Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart stepped up their game with “Closer”. The 2016 charting single featured Taggart on lead vocals, an innovation to say the least in EDM circles. EDM DJs do not do that, they do not sing the vocal part of their songs. They are mixologist, they combine sounds together into a musical tapestry. Any vocals within those sounds belong to other artists. EDM stands for electronic dance music after all and that pretty much defines what is supposed to be. So why is a DJ singing, and why does the song actually have something to say? Since when does EDM make a point? Apparently when the Chainsmokers play.
“We decided early on we were not gonna make dance music.” Alex Pall said in a 2016 interview. The duo was being asked about what led to the revolutionary track. When asked about Taggart singing Pall responded, “Why not?” A truely truncated answer, simple, perfect, explains everything you need to know. Then came the insight, Pall added that no one else was doing it.
Staying relevant and interesting is hard for any artist anywhere. For many the world seems to outgrow them. Pall and Taggart work hard to stay relevant, and to do that you have to give people something new. In addition, Pall and Taggart want to be recognized as artists not just DJs. So they have to find a way to stand out. Singing their own vocals, and having a strong hand in songwriting definitely do that.
It is not just the songs though, it is also the performances. Even before “Closer” the Chainsmokers were performing live. “It is something we are really proud of,” Pall responded. A live EDM performance, where the music is mixed in front of you is unheard of, as most just play the recording. Now Taggart has to step out from behind the booth, something the duo seems completely prepared for. “We are meeting with a visualist,” Pall explained. He went on to describe their new show as a carnival of sorts. However it ends the Chainsmokers sure will make it memorable.