LET US EXPLAIN: Why people love The Chainsmokers' music, but hate the musicians.

By now, I have no doubt The Chainsmokers have penetrated your radar. The American DJ duo are producing track after track that are flooding the charts and getting stuck in our heads. It began with #Selfie (yes, of ‘but first, let me take a selfie’ fame) went on to Roses, Don’t Let Me Down and later peaked with Closer.

Drew Taggert, 27, and Alex Pall, 31 have made the transition being niche, underground EDM artists to ones who saturate mainstream FM radio. Their latest track, Something Just Like This, was created with Coldplay, proving the duo are winning not only hours on the airwaves but the respect of high-profile artists too.

So why has their meteoric-like rise being met with eye rolls? And why are there murmurings of arrogance, a sprinkling of sexism and incessant use of the description “bros” around their insane success?

If there’s one thing you should know about The Chainsmokers, it’s that they’re not very good at interviews.

Whether that’s because their media training has been poor (possible, but hard to believe) or if they are simply not interested in how they’re portrayed, dealings with the media are where the duo consistently seem to shoot themselves in their collective feet.

Of particular note was an interview with Billboard in September last year which shone a light on their apparent high opinion of themselves. The interview was littered with d*ck jokes, references to drinking and whole lot of patting themselves on the back.

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“We rage every night. My mum’s going to hate reading that,” Taggart told Billboard at the time, “but she already knows.” Drinking, it seems, something they were more than happy to boast about through the interview, with Taggert joking at one point they would “die of of alcohol poisoning”.

“It’s always ‘work hard, play hard’. But you’ll never see us getting carried out of a club. We’re way too good at drinking,” Pall adds.

Although the quotes on drinking seemed to just miss a little bit, as if they were coming from the mouth of an 18-year-old and not a couple of grown men, it’s not the references to partying that seems to have unsettled their fan base.

Later in the interview, Pall said: “Even before success, pussy was number one”.

“Like, ‘Why am I trying to make all this money?’ I wanted to hook up with hotter girls. I had to date a model,” he adds.

And then, because enough damage wasn’t done and not enough feathers ruffled from a single interview, they took aim at the music industry.

“Only Justin Bieber and Drake can hold a candle to what we’ve done. Now we’re influencing the industry, putting out songs everyone copies.”

So was it on-brand, off-brand or the whole thing an awkward attempt at humour for a couple of musicians only adjusting to worldwide fame?

A quick look at the bio that sits on their website has me leaning towards somewhere between on-brand and a total miscalculated attempt at humour.


The bio details how “they each graduated from prestigious North-Eastern Universities, they like hot chicks in yoga pants, enjoy a good burger, and have been rejected from many of the venues they now play at.”

Another part of the bio includes the words “17.34 combined inches”, which, as Pall clarified to Billboard, is the length of their “penises combined… tip to tip”.

As quiet disbelief circled the music industry following the interview, The Chainsmokers responded on Twitter to a storm that was self-inflicted.

“Anyone who knows us we are the chillest most humble dudes and will continue to be. It’s all we know,” they wrote at the time.

But it wasn’t yet over. Less than a month after that now infamous Billboard interview, the two gave a less explicit but similarly themed interview with Rolling Stone.

“Honestly, we’re two white guys that like to be friendly, we make stupid jokes and like funny movies, and we like to party – but so does everybody,” Taggert told the website, going on to explain that they don’t fight “much”.

“We’ve fought like, one time, in Mexico, about I don’t remember what. We’d just been at a strip club and we beat each other up in the back of a cab. We have a photo we took of ourselves all bloody afterward! It was just a moment of tequila-driven madness.”

It’s taken some time for damage control to kick in, and while much of their music has spoken volumes for their talent, little has changed public perception of their personalities.

Just last week, the duo spoke to NME in an attempt to reform an already damaged reputation and assure their fans they’re not “assholes”.

“I promise you. We’re not assholes,” they told the website.

“People are like, ‘Oh my God, they’re such bros,’” Taggert said. “And we’re like, ‘No! We’re making fun of bros!’ 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.”

So are they assholes, or ironic assholes?

That, dear reader, is for you to decide.