Two years ago DJ Alex Pall and producer Drew Taggart were pretty much unknown.
Yet when we talked to them earlier this month, the duo had just lunched with Tïesto in Las Vegas.
Pall and Taggart are better known as NYC-based EDM up-and-comers The Chainsmokers. They were one of our favorite acts at Hard Summer this year, and they're also the guys behind the hit song “#selfie," which hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs and has over 10 million Soundcloud plays. (You can hear it below.)
"#Selfie" is a joking ode to vapid club girls, comprised of a catchy beat over a Valley girl's drunk monologue. The song blew up because, well, everyone knows this type.
As the song has blown up, so have they, playing for crowds of 10,000 or more people at events like Hard, Ultra, and Belgium's iconic festival Tomorrowland.
"We don't really put too much thought into what we're doing," Taggart says. "We just make stuff we think is fun."
Pall and Taggart note that the track was a joke. “We were playing a show at LIV in Miami and we wanted to promote the night,” Pall explains. “I was like, 'Why don’t we rip off the ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’ concept and just have dumb girls talking about whatever? So within the day we hit up our friend Alexis. It came together really fast, and we were like, ‘This is either the dumbest thing we ever did or the smartest.' It just kind of snowballed from there.”
Even if it's a joke, it's an earworm, and a surefire way to get people in a good mood at parties.
Their follow-up, “Kanye," was inspired by the famously outspoken hip hop artist, and features vocals by L.A.-based singer songwriter duo Siren, who brought the idea for the hook: “I wanna be like Kanye.”
"It's about taking what Kanye idealistically represents and turning his name into an adjective," says their press release, about the song.
"Kanye" displays the group's unique style: Indie house. In fact, they've created a niche in the realm of indie house remixes, delicately blending the two genres. Others have tried this kind of thing, but they clearly know what they're doing.
They're currently working on tracks like a collab with Swedish indie pop band Nonono (of “Pumpin Blood” fame), but have no plans for a full length. Instead, they're working on an indie remix package showcasing little-known artists, to be released in the fall.
On top of that, Sirius Radio launched “Nice Hair with The Chainsmokers," a weekly show they host.
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For now, the guys are enjoying being on the road and making music. They've only been home five days of the past four months, they say.
“My girlfriend hates it,” Pall says, “She gets it though. You gotta seize the moment.” Then his face curls into a playful smile and jokes, “And she gets the Chanel bag so she can shut the hell up.”