Music News & Reviews

Chainsmokers are all the rage, and you can feel the heat in Raleigh

The Chainsmokers play PNC on May 24, 2017.
The Chainsmokers play PNC on May 24, 2017.

According to the National Health Interview Survey, cigarette smoking among adults and teens has dropped dramatically over recent years. But according to the Billboard charts, Chainsmokers are all the rage.

The Chainsmokers – Alex Pall and Drew Taggart – played South By Southwest in March, and fans, who jammed into the Sony party to catch the charismatic EDM-pop duo during the annual music festival/conference, couldn’t get enough. But that’s no surprise considering how well the group has been doing on the charts.

The catchy single “Roses” reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Don’t Let Me Down” became their first top 5 single and won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. “Closer” became their first No. 1 single on the chart.

“It’s been crazy,” Pall says. “But it’s a good crazy. We are running around so much that we don’t get a chance to absorb all of this.”

It’s been a whirlwind since the tandem hooked up in 2012. In just five years, the act is headlining arenas. They made their debut on “Saturday Night Live” on April 8.

“Things have happened quickly for us, but we’ve worked hard for this,” Pall says. “We’re constantly working.”

The Chainsmokers, who will perform Wednesday at PNC Arena, are touring behind their first full-length release, “Memories: Do Not Open,” which dropped last month.

“Memories” is cut from the same cloth as the act’s EP, 2016’s “Collage.” The new tunes are witty, playful and hook-laden. “It Won’t Kill You” and “Wake Up Alone” sound like future hits.

It wasn’t that long ago that Pall was working as an art gallery receptionist in New York, which is where he grew up. Taggart was an intern at Interscope Records when they met.

“We had this huge connection over music,” Pall said. “Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and David Guetta are some of the artists we talked about when we met. We got together all of the time to make music. It was slow at the start, but we started to get it going. The cool thing was that we got some good feedback.”

Less than two years after that meeting, the Chainsmokers scored with “#Selfie,” which became a viral sensation.

“That was a joke, but it blew up,” Pall said. “We were just having fun, messing around, and it took off. We were in an odd spot since we really didn’t have anything else of note to showcase. We were just getting started and we didn’t expect anyone to get that excited over it.”

But when the Chainsmokers were pressed to come up with more material, the pair came through. “We love making music,” Pall says. “The fame can get in the way, but we try to ignore that stuff and just focus on what matters. It’s all about the songs.”

There should be plenty of future for the Chainsmokers since Pall is 31 and Taggart is just 27.

“We’re excited about everything,” Pall says. “The response has been amazing. We love our fans, but we know we have so much ahead of us. We have a lot of work to do.”


Who: The Chainsmokers

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh

Cost: $37-$77

Info: 919-467-7825 or