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The Chainsmokers Score a "#SELFIE" Smash

Image courtesy of Credit: Spreadhouse (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Credit: Spreadhouse (via ABC News Radio)

Joining a long tradition of novelty songs inspired by pop culture trends -- from streaking in the '70s to Pac-Man in the '80s -- New York electronic dance music duo The Chainsmokers have a smash on their hands with "#SELFIE."  The duo -- Drew Taggart and Alex Pall -- say they're "amazed" that "some stupid idea" they had has now sent them into the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

Alex tells ABC News Radio that he and Drew just happened to come up with the phrase "let me take a selfie" one day, and a hit was born. "We thought it'd be funny to incorporate that into a song and it really just kind of happened," he explains. "The song had this great production beat, and next thing you know, we were just sort of filling in the blanks with all these great club-girl sayings..it was pretty flawless, I guess."

"Yeah, it all kind of came together in like a half hour," Drew adds. "We knew we wanted to have some girl ranting about stupid things that we hear people say in the club, ending in the 'Let me take a selfie' line. And we were sitting around and we're like, 'Alright, let's talk about Instagram filters, let's talk about buying your followers...'  And we came up with all these funny 'girl' expressions. And our friend -- we told her what to say, and she nailed it!"

Asked if their female friend, whose name is Alexis Killacam , criticized the guys for assuming that's the way that women actually talk, Drew says, "Definitely not! This is just all stuff we thought was funny."  "She knows what's up," Alex adds. "She would've stopped us if she didn't think we were accurate!"

The popularity of taking selfies alone would probably have ensured the success of the song, but then, Ellen DeGeneres and the Oscars happened.  The celebrity-studded selfie taken that night -- featuring the likes of Bradley Cooper , Jennifer Lawrence and Angelina Jolie -- became the most retweeted photo in history.  That made the selfie concept even more popular, positioning the song "#SELFIE to capitalize on the popularity.  Drew tells ABC News Radio he give Ellen's Oscar stunt props for some of the song's success.

"If you type in 'selfie,' our video is going to come up," he explains. "That was the most viral piece of media ever, so now everyone's searching "selfie" and our video is coming up attached to all this stuff. So I'd say yeah, it was definitely a big push for us."

But The Chainsmokers -- neither of whom smoke, by the way -- are determined not to be one-hit wonders.  Before they created "#SELFIE," the group had been doing quite well remixing songs from artists like Bastille , Ellie Goulding , The Wanted , The Killers and Icona Pop , as well as releasing their own songs. "#SELFIE" will simply take their career to the next level.

"We've built an entire fan base off of doing these remixes," says Drew. "And we have I think the best content that we're about to put out, that's bigger than "#SELFIE" . And now we have people coming to the Chainsmokers' social media and paying attention to us, so I think it's really just going to benefit all of our content going forward."

The duo is just wrapping up a North American tour, which will end March 26 in Miami, and the guys say the popularity of "#SELFIE" has brought a whole new excitement to their live shows.  "Even fans that have been fans for a long time that love our other songs and will sing all of the lyrics to all of our other songs, when '#SELFIE' comes on it's just such a fun moment. I t's definitely pretty special," says Alex, while Drew adds, "Girls like to jump onstage and act out the song. It's pretty insane. It's really cool."

Adds Alex, "I think we're...amazed that, like, some stupid idea that we had is catching on like this worldwide; that this many people agree with us and think it's funny too." 

"Selfie" is now #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart --it only took five weeks for it to rise to the top spot.  It's also reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The video , which features fan-submitted selfies as well as shots from celebrities, has been viewed more than 27 million times.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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