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The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers are an American DJ and production duo consisting of Alexander "Alex" Pall and Andrew "Drew" Taggart. They started out by releasing remixes of songs by indie artists. The EDM-pop duo achieved a breakthrough with their 2014 song "#Selfie", which became a top twenty single in several countries. They have won a Grammy award[3], two American Music Awards,[4] seven Billboard Music Awards and nine iHeartRadio Music Awards.[5] According to Forbes 2019 list of highest paid celebrities, The Chainsmokers were the highest paid DJs, dethroning Calvin Harris after six years.[6]

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. "Don't Let Me Down", featuring American singer Daya, became their first top 5 single on the Billboard chart and won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 59th awards ceremony. Their single "Closer", featuring American singer-songwriter Halsey, became their first number-one single on the Billboard chart. The duo's second EP, Collage, was released in November 2016. Their debut studio album, Memories...Do Not Open, was released in April 2017 and topped the US Billboard 200 chart. Their second album, Sick Boy, was released in December 2018.

The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers VELD 2016.jpg
The Chainsmokers performing at the 2016 VELD Music Festival
Background information
OriginNew York City, New York, US
Years active2012–present
Associated acts
  • Emily Warren
  • Halsey
  • Xylø
  • 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Coldplay
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Illenium
Websitethechainsmokers.com [115]
  • Drew Taggart
  • Alex Pall
Past members
  • Rhett Bixler


2012: Formation

The Chainsmokers were initially made up of Pall and former DJ Rhett Bixler.[7][8] The Chainsmokers were re-formed as an EDM DJ duo in 2012 under the management of Adam Alpert in New York City. Pall attended New York University for art history and music business[9] while Taggart had been attending Syracuse University and was an intern at Interscope Records before the two met. Taggart had taken an interest in being a DJ and released some original songs on the website SoundCloud. Taggart was informed by someone working for Alpert that a duo, which was being managed by Alpert, had an open spot after Bixler left, which prompted Taggart to leave Maine in order to go to New York City.[10] Pall, who had grown up as a DJ and had been working at an art gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan at the time, was introduced to Taggart by Alpert.[8] In April 2013, The Chainsmokers released a remix of "Medicine" by Daughter and it reached number 1 on HypeMachine.[11]

The duo started out by making remixes of indie bands.[12] 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.[13]

During an October 2016 television interview, ABC News Nightline reporter Nick Watt asked Pall and Taggart "What's with the (duo's) name?" Pall replied that, "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." Taggart added "It's just a name."[14]

2013–2014: First live performance and breakthrough

Logo before 2015.

Logo before 2015.

The duo's first live performance was opening for Timeflies at Terminal 5 in September 2014.[9] 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.[15] The duo achieved breakthrough success as the single charted internationally and peaked on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart.[16] Pall has described the song as "life-changing" for the pair.[17]

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.[18] They signed with Disruptor Records, a joint venture label with Sony Music Entertainment by their manager Adam Alpert, in April 2015.[19]

2015–2016: Bouquet and Collage

Logo from 2015 to 2018.

Logo from 2015 to 2018.

The Chainsmokers live at VELD Festival 2016.

The Chainsmokers live at VELD Festival 2016.

On May 18, 2015, The Chainsmokers released the single "Good Intentions".[20] Their follow-up single, "Roses", was released a month later on June 16.[21] "Roses" became a commercial success and has been certified multiplatinum in several countries, including the duo's native United States where it reached the top 10 of the Billboard chart.[22][23] Further singles included "Waterbed", a collaboration with Dutch DJ Tiësto entitled "Split (Only U)", and "Until You Were Gone" which was released on September 18, 2015. These songs, except "Split (Only U)", were featured on the group's debut EP, Bouquet, which was released on October 23, 2015.[24][25] A week later, the song "New York City" was released as the fifth and final single from the EP.[26]

On February 5, 2016, the duo released a new single, "Don't Let Me Down", featuring vocals from American singer Daya,[15] which won a Grammy award. 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,[27] where they publicly denounced presidential candidate Donald Trump.[28]

On July 29, 2016, they released "Closer", featuring American singer Halsey, which peaked at number one in the United States and United Kingdom, in addition to charts in eleven other countries.[29][29][30] 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 on *DJ Magazine'*s annual list of the "Top 100 DJs"[37] after debuting on the list at 97th in 2014.[38] They released their second extended play Collage on November 4, 2016.[39]

2017: Memories...Do Not Open, "Something Just Like This", and Las Vegas XS residency

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

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

On January 13, 2017, the duo released "Paris", which was certified gold in Canada[40] and the US [41]. On the same day, they announced that they were working on their debut studio album, scheduled for release in April.[42] The Memories Do Not Open Tour was also announced on the same day, featuring 40 North American cities beginning in April alongside support from Kiiara and Emily Warren.[43][44][45] 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".[46] The official video for "Paris" was directed by Mister Whitmore and starring American fashion model Martha Hunt.[47][48] The official lyric video was directed by Rory Kramer.[49][50]

On January 3, 2017, they announced an exclusive three-year residency deal with Wynn Nightlife.[51][52] Per the agreement, they will only perform in Wynn-owned nightclubs XS Las Vegas and Encore Beach Club until the year 2019.[53][54][55] Pall described the deal to be the "best of what Las Vegas has to offer", saying they were "thrilled" with the agreement.[55][56]

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.[57] The Chainsmokers' collaborative single with Coldplay "Something Just Like This" was released in February 2017.[58][59][60] The single was released simultaneously with The Chainsmokers' performance with Coldplay at the 2017 Brit Awards.[61] “Something Just Like This” broke the record for most views of a lyric video in one day with 9 million plays.[62] They released "The One" as a promotional single from their debut studio album on March 27, 2017.[63][64][65][66]

Memories...Do Not Open was released on April 7, 2017[67][68][69] and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 221,000 album-equivalent units, of which 166,000 were pure album sales.[70] The album was certified platinum in August 2017.[71]On the same month, The Chainsmokers has been 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.[72][73] The Chainsmokers also performed an unannounced set at Emo Nite LA's 3-year-anniversary mini festival.[74]

2018: Sick Boy

Logo since 2018.

Logo since 2018.

On January 17, 2018, The Chainsmokers released their single, entitled "Sick Boy", which became the lead single of their upcoming sophomore album.[75][76] A month later, a new single, "You Owe Me", was released on February 16.[77][78] They also debuted the song "Everybody Hates Me" during a live show in Prague,[79][80] which was released on March 16.[81] On the same month, Billboard named The Chainsmokers as number one on their 2018 ranking of dance musicians titled Billboard Dance 100.[82][83]

On April 20, The Chainsmokers released the fourth single, entitled "Somebody", from their upcoming second studio album.[84][85] In July 2018, a collaboration between the duo and American rapper Juice Wrld, titled "In My Head", was leaked online.[86] On July 27, the duo released their fifth single of the year, featuring long time collaborator Emily Warren entitled "Side Effects".[87] On August 24, "Save Yourself" was released. On September 18, "This Feeling" was released. They released the single "Siren", a collaboration with Parisian producer Aazar, on October 26.[88][89]

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.[90] On November 16, they released "Beach House" as a single.

The duo 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."[91] The first project which Kick the Habit Productions will be producing is a movie titled Paris and the screenplay writer is Mickey Rapkin who was inspired by The Chainsmokers’ multi-platinum hit song.[92]

On December 14, 2018, the duo released their second studio album titled Sick Boy, featuring ten songs released each month in that year. The final single from the album, "Hope", a collaboration with Winona Oak, was released on the same day.[93]

2019: World War Joy

The Chainsmokers performing at the Hakkasan Night Club in Las Vegas in 2019.

The Chainsmokers performing at the Hakkasan Night Club in Las Vegas in 2019.

The duo released the single "Who Do You Love", a collaboration with Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, on February 7, 2019. The lyric video was released on the same day on YouTube. They also announced a 41-city North American tour with 5 Seconds of Summer and Nashville star Lennon Stella, starting September through December 2019.[94] On March 29, 2019, the Chainsmokers released the single "Kills You Slowly".[95]

The duo performed at the 2019 Ultra Music Festival Australia, a two-day festival held in Sydney and Melbourne in February.[96] They also closed out the mainstage at the 2019 Ultra Music Festival Miami, a three-day festival held in March.[97] They also headlined Day 1 of Lollapalooza 2019, a four-day festival held in August in Chicago, where they debuted their new fully live setup they'll be using on their upcoming World War Joy Tour, consisting of keyboards, drum pads, and samplers.[98]

Musical style

Taggart has described the duo's music as "blurring the lines between indie, pop music, dance music, and hip-hop."[10] The pair have cited Pharrell Williams, Linkin Park and deadmau5 as musical influences.[99][9][100] Acts who have inspired the Chainsmokers' songs include Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday,[101] Taylor Swift, Max Martin,[102] The xx, Beach House, and Explosions in the Sky.[103]


Alex Pall

Alexander "Alex" Pall was born on (1985-05-16) May 16, 1985.[104] He shares the role of The Chainsmokers' producer and DJ alongside Andrew Taggart, performing programming, mixing and mastering songs. He also co-writes and plays the piano on some songs. 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]

Drew Taggart

Andrew "Drew" Taggart, born (1989-12-31) December 31, 1989,[105] was raised in Freeport, Maine. He shares the role of The Chainsmokers' producer and DJ alongside Alex Pall, performing programming, mixing and mastering. He is the band's primary songwriter, and performs vocals and guitar on some songs.[106] His mother is a teacher and his father sold prosthetics.[107] He got into electronic dance music at the age of 15 while abroad in Argentina, where he was introduced to the music of David Guetta, Daft Punk and Trentemøller.[35]

Live/Touring only members

Matt McGuire

Matt McGuire serves as the drummer and music director for The Chainsmokers live shows, and currently performs with them when they go on tour. McGuire also frequently appears alongside the duo in various music videos.[108][109]

Tony Ann

Tony Ann served as the live keyboard player for The Chainsmokers, performing with them on the "Memories...Do Not Open Tour". He also has songwriting credits on their singles Sick Boy, Side Effects, and Call You Mine.[110]


  • Memories...Do Not Open (2017)

  • Sick Boy (2018)

  • World War Joy (2019)


  • Memories Do Not Open Tour (2017)[111]

Awards and nominations


Citation Linkwww.rollingstone.com"Father John Misty, Joey Bada$ and 15 More New Albums to Hear Right Now". Rolling Stone. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
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Citation Linknoisey.vice.comFitzmaurice, Larry (April 11, 2017). "The Chainsmokers Are Bad, but It's Not for the Reason You Think". Vice. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
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Citation Linkwww.grammy.com"The Chainsmokers". Grammy.
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Citation Linkwww.theamas.com"American Music Award Winners 2016". TheAMAs.
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Citation Linkwww.iheart.com"Complete List of #iHeartAwards Winners". iHeart. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
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Citation Linkraverrafting.comAlvodomar, Tyler. "The Chainsmokers Talk Early Beginnings, Favorite Gigs To Play, Love Of Music Blogs And Yoga Pants (Exclusive Interview)". Raver Rafting. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
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Citation Linkwww.interviewmagazine.comRosenzweig, Mathias. "The Chainsmokers". Interview Magazine. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
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Citation Linkyesgoodmusic.comBrakatselos, Nick (April 4, 2013). "Daughter – Medicine (The Chainsmokers Remix)". YesGoodMusic.com. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
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Citation Linkwww.news.com.au"Rise of The Chainsmokers: How Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall went from remixes to chart toppers". Retrieved August 27, 2016.
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Citation Linkwww.hindustantimes.com"Priyanka Chopra: The girl who leapt through time". Hindustan Times. October 10, 2015.
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Citation Linkwww.youtube.com"The Chainsmokers | Inside the Studio with Alex Pall, Drew Taggart". ABC News | Nightline. October 6, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
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Citation Linkwww.askmen.comMorris, David. "What's It Like To Be An EDM Star & Trash Hotel Rooms? The Chainsmokers Know". AskMen. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
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Citation Linkwww.billboard.com"The Chainsmokers and Miguel Delight During Grammy Week". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
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