Arizona State University student John Fassold is going viral after he created a short video about how easy it is to produce a song that sounds exactly like something from EDM duo The Chainsmokers.
The Chainsmokers won a Grammy Award this year for their hit “Don’t Let Me Down,” though the group has drawn criticism for creating electronic dance music songs that all sound the same.
Fassold decided to prove it. He’s majoring in digital culture with a concentration in music, which the ASU website describes as combining new media with an understanding of popular music and the principles of electronic-music composition. So, who better to break down The Chainsmokers?
He recorded videos on Snapchat of himself explaining how to make a Chainsmokers song in a few simple steps, compiled them together and posted the video on Twitter and YouTube, where it’s been viewed more than 3.3 million views in four days.
Note: The video contains brief profane language.
Watch the video below.
First, pick three chords (a bass, one step down to a major, and another step down to a major) and play them up and down repeatedly, which he modeled on a keyboard. Next, write some lyrics.
“Basically, you want to find lyrics that talk about how hard it is being white and in love,” he said in the video. He picked a theme: champagne.
“You want to make it sound like you’re edgy but not edgy, and you want to follow whatever note is on top of the chord you’re playing,” he said, then riffing “We drank champagne when we were young, I knew that you weren’t the one.”
Then, you follow it with random thoughts, like “your blonde hair on my chest” and add some “doot doots.”
“What I think they did for their last album, which was utter trash, is they picked a random noun and they just went with a song,” he said as he pulled up a “random noun generator” website, which gave him the noun “oak.”
“Make it seem like you’re suffering,” Fassold said, singing, “You’re not doing well in school, but I’m doing fine.”
Can’t think of a topic? “If you just can’t think of anything to write about just, you know, point your finger at a map and pick a place and then talk about how you think about how you used to go there. So like, you know, maybe it’s Boulder, Colorado, maybe it’s Paris”
He then wrote and recorded a full Chainsmokers parody song called “Smell Like Tide (Our Own Way)” and captioned it “I made this song in an hour then recorded vocals on my phone in one take enjoy.”
“Honestly, nothing really bothers me about their success,” Fassold told BuzzFeed News. “If they’re making money and doing everything right, I can’t fault them for that.”
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