[INTERVIEW] The Chainsmokers Talk Quarter-Life Crises & Weird Dreams
February 12th, 2014
The Chainsmokers, who have been together for little over a year, shot to fame in 2013 thanks to the electronic music blog scene and online streaming services, like Hype Machine. Thanks to their endearing social media presence and undeniably fun performances, the NYC-based duo has garnered a serious fan following. Their unique progressive house take on indie tracks sounds refreshing and their general approach to life is infectious. We had a chance to speak with The Chainsmokers during their #SelfieTour, and chatted about food, beer, crises, and wacky dreams.
You’re both in your mid-20s, which can be a tough time for some people and you’re clearly struggling (ha). Have you had quarter-life crises? Do you think you will, or are you saving the angst for your 40s?
Good question, ’cause this is something everyone can relate to – the anxieties and stresses of growing up and trying to build something sustainable and profitable and having fun. Truth is, even though we are beyond fortunate to be in the position we find ourselves in, we still have that same anxiety. NYC itself is such a rat race, it’s almost inherently in us. No matter what we do, and how successful – if successful at all – we are always thinking, “what next,” or “what if.” We don’t think a minute has gone by where we sat back and just said, “cool, everything is going great, let’s take a vacation.”
“Everything in life is so fleeting and temporal, the word entropy also comes to mind. We really want to push it all to the max for as long as we possibly can because that feeling of “what if” is always gnawing at the back of our minds.”
As far as career-wise, this is what we love and want to do. Do we wanna be playing shows at 50? Maybe not, who knows. Music is the be all and end all. You want suddenly go to our page and see a status, “left to go surfing forever good-bye.”?
You’ve been a duo for around a year or so, but we read that you both have been producing music for much longer. What is the thing you dislike most about being DJs/producers?
That’s simple. None, and we mean none, of your friends who don’t either produce or DJ/work in music really get it. To them, we imagine they think we are sitting at home with our remote and pressing play and banging on our keyboard and voila. Explaining to our friends in other fields or our girlfriends’ parents [what we do] has been tricky.
What is your most embarrassing performance moment? If you don’t have one, what do you expect it to be?
Oh man that’s easy. We had a show at UMichigan – which is a badass party school – in the dead of winter and legit maybe 45 people showed up We don’t place blame on anyone, but looking back, it was a recipe for disaster. It was a Wednesday, the space was huge and on campus (so no booze), there was a Basketball game going on at same time, the promoters didn’t involve any greek life and it was -10 [degrees]. We still tried our best to show those 45 ppl a good time and we hung out with everyone after but we felt like huge pieces of shit.
How do you prepare for shows?
Patron, Fireball Whiskey, Drake, a nap and espresso.
You’ve said in past interviews that when you’re off-duty you like to , listen to more relaxing music instead of in-your-face electro, as well as music off of Hype Machine. Is there anyone that you listen to in your spare time that you would love to collaborate with?
That’s like Pandora’s box! RAC, Flume/What So Not, Daughter, Haim, Chrvhes, Say Lou Lou, Smallpools, Kyla La Grange, The Weekend, Birdy, Ed Sheeran, Naked and Famous, London Grammar and on and on and on.
Are there any contemporary artists that you look up to? Or any contemporary artists whose music you wish you made?
Madeon, Zedd, The Weeknd, What So Not, Mat Zo, and Calvin Harris.
Many of the other interviews we’ve read have asked you about how you feel about being so sexy, but being sexy is so 2013. What we want to know is, who can grow a bigger beard?
Did people ask us about being sexy? We totally missed that. Definitely Alex. He always tries growing it out big and then sees a photo where he looks like some predator and then immediately shaves it, we hope one day he gets over it.
You both now live in New York City, which is known for being, well, New York City. Do you have any 4AM food spot recommendations?
Yes!! Le Express, Bubbys, Artichoke Pizza, Cafeteria, San Loco – all solid spots.
[Writer’s note: Artichoke Pizza is the BOMB. Highly recommended]
On a completely unrelated note, what is the weirdest dream you’ve had in the past 6 months? Would have it been different if there was a tiger involved?
No joke, I (Alex) have had the strangest dreams in the last two days. Two days ago, I was running from zombies on a beach and the only way for them not to eat you was to eat sand.
“Last night, I dreamed I was drugged at a party, kidnapped, given a penis extension surgery that went horrible wrong, and then killed myself.”
For the record, if whomever kidnapped me had seen my penis they would know that would not have been necessary.
Lastly, what is your favorite craft beer? Would you ever consider quitting the music game and becoming micro brewers?
Bud Light which is not a craft beer; we prefer patron. So no micro brewers for us.
Do you have any surprises in store for your shows this week?
They wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you now would it!