“When I first heard Chester French, I felt like I had stumbled upon two geniuses,” says Pharrell Williams, who signed the duo to Star Trak / Interscope records in the Spring of 2007. “It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a project teeming with this sort of musicality and originality,” he continues. “You’re going to watch history unfold with these guys. I feel it in my gut.”
A year ago, Pharrell’s auspicious blessing was only a dream for D.A. Wallach and Maxwell Drummey, both 21-year old Harvard seniors at the time. But when their demo found its way to Kanye West last December, Chester French quickly became one of the most hotly pursued new artists of the decade, attracting offers from Kanye, Jermaine Dupri, Pharrell and Jimmy Iovine. That same demo has become the basis for what will surely be the most talked about debut record of 2008.
Tentatively titled Love the Future, the album was written, arranged, produced and engineered entirely by D.A. and Max in their dorm’s basement. Full of intricately imagined pop songs that fuse lush string arrangements with modern beats, it is the product of lifetimes of music making and listening.
D.A. was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been a performer for as long as he can remember. His interests have shifted over time from magic to politics, comedy and drumming — and finally to singing, songwriting and producing. Max is the product of Boston, Massachusetts and a strong musical upbringing, beginning classical piano lessons at three, studying jazz guitar, jazz and classical composition through high school, picking up further instrumental skills, and finally settling on pop music in college. While D.A. sings lead vocals and Max scores and plays the majority of instruments for Chester French, they work collaboratively on every detail from the first note to the final mix.
The two first met in their freshman year dining hall at Harvard. Along with three friends they formed the first incarnation of Chester French and the quintet quickly cut its teeth playing shows around campus and at Boston bars. At the end of the year, they won a local battle of the bands and, with only two days and $300 to spend, cut a five song EP aptly titled Chester French’s First Love.
When school let out, D.A. and Max stayed in Cambridge for the summer, selling copies of the EP on the street by day and writing new songs by night. In their free time, they became engineers at the on-campus recording studio and became fascinated by record production. As they began to master the intricacies of recording, their energies solidified around a common goal: to try to create a classic album in the studio.
As a duo, Chester French worked for three years on Love the Future, making money on the side by engineering recording sessions for Boston area instrumentalists, rappers, and other bands. Finally, in May of 2007, D.A. and Max completed their recording and their degrees, in African American Studies and Social Anthropology, respectively.
Now based out of L.A., Chester French is putting the finishing touches on its epic first offering. Get ready to Love the Future.