Court Chesters Juggle Style, Sound
With pop music, it's always easy to make an overall condescending judgment based on physical appearance and style.
And sometimes that won't matter...as long as the music rocks.
Faster than you can say "what a stupid namesake," D.A. Wallach and Maxwell Drummey have gone
from fulfilling the role of Harvard undergraduates (a lineage reflected
in their prep-boy appearances) to embodying one of the most buzzworthy groups in recent memory. They pulled 2008 "artists to watch" nods in Rolling Stone and Spin and have been talked up by major artists like Kanye West.
Signed to the Neptunes' Star Trak label, distributed by Interscope
Records, Chester French's sound is as clever and intricate as the guys' own personal backgrounds. "When I first
heard Chester French, I felt like I had stumbled upon two geniuses,"
says Pharrell Williams, recalling when he signed the duo in Spring
2007. "It's been a long time since I've heard a project teeming with
this sort of musicality and originality. You're going
to watch history unfold with these guys. I feel it in my gut."
as long as he can remember. His interests have shifted over time from
magic to politics, comedy to drumming -- and finally to singing,
songwriting and producing. Boston product Max Drummey's strong musical upbringing began with classical
piano lessons at age 3 and progressed to studying jazz guitar and classical
composition through high school before finally giving in to pop music in college.
Though Wallach tackles lead vocals and Drummey composition and instrumentation, they say they collaborate on
every detail, from the first note to the final mix. When asked about
their influences, Wallach enthusiastically cites artists who "have
enormous natural ability like an Otis Redding, Sam Cooke or Marvin
Gaye. People who can sing and write on another level. Shit, even someone
like a Dusty Springfield or Aretha Franklin, a lot of people like that.
[We have] a lot of diverse influences."
That said, Chester French are poised to break the mold of what a
pop group should sound like. Tentatively titled Love the Future,
Chester French's debut album was written, arranged, produced and
engineered entirely by Wallach and Drummey in the basement of their Harvard
University dorm. Full of intricately imagined pop songs that fuse lush
string arrangements with modern beats, it is the product of lifetimes
of music-making and music appreciation. With catchy hooks and funky
rhythms splashed with a little lo-fi indie rock, Chester French creates
pop music that is fun and will inevitably cut across any misconceptions the haters may have about their music.
With regard to their sound and the literal creation of the album, Wallach says, "we have done everything on our own, produced it all, engineered
it all and the result is an organic, independent vibe. However that has
never been our intention. What we would aspire is to combine our
favorite elements of The Beatles and Outkast. Both of those groups are
capable of juggling a diversity of songs while sounding like themselves
and I think that is something we'd love to figure out how to do through
Although their background and image may turn some people off, Chester
French is one of the most authentic pop acts to come around in a long
time. These guys have the recipe to become major
stars: an incredibly engaging live act, a diverse appreciation of music and a strong work ethic. These organic factors
combined with a producer and support system that most emerging artists could only dream of sets Chester French up to be at the forefront of pop
music for at least the next few years.
Pharrell put it best when after a show in New York he proclaimed,
"What's there to say? They are amazing. We are lucky to have [the
band] and lucky to be a part of bringing it to the universe. These guys
are genius musicians, and this material is much needed in this market
Couldn't have been more accurately described by someone who knows a thing or two about genius.