Harvard graduates Chester French [click to read] have most certainly lived up to their Star Trak label expectations, meshing their core rock sound with urban sensibility. HipHopDX recently sat down with D.A. Wallach of Chester French to talk about the groups’ new album, current and future collaborations, and a poor review from Blender magazine.
With Love the Future [click to read] cracking the Billboard’s Top 100 in its first week [click to read], D.A. was grateful to the fans that made the effort to grab a copy of their debut album. “In an era where you don’t have to buy records, to me it shows that 7,000 people gave us a vote of confidence in what we’re doing, which is pretty cool.”
While Love the Future has received mostly praise, one review from now-defunct Blender magazine caught D.A.’s attention, in which he wrote an open letter to the reviewer who gave the album a one-star rating. Disappointed, he explained to DX, “You have to question someone’s credibility in a review where they quote four lyrics and two of the four are misquoted; I don’t think [the review] reflected a particularly careful and thoughtful engagement with the record. And I’m not expecting people to give us a great sugarcoated review, but I don’t think Love the Future was a one-star album by any standard.” Continuing, D.A. stated, “I don’t get mad at anyone trying to make their living. Blender's out of business now, so that’s probably why they’re out of business.”
Since the release of their album last month, Chester French have been touring non-stop. While experience has played an important role in shaping their stellar stage show, D.A. explained it wasn’t so easy when they initially hit the road with N.E.R.D last year. “Coming out to a show and expecting to see Pharrell when you see two cheesy-looking white dudes show up on stage, we really had a mountain to climb with those audiences. I think that was great practice for us because we had to learn how to be really in-your-face and high energy in our performance.”
Supporting other acts such as Common [click to read], Lady Gaga, and Blink-182 later this summer, Wallach added, “It’s been great to play with all these different type of artists, and I think also it’s helped us develop a base of supporters that are really diverse.”
D.A. told DX that Chester French has worked on some records recently with fellow DXnext alum Bronx rapper Mickey Factz [click to read], which will likely be featured on his new album. “We’re helping him revamp a song he already had that he is planning on putting out as a single,” he said.
Likewise, the group has collaborated with several other prominent emcees, one of which had the Milwaukee-native star struck. “We’re working on a new record with Talib Kweli [click to read] and Hi-Tek [click to read]. We also did a song with Masta Ace, which I was super stoked about because he’s one of my favorite rappers. That song is with Edo G.”
When they find time in between touring, Chester French has plans to work on Jacque Jams Vol. 2: Stamina, the sequel to Vol. 1: Endurance [click to listen]. “I’d loved to have Q-Tip [click to read] on there, Andre 3000 [click to read] and Malice as well; we love collaborating,” Wallach said.
Still, their main focus is keeping their fans pleased with a combination of music, shows, and an intimate connection that money can’t buy. “The relationship we have with our supporters is really the most important thing we cultivate. Anyone who supports us I feel is a part of our band almost. I want them to feel like they’re right there with us.