 28 years old, Avicii took his own life on April 20th. Geffen Records stated that they may still release some of his previously unreleased music.
Pall was studying art history and the music business at New York University before meeting Taggart, who was interning at Interscope Records. They stated working together making remixes of Indie bands. In December 2013 their single “#Selfie” was picked up by Dim Mak Records and rereleased in January 2014. They followed up their single in August 2014 with “Kanye” featuring SirenXX. They opened for Timeflies in September 2014 in their first live performance. In April 2015, they signed on with Disruptor Records.
Recently, their second single hit has reached one billion Spotify streams. They have the honor of becoming the first #1 Dance Artist / DJ to be on Billboards Dance 100 list. In January 2018, the Chainsmokers released the single hit “Sick Boy”, which feature Drew Taggarts vocal talents and more live instrumentals than before. The video for the single has already had over 136,000,000 views. In February, they released another hit “You Owe Me”. It quickly climbed to #4 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. The accompanying dark video has a shocking ending, which pushed it to have 34,000,000 in a little over a month on YouTube. In March, their audio only single “Everybody Hates Me” achieved over nine million views in under a month. At the I Heart Radio Awards, they won Best Collaboration, Dance Artist of the Year and Dance Album of the Year. The hard working performers are pushing the boundaries of what DJ’s typically do.