I love me a good, intelligent rock duo. There are no musical pairs more fitting of that description than California-dwelling Harvard graduates, Max Drummey and D.A. Wallach of Chester French. These guys have played music with a variety of well-known musicians – in fact, their musical career began with Pharell Williams and Kanye West vying for their contract signatures – but what really makes them special is their ability to tap into the hip-hop, pop and rock genres and put together quality songs.
Check out my Q&A with Chester French and be sure to check out their album, Music 4 TNGRS, on June 16th!
Hi! I would love to start at the beginning. How did you guys meet? And where are you from?
Max: We met at Harvard University. I’m from Boston, and DA is from Milwaukee.
Where did the name Chester French come from?
D.A.: We named ourselves after a sculptor named Daniel Chester French.
What was it like to have Kanye West and Pharell Williams wanting to sign you early on?
D.A.: Extremely exciting.
Max: Very strange.
I really like your single, “Interesting Times,” and I would love to hear more about it in terms of what inspired it?
D.A.: Max had made the bones of the instrumental already and I loved the chords so much. I was sitting in my room in Wisconsin one night around 1am and just feeling existential weirdness so wrote exactly the thoughts that were flipping through my mind.
Max: Musically, I was thinking of it a bit like some Morricone stuff, particularly the Veruschka score.
Do you guys have a title for the upcoming album yet?
D.A.: Music 4 TNGRS. You can pre order it on our website www.chesterfrench.com it comes out june 19!
What was the recording process like? Who produced it?
D.A.: Max did the production and the process was long and arduous!
Max: I rarely do things the easy way. We recorded most everything in four months in Wisconsin and then spent the next year intermittently taking things apart and putting them back together.
Was there anything that you learned from making your first record that you carried into recording this one?
D.A.: For sure but I’m not totally sure what. I think with music a lot of what you learn over time come through osmosis. I think we were for one much more attuned to sound quality and the various possibilities of songwriting this time.
Max: Of course. Always learning.
You’ve worked with some really prominent names in the music industry like Diddy and Talib Kweli, what did you learn from those experiences?
D.A.: The #1 thing I’ve learned from Diddy is probably the importance and power of energy. Bringing a lot of energy to what you do is so important.
Max: It’s generally enlightening to see how so many different people think about and make music.
Best advice you’ve ever gotten?
D.A.: The old adage that you catch more bees with honey.
Max: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Though I’m not sure that’s the best policy for humanity overall.
Music from Chester French:
What D.A.’s into: