Music duo The Chainsmokers are going strong. Ever since exploding on the mainstream music scene with their hit song “Closer” two years ago, musicians and producers Alex Pall and Drew Taggart have created one of the summer’s strongest anthems with their smash record “Side Effects,” a song that simultaneously captures the zeitgeist of their generation while exploring timeless themes dealing with loneliness and relationships. Recently, the duo played an enormously successful show at the Hollywood Palladium that generated a terrific buzz in the industry.
The two spoke recently about how the Internet has shaped their millennial peer group, noting that younger people have come to define themselves through social media and that their romantic relationships often start and end online. Pall and Taggart, who met in New York but are now based in Los Angeles, frequently write about how relationships work in the Internet age, and “Side Effects” is no different. The lyrics of the catchy, disco-inflected tune, sung by their friend Emily Warren, have a story line where the protagonist finds herself drunk and alone late at night and struggles with the temptation to call an ex.
The two Chainsmokers also discussed how they have evolved from being DJ’s simply playing and mixing other people’s music to musicians in their own right; they feel that this was something they had to do in order to remain relevant and to grow as artists. These days, sometimes they play live with a backing band and sometimes they just play records they way they did in the early days. It all depends on where they’re performing and how they feel that evening.
It’s great to see The Chainsmokers doing so well. They are one of the most important and popular acts on the music scene today, and they are pioneering a new sound that mixes the best of the old and the new.
Alex Pall was recently interviewed after releasing the song “Closer” which features Halsey. Pall spoke about working with Halsey, calling her incredible. Halsey was number one on their list of artists that The Chainsmokers desperately wanted to work with, so finally being able to do so was awesome for them. She was so high on the list because of who she is. She’s unique and has a very strong voice, but beyond that Pall calls her “un-apologetically her” which is just the kind of artist that The Chainsmokers like to work with.
Closer was their first song that featured one of the duo singing on their own tracks instead of just featuring other artists. This was a big step in the right direction for The Chainsmokers, and also a huge step in finding their own identity as music artists. The song was completely written by Andrew Taggart and one of their friends while they were touring as well.
Since forming, their audience has expanded quite a bit, making their identity even harder to pin down. They originally were just a DJ duo for college kids, but now their audience has people over 30 and under 15 in it, which means on their tours, they now have to actually think about their shows. Pall doesn’t want to just put on a set list and blast it for the audience like they used to do, he wants to actually perform these awesome songs for the people.
With that in mind, the duo have been changing the way their live shows work. There has always been some performance element to their shows, but now that Taggart is singing on their tracks, it is going to be different. They’re currently putting on a festival type show, with a lot of production, short acts, and their DJing. Their first show at Red Rocks sold out 7 months in advance, proving that they are definitely moving in the right direction with their showmanship. Unlike other DJs now a days, The Chainsmokers have always performed their songs live, the singing just adds a new element to that.