August 21, 2015


The Chainsmokers on the Billboard Hot 100 Festival & Zac Efron's DJ Movie

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

The inaugural Billboard Hot 100 Festival is going down this weekend—Aug. 22 and 23—and it's packed with acts to make you shake your ass. Artists from all walks of chart-friendly pop will be in attendance, including Nicki Minajthe WeekndJustin BieberSkrillexLil WayneHalsey, Fetty Wap, Kiesza. But the thing is, it's at Jones Beach, N.Y., and there's nothing like getting down to some pulsing dance music right by the sand.

Alex Pall, one half of the EDM-house duo the Chainsmokers—newly christened Lollapalooza alums—spoke to Fuse about the Billboard Hot 100 Festival, who the group might hit up for a collaboration and why the Zac Efron DJ movie could be a great thing for the scene.

What'd you think when you heard Billboard was doing its own festival?

I thought it was great. I mean, what's not to like? They've obviously had the pulse, the beat of music ever since I can remember. It's almost one of those things like, why haven't they done this sooner? So yeah, we're excited, we're honored to be part of the festival.

You guys ever performed at a beach?

Yes, a bunch of times. It's always awesome. It's the ideal location for any sort of music festival. I've seen so many shows at Jones Beach myself, from Dave Matthews Band to Stone Temple Pilots and on and on, so for us it's really cool to be part of that. And we're from New York, so it's just a short little commute out there, so it's cool.

What's your favorite thing about performing right now?

At the moment, we have this new song "Roses," and we really like playing it live. We kind of get instant gratification at how people are enjoying it. It's a special moment for us because it's a song we really love.

You're asking your fans to make their own videos for "Roses," right? You're doing a contest?

Yeah. Rory Kramer, the videographer, came with us to Asia and we made a video for the song around the trip together there and our mutual trips with our girlfriends after. It kind of created this really nice vibe around the song, and we started seeing people doing their own versions of the "Roses" video. We thought it'd be a clever idea to encourage people to do that and create their own adventures around our song. And then the winner gets a tour date of their choice to come hang out with us.

Is there anyone on the Billboard Hot 100 Festival lineup you might try to link up with for a collaboration?

We love Halsey, we love the MisterWives. Those would probably be our top picks. Obviously there's huge acts like Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, I love those guys, but we really try to work with artists we listen to a lot. And MisterWives are awesome. Unfortunately we're booked for other shows this weekend, so I don't think we'll be able to see a lot of acts I'd have otherwise loved to.

"#SELFIE" was such a huge viral video last year. Have you had any favorite viral videos lately, or in 2015 overall?

Um...I'm trying to think. In the last year, I'd say, that notion of the viral video changed. Every day there's some new viral thing, you know what I mean? Obviously some are far bigger than others. But what's cool is trends. I love when I see like a cartoon character that's totally random becomes the flag or logo for a certain emotion or something. Like there's this little frog that is always now the meme of choice when you're doing something stupid, or upset about something. I always wonder how those things start, how everyone just embraces that.

Your upcoming tour's called the Friend Zone Tour, your Twitter name is Netflix & Chill right now; you guys are super tapped into the meme stuff.

Yeah—I think everyone is, now.

Did you see the trailer for the Zac Efron EDM DJ movie?

I've seen one of them, I don't know if there have been more. Initially I didn't like it, I wasn't fond of it, it kind of made me cringe. But, end of the day, it could be a great movie for all I know, and I think it's gonna be great for dance music. The same way that Fast and the Furious was for car driving, I guess, that whole scene—if you were a street racer and saw that movie, you were probably like, "This is ridiculous." But next thing you know there's a whole generation of people inspired by it. I think this is different in some ways, but it'll only bring more people to dance music.

Especially if it turns into its own 10-movie franchise.


And it'll probably give outsiders a taste of the live show that's such a big part of the music.

Yeah. There's a lot to DJing and the festival experience in general that I think people don't know. But anything that brings more people, more awareness, more interest to this stuff, we're into that.

Your site's bio mentions how the Chainsmokers "have been rejected from many of the venues they now play at."

I guess the moral is don't throw beer at someone just because they won't let you in, because coming back there is...[laughs]

What are you planning for the fall tour?

It doesn't start till the end of October, but we're really looking forward to that. It's a 37- or 40-city tour, all across North America. We're bringing a lot of acts we're really fond of, really strong up-and-coming acts, and a really diverse spread of music. We didn't want to bring the same act as us three times. Also we're bringing our full production, which we spent the better part of 2015 building. It's a crazy visual component to our show, it's 3-D mapping, essentially. It's gonna be really cool, it's a lot of cities we haven't been to before. We're pumped.

Have you been on the road this long before?

We've come close, in a different way. It'd be a plane. I think there was one point last year, after the "#SELFIE" craziness, when we were playing almost a show every day, but no, this is definitely the most by far. Six weeks of shows—we're gonna kill ourselves, probably.

You like it, being out so steady for long stretches?

I love playing. We'll see if this is too steady. But I have a feeling that the fact that we're on the bus and we're friends, it won't be as intense as having to fly on planes every day and go to the airport and stuff. I think it'll be manageable; we love doing this.

Tickets are still available for the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival, hitting Jones Beach, NY on Aug. 22 and 23. Purchase yours here.