About a year ago, I moved from a freelance writer to Editor-In-Chief here at Magnetic. Sitting in this chair for the first time, I was shocked... Suddenly I was receiving 200 emails a day- all of them press requests to get new music posted on the site. I tried at the very least to read, and hopefully, listen to all of them, but there was no way. It was just too much.
One day, through all the thirsty 'pick me's' and the endless publicist drone, an email stood out. It was for the Chainsmokers' (Alex Pall & Drew Taggart) remix of ASTR's "Operate". How did it grab my attention? Well first, the song was a free download- always good to post on. Second, it was pretty clear that the artists themselves had wrote the email. It told the story of the track, was written from the heart, and I found myself laughing- these Chainsmokers guys were pretty damn funny.
And then I read this in the track description: "It's like a stripper made of gold that stole your heart and actually gave you her real number." A tear came to my eye, my man parts started to tingle, and boom, the Chainsmokers were getting a post on Magnetic. Oh yeah, the track was pretty solid too-
The cool part was when I sent them the generic "hey here's your Magnetic post link, please share on your social media" email, Alex and Drew fired an email right back. They sincerely thanked us for the post, asking if it was cool for them to send new music to me directly. No attitude and all gratitude- personality traits that so many people can lack in this industry.
From that point forward I've tried to post on them as much as I can. But as I scroll through past articles, I realize I haven't posted on them nearly enough. Not just because they are cool guys, but also because they make some really great music.
I don't like every single one of their tracks. Sometimes they get a little too "indie progressive pop" for me. But I'm biased... I tend to listen to more stripped down house and techno. However, I do see the merit in what they do, and their dedication to their craft. The Chainsmokers' output is pretty much unrivaled. And to think, before their recent popularity, they were doing all of this without any regular label support or publicity team. Their music and the push behind it was all them.
The Chainsmokers are getting a lot of heat now for "selling out". Not just from "haters", but from artists with some major voice in EDM. What did they do that was so bad? They signed a couple of million dollar recording/publishing deals and went on American Idol. For all intents and purposes Alex and Drew got to this level by doing it right - no ghost producers, fluffing of Beatport rankings or buying Soundcloud plays. They just worked hard and had a true dedication to the music they love.
So let's get this straight- the Chainsmokers are considered "sell outs" because they signed two record contracts and went on a TV show to promote their hit song? We won't tolerate them making the most of their success, but it's OK for other artists to ink deals with Bud Light for the Superbowl, or get $200k to play a corny Bon Jovi song in what should strictly be an electronic music set?
Think about it- the Chainsmokers have doubled their fan base again and again in a few short months. Those numbers mean they are hitting the mainstream, big time. They are no longer just relevant to EDM, they are now on the rest of the world's radar. So it's understandable that American Idol's audience wants to see the Chainsmokers. Why is that so bad? Should they have stopped #SELFIE before it got that big?
"Alright guys, your song is getting too big, time to wrap it up." said no label ever.
Is American Idol a shitty mainstream talent show? I think so. Would I go on it if I had a hit song that brought in an unexpected rush of success? Most likely. Why? Well, why the fuck not!? I'd get some paper in my pocket, a chance to see J. Lo's booty in person, and finally prove to the world that Ryan Seacrest is actually an android. All because I made a silly song that hit at precisely the right moment. Yeah, it might not be the pinnacle of my artistic goals, but it's an experience not many people get to have. I would definitely live it for a few moments.
Have the Chainsmokers compromised their sound since #SELFIE? Below are a few remixes that have come out since then. It seems to me like they are still staying true to what they do, despite the success.
One thing has changed, I didn't get an email from Alex and Drew announcing their most recent track, the remix of Guy Sebastian’s “Like A Drum”. Maybe the Chainsmokers had become "too big" to communicate with the EDM blogosphere. Whatever, I dug the remix and posted on it anyways. I emailed them the generic "here's the link to your post on Magnetic, please share on social media."
About an hour later, I got this response:
David!!!!!! whats up duder! we miss you so much! We bet you miss our emails too! It sucks not being able to send them recently things have been so turned up literally I'm lucky if I get to connect to hotel wifi for an hour! Good news is the growing pains are subsiding and things are beginning to be more ordered so hopefully very soon I will be able to re-fire emails to our favorite writers like you!
So glad you like the track though :) We were a little hesitant cause the vocal is very you know not our style so much but it turned out rather nice!
Fucking sell outs.
Oh well. I'm off to go beg Porter Robinson's publicist for an interview.