Pharrell Williams Nominates Chester French

Matt Diehl
Mark Segal

"Harvard grads. Musical savants. Brian Wilson meets Motown with guitars." That's perennial hitmaker Pharrell Williams's take on Chester French, the unlikely duo of pop whiz kids that he recently signed to his label, Star Trak. What is their take on King Neptune's praise? "Bullshit!" exclaims D.A. Wallach, 23, Chester French's ironic-prep singer. "He forgot to say that we fuck tons of models," deadpans Maxwell Drummey, 24, the group's multi-instrumentalist. This pair is as cocky as you'd imagine Ivy Leaguers who scored the music-biz equivalent of a top hedge-fund position to be: They found themselves in the middle of a bidding war involving Williams, Kanye West, and Jermaine Dupri; one of their songs was featured on the show Entourage; they even sang "Happy Birthday" at a party Beyoncé threw for her sister Solange. What do you expect? Then again, the eclectic grooves on Love the Future (Star Trak/Interscope), Chester French's upcoming debut, justify the confidence. A single song manages to blend Weezerian sarcasm, Roy Orbison-like melancholia, Beatlesque melody, New Wave-y synths, and Funkadelic-style beats. "Half the songs are about girls," Wallach explains. "One song is about Kim Jong Il, but most are impressions of certain topics we've seen in our lives. We aspire to create songs that don't require a lot of explanation. If someone's too fucking retarded to figure it out, they don't deserve it."

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December 2014

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