ARTIST: Chester French
ALBUM: Love The Future
SOUNDS LIKE: Pop-rock made by kids who love hip-hop
FUN FACT: Chester French's founding members D.A. Wallach (left) and Maxwell Drummey named the group after the American sculptor Daniel Chester French, who designed the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: Anyone who can get Pharrell Williams and Kanye West into a bidding war is worth taking a listen to. (For the record, Skateboard P won.) First featured on Entourage, the two Harvard University grads have been making music together ever since their freshman year in 2003. After signing with Star Trak, the duo in recent months have toured on and off with acts such as N*E*R*D and Lady Gaga and performed at SXSW. They've also released a free mixtape—Jacques Jams Vol. 1: Endurance—on their website that has artists like Pharrell, Bun B, Talib Kweli, Jadakiss, Diddy, Jermaine Dupri and Wale rapping over their instrumentals. Even if its genre isn't your thing, Love The Future is accessible pop-rock with a hip-hop sensibility.
To promote their new album, which drops today, Maxwell and D.A. came by the office to give an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of Love The Future. Check out their behind-the-scenes stories and listen to snippets from the new LP below...
Interview by Andrew Rivera and Reginal Thomas
D.A.: We did this song in Portuguese because we were struggling to find a lyric in English that wouldn't make it super cheesy.
"C'mon (On My Own)"
MAX: Every now and then you're in the studio pumping some high and you're really feeling your manhood and shit and you've just got to make a cock-rock anthem. We were tired of making cock-block anthems.
MAX: We were wrapping up some recordings and were re-doing a few things and I woke up early one morning and made a demo of that verse riff and hated it like real bad. Then D.A. heard it and was like, "That's super hot, lets make that!" and I was like, "No..."
D.A.: We got into a screaming match because of it.
"The Jimmy Choos"
MAX: That was one of the first songs we made. In our dorm there was a bell tower and at the top of it there is this room with no heat or air conditioning and Leonard Bernstein's piano in it. So we got a bunch of Adderall and a loaf of bread and locked ourselves in there for probably 20 hours...it sucked...it was really a terrible night.
"Time to Unwind"
D.A.: The working title for this song was "Chuck" because we got the vibe for this song from this dude named Chuck Jackson.
MAX: I was at the studio for like two or three days with that song and I remember getting breakfast at 10 and saw my friends and asked them to come check it out and make sure it didn't suck.
D.A.: Recording the vocals on that was one of the more agonizing things on the album, because we had already recorded the piano and the rhythm was there but it wasn't to a click and those notes were hard for me to hit. It's about liking a girl in a non-threatening way.
Max: That was a stupid song to make. When we first presented the album to Pharrell and Chad we left that off because we thought they were going to have beef with it. As soon we were done playing it for them, Pharrell was asked, "Why don't you put that super slow one on it?" And we were like, "Alright cool!"
"Beneath The Veil"
D.A.: It started kind of as a joke like, what if we did a country song, and we ended up liking it and we just went with it.
Max: I had this awesome tap dancer and choreographer come in and she tapped for me for like three hours and I basically sampled her tapping. I paid her like $50.
Max: We saw the Idlewild trailer and heard the song "PJ and Rooster," and we were like that song is awesome and we should make some shit that's on that vibe.
D.A.: I was obsessed with the lyric when [Andre 3000] says, "I had a lot of time on my hands. Now I gotta lot of hands on my time, and everybody wanna be a friend of mine." Then you have the piano going there and it sounds sick as fuck. I wish that whole album had all been like that song because I was like, "Oh, shit they're gonna make a country album that sounds like it's in space!" and they didn't.
"Not Over You"
Max: I was like, I'm going to play this melody at the end of the song, it's going to be super-sweet, so I went out and bought this theremin and went to the studio and those shits are hard to play. It was a hard learning experience.
"She Loves Everybody"
D.A: Neal Pogue mixed our album and told us it was cool but we needed some hit songs cause there are no hit songs. So then we went and did "Neal" and "She Loves Everybody." That's the one everybody got behind and that's why it's the single.
D.A.: Last song we wrote. We were vacationing in the Caribbean, the drum pattern was inspired by "Takeover," the Jay-Z song.