Chester French is a musical duo comprised of one David-Andrew ‘D.A.’ Wallach and Maxwell Drummey that has the sole distinction of having a song described as “ode to safe sex [that] mixes a Euro film-soundtrack vibe with synth beats – mood music for the thinking bachelor’s pad” by Rolling Stone magazine. This, of course, refers to their breakout single ‘She Loves Everybody.’
It’s a little-known fact that they were involved in a bidding war between Kanye West and Pharrell Williams at the start of their recording career. They ultimately went with Pharrell, who signed them to his label, Star Trak and described them as: “Harvard grads. Musical savants. Brian Wilson meets Motown with guitars.”
Here’s some advice Chester French has given in interviews over the years.
They told The A.V. Club, “One thing that Pharrell said to us, that we remember almost as a motto, is:
Music is music and people are people, and people like music.
We like a lot of different stuff and a lot of different kinds of people.”
The band has cited Dr. Dre and Outkast as heavy musical influences and stated that their music “is not designed for one type of person but has a very broad appeal that can touch a lot of different types of folks.”
Of their debut album, Wallach said, “One thing we always talked about being so tired of were albums where you feel like all the songs are the same song. And we really wanted to put out an album that you could sit down and listen to the whole way through—to be taken on some sort of adventure musically. So it’s meant to surprise you and take you to different places.”
Use the Internet
The duo spent more time polishing their debut album than playing live shows before they got signed, largely due to their commitments as Harvard students.
“We spent a lot of nights during college working on this project with the intention being that – as opposed to bands that play around for several years and build a local following and tour a lot – that we would just have an album that was good enough to stand on its own,” said Wallach. While this unconventional route goes against the grain of commonly given advice, it paid off for them.
MySpace took them to the next level. Prior to the release of their first album, they uploaded demos to their MySpace page. “I think it is all hype until people hear the album,” explained Wallach.
Wallach is currently the artist-in-residence for Spotify, a role he describes as making him “an advocate for the creative community.”
Believe in your work
You have to believe in it in order to bring it to other people and expect them to pay for it.
“You have to really believe in it—I really believe this album is going to be one of the best albums of the year, if not the best album of the year. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, but it’s something we’ve worked really hard on.
At that point, you’re either crazy or there’s some amount of truth to it, and people will like it,” said Wallach.
Mind your own business
Another bit of Pharrell’s advice that Chester French stays on course with is this: “He’s done all the girls and parties and whatever. And what he told us was fuck stylists, fuck being in the scene, paparazzi shit, and all the trendy L.A. stuff. Don’t be on a scene. Don’t be worried about being hip. Just work on your own shit.”
It almost seems silly how simple it was for them to get their music into the right hands and stumble into that Kanye/Pharrell bidding war. They tracked down the right info and e-mailed Kanye’s manager and Pharrell’s sound engineer with samples of their music.
So break out your inner detective and do your best to get your music to the right folks – you never know whose headphones it’ll end up in.
We’ll put out the record, we’ll play for anyone’s fans, be it TV on the Radio’s audience or Common’s audience or Nas’s. And we’re not going to stop until we’ve reached everyone we can.
Chester French will give two Talenthouse artists an official release for remixing their song ‘Black Girls.’ Enter by June 25, 2012.
- Remix ‘Black Girls’ for Chester French!
- Get Started