With a comparison to The Beatles, they must be bound for success. Maxwell Drummey and D.A. Wallach meshed during college to form the group Chester French. It was at Harvard University where the two musicians met. Instead of pursuing careers in the fields of which they majored, they followed their hearts and chased a career in music.
Kanye West offered Chester French a record deal first but they rejected it. They’re signed to Star Trak Records, the Neptune’s imprint that’s distributed by Interscope Records and Universal Music Group. Even though Chester French is fairly new, they’re already heading down the road to notoriety. Their single, “She Loves Everybody” was featured in the closing credits of the HBO television show Entourage. And being compared to one of the most commercially triumphant and applauded bands ever doesn’t hurt either. Clutch was able to catch a glimpse into their world.
Clutch: Can you describe your music for people that haven’t heard it before?
DA: We make fun, earnest, and diverse songs with sometime epic ambitions. We listened to a lot of The Beatles and Outkast while making this first album that we’re releasing in the next few months.
Clutch: You’re signed to StarTrak but, is it true that Kanye West offered you a record deal first?
Max: We were fortunate enough to have a few options on the table when we were deciding which label to go with. Star Trak smelled best.
Clutch: From the band’s name you’d assume that it’s just one person but it’s actually two of you. How did you come up with the name?
DA: We named ourselves after the sculptor, Daniel Chester French. We really just wanted something that sounded cool, and we thought it did!
Clutch: Whose idea was it to use a condom wrapper as the album cover?
DA: We came up with it during a brainstorming session with our former manager.
Clutch: There’s a video on YouTube where Pharrell compares you guys to The Beatles. How does it feel to be compared to them?
DA: We’re very lucky to be standing on the shoulders of giants like the Beatles. We’ve tried to learn from their brilliance and it’s awesome that Pharrell appreciates that.
Max: It’s a comparison that’s probably impossible to live up to, but it feels way better than being compared to groups that are bad.
Clutch: Who are some of your influences?
DA: We like so many different artists it would be hard to name just a few.
Max: The two easiest to cite are the Beatles and Outkast. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Chico Buarque. We’re both drawn to any music that is both accessible and boundary crossing.
Clutch: You both went to Harvard. How does your family feel about you coming out of Harvard and instead of pursuing a career in what you studied you’re pursuing music?
DA: They’ve been very supportive.
Max: We both had pretty useless courses of study.
Clutch: What were your majors?
DA: African American Studies
Max: Social Anthropology
Clutch: Do you get a lot of flack from people because you attended Harvard?
Max: We do get a lot of interview questions about it though.
Clutch: How long have you both been doing music?
DA: Since I was about seven or eight, I think.
Max: I started playing piano when I was three or four or something. I’ve been able to hear my whole life.
Clutch: If you could choose any person dead or live to collaborate with who would it be?
DA: It would have been great to collaborate with David Bowie in the early 70’s because he seems to have been really good at collaborating in addition to being a genius in his own right.
Max: I think it’d be great to work with The Flaming Lips. Their records usually leave me wondering how they did a few things, so I’d love to work with them to see how they work.
Clutch: When you’re not on tour or in the studio recording what are you doing?
Max: Writing music and looking for a new hobby.
Clutch: You guys are fairly new artists but who are some other new artists that you like?
DA: Janelle Monae, Blu, Asher Roth, Solange…
Clutch: How did it feel to have your song “She Loves Everybody” featured in the closing credits of the show “Entourage”?
DA: It was excellent exposure.
Max: It felt nice.
Clutch: What are two things about Chester French that people may not know?
DA: We write, engineer, and produce all of our own material and sometimes try to write R&B songs for women.
Clutch: What can people expect from Chester French in 2009?
DA: World domination and even tighter pants.
Max: We’re also going to be putting an album out. Look out for that.