The Chainsmokers hold court on the main stage of the second day of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL, as Saturday’s headliners. Ultra is known as the ultimate dance party festival and this year is its 20th running. If that itself doesn’t sound like a recipe for amazing moments, know that the performers include The Chainsmokers’ Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, Armin van Buuren, Axwell & Ingrosso, David Guetta, Eric Prydz, Hardwell, DJ Snake, Tiësto, Kaskade, Marshmello, and Virtual Self.
Heavily EDM focused, the festival also features up and coming artists and the intersections of the genres EDM plays best with. These jaunts into pop, hip-hop, and synth often test the boundaries of what is considered dance music.
The Chainsmokers return to the festival this year after appearances in 2016 in Miami and 2017 in India. The multi-platinum duo is also headlining Ultra Europe this July in Croatia. The Chainsmokers have put out three fresh singles in the early months of 2018 and they’re now well-seasoned festival performers ready for top billing.
Chainsmokers Headline on Saturday
The Chainsmokers take the Ultra Main Stage at 11:00 p.m. just after Marshmello.
There is no doubt that The Chainsmokers’ sound started evolving as soon as people took notice. A duo that famously satirized their own genre is reaching beyond it with every release.
Three singles are currently live, following the last studio album, Memories…Do Not Open. The first single ‘Sick Boy’ came out in January, ‘You Owe Me’ followed in February, and March brought ‘Everybody Hates Me.’ Each song features Drew Taggart’s vocals with live instrumentation creeping in.
Matt McGuire on drums and Tony Ann on the piano are additional elements on top of Pall and Taggart’s tracks. Instead of predictable beat drops, the songs have laid back choruses and punchy verses that invite you to dance and sing along.
The Ultra Music Festival crowd will get a taste of these songs as well as others expected to appear in the forthcoming album. No release date for the album is known at this time.
The Chainsmokers’ 2016 Ultra Performance
This isn’t the first time The Chainsmokers head to Ultra Music Festival. The DJ duo played the Miami Worldwide stage Saturday in 2016.
They reached out to fans afterward on Instagram saying, “We gave you guys everything we had yesterday and you gave it right back! Thank you! #ultra #ultra2016 @alivecoverage”
The Chainsmokers began making music around 2012 after Alex Pall was introduced to Andrew Taggart by his manager, Adam Alpert. Both DJs were already playing shows and they bonded over a mutual love for dance music.
Their collaboration was inevitable. They soon started working on music together, beginning to gain significant attention from streams and appearances around 2014.
Alex Pall told Interview Magazine about The Chainsmokers’ origin story.
“I think we both initially knew what we brought to the table. When we talked, it was mostly about what we liked musically and what we were into growing up. Then it became a chat about how driven and ambitious we were and how badly we really wanted this. We were both very observant about what was going on around us and who was killing it and what was working and what wasn’t…It was like, 9 AM to 7 PM, we got together every day and worked on music and creating our identity as artists. We didn’t want to treat it like a job, but we knew we had a lot to learn and a lot of ground to cover. Obviously over time, we’ve had the same core values, but we’re always pushing ourselves harder to become better artists, because it is a job that pays our bills, but it’s so much more than that. People relate to our music on such a deeper level, and we want that to be the case more and more. So it’s constantly a journey of self-discovery and checking yourself, and we kind of always questioned those things.”
The Chainsmokers’ accolades to date include a Grammy for Best Dance Song in 2016 for ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and a record-breaking number one hit that held on top of the charts for 12 weeks in ‘Closer’. It broke the record for the most weeks in the Hot 100’s top five, and tied another after spending 32 weeks in the top ten.
In total, five Chainsmokers’ songs entered the Billboard’s top ten between 2016 and the latest album, Memories…Do Not Open.
Pall and Taggart also recently won three 2018 iHeartRadio Awards for Best Collaboration with Chris Martin of Coldplay, Dance Artist of the Year, and Dance Album of the Year. In 2017, The Chainsmokers won Dance Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best New Pop Artist, and Dance Artist of the Year. As the pair announced the 2018 Best New Artist award, Alex Pall commented that they were ‘passing the torch’ to Cardi B.
Ultra Music Festival’s 20th Running
Ultra was founded in 1999 by Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes. The festival took its name from a 1997 Depeche Mode album titled Ultra.
In its beginnings, Ultra was a relatively small, one-day festival at Collins Park that showcased the cutting edge of EDM. It’s now known for the many iconic stage moments it’s witnessed along the way. The Miami New Times aptly said, “Ultra has grown from a bright idea to a monolithic temple of electronic dance.”
Ultra Music Festival saw Swedish House Mafia’s swan song in 2013, a headlining set from The Cure, and Disclosure’s first stateside performance. Even Snoop Dogg dropped a legendary set in the festival’s 15th year.
Ultra grew along with the world’s obsession with electronic dance music. EDM is no longer an outlying genre that only the club goers understand. DJs regularly collaborate with major pop stars and see their songs hit radio. Live streaming helped give people all over the globe an inside view of life at a dance music festival. The vibe is infectious, the songs are moving, and the performances are evocative.
Read our last story on The Chainsmokers here!