American DJ and producer duo Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart—aka The Chainsmokers—have been on a nonstop hitmaking parade for over a year. After ubiquitous smashes “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” they’ve kept dancefloors jumping with July single “Closer,” featuring another rising star, Halsey.
Industry Weekly caught up with Pall recently for a quick chat before The Chainsmokers return to their Vegas residency gigs this weekend at Hakkasan and Omnia.
What was it like performing “Closer” at MTV’s Video Music Awards? It was wild. Obviously it was our first time on a platform like that, so there is a lot to learn from the experience, but it was so fun. Hanging around and performing in front of people like Kanye West and Rihanna and Beyoncé—it doesn’t get more lit than that.
Is it special when you get an opportunity to perform with the vocalist from one of your hits? Of course. The VMAs is one of the biggest award shows of the year, so to get up there and perform one of our songs—at the time the biggest in the world—alongside our girl Halsey, it doesn’t get more real than that!
You have worked with so many great singers. How do you approach creating music collaboratively? It’s always totally different. Sometimes we write something and think, wow, this person would be perfect. Sometimes we write the song with the person who is perfect to sing it and sometimes we get something that’s so good, and we produce around it. We aren’t closed-minded about this process; a great song is a great song, [and] that’s what’s most important to us. We prefer to write and produce with the singer, because that just creates this really special authentic feeling, but you just never know, so being flexible is important.
Are we going to see and hear more of Andrew singing on future Chainsmokers tracks? Absolutely. “Closer” was proof of concept for that. We are way, way further ahead than what anyone hears from us, so we have a lot of things in progress that we think are far better than “Closer.” Our music is just becoming more personal.
You have really taken Las Vegas by storm as your hits keep getting bigger. What do you love about performing in Las Vegas and being in Las Vegas? Do have a favorite venue among the Hakkasan Group nightclubs and dayclubs? Vegas is great, because no matter what day of the week it is the people coming out are coming to really get after it. The energy is always there. It’s also nice because there are so many great dinner spots, so we can come in have a great dinner and then throw down in a beautiful club. We are most comfortable in Hakkasan; it’s where we started, and we have a really good sense of the room.
Do you get any down time in Vegas to explore the city? What do you like to do when you do get a few hours to relax or have fun? Down time? What is that? No, we usually fly in and get right to business. Vegas has a ton to offer, but we just don’t have a lot of free time at the moment. When we do get free time we’re usually in the studio or sleeping. The Chainsmokers at Hakkasan at MGM Grand, September 15 & 30; at Omnia at Caesars Palace, September 16.