"#SELFIE is a novelty track, and we are not novelty artists" – hmv.com talks to The Chainsmokers
If you've been in a club, or in a gym, or even out in public over the last few weeks, chances are you'll have heard the The Chainsmokers' smash hit '#SELFIE', which celebrates the art of, well, taking a #SELFIE. It's had over 52 million viewers on YouTube and been played on radio across the world and we caught up with Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall to find out how the track came into being…
How has 2014 been for you so far?
"We could sit here and ramble on about how much has changed and how incredible it's been, but we prefer to use a metaphor. So imagine this you're a golden retriever and you want into a room, and that room is filled with milk, bones and tennis balls. Then someone starts throwing all these balls and bones all over the place. So basically blissful madness."
Your single '#SELFIE' has brought you worldwide attention; can you tell us where the inspiration to make the track came from?
"People keep asking us what inspired us to make #SELFIE and it’s a funny question to answer because the song itself is just fun. We are jokers and mess around with all sorts of stupid ideas, some we act on and some we don’t. We made this song in about 2 hours. We thought it was funny and liked the interactive relatable nature of it and thought lets put it out."
"At the time we weren’t sure if it was the stupidest idea ever or the best. But we can’t sit here and lie and pretend we had this huge grand vision about how selfies and social media inspired it. However, soon after we released it for free, we realized the potential it had."
What was it about the idea of a '#SELFIE' that made you want to celebrate it in this way?
"Well we aren’t really trying to celebrate the #SELFIE or put it down. The notion of a selfie though perfectly embodies the nature of the song, this sort of selfish obsession with ourselves and vanity and social media. So it made sense to us to use that as the jumping point. We don’t see anything wrong with #SELFIEs though, go for it."
"Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig was quoted saying that anyone can Google a tree or the sky and see it, but you can't Google what Sarah's wearing tonight, so in some respects #Selfies are great. That said we aren’t trying to be the authority on what makes a good selfie, we don’t give a fuck about that. The song is a satire, it's meant to be fun and relatable, it's entertainment."
Who is the girl who delivers the monologue? How did you find her?
"That’s our homegirl Alexis Killacam. She is a good mate of ours and parties with us a bunch. When we came up with the concept for the song we needed a voice and Alexis has this great voice. She happened to have an hour of free time and came over. It was definitely a collaborative effort and she was pefect. She came up with a ton of good ideas and helped us with the girl perspective we lacked big time!"
The video has had over 52 million views on YouTube, which is pretty amazing. What was it like filming that?
"It was a fucking nightmare. At first we just had this funny concept just for a short video. Get two hot girls Lindsey and Casey to be in the bathroom lip-syncing the lines. We shot that in about an hour with our director producer friend Ike Love Jones. He is great at brainstorming little concepts, but as the songs potential grew we knew we needed more."
How did you get more?
"We got our buddy Taylor from the Audience and he helped edit the video and use footage of Steve Aoki and us and all the submitted footage to really create an entertaining narrative. As for getting the submitted footage, the fan stuff was easy, and we got lots of it. When it came to our DJ buddies and celebrities in it, which was just a lot of begging, calling in favours and cold calling. We really lucked out though and got some great people involved and we owe a lot to those who took a leap of faith on this video for us and submitted a selfie!"
How did you manage to get David Hasselhoff to appear in the video?
"We owe that to Lorne from Dim Mak. He is close with David and when were discussing who we could have be a part of the video, Lorne suggested David might be interested and sure enough an hour later we had the most amazing clip ever from the Hoff! Thank you David!"
Would you say 'Selfie' is fair representation of your material? Or is it a one-off?
"You haven’t listened to our other stuff, TNDER, Seamlessweb, Flappy Birds. We only make music about applications and social phenomena jokes! No #SELFIE definitely represents who we are as people, we are self deprecating, love a good laugh and entertainment and saw a lot of fun to be had with this, and the production on the track is actually bossy, but style wise no, #SELFIE is a novelty track, and we are not novelty artists."
"We have put out about 20 remixes last year alone and 15 of them hit #1 on Hypemachine. We love melody driven work with authentic vocals. #SELFIE isn’t a huge derivation from our other work although sound wise it seems like that. We will continue to do things that we think are cool, or fun and interesting because that’s what interests us. So maybe down the road we do another song like this, but it wont be because we are thinking damn we need another track like #SELFIE."
You've remixed a lot of big tracks over the last couple of years, are you still carrying on with that?
"Yes, that’s our bread and butter, remixing is so fun, the ability to work with artists you might not ever be able to and put spins on tracks we love, its very special. We will continue to release a remix about every 2-3 weeks."
Will there be a Chainsmokers album any time soon?
"Who knows, there is something very appealing about doing an album, it allows you to tell more of a story then just singles for radio, and trust us, there is a lot of work style wise that we have that probably wont be suited for the mainstream and having an album allows you to put that out. We hope someday we can do this, but for now dance music and mainstream is a singles world."
Which vocalists would you most love to collaborate with? And why?
"Bastille Dan, Chris Martin, Katy perry, Adam Levine, Daughter, Ellie Goulding, Chvrches. These are artists we respect so much for so many reasons."
Have you had a chance to check out Skrillex's album yet? If so, what did you make of it?
"We did and it's awesome. We love Skrillex, beyond the fact he is the nicest guy ever, he works his ass off and constantly finds ways to reinvent his sound without straying away from the fans he made."
Finally, are there any up and coming DJs people should be on lookout for? Any tips?
"Yes. Ourselves obviously. And as for tips. Always condition never, wash…."
The Chainsmokers' new single '#SELFIE' is out now and is available from our download store here.