The Chainsmokers Break Down 'Roses': How They Made Their Biggest Hit

The Chainsmokers 2016
Frank Apollonio

The Chainsmokers

New York City-bred dance duo The Chainsmokers (Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall) first emerged in the spring of 2014 with their ubiquitous, earworm of a viral hit “#SELFIE”. The of-the-moment tune catapulted the then-unknown pair into the zeitgeist, as the track became a global smash. But for the rising group, it was their second hit -- “Roses” -- that took them from novelty to legitimacy.

“Roses" -- which was co-written and features vocals by Philadelphia-based artist Rozes -- currently holds the title for the biggest selling Dance/Electronic Digital Song of 2016. The track proved that The Chainsmokers weren’t just one-hit, click-bait wonders, becoming their first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and eventually climbing to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, besting the No. 16 peak of “#SELFIE”.  

Billboard caught up with the hitmakers in Austin, Texas at The Patch -- one of three houses established by SOUR PATCH KIDS to support touring artists -- where they broke down the production of the track, and discussed how it came to fruition.

“We wrote and produced the entire track in about 8 hours. It’s cool how quickly and sloppy some of the pieces are to this song — it’s just true Chainsmokers style,” Taggart tells Billboard of the seamlessness of the songwriting process. "We learned everything off of YouTube, so we’ve always done what we thought sounded good, and we seem to be doing all right making our own type of sound.”

And for the duo, trusting their instincts has proved paramount to achieving major success so quickly. "From when we started, we always knew what we wanted to make someday, but we hadn’t grown there artistically yet,” Taggart explains. “Now we’re getting to that point. We’re in this for the art, and we’ll always push the envelope."

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