Music duo The Chainsmokers- composed of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart- began as DJs but have pushed themselves past that label and are now becoming a musical force.
Both began DJing while young and getting some shows in the New York City area. Initially they were introduced by a mutual friend and Pall’s manager and had an instant rapport. Taggart moved from his native Maine to New York and they began making music immediately. They share both a musical sense as well as a drive to keep pushing themselves forward musically.
Having willfully stepped outside of “traditional” DJing and branching into other genres the duo have kept in step with each other creatively. Pall speaks repeatedly about their process together, how they conceptualize songs and even whole albums before beginning any sort of planning process. They discuss ideas and themes together to see if they are in sync and if there really is enough feeling and meaning to them to make it into material.
They also share a desire to explore more meaningful content than what most would expect from a dance or electronic DJ duo. Taggart describes some at the time unreleased songs the duo has written as crossing several lines, between “indie, pop music, dance music, and hip-hop.” Both talk about how their hits at the time of the interview (May 2016) were actually music they had made a couple of years ago. The process of holding on to newer songs while the public has time to work through their current material has left them with a lengthy back catalog of unreleased material.
Much time at the end of the interview is given over to their live shows and the other ways they have broken some of the norms for DJs. They discuss working with singer Halsey as a dream and describe how they decided to have Taggart perform vocals on a song. They compare these events and an ever changing live show as a way for them to embrace their role as not only DJs but as musicians and how doing so helps them attract a broad audience of multiple age groups.