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The Chainsmokers: 'I was depressed at the end of 2019 when we came off tour I was on antidepressants'

Mr. Nimbus | 05/12/2022

The Chainsmokers join Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss their forthcoming fourth full length album ’So Far So Good’, due out tomorrow. They tell Zane about the origins of the album, how they’ve evolved sonically over time, leaning into optimism lyrically after coming out of a dark time, and how personal growth informed the album.

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About The Origins of Their Fourth Full Length Album ‘So Far So Good’…
Andrew: Yeah, we started this album at the beginning of 2020. To take you through the end of 2019, we had put out World War Joy, which is our third album. We had just finished our second North American arena tour, and we were just cooked. And we realized we needed to take some time to really rediscover what we loved about our band and what was special about our sound. And instead of taking a vacation, we’re highly productive people, we love to work. We love what we do. We realized that if we were to go and immediately start working on it, we’d have this opportunity to work on music with absolutely no pressure. But the idea also though was to go back and start making music and have it not feel like a job at all anymore. And that is what I would do in my switch off time. I am at my highest when we’re writing songs.

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About Leaning Into Optimism Lyrically On The Album After Coming Out Of A Dark Time…

Andrew: I think like lyrically, it also really represents it. I mean, all of these songs, especially that they started in Hawaii, it was a very transformative period. Like, we were cooked. I was depressed at the end of 2019 when we came off tour I was on antidepressants, which I’d never thought I’d have to like… I’d never been like that in my entire life and I just wasn’t… I didn’t feel creatively empowered. I didn’t feel in control of what our narrative was. And so we really needed that time, and over the span of being in Hawaii and writing these songs and you hear the level of optimism in all of these songs, like they’re still very Chainsmoker lyrics. They’re still about small, detailed moments about a lot of things that we all go through and trying to pick them apart and use kooky ways to describe them. But I think the level of optimism is like, everything’s going to be fine because this is the way it’s meant to be. It’s in every single song on this album.

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About How They Classify The Genre of Their New Album and How They’ve Evolved Sonically Over Time…
Andrew: We’ve had a really hard time even defining what genre this is. You could call it pop. Structurally, yeah. There’s a lot of songs that take a lot… We made a lot of decisions on songs that aren’t reflective of pop at all. And we’ve always, yes, we came from the dance music space, so that’s always, we’ve been considered as EDM artists. But obviously that sounds morphed over the past 10 years in a very significant way, and before that. What’s always been exciting for us is we’re just such massive fans of music. We’re DJs for a reason. We were down to play 30 to 50 shows in Vegas a year because we get to play whatever we want and have fun and get to pull in all of these things that don’t really exist in.And like an EDM festival, so. And we’re just massive music fans. And we started remixing indie music, in the beginning, that’s how we, first year of our career was going on Hype Machine and remixing, begging these indie artists like the beginning of Tove Lo to do remixes.

Alex: And that time in music, it felt like there was Two Door Cinema Club and Phoenix and Passion Pit and MGMT.And then you had Avicii and Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris, and the vibe was amazing, and we just kind of wanted to… And there we were kind of feeling like we were in the middle of these two things, and we were like, “How do we merge these two worlds in a way that…”

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About Limiting Collaborators on the Album…

Andrew: To be honest, that’s just how it happened. I think a lot of the records just start… We did, we have songs with other people right now. They’re not at the place where we wanted and we will do songs with other people going forward. But I think we really wanted to put out an album that’s like, this is the Chainsmokers.

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music How The Pandemic Afforded Them More Time To Perfect Their New Album…

Andrew: We had planned to take a year off in 2020 to just kind of refocus and rediscover what the basis of what we wanted to do next would be. But then, the pandemic happened and we had another a year allotted. I think if the pandemic hadn’t happened, we would’ve come back sooner, and I don’t think our album would sound as finished or as polished as it does now.

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About Personal Growth During The Pandemic…

Alex: Initially, aside from the devastation that it probably caused so many people, after touring for eight years relentlessly, and knowing that we are going to take a break for a year or whatever, but also internally being like… I’m worried what is it like to sit on the sidelines for the first time ever? Then suddenly, the world stops with you. I was flabbergasted. I could not believe that these two things had coincided with the one time that we decide to fall back. Initially, before you realise how serious things were to get, I was like, “This feels like a snow day.” You’re like, “Wow, so I can’t leave my house?” I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to not have to leave my house for years now. But then, it was really nice, because I’ve been dating this girl for two and a half years now, and I didn’t have really a lot of time to spend with her. So being home with her, being home with our dogs, just taking a break, I think in some ways, it was good timing to grow emotionally because you begin to prioritise and understand the things that you used to keep brushing to the side and suddenly become, “Hey, this is a little bit more important to have than I thought it used to be.” What I think is really great now is we have this foundation that we really believe in, and we have this kind of thesis statement and narrative that it feels like us. And you’ve heard the album, so you know kind of what we’re trying to say and what we’re trying to sound like. I think we needed that base, and I’m hoping that we can go back into the world and tour and be active, and still maintain that, and be able to create and not need… We really needed a reset time, and I feel like we have reset.

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About The Comedic Promotional Video That Kicked Off The Album Campaign…
Alex: Did you see the video campaign that we came up with? Basically the internet wrote that joke. There’s memes that we would see all the time that any two white guys could be the chain smokers was basically the underlying thing. Now we’re like, “Lets just embrace that and kind of have a…” What do you do after two years? How do we break the ice? This kind of self deprecating campaign felt like it would… It kind of reset things, too. It’s like being, a good comedian too. It’s fun to disarm people by almost being self-aware and self deprecating at times. I think it’s a nice foot forward for us, especially based on the history and everything, for people to kind of come into this new era and just be like, “All right. I’m going to ride with these guys now.” You have to play with the internet. Drake’s done an amazing job at…Yeah, and I think it really made a huge difference when he acknowledged those internet culture memes around him…

The Chainsmokers Tell Apple Music About Their Chance Encounter That Led To The Formation of The Chainsmokers…

Alex: Yeah. We say this a lot whenever we have the chance, it’s just the luckiest thing that ever happened to us, was meeting each other. And it couldn’t have been more lucky because it was just a mutual friend and timing and preparation in some ways. I was just DJing.

Andrew: There was no gradual us meeting, hanging out for a while. We literally met one night and started Chainsmokers the next day. You don’t know if a decade later you’re still going to be compatible or like each other or…

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Written by Mr. Nimbus

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