Mic Tee took some time to talk to The Chainsmokers, the NY-based group responsible for the new internet sensation “#Selfie.” The boys talk to Mic about their love for Toronto, where they got the name The Chainsmokers and what they think about our hometown hero, Drake. Check out the full interview here!
Mic Tee: Thanks so much for joining us guys!
Both: Dude, it’s our pleasure, thanks so much for having us on. No one usually wants to talk with us.
Mic Tee: I don’t know about that, I’m sure everyone is trying to get some time with you now. Right off the bat, congratulations on all your success; you guys literally came out from nowhere and just blew up on the scene!
Andrew: That’s how we do, we’re like little ninjas; we like to sneak attack
Mic Tee: Well how does it feel to finally get the attention and recognition you two have worked so hard for?
Alex: Imagine going to sleep on May 16 and waking up and it being Christmas.
Drew: Unexpected and awesome at the same time!
Mic Tee: Now for the fans out there who don’t know, you are both living in New York, but Drew you’re originally from Maine right? How’d you guys even meet and link up?
Drew: Yeah, I went to school in Syracuse and was producing for Interscope for a while. It was great and I was working on a lot of other artist’s stuff. After I graduated, I moved to New York and that’s where I met Alex.
Alex: We linked up when we had a mutual friend who we both worked with individually and the next thing you know, it’s hard to explain…It’s kind of like two best friends that never knew each other but came together and just started hitting it off.
Drew: Our friend was interning at our management company at the time and we one day had a couple beers together, talked about things that we were interested in accomplishing and that was that.
Mic Tee: Now I’ve heard that both of you don’t even smoke.
Alex: No we don’t smoke. It’s like a funny misleading name I guess. It’s one of those things where if we can go back and change our names, not sure if we necessarily would, but we’d probably go for something more prestige.
Mic Tee: So is there a story or a meaning behind the name then?
Drew: Well, you know how hard it is to get a name that’s free across all domains? Like a Twitter handle, a dot com, Instagram, you know SoundCloud, and this name just happened to be wide open right across the board.
Mic Tee: So it was literally just availability?
Alex: Yeah, totally. It was either ‘The Chainsmokers’ or ‘The Hamburglers.’
Mic Tee: So you two are now working with Dim Mak right? What’s the situation exactly right now label and signed-wise?
Alex: Yup, well we signed a three song deal with them [Dim Mak] and since then we are actually now signed to Republic Records.
Mic Tee: How did you initially get connected with Dim Mak?
Drew: Initially we had this song “#Selfie.” We released it as a free edit and got unbelievable feedback that was just overwhelmingly positive. Actually, at the time we weren’t exactly sure if we had released the best song in the world or the worst song in the world.
But we decided to try and get it signed to a dance music label, sent it out to a bunch of them and as we were waiting we had realized that we hadn’t even sent it to Dim Mak. Which was weird to us ‘cause they were actually perfect. It just made most sense, they’re American, they love dance music, they’re creative and overall just idols of ours. So we sent it to our friend, Oliver Luckett, who had close relations with Dim Mak, he jumped on the phone and before we could even get a response from any of the other labels, Dim Mak contacted us.
Mic Tee: Ok, now I’m going to quote something I read on your website here ‘They find that parts of things that people actually give a shit about, whatever they may be, and focus on creating and improving those part.’ So was that the process that you took for “#Selfie?” The Selfie phenomenon was kind of a thing that was already going on and you guys came in and basically put it on a whole ‘nother level.
Alex: Yeah, I mean I think that’s kind of our humour and even with our remixes. We take the best parts of the song, we think, and we try to put a Chainsmoker spin on it; which in our opinion brings out the best part of the original song, what we think at least. So that can be a melody, or when it comes to “#Selfie” we saw this cultural phenomenon occurring and the great thing about the concept behind a selfie is that it’s very interactive, you’re taking a picture of yourself and sharing it on social media.
So we wanted to pull that into a song and you have this very multi-dimensional concept. So naturally with the video aspect and the social media aspect, things just kind of happened. So not to ramble on, but recently there was a Washington Post article about the song and the phenomenon behind it, but it took a very negative spin to it. They say that things like “Gangnam Style” or “Harlem Shake” are all generated by corporations and we’re all just puppets in their bigger scheme and I don’t think that’s true at all. I mean in “#Selfie” there’s no product placement, everyone in the video is a friend of ours or some sort of networking we’ve done from homies, there’s no corporate giant behind this at all. It’s taken a very organic course, all the remixes that were submitted is someone who took the time to rip the song or buy the song and post it on our SoundCloud. It’s sad that we can’t just have a fun thing without putting such a negative spin to it.
Mic Tee: Yeah, well I’m real glad to hear that ‘cause at the end of the day, seeing you guys in concert, hearing your songs and just talking to you guys now, you seem like just really cool dudes that I would probably hangout with!
Drew: Yeah, well that’s really what we are.
Drew: We like to have sex with hot women, we like cheeseburgers, we watch House of Cards and Game of Thrones, we get yelled at by our girlfriends when we have them and I think that’s just our thing. We’re just two regular guys who do what you do, watch what you do and are just trying to do something cool and fun.
Mic Tee: Actually, earlier today I saw you guys post a picture that said ‘Fun Fact: Chainsmokers love hot chicks in yoga pants and burgers.’
Alex: Yeah, I guess it’s a music service called Music Choice on cable TV and I guess they were playing “#Selfie.” A buddy of ours was watching it and sending us these funny facts while they were playing it and he sent me 20 facts and that was the only fact that was true. The rest of them were totally not true! Not that they were outlandish like ‘Alex landed on the moon,’ but they were like ‘Alex went to school for music,’ and I was like ‘uuuh…no I didn’t.’ Don’t believe everything you see on Music Choice.
Mic Tee: Now the music video you guys got a couple cool features. I see Steve Aoki, ok that makes sense, you got Snoop Dogg, alright that’s cool, but then the HOFF pops up! David Hasselhoff himself is in your music video. How did you guys even get him?!
Alex: Well you know, LinkedIn is a very powerful…no just kidding.
Alex: A friend of ours who works with Dim Mak who’s friends with David suggested that we could reach out to him as long as it wasn’t going to embarrass him or anything, which was definitely not our motive. We were honored to have him in our video and we thought he was the funniest one in our video, and the fact he took the time to do this for us when we were nobodies. At the time we only had like 100,000 fans and maybe 50,000 SoundCloud followers which isn’t nothing, but to have David Hasselhoff take his time off for us is pretty cool.
Drew: And I guess the lesson for that is that if you never ask you’ll never know!
Mic Tee: There you go. So you guys are big indie fans obviously based on your remixes, that Chromeo remix is dope as hell by the way, but I’ve also heard you guys mention Drake on your iPods too.
Drew: Yeah. Well, I know he’s not everyone’s favorite rapper or musician but he’s reinventing the genre of hip hop currently. I think it’s getting harder as he gets deeper and deeper into it, but songs like “Marvin’s Room,” “Take Care,” or even “Started from the Bottom,” and even some of his older stuff he’s one of the best writers, and he writes it all. You have to think about it, listen to a Katy Perry song, who by the way is one of the best also, she’s writing these amazing songs…you know I would like to think on her own but not necessary all the time.
You look at a Drake album and he’s writing that whole album. And not just 20-25 liners these are like 300-400 lines. Which is why the Kendrick Lamars, and Chance the Rappers, and School Boy Qs, people don’t like thinking of them as songwriters, but they definitely are!
Mic Tee: So you guys big hip hop heads?
Alex: Uhh, yes and no, it’s funny lately when we get picked up from the airport or something we’ll tell people to put on hip hop but we like to pride ourselves for having knowledge about all different genres of music.
Mic Tee: I don’t know if you guys know this but Drake is actually from Toronto, also home of BestFan, but you guys were here earlier this month right? How’d you guys like it?
Drew: It was one of the best shows we’ve played like to this date. That’s a city that has had our backs even before “#Selfie.” So we have a special place in our hearts for the fans there.
Mic Tee: You guys are coming to a close of phase one of your tour. I know there were talks of a phase two. What can we expect?
Alex: Yeah, there’s a lot of big things we’ll be announcing soon. We have a lot of stuff this summer Miami Music Week and Ultra, Mystery Land, Asia Tour, Austrailia Tour so we’re pretty excited.
Mic Tee: You guys mentioned this already but there are a bunch of remixes to “#Selfie” out there right now. Any favourites? Ones that stand out?
Drew: You know…to be honest with you, I don’t like any of them.
Drew: Uh…I love those parody ones, and I don’t blame the remixes. The problem is they’re taking the vocals and lying them over other tracks and sounds… too much is going on. I would love to hear someone using the instrumentals or vocals as is and dropping it into something different. I know Too Loud did a decent one and some other guys, but for the official remixes coming out we have some dope dudes lined up that are going to fucking kick this one out the park.
Mic Tee: Who is the girl on “#Selfie” anyway?
Alex: That’s our homegirl Alexis, she’s just a friend of ours. She doesn’t even work in the industry but she’s literally just someone we party with a lot. She came over the day we had the idea. We ended up asking her if she’d do a couple vocals for us and it was a real team effort in terms of the concepts we wanted to run with. We couldn’t have done it without the female touch.
Mic Tee: Obviously, we are BestFan.com so we like to ask our guests, what are you a best fan of?
Drew: Uh…we love YouJizz.com can we say that…? No just kidding.
Drew: House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Qdoba (Mexican Grill), Canadian girls we are massive fans of! Not that we don’t like the dudes too…
Alex: That’s pretty much the essence of our life right there.
Mic Tee: Well, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us.
Both: Thank you, no problem it’s always a pleasure to speak with you and BestFan this was cool!
Mic Tee: Well I wish you guys the best. Keep continuing to do you and be successful!
Alex: Yeah for sure you better support that next single too!
Mic Tee: Will do for sure. Thanks a lot guys.
Both: Thanks everyone!