We threw a few Qs at Alex and Drew of The Chainsmokers, in celebration of the release of their debut album, Memories… Do Not Open.
Do you both work on the Nice Hair podcast? How long does it usually take to put together, and what kind of feedback do you get from fans?
Yes we do, we always share music so all the tracks you hear are a blend of what we are into and listening to. We mix it ourselves as well; it’s important for us to remain hands-on with it, and we opt for once a month because there isn’t enough new music released every week.
With feedback, honestly, not a lot (haha). Sometimes people say “Hey, I love your show” but it’s not too often. We know people listen and love it but it’s not the first thing that’s usually brought up. What we like recently is inviting guest mixers on – usually really talented up-and-comers – to do the mix with us.
How does the dynamic of the songwriting process work – Drew do you begin with lyrics and Alex creates the rad drops to fit them, or do you bounce off of one another simultaneously?
We really bounce off each other simultaneously. We are always together and always work, so it’s sort of like the expression, ‘the chicken or the egg’. Sometimes the process starts with an awesome lyric we love and sometimes it starts with a cool sound we created or found.
Tell us about the title of the new album.
The album title came about for a number of important reasons. First off, we all have this box – you know the box that you have to put all your most cherished belongings in when your parents decide to turn your old bedroom into a gym? It’s usually this box that holds your dearest and most personal memories and experiences. So for us, the box was a perfection representation for our album. We also feel like we have personally been put in this box by the public – who they think we are and what we are about – so we are literally saying: you want to know what we are about and who we are, and we are literally opening ourselves up. Visually, also, it’s a departure from our older cover art that always featured the box, so the box now takes a physical representation, closing one chapter and beginning another.
When it comes to working with vocalists such as Halsey, do you pen the tunes with a particular artist in mind, or do you search for a voice to fit the feel?
It always changes, but it’s most important to us that whoever is the feature artist, that song comes first. We like to work with artists who can open up a song and give it deeper meaning, and we have been really lucky because all the artists we have worked with have done just that, and added new context to it.
Who’s your favourite act to see live?
Die Antwoord!!! Man, what a crazy show they put on, [it’s] truly remarkable!
How did the collaboration with Coldplay and Chris Martin come about on Something Just Like This? What were they like to work with?
We had heard that they listened to our music before their shows sometimes, and we reached out to ask if they might ever want to get together, and we got lucky because they did. They were extremely easy to work with, and we don’t mean like complacent; they are so involved and care so much about the music, which made it even more fun. We’ve never made a song the same way this one came together. We were in the studio and we found some chords we all liked, and next thing you know Chris jumps up and starts freestyling. A few hours later he had written the verses!
When are you bringing your vibes Down Under?
Hopefully in the fall [Australia’s spring]. We heard some rumblings that we were working on some dates! We pray its true!
Is there anyone you haven’t collaborated with that you’d love to? Anyone you’ve got lined up?
Nothing we can talk about, but we would love to work with Kanye West.