This is high season for the Chainsmokers. The duo of Alex Pall and Andrew “Drew” Taggart is steamrolling through a vastly successful tour complete with a massive stage set––12 trucks, seven busses, 100,000 lbs. of lighting fixtures and an elevator with a DJ booth. The 2017 Grammy winners, whose ”Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya took honors for Best Dance Recording, are ruling the airwaves with singles like “Closer” and “Paris” from their No. 1 collection Memories…Do Not Open.
On this afternoon, one day after the duo took home Billboard Awards for Top Dance/Electronic Artist, Top Dance Song, Hot 100 Song and Collaboration (for “Closer”)––in addition to performing “Young” on the show––Andrew “Drew” Taggart sounds energized and effortless as he calls in for this exclusive Music Connection interview. He begins by expressing his appreciation for an opportunity to talk to a music publication on the subject of music. “Sometimes,” he wryly notes, “people want to talk about other things.”
Music Connection: We have been reading reviews from the different cities you are visiting on this epic Memories…Do Not Open Tour that is taking you across the U.S. and around the world. It sounds as if audiences are really getting off on the spectacle that you are presenting.
Andrew “Drew” Taggart: We’re having a great time––it’s a very fulfilling show for us to put on. We brought on a band, but we still maintain the DJ set and vibe. It’s something very unique andan honor to be able to bring this sound and experience into Des Moines, IA and Louisville, KY, cities that probably don’t have a dance scene at all. I remember when other artists did that for me. It feels like we’re the first kind of dance music experience some of these people are having, and that’s cool.
MC: With the massive popularity that you’ve achieved this year, has there ever been any backlash from fans who might feel that your success with a wider audience has taken you away from them?
Taggart: I’m sure some people feel that way. I remember feeling that way about artists when I had discovered them through their earlier stuff. Now I’m in that position as an artist. We’ve been lucky enough to have fans for a couple of years, and in those couple of years we’ve changed. You have to respect your fans and where you come from, but you can’t let it hinder you or be imprisoned by what they think about you. I feel like every artist has to grow.
MC: You have a live band with you on tour, correct?
Taggart: It’s about 50/50 between the live instruments and DJing. We have a drummer, and we use a lot of synth and piano, because those are the instruments we use in the studio.
MC: Are you still using Ableton as your go-to digital audio workstation (DAW) program?
Taggart: Yes, some people work on Logic or ProTools or other DAW’s. I only know Ableton. It’s funny how it's influenced how I create music.
MC: How so?
Taggart: I use clips in the Session View as a bulletin board for ideas. I’ll do a piano riff and beats, and random samples on that page and it’s like a songwriting collage. If you only have the Arrangement View like ProTools or Logic when you write, the section is in the song already. You play it exactly where it’s supposed to be. In Ableton, you can experiment with a beat and it sounds cool. I like that opportunity for making something that you didn’t expect.