Making an early name for themselves by adding a progressive touch to big-name indie tracks, The Chainsmokers got the attention of the nation with release of highly touted single "#Selfie” last year. They rode that momentum into a successful release of Bouquet, a five song EP highlighted by aptly-named single “Roses.”
Here's our chat with Alex Pall, one half of the electronic duo before they stop at the Old National Centre Wednesday.
NUVO: To me, your newer music is you guys going back to your roots in indie-progressive house.
Pall: It’s kind of funny that you say that because we don’t feel like we ever departed from that. Our thing is we love indie music and we love doing remixes and that felt like something that was really unique to us. At the time not a lot of people listened to them, now that’s changed. Ultimately our goal has always been to make cool pop music that felt like it was progressing towards something. We didn’t want to make stage music. We didn’t want to chase friends. We just wanted to make music that felt acceptable and catchy and cool. I think there’s always a red line through all of our stuff. Even with “Selfie”, “Kanye” and “Let You Go” there’s something inherently Chainsmokers about all them. I think as producers you always want to make new and exciting stuff and that’s always a challenge for us and that’s where our heads are at right now.
NUVO: From following your tour videos, the progression of your live show really shows your evolution as a duo in the last year and a half.
Pall: We don’t ever want to turn into this pop machine where it’s just generic vocals. We get these vocals and we write vocals all the time and we’re like “this is dope” but is this the direction we really want to go? That’s ultimately the hard decision whether we finish a song or don’t. We want people to feel like when they listen to us they haven’t listened to us 100 times before because there are lot of groups that are dope and big but whatever they did in 2014 felt like what they did in 2013 and what they’re doing in 2015. It’s easy to get stuck in a formula and give people the same thing over and over again when there is some success. You see a song have success you try and replicate in your own way. So I think that’s unexciting for your fans. Then you’re serving a different purpose than what we initially set out for. Right now we’re working on a song and we don’t even know what people are going to think of it but it feels good. And that’s what is exciting to us.
NUVO: What can fans expect from The Chainsmokers at the Indianapolis stop on The Friendzone tour?
Pall: That’s right in the heart of it so hopefully we’ll have all the kinks worked out. So far the tour has been awesome but there’s always things we’re improving on and making better. So by then we should have a really solid show. But we’re working on music on the road so they’ll hear lots of new stuff. That’s what’s cool about our bus studio is we’re always making new content. And then these are Chainsmokers shows. The people that are there are really there to hear our stuff and see us which is really exciting for us. It’s not a club show where half the crowd is there just because they want to get laid. It’s our first hard ticket bus tour and our support is awesome.
NUVO: Your TomorrowWorld video was nuts. Is that the craziest story you’ve got?
Pall: There are so many weird stories I can’t even begin to get into them. It seems like every day there’s some new weird thing that happens. I think there’s some syndrome or symptom of traveling so much that you never remember what you do like two days ago. It’s like a temporary state of being senile or something. We always get asked what crazy thing happens on tour — and crazy things happen — but I can never recall them.
NUVO: It’s important to continue to evolve your brand, so what are you guys looking forward to in 2016?
Pall: We have a couple of singles done already that we’re beyond excited about. When we finished them we were like “these are the two right here.” Obviously you never know until they come out but we’re just going to keep putting out content and keep making cool videos. To us the videos are a really great example of us as artists. We understand ourselves as musicians and the music that we make. To try and tell that story visually is a really big challenge for us. We’ve had successes and some failures but I feel like that’s an area in 2016 that we want to dive into more. You want to be involved as much as possible but we’re not conductors and producers in the truest sense so it’s hard for us to relinquish that control to someone else but have them share the vision and capture the mood of the song that we want and then make something that people want to watch over and over again. That’s what we’re pushing hard for in 2016.
Obviously we want to develop our live show more and do cool things around that. This tour is a first step in our stage production. It’s really exciting and a big important moment but it’s a baby step in our growth.