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The Chainsmokers

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The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers VELD 2016.jpg
The Chainsmokers, Alex Pall (left) and Andrew Taggart (right), performing at VELD 2016
Background information
OriginNew York City, New York, US
Years active2012–present
  • Andrew Taggart
  • Alex Pall
Past members
  • Rhett Bixler
Signatures of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, Billboard Open Letter 2016.png

The Chainsmokers is an American DJ and production duo consisting of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart.[3][4] The EDM-pop duo[1] achieved a breakthrough with their 2014 song "#Selfie", which was a top twenty single in several countries. Their debut EP, Bouquet was released in October 2015 and featured the single "Roses", which reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[5] "Don't Let Me Down" became their first top 5 single there and won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 59th awards ceremony,[6] while "Closer" became their first number-one single on the chart.[7] They have also won two American Music Awards,[8] seven Billboard Music Awards and eight iHeartRadio Music Awards.[9] The duo's second EP Collage was released in November 2016, succeeded by the release of their debut studio album, Memories...Do Not Open, in April 2017.[10]


2012: Formation[edit]

The Chainsmokers were initially made up of Pall and former DJ Rhett Bixler.[11][12] The Chainsmokers were re-formed as an EDM DJ duo in 2012 under the management of Adam Alpert in New York City. Pall, who had grown up DJing, was introduced to Taggart by Alpert, and had been working at an art gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan at the time.[12] Pall attended New York University for art history and music business.[13] Taggart had been attending Syracuse University and was interning at Interscope Records before the two met. He had taken an interest in DJing and released some original songs on the website SoundCloud. Taggart was informed by someone working for Alpert that a duo that was being managed by him had an open spot after Bixler left, which prompted Taggart to leave Maine in order to go to New York City.[14] They started out by making remixes of indie bands.[15] In 2012, they collaborated with Indian actress and recording artist Priyanka Chopra on the single "Erase" which was followed by "The Rookie" in early 2013.[16]

During an October 2016 television interview, ABC News Nightline reporter Nick Watt asked Pall and Taggart "What's with the (duo's) name?" Alex Pall replied "At the time of conception it was, it was totally just like I was in college. You know I enjoyed smoking weed and you know it was just like such a 'yeah the domain's open'. I don't have to have any like underscores." Andrew Taggart added "Uh it's just a name."[17]

2013–2014: First live performance and breakthrough[edit]

Logo before 2015

The duo's first live performance was opening for Timeflies at Terminal 5 in September 2014.[13] Their single "#Selfie", released for free in December 2013, was picked up by Dim Mak Records who re-released it in January 2014 and eventually streamed it to Republic Records.[18] The duo achieved breakthrough success as the single charted internationally and peaked on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart.[19] Pall has described the song as "life-changing" for the pair.[20] On August 5, 2014, the Chainsmokers released "Kanye" featuring sirenXX, the follow-up to "#Selfie". Seven months later, they released "Let You Go", featuring the American synthpop group, Great Good Fine Ok.[21] They signed with Disruptor Records, a joint venture label with Sony Music Entertainment by their manager Adam Alpert, in April 2015.[22]

2015–2016: Bouquet and Collage[edit]

Logo from 2015 to 2018

On May 18, 2015, The Chainsmokers released the single "Good Intentions",[23] with their follow-up single, "Roses", being released a month later on June 16.[24] "Roses" became a commercial success, certifying multiplatinum in several countries including the duo's native United States.[25] Further singles included "Waterbed" and a collaboration with Dutch DJ Tiësto entitled "Split (Only U)", in addition to another commercial successful single, "Until You Were Gone", which was released on September 18, 2015. These songs (except "Split (Only U)") featured on the group's debut EP, Bouquet, which was released on October 23, 2015.[26][27] A week later the song "New York City" was released as the fifth and final single from the EP.[28]

The Chainsmokers live at VELD Festival 2016

On February 5, 2016 the duo released a new single "Don't Let Me Down" which featured vocals from the singer Daya.[18] Two months later, they released the single, "Inside Out", featuring the Swedish singer Charlee. On March 19, 2016, the group played at Ultra Music Festival,[29] where they publicly denounced presidential candidate Donald Trump.[30] On July 29, 2016, they released "Closer" featuring singer Halsey, which peaked at number one in the United States and United Kingdom, in addition to charts in eleven other countries.[7] The track was also performed at the 2016 MTV VMAs.[31] The performance was met with mostly negative reception. The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Us Weekly referred to the performance as the worst of the night.[32][33][34] Taggart himself stated in an interview with Billboard that "It sounded like shit."[35] "All We Know" featuring Phoebe Ryan was released on September 29, 2016.[36] In October 2016, the Chainsmokers were ranked 18th in DJ Magazine's annual list of the "Top 100 DJs"[37] after debuting on the list at 97th in 2014.[38] The two initially stated that they had no plans to release a debut studio album.[39] They released their second extended play Collage on November 4, 2016.[40]

2017: Memories...Do Not Open and Las Vegas XS residency[edit]

The Chainsmokers logo from the Memories...Do Not Open album and tour

The duo released "Paris" as their next international single on January 13, 2017. On January 30, the song was certified gold in Canada.[41] It also went gold in the US [42] and has received over 270 million streams on Spotify alone as of March 2017.[43] On the same day, despite previous statements, the duo announced that they were working on their debut studio album, scheduled for release in April.[44] The Memories Do Not Open Tour tour was also announced on the same day, it features 40 North American cities beginning in April alongside support from Kiiara and Emily Warren.[45][46][47] They announced on Instagram that they would be taking a fan, Tony Ann who is a Berklee College of Music student, with them on the tour because they were impressed with his piano cover of their song "Paris".[48] The official video for "Paris" directed by Mister Whitmore and starring American fashion model Martha Hunt[49] reached more than 110 million views on YouTube to date.[50] The official lyric video directed by Rory Kramer[51] has received over 290 million views on YouTube alone as of November 2017.[52] On January 3, 2017, they announced an exclusive three-year residency deal with Wynn Nightlife.[53][54] Per the agreement, they will only perform in Wynn-owned nightclubs XS Las Vegas and Encore Beach Club until the year 2019.[55][56][57] Pall described the deal to be the "best of what Las Vegas has to offer", saying they were "thrilled" with the agreement.[57][58]

On February 14, 2017, the duo announced during an on-screen Grammy red carpet interview that their debut album would be titled Memories...Do Not Open and would be released on April 7, 2017, via Disruptor/Sony.[59] The Chainsmokers' collaborative single with Coldplay "Something Just Like This" was released in February 2017.[60][61][62] The single was released simultaneously to The Chainsmokers performance with Coldplay at the 2017 Brit Awards.[63] “Something Just Like This” broke the record for most views of a lyric video in one day with 9 million plays.[64] They released "The One" as a promotional single from their debut studio album on March 27, 2017.[65][66][67][68] Memories...Do Not Open was released on April 7, 2017 via Disruptor Records/Columbia Records.[69][70][71] Memories...Do Not Open debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 221,000 album-equivalent units, of which 166,000 were pure album sales.[72] The album was certified platinum in August 2017.[73] The same month saw The Chainsmokers listed as third on Forbes' World's Highest Paid DJs list for 2017 with earnings of $38 million, from 12 months prior to June 2017.[74][75] The Chainsmokers also performed an unannounced set at Emo Nite LA's 3-year-anniversary mini festival.[76]

2018: Sick Boy[edit]

Logo since 2018

On January 17, 2018, The Chainsmokers released their first single, since the release of Memories... Do Not Open, entitled "Sick Boy".[77][78] A month later, a new single, "You Owe Me", was released on February 16.[79][80] They also debuted the song "Everybody Hates Me" during a live show in Prague,[81][82] which was released on March 16, 2018.[83] The same month Billboard named The Chainsmokers as number one on their 2018 ranking of dance musicians titled Billboard Dance 100.[84][85] On April 20, 2018, The Chainsmokers released their fourth single of their monthly releases, which are building up to their second studio album,[86] entitled "Somebody".[87]

In July 2018, a collaboration between the duo and American rapper Juice Wrld, titled "In My Head", was leaked online.[88] On July 27, the duo released their fifth single of the year featuring long time collaborator Emily Warren entitled "Side Effects".[89] They released the single "Siren", a collaboration with Parisian producer Aazar, on October 26.[90][91]

On November 1, 2018, it was announced that The Chainsmokers is scheduled to perform during the Victoria's Secret fashion show which will be recorded in New York City in November, and will be telecasted on December 2 by the ABC network.[92] On November 16, 2018, they released "Beach House" as a single. The duo has launched a film production company named Kick the Habit Productions, with their manager Adam Alpert serving as CEO and Dan Marcus, a former digital media agent, as a COO and president. They said "We are beyond thrilled to have launched Kick the Habit Productions as we continue to bridge the gap between our overall artistic vision, the entertainment industry as a whole and our fans. The age of being only a musician is over and we’re excited to go all-in on this venture to curate, produce and create meaningful projects."[93]

Musical style[edit]

Taggart has described the duo's music as "blurring the lines between indie, pop music, dance music, and hip-hop."[14] The pair have cited Pharrell Williams, Linkin Park and deadmau5 as musical influences.[94][13][95] Acts who have inspired the Chainsmokers' songs include Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday,[96] Taylor Swift, Max Martin,[97] The xx and Explosions in the Sky.[98]


Alex Pall[edit]

Alexander "Alex" Pall was born on (1985-05-16) May 16, 1985 (age 33).[99] He is The Chainsmokers' DJ.[100] According to Billboard magazine, Pall was raised in Westchester County, New York as the "son of an art dealer and a stay-at-home mom."[35]

Andrew Taggart[edit]

Andrew "Drew" Taggart, born (1989-12-31) December 31, 1989 (age 28),[101] was raised in Freeport, Maine. He serves as The Chainsmokers' producer[citation needed], writer and vocalist.[102] His mother is a teacher and his father sold prosthetics.[103] He was turned onto EDM at the age of 15 while abroad in Argentina, where he was introduced to the music of David Guetta, Daft Punk and Trentemøller.[35]



Awards and nominations[edit]


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External links[edit]