The DJ is the new rock star. Top tier guys or gals are compensated in the hundreds of thousands and even million dollar deals. Although purists will say it’s all about the music on some levels imaging plays an important role. The Chainsmokers, comprised of Drew Taggart (22) and Alex Pall (27), are a unique New York City based Producer / DJ duo. They are brash, sarcastic and making a mark. They, I am told, are the next big thing.
Apart from their unique personalities, some things worthy of mentioning are: Both graduated from prestigious North-Eastern Universities, they like hot chicks, a good burger and have been rejected from many of the clubs that they now play at. The duo currently hold residencies at NYC clubs like 1OAK, SL, Riff Raffs, SL East (Hamptons), South Pointe (Hamptons), and have shared nights with deejays like Calvin Harris, Avicii, R3Hab, Wolfgang Gartner, Max Vangeli, Alesso, Steve Aoki, and Joachim Garraud.
The Chainsmokers also made a compilation mix for Armin Van Buuren's Napith record label. While they maintain a love for house music of all varieties, the two also blend in, rock, hip hop, soul and dubstep into their sets and feel every crowd requires a different style and energy of music.
The Chainsmokers have played events for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), Microsoft Bing and New York Fashion Week. They have spun for Jay-Z, Rihanna, Tiesto, Bruno Mars, Busta Rhymes, Usher, Lebron James, Usher, Ne-Yo, Drake, and more.
With a resume to die for there is still much more big things to come for these two gents.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): First off, where does the name come from?
Alex Pall: I used to be an addict. Now I spin electronic and smoke electronic.
NCC: You are touring DJ's and producers. How does a duo of DJ's work together? Do you challenge each other? Do you sometimes disagree in the middle of a set and how do you at that moment get back to synergy?
Pall: Well not unlike any co-worker situation or partnership… we both have our strengths and weaknesses that we are aware of. Generally though, we settle everything with a potato sack race if the situations get really tense, if that doesn’t work whiskey and a hug. It’s about balance though and remaining calm, the only thing that gets in the way of anything good is ego so if you can keep that at bay its really not difficult to stay on the good foot.
NCC: You have opened or shared nights with some bold faced names in the industry. Do you listen closely to learn and borrow? How do you obtain music?
Pall: It is important to always stay on top of what is new and ‘breaking’ but there is a serious listening curve for the public so the newest song, while it might be great, won't win over the crowd like a song from a couple weeks ago. It would be great to trail blaze new music like the biggest house names in the world eventually, but again it’s a balance of that and playing your own originals and remixes in with the popular stuff.
Drew Taggart: We follow many of my favorite producers closely via social media and soundcloud and that has proved to be a reliable way of discovering new music in addition to certain blogs. Although I do think that nowadays, beyond original music, you have to be able to communicate it with a personality that’s different than the guy next to you.
NCC: As DJ/Producers what equipment is preferred?
Taggart: We do all of our productions in Ableton Live. We are using an old DDR stomp pad that we converted into a midi control for the majority of our productions. We feel that if you are dancing while you create the music, there is a better chance that people will play it at their parties. This is in fact proven…. As far as live sets, 3 or 4 CDJ 2000’s and a Pioneer DJM-900 mixer…
NCC: Do you wake up in a bed sometimes and wonder what city you are in?
Pall: Yes all the time, but Alzheimer’s runs in both our families. But generally, it’s the bloody front desk with their check out call… so the first thought isn’t where are we but why is check out time at 11AM… we hate check out times!
NCC: You are based in House but include all sorts of genres in your set. Is the concept of describing touring DJ's in a genre obsolete?
Pall: I think that each and every DJ is known for something. Usually success seems to come from knowing what you’re getting at a certain standard level, and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll get more that night. I think if you ask a concert/nightclub promoter what a DJ is like he will use words like progressive, commercial, happy, dark… so I guess it depends who you’re talking to.
NCC: Your agent describes you guys as very good looking. Tell me how important imaging is. How do you dress for success?
Pall: 2 words, ADAM ALPERT
NCC: Drew is a new member. What does he bring to the organization? How has he changed Chainsmokers?
Pall: Well, to be honest, not much… I was really excited about this guy but so far all he seems to want to do is eat food and play with this dumb turtle he bought recently. I think he thinks cause he went to Syracuse (wink wink) he can just coast along like cookies and cream…. But he has made me feel older, and he is also an excellent producer…
NCC: Combined you are under 50 years of age. I got shoes older than either and both of you. Is youth important to the culture? How do you stay connected?
Pall: Steve you handsome old-timer, we may be fairly young but on the other hand we are quite old relative to animals such as cats and dogs.
Taggart: If you have and are doing something meaningful that you truly believe in, that’s all that matters, but more often than not you definitely should make efforts to stay connected in what is young and new or you become irrelevant. We also try to stay ahead of the curve and create experiences and music that unique to us and hence our youth.
NCC: Your dream DJ gig?
Taggart: I'd like to play a full tech house set for a group of British people, they seem to always enjoy anything as long as it’s loud and executed well.
NCC: Where can we follow you?
Pall: You can check out new music and our unusual banter and updates at the following places:
Our twitter can get a little weird and we will be regularly updating our soundcloud with brand new remixes and original content on Monday! This Friday we are opening up for our buddies, Timeflies, at a sold out show at Terminal 5, Saturday we are headlining at one of our favorites, LAVO New York and for all of October we hit the road with a 10 city college tour, and then to Asia in November.