The Chainsmokers’ entire brand is pretty much this: They make inescapable EDM-pop hits, and they are assholes. That’s pretty much it. The latter part of that equation is something that’s been well-established in the past year, from the goofy Lady Gaga beef to the time they blamed MTV for making them sound like shit at the VMAs. (There’s also the time they posted their combined dick sizes on their website.) But in a new NME feature, the two members of the duo go into damage-control mode, attempting to present themselves as something other than partytime scumbags.
Talking to NME, Drew Taggart, the Chainsmoker who sings sometimes, says, “People are like, ‘Oh my God, they’re such bros.’ And we’re like, ‘No! We’re making fun of bros!'”
Meanwhile, Alex Pall, the Chainsmoker who never sings, says, “I hope people can walk away from this article with a deeper sense of our purpose as artists and our true characters. We’re in this grey area where people are like, ‘I don’t get it, are these guys assholes or not?’ I promise you, we’re not assholes.”
In the piece, they take some responsibility for their image, claiming that they first blew up before they had any idea how to handle it and expressing some embarrassment for the Billboard cover story where they said that they were mostly drawn to music for the “pussy.” About the way they came off in that story, Pall says:
It affects you, because you don’t know how people are going to see that — [whether they’ll] take it at face value and walk away feeling you are that person. It’s not about apologizing and back-pedalling. It’s about… I don’t want to say becoming better people, because that sounds cheesy. Just keeping it real, and understanding that not everyone’s on your team. Move forward. Make responsible decisions. Think about what it might look like to a kid who’s 10 years old, seeing what we do – how that might impact on the way they listen to our music and enjoy our antics.
And of the lyrics in a song like the monster chart-topper “Closer,” which seems to sort of demonize Taggart’s ex, Pall says, “It’s Drew writing Drew, talking about those times when you’re not your best self and owning it. No one should feel that they have to be perfect. And we can be role models if we own our mistakes.”
The whole article is worth reading, and you can check it out here. But speaking personally — as in, absolutely nobody else at Stereogum seems to agree with me on this — I honestly don’t care if they’re dipshits or not. The Chainsmokers make catchy and effective pop songs, and those songs don’t become any less catchy or effective if the people who made them are out there acting like shitbags.
Also of note: The Chainsmokers will make their SNL debut on the 4/8 episode. Louis CK will host.