The Chainsmokers at VELD 2016. Source: The Come Up Show, Wikimedia Commons.

New age electronic sensation: The Chainsmokers EDM duo

What are they famous for?

The Chainsmokers are famous for being an American DJ and production duo. The group is made up of Alexander ‘Alex’ Pall and Andrew ‘Drew’ Taggart. The duo initially began their career by producing remixes of song by other Indie artists. Their first major hit was with their 2014 song #Selfie. The pop-EDM duo have earned a number of accolades including a Grammy award, seven Billboard music awards, nine iHeart Radio Music awards and two American Music Awards. In 2019 the duo managed the impressive feat of unseating Calvin Harris as the highest paid DJ in the world – a title which he had held for six years.

The duo’s debut EP included a number of singles which reached the top ten on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts. The songs ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Roses’ both performed well, with the former earning the band a Grammy award. Impressively the duo has also earned a number one single, ‘Closer’ which features the singer Halsey. The duo’s first album, ‘Memories…Do Not Open’ went too number one in 2017.

The Chainsmokers night club
The Chainsmokers at Hakkasan Night Club, Las Vegas. Source: David Jones, Wikimedia Commons.

Early Career

The Chainsmokers was initially formed by the duo Alex Pall and Rhett Bixler but was later changed to include Andrew Taggart instead after Adam Alpert came on board as their manager in 2012. Pall was attending New York University at the time of the group’s formations, whilst Taggart was attending Syracruse University and interning at Interscope Records. Taggart who was interest in being a DJ had developed and released a number of his own original songs on the website SoundCloud, he was told that a spot has opened up on a duo managed by Alpert and he decided to go to New York City, leaving Maine behind. Pall introduced Taggart to Alpert and the following year The Chainsmoker released a remix which went to number one on HypeMachine. They also worked with Priyanka Chopra on the track ‘Erase’ and released the song ‘The Rookie’ in 2013.

The band hasn’t given any clear reason as to why they chose their name, other than that they were in college at the time of the duo’s conception and that they enjoyed smoking weed. Taggart has previously said ‘it’s just a name’ indicating that ‘The Chainsmokers’ has no special meaning.

The Chainsmokers career breakthrough
The Chainsmokers doing an interview with Love This City TV. Source: Love This City TV, Wikimedia Commons.

Career Breakthrough

The Chainsmokers performed for the first time at Terminal 5 in 2014, the duo opened for Timeflies. Around the same time the band re-released the single #Single, the song was eventually streamed to Republic Records. The single #Selfie lead to the bands breakthrough, as it charted well both internationally and in the United States on the Dance and Electronic songs charts. Mid-way through 2014 the duo released the song ‘Kanye’ which featured sirenXX, and later released the single ‘Let You Go’. The duo then signed on with the label Disruptor Records in 2015.

In 2015 the duo came out with the track ‘Good Intentions’ before releasing the song ‘Roses’ a month later in June. The track ‘Roses’ went on to become a commercial success and received multi-platinum certification in a number of countries including the United States. The single reached the top ten in the duo’s home country and many other countries around the world. In the same year The Chainsmokers also came out with the single ‘Split’ – a collaborations with Dutch DJ Tiesto. They also released ‘Until You Were Gone’, both singles were later featured in the duos EP ‘Bouquet’.

The following year the group released the track ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ which featured Dava. The song won a Grammy Award and two months later the group followed up with the song ‘Inside Out’.

The Chainsmokers performing
The Chainsmokers performing. Source: Julio Enriquez, Wikimedia Commons.

In 2016 the group performed at Ultra Music Festival and came out to say that they did not support US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In July 2016 the duo released the single ‘Closer’ which featured the singer Halsey. The song peaked at number one in the US, UK and eleven other countries. The duo performed the song at the VMAs with Halsey, although the performance was poorly received and Taggart has admitted that he was unhappy with their performance.

Two months after the release of ‘Closer’ the duo released the song ‘All We Know’ which featured Phoebe Ryan. The Chainsmoker then debuted their second EP, ‘Collage’ towards the end of 2016.

Continuing Career

In 2017 The Chainsmokers came out with the song ‘Paris’ which was certified Gold in the United States. They also announced plans to release their debut studio album in April 2017. The duo also announced that they would be embarking on The Memories Do Not Open Tour alongside Kiiara and Emily Warren. The tour featured 40 dates through North American cities, the duo also came out to say that they would be taking a fan named Tony Ann along with them. Tony Ann was a Berklee College student and a fan who impressed them with her piano cover of the song ‘Paris’.

Also in January 2017 the band announced a three-year residency contract with Wynn Nightlife in Las Vegas, agreeing to only perform in Wynn nightclubs up until 2019.

In February 2017 the group released a collaboration track with Coldplay, ‘Something Just Like This’ which broke the record for most plays of a lyric video in a single day with 9 million plays.

A promotional single for their new planned album titled ‘The One’ was released in March 2017, their album ‘Memories…Do Not Open’ followed a month later and debuted at number one. The album was certified platinum several months later and the duo were listed as the highest paid DJs in the world in the same year with earnings of more than $38 million.

In 2018 The Chainsmokers released the track ‘Sick Boy’ which was planned as the lead single on their next album. The following month they released the single ‘You Owe Me’ and debuted the song ‘Everybody Hates Me’ during a live performance. In April the band released the song ‘Somebody’ and later released ‘In My Head’ – a collaboration with Juice Wrld. They went on to release a number of other singles including ‘Side Effects’, ‘This Feeling’ and ‘Save Yourself’.

The Chainsmokers continuing career
Source: The Come Up Show, Wikimedia Commons.

In the same year the duo formed a film production company called Kick the Habit Productions alongside their manager Adam Alpert and they produced the movie ‘Paris’ which was inspired by their hit song.

The band released their second album titled ‘Sick Boy’ later that year. Early in 2019 they released the song ‘Who Do You Love’, a collaboration with the band 5 Seconds of Summer. The band announced a planned 41 date tour through North America with 5 Seconds to Summer set to begin in September and end in December.

In the same year they performed at the Ultra Music Festival in Melbourne and Sydney and later at the Miami festival. They also headlined at Lollapalooza in Chicago. At the end of 2019 they announced that they were producing the TV drama series ‘Demo’ which focuses on a musician who moves to Los Angeles to write pop songs. The screenwriter on the show is Joy Gregory who is well known for his part in writing the television show Switched at Birth and the show Madam Secretary.

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