The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers performing live. Ed Simons (left) and Tom Rowlands (right)
Background information
Also known as The 237 Turbo Nutters, The Dust Brothers, Chemical Ed & Chemical Tom
Origin Manchester[1], United Kingdom
Genres Big beat, electronica,[2] techno, neo-psychedelia[3]
Years active 1993–present
Labels Junior Boy's Own, Astralwerks, Freestyle Dust, Virgin, Ultra
Tom Rowlands
Ed Simons

The Chemical Brothers are a British electronic music duo comprising Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons. Originating in Manchester[1] in 1991, along with The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, and fellow acts, they were pioneers at bringing the big beat genre to the forefront of pop culture.



Background (1984–1991)

Ed Simons was born in Herne Hill, South London on 9 June 1970 to a barrister mother and a father who was not around much when Simons was growing up. Simons' two main interests when he was young were aeroplanes and musicals. Simons attended two South London public schools, Alleyn's School and Dulwich College. During his school years, he developed a fondness for rare groove and Hip hop music, having frequented a club called The Mud Club from the age of 14. By the time he left school, his two main musical interests were two Manchester bands, New Order and The Smiths. After finishing school with 11 O levels and three A-levels, he continued on to study history, especially late medieval history, at the University of Manchester.[citation needed]

Tom Rowlands, a childhood classmate of Simons', was born on 11 January 1971 in Kingston upon Thames, London. When Rowlands was very young, his family relocated to Henley-on-Thames. He later attended Reading Blue Coat School in Berkshire, during which time he became obsessed with Scotland, developing a fondness for the bagpipes in particular. In his early teens, his interest in music broadened to other genres. Initially, some of his favourites included the Oh What a Lovely War soundtrack, 2 Tone, the nascent gothic rock genre (Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim) and the electro sounds of artists such as Kraftwerk, New Order, Cabaret Voltaire, and Heaven 17. He described the first Public Enemy album as the record that probably changed his life, and commented that "Miuzi Weighs a Ton" was one of the most amazing tracks he had ever heard.[citation needed] Rowlands also started collecting hip hop records by artists like Eric B and Schoolly D. Rowlands left school with similar accomplishments to Simons', achieving nine O levels and three A levels. For university, he followed Simons to Manchester primarily to immerse himself in its music scene in general and the Haçienda in particular.[citation needed]

Rowlands was also in a band called Ariel prior to meeting up with Simons. Ariel was formed in London by Rowlands and his friends Brendan Melck and Matt Berry. Their first single was "Sea of Beats", which was essentially a white label. Before Philip Brown set up Echo Logik Records, their first promo was "Bokadilo". Other songs, released on 12", included "Mustn't Grumble" and their most well-known, "Rollercoaster". After a year on Echo Logik they signed to the record label deConstruction. They insisted that they get a female singer and they recruited former Xpansions frontwoman Sally Ann Marsh, and after some disappointing songs like "Let It Slide" (Rowlands would later describe it as "a stinker") the band fell apart. One of the last things Ariel did was the song "T Baby" which was remixed by the pair.[citation needed]

Rowlands and Simons then started to DJ at a club called "Naked Under Leather" in the back of a pub in 1992 under the alias of "The 237 Turbo Nutters" (named after the number of their house on Dickenson Road in Manchester and a reference to their Blackburn raving days). The pair would play hip hop, techno, and house.[4]

The Dust Brothers (1992–1994)

Rowlands and Simons called themselves The Dust Brothers, after the US production duo famous for their work with the Beastie Boys. After a while, they began to run out of suitable instrumental hip hop tracks to use, so they started to make their own. Using a Hitachi hi-fi system, a computer, a sampler, and a keyboard, they recorded "Song to the Siren", which sampled This Mortal Coil. "Song to the Siren" was released on their own record label, called "Diamond Records" (after Ed's nickname). In October 1992, they pressed 500 white label copies and took them to various dance record shops around London, but none would play it, saying that it was too slow (the track played at 111 BPM).[citation needed] They sent a copy to London DJ Andrew Weatherall, who made it a permanent fixture in his DJ sets. Weatherall also signed the band to his Junior Boy's Own label.[citation needed] In May 1993, Junior Boy's Own released "Song to the Siren".

Around June 1993, the Dust Brothers did their first remixes. The first was "Packet of Peace" for Justin Robertson's Lionrock outfit, followed by tracks for Leftfield, Republica, and The Sandals. Late in 1993, The Dust Brothers completed work on their Fourteenth Century Sky EP, released in January 1994. It contained the ground-breaking "Chemical Beats", which epitomized the duo's genre-defining big beat sound, later taken up by Fatboy Slim and many more. The EP also contained "One Too Many Mornings", which for the first time showed the less intense, more chilled-out side of The Dust Brothers. Both "One Too Many Mornings" and "Chemical Beats" would later appear on their debut album. Fourteenth Century Sky was followed later in 1993 by the My Mercury Mouth EP. "Chemical Beats" was also part of the soundtrack for the first edition of the Wipeout games series, having been featured in Wipeout for the PlayStation in 1995.[citation needed]

In October 1994, The Dust Brothers became resident DJs at the small, but hugely influential Heavenly Sunday Social Club at the Albany pub in London's Great Portland Street.[citation needed] The likes of Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, James Dean Bradfield, and Tim Burgess were regular visitors. The Dust Brothers were subsequently asked to remix tracks by Manic Street Preachers and The Charlatans, plus Primal Scream's "Jailbird" and The Prodigy's "Voodoo People". These two remixes received television exposure, being playlisted by MTV Europe's "The Party Zone" in 1995. Early in 1994, The Dust Brothers were approached in the club one Sunday by Noel Gallagher, from Oasis, who at the time were becoming one of the most prominent guitar bands in Britain. Gallagher told the duo that he had a Balearic-inspired track which he had written and would like the Dust Brothers to remix. However, over time, Gallagher changed his mind, and in the end the Brothers did not remix it. The track was "Wonderwall".[citation needed]

In March 1995, The Dust Brothers began their first international tour, which included the United States – where they played with Orbital and Underworld – then a series of European festivals. Also around this time, the original Dust Brothers threatened legal action over the use of their name, and so Rowlands and Simons had to decide on a new name quickly.[citation needed] They decided to then call themselves "The Chemical Brothers" after "Chemical Beats" (Simons' grandmother had suggested they call themselves "The Grit Brothers").

In June 1995, they released their fourth single, the first under their new identity. "Leave Home" was released on Junior Boy's Own, as a preview of the imminent debut album and became the band's first chart hit, peaking at No. 17. It stayed at number 17 for 8 weeks, the most weeks a record has stayed at the same place in the charts (apart from Number 1's).[citation needed]

Exit Planet Dust (1995–1996)

In July 1995, The Chemical Brothers released their debut album Exit Planet Dust (the title inspired by their name change) on Freestyle Dust/Junior Boy's Own. It entered the UK charts at No. 9[citation needed] and featured guest vocalist Beth Orton on the song "Alive Alone". It eventually went on to sell over a million copies worldwide, and was used on the soundtrack of the science fiction TV series pilot Virtuality.[citation needed] Shortly after its release, The Chemical Brothers signed to Virgin Records, to which they took their own offshoot label, Freestyle Dust. For their next single, "Life Is Sweet", released in September 1995, they again used a guest vocalist, featuring their friend Tim Burgess, singer of The Charlatans. It reached No. 25 in the singles charts. The single was also Select magazine's "Single of the Month" for October.[citation needed] The release included a Daft Punk remix of "Life Is Sweet".

In August 1995, The Chemical Brothers DJ'ed for Oasis at a Sheffield gig. The gig began to backfire when it became apparent that Liam Gallagher didn't seem to like any of the tracks they were spinning. The closest that they could come to pleasing him was the Happy Mondays' "Wrote for Luck".[citation needed] Gallagher proceeded to kick The Chemical Brothers off the turntables and procured a friend from The Verve to continue to DJ. He subsequently favoured psychedelic material to the displeasure of the crowd.[citation needed]

Around this period, The Stone Roses asked the Chemical Brothers to remix "Begging You", from their Second Coming album. After beginning work on a remix which they viewed as having potential, The Stone Roses changed their minds and the project was cancelled.[citation needed]

In October 1995, the duo returned to the Heavenly Sunday Social for a second and final run of DJ dates. They then became residents at the Heavenly Social on Saturdays at Turnmills. In November, The Chemical Brothers played the Astoria Theatre in London. At this time the Brothers usually used a fusion of "Chemical Beats" and The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" as their encore. During the encore, however, Keith Flint from The Prodigy jumped up on stage to dance, wearing a T-shirt sporting the slogan "Occupation: mad bastard". A few from the crowd subsequently joined in. This resulted in a power cable being kicked loose, bringing the show to a temporary close.[citation needed] The Chemical Brothers confessed to not being too bothered; "because he's Keith from the Prodigy, and he can do whatever the fucking hell he likes".[citation needed] Just before Christmas, 1995, they played their biggest gig to date, with The Prodigy, at the Brixton Academy.[citation needed]

In January 1996, Exit Planet Dust went gold. The Chemical Brothers released their first new material in six months on Virgin, the Loops of Fury EP. The four-track release was limited to 20,000 copies, but is now available for digital download. It entered the UK charts at No. 13. NME described the lead track as "splashing waves of synths across hard-hitting beats".[citation needed] The EP also contained a Dave Clarke remix of "Chemical Beats", and two other new tracks, "Get Up on It Like This" and "(The Best Part Of) Breaking Up".

In February 1996, Select magazine published a list of the 100 best albums of the 1990s thus far. Exit Planet Dust was listed at Number 39.[citation needed] In August 1996, The Chemical Brothers supported Oasis at Knebworth, where 125,000 people attended each of the two shows.[citation needed]

During the 1995 Glastonbury Festival, Rowlands and Simons had another conversation with Noel Gallagher. Gallagher told them how much he liked Exit Planet Dust, and asked if he could sing on a future track, similar to the way Tim Burgess had worked on "Life Is Sweet". They didn't think much of the offer at the time, given how busy Gallagher would be with the release of Oasis' (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, plus the complexities of dealing with each others' record companies.[citation needed] However, the duo later worked on a track which they thought would benefit from having a vocal on it. They sent Gallagher a tape of what they had done so far. He worked on it overnight, and left a message with them early the next morning that he was ready to record it. The track was called "Setting Sun" and was finally released in October 1996. It entered the UK charts at the top, giving the duo their first ever Number One single. "Setting Sun" was backed by a longer instrumental version, and also a new track "Buzz Tracks", which was not much more than a DJ tool. The three remaining Beatles' lawyers later wrote to The Chemical Brothers, mistakenly claiming that they had sampled "Tomorrow Never Knows". Virgin Records hired a musicologist to prove that they did not sample the classic 1960s psychedelic song.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, in 1996, Live at the Social Volume 1 was released by Heavenly Records, which became The Chemical Brothers' first mix CD (excluding Xmas Dust Up, a free album that came in a 1994 issue of NME). It was also the duo's first and only live album (excluding the EP Live 05).

Dig Your Own Hole (1997–1998)

In March 1997, the Brothers released the second track from their forthcoming album, to give the world a further taste of what to expect. "Block Rockin' Beats" went straight to No. 1 in the UK, possibly thanks, this time, to its Schoolly D vocal sample and re-working of the bassline from 23 Skidoo's single "Coup".[5] The NME named it "Single of the Week" and said "It throbs like your head might if you had just done a length underwater in a swimming pool full of amyl."[citation needed] It later won them a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.[citation needed]

In the US at this time, "Setting Sun" was sitting at Number 80 in the Billboard Top 100, after selling around 80,000 copies, an uncommon achievement for a European "dance" act. Sales from Exit Planet Dust were also around 150,000.[citation needed]

On 7 April 1997 The Chemical Brothers released their second album, Dig Your Own Hole. It was recorded at the band's own south London studio, with the title taken from graffiti on the wall outside. The album was well received,[6][dead link] with Mixmag rating it 10/10 and calling it "mad enough to be thrilling, slick enough for not even remotely trendy coffee tables".[citation needed]

During the summer of 1997, the Brothers toured extensively, particularly in the United States. They also became residents at Tokyo's Liquid Rooms. In August, The Chemical Brothers achieved rapprochement with the US Dust Brothers, and asked them to remix the forthcoming single "Elektrobank".[citation needed] They themselves also became highly sought-after for remixes for other artists. Metallica asked the Brothers several times to remix "Enter Sandman", but were repeatedly turned down.[citation needed] In September, the next single from Dig Your Own Hole, "Elektrobank" was released. In November, the pair played at Dublin's Point Theatre, with support from Carl Cox. They also began a US tour in Detroit.

At the end of the year, Dig Your Own Hole's final track, the nine minute-long "The Private Psychedelic Reel", gave rise to a limited-edition mini-EP of the same name. The B-side consisted of a live version of "Setting Sun", recorded at the Lowlands Festival, Netherlands on 24 August 1997. Also in December, following four sold-out US shows, The Chemical Brothers toured the UK, finishing with a sold-out gig at London's Brixton Academy.[citation needed]

In 1998, they concentrated more on DJ'ing, although some remixes did see the light of day, including "I Think I'm in Love" from Spiritualized. Both a vocal remix and an instrumental remix were included in the single release. Each came in at over seven-and-a-half minutes. Another remix completed by the Brothers was "Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp" by Mercury Rev. This was another extension in the association between the two bands, since Mercury Rev's Jonathon Donahue contributed to "The Private Psychedelic Reel" on Dig Your Own Hole.[citation needed]

In September 1998, a second mix album, Brothers Gonna Work It Out, was released. It contains some of their own tracks and remixes, as well as songs from artists who have influenced their sound, such as Renegade Soundwave, Meat Beat Manifesto, Carlos "After Dark" Berrios, and Kenny 'Dope' Gonzales.

In May 1999, The Chemical Brothers played three UK dates in Manchester, Sheffield and Brighton, their first since December 1997. Also that month, they released their first new original material in two years, a track called "Hey Boy, Hey Girl". This was more house-influenced than hip hop. In interviews at the time, Rowlands and Simons indicated that the track was inspired by nights out at Sheffield club Gatecrasher.[citation needed] The track was also one of their more commercially accessible tracks and went to number 3 in the UK charts.[citation needed]

Surrender (1999)

The third album, Surrender, was released in June 1999. It featured vocals from Noel Gallagher, Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue, and Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval. As "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" had suggested, the album was more house-oriented than the previous two. On one of the album's stand out tracks, "Out of Control", New Order's Bernard Sumner supported by Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie provided vocals. It reached No. 1 in the UK album charts,[citation needed] and was widely praised in the print media. The Michel Gondry-directed music video for "Let Forever Be", which utilized ground-breaking video and film effects in its depiction of a young woman's nightmares, also received a lot of attention.[citation needed]

Later that summer, The Brothers headlined the Glastonbury dance tent on the Friday night, followed by a UK tour which ended in December and included Homelands Scotland on 4 September.[citation needed] In November, "Out of Control", featuring Sumner and Gillespie on vocals, was released as a single. The release also contained the Sasha remix. The final single from Surrender, in February 2000, was the five track "Music: Response" EP, containing the title track and two remixes, plus Electronic Battle Weapon 4, named "Freak of the Week", and a track called "Enjoyed", which was essentially a remix of "Out of Control" by the Brothers themselves.

A CD copy of Surrender was placed in the third Blue Peter time capsule, buried in January 2000. That same month, they appeared on Primal Scream's album Xtrmntr at track 11 with a remix.

Come with Us (2000–2003)

In June 2000, Tom and Ed played the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival pulling in the largest audience ever seen in the Festival's history.[citation needed] In August 2000 they played to a large crowd at the main stage at Creamfields festival, Ireland. In December 2000, The Chemical Brothers aired one of their new tracks, "It Began in Afrika" at their New York DJ gigs, supporting U2.[citation needed]

In 2001, they were quite active with releases and live performances. Early in the year, they began working on a fourth album, provisionally titled Chemical Four. The first track which fans got a taste of was "It Began in Afrika", as previously played in their DJ set in New York. The track would make its live debut in California in April 2001, at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Another new track, "Galaxy Bounce", also got its public debut at Coachella.[citation needed] As had become customary for their releases and experiments, "It Began in Afrika" was first pressed as a promo, as part of the "Electronic Battle Weapon" series. It received much airplay on dance music radio shows in the UK, and became more and more popular in clubs over the course of the summer. It also became one of the "anthems" in Ibiza as the summer progressed.[citation needed] It was given a full commercial single release in September, reaching No. 8 in the UK singles chart, even though no promotional video was made for the track.[citation needed]

Rowlands and Simons also remixed a track from Fatboy Slim's Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, entitled "Song for Shelter". This remix was released as a single on 3 September 2001 (one week before "It Began in Afrika") as the CD2 single for "Song for Shelter / Ya Mama". It reached No. 30 in the UK Singles Charts (sales were combined with the CD1 single).[citation needed]

The Chemical Brothers finished work on another album, Come with Us, in October 2001. It featured collaborations with Richard Ashcroft of The Verve ("The Test"), and long-time collaborator Beth Orton ("The State We're In"). The album was released in January 2002, preceded by a single, "Star Guitar", a melodic Balearic beat number, with a promotional video by Michel Gondry that featured passing scenery synchronized to the beat viewed through a train window. What would be the second track on the album, "It Began in Afrika", was released 10 September 2001 to be circulated around the clubbing scene where it was a popular hit.[citation needed] "Star Guitar" was also released as a DVD single, the pair's first.

The album, Come with Us, was less well received than their previous albums, but nonetheless went straight to No. 1 in the UK album charts in the first week of its release, selling 100,000 copies.[citation needed] In April, the title track from the album was released as a single with remixes by Fatboy Slim as part of a double-A sided release with "The Test".

During the summer of 2002, The Chemical Brothers traveled the festival circuit to promote the album. Later in 2002, they released two EPs, one specifically aimed at Japan and the other the US (entitled AmericanEP). Both contained remixes, live versions and B-sides. Additionally, the band produced New Order's final non-album single "Here to Stay", and remixed the song as well.

One of their other major songs from this album was "Galaxy Bounce", which was popular and featured as the main title music for the Xbox game Project Gotham Racing. It was also included on the soundtrack for the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. "Star Guitar" was featured as a song on the PSP's Lumines II.[citation needed]

Two other songs, "Come with Us (Introduction)" and "Star Guitar (Title Screen)", were featured on a PlayStation 2 racing game titled WRC II: Extreme. Both songs are instrumental.

The Song My Elastic Eye from the Come with Us album was played in the 2004 movie The Butterfly Effect[7] starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart.

Late 2002 and early 2003 saw Rowlands and Simons back in the studio working on new material, including "The Golden Path", a collaboration with Wayne Coyne, the lead singer of The Flaming Lips. This was released in September 2003, at the same time as a "best of" album, entitled Singles 93–03, marking ten years of The Chemical Brothers' releases. Singles 93–03 included most, but not all, of their singles. A second new track, in addition to "The Golden Path", was included on the album, called "Get Yourself High". Singles 93–03 was also released on DVD, with extra features including selected live performances and interviews with Rowlands, Simons, and many of their collaborators from throughout the period. "Get Yourself High", which featured Canadian rapper k-os on vocals, was released as a single in November 2003.

In late 2003 and 2004, The Chemical Brothers continued to work in the studio on new material and a remix of "Slow" by Kylie Minogue. After being released on rare white label vinyl, it was subsequently given a commercial release in March on CD (on her next single "Red Blooded Woman") and on exclusive 12" vinyl picture disc (containing two other Kylie remixes). In Summer 2004 they returned to the festival circuit, including appearances at the Glastonbury Festival, Tokyo, Scotland, and Ireland. They also visited South America for the second time (the first time being in 1999), arriving at Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. It was during these sets that they played new material, including "Acid Children", which proved to be one of the most popular new tracks.[citation needed]

In September 2004, The Chemical Brothers released the seventh "Electronic Battle Weapon". "Electronic Battle Weapon 7" was being released as a one-sided promo-only 12", containing "Acid Children". A marked departure from the Chemical Brothers' previous musical endeavours, it featured a screeching 303 bassline and a distinctive vocal sample; a pitch-altered vocal sample proclaiming "You Are All My Children Now!", which is lifted from the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. It was coupled with the projection of a sinister clown mouthing these same words at their live gigs.[citation needed]

The Electronic Battle Weapon series of promo releases have typically been newly recorded Chemical Brothers tracks, released on promo to allow DJs to test them in a club environment, and to gauge their popularity.

Push the Button (2004–2006)

In 2004, The Chemical Brothers began work on Push the Button, their fifth studio album, which features collaborations with Tim Burgess, Kele Okereke, and Anwar Superstar, amongst others. The album was released on 24 January 2005.

"Galvanize", which features rapper Q-Tip on vocals, was the first single to be taken from Push the Button, and premiered exclusively on iTunes. The single was released on 17 January 2005, and entered the UK chart at No. 3. The second single, "Believe" (featuring Kele Okereke from Bloc Party), failed to crack the top 10, but still made it into the top 20, peaking at No. 18.[citation needed] "The Boxer", featuring Tim Burgess, became the duo's first single to fail to crack the top 40.

The album and single "Galvanize" won a Grammy at the Grammy Awards of 2006. One of the songs in this album, "The Big Jump", appears in the video game Burnout Revenge, as well as Project Gotham Racing 3. The track "Surface to Air" features a pulsing chord progression and bassline reminiscent of the intro to the Strokes song "The Modern Age".[original research?]

An unofficial, remixed version of the album entitled Flip the Switch was released as a free download, along with the Believe EP, featuring six further remixes of "Believe".[8][dead link]

In September 2006, The Chemical Brothers were revealed as the first musicians to be involved in Tate Tracks. Tate Modern invited various groups and songwriters to choose a work that inspired them from the gallery's collection of modern art and then write a track about it. The Chemical Brothers' submission, Rock Drill, was inspired by the Jacob Epstein sculpture Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill, and can be heard on headphones in front of the work in the gallery. From October 2006, it also became available to hear online at the Tate Tracks website.[citation needed]

We Are the Night (2007–2009)

The Brothers announced in June 2006 on their official web forum that the duo had been working on fresh material, specifically an album, codenamed "Chemical 6".[9][dead link] Simons also wrote that the band would be playing select venues in the Summer 2007 season, specifying Rome, and also Fabric in London.[citation needed] Simons is also quoted as saying that the duo are "hoping to put a battle weapon out for the summer"[10][dead link], possibly referring to the Electronic Battle Weapon series, the somewhat experimental tracks the band occasionally release on white label.

Electronic Battle Weapons 8 & 9 were debuted on Pete Tong's BBC Radio 1 show on 8 December 2006. The double sided vinyl was finally released just before The Chemical Brother's much anticipated New Year's Eve gig at the famous Turnmills in London. The vinyl had a limited edition release worldwide and has been received well by fans, DJs, and critics alike.[citation needed] Electronic Battle Weapon 8, at about six and a half minutes, is very distinct from the "big acid" style that the earlier Battle Weapons adhered to. It is characterised by 'thundering' drums with a rising synth line. A version of this track features on the We Are the Night album and is entitled "Saturate". "Electronic Battle Weapon 9" is a typical Chemicals dancefloor track with their trademark vocoder vocals coupled with sirens and a basic 'tribal' melody.[citation needed]

At the same Turnmills gig, the Brothers also played a previously unreleased song at midnight to welcome 2007, which went down well with the crowd.[citation needed] This track eventually emerged as "Burst Generator", found on the forthcoming album We Are the Night. Many were left wondering if the latest in the Electronic Battle Weapon series were simply one off experiments or signal a new direction they could take with the new album, perhaps swaying from their genre defining big beat albums of the past.[citation needed] The song was also the band's 100th released song.

On 21 March 2007, The Chemical Brothers officially announced their forthcoming album on MySpace. The new album, entitled We Are the Night, was released on 2 July 2007 in the United Kingdom and 17 July 2007 in the United States. The Chemical Brothers cited a delay in the production of artwork for this delay.[11][dead link] EMI subsequently released an online Chemical Brothers computer game as an apology.[12] The track listing was released to the fans on the official mailing list on 10 April. The new album is heavily collaborated, with the likes of Klaxons ("All Rights Reversed"), Midlake ("The Pills Won't Help You Now"), Ali Love ("Do It Again"), and Willy Mason ("Battle Scars").[13]

On 12 April 2007, Pete Tong again had the privilege of giving the world the very first preview of a Chemicals track. This time it was the first single "Do It Again" off their new album, aired on his BBC Radio 1 "In New Music We Trust" show.[citation needed]. The official release of the single was 4 June (digital download) and 14 June (12", 7", and CD). The album went on general release in the UK on 2 July 2007.

In September 2007, The Chemical Brothers played a free live gig in Trafalgar Square as part of the Becks Fusions event. All who attended were provided with 3D glasses to view the on-screen visual effects.[citation needed]

In 2008, The Chemical Brothers' music was featured in a movie adaption of Irvine Welsh's best-selling novel Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance.

The Chemical Brothers supplied a new track for the Heroes soundtrack, titled "Keep My Composure".[citation needed]

Further and motion picture soundtracks (2010–present)

On 30 March 2010, the band announced on their website that their seventh studio album will be titled Further and will be released 22 June, adding that it will be "the band's first to be released with corresponding films made specifically to match each of the 8 audio tracks." The films have been made with long-time visuals collaborators Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall. The album has been described as their most "psychedelic and melodic to date".[by whom?] Before the release of the album, the band played four shows in May at the London Roundhouse where they played the album and its accompanying films in its entirety. The films will feature on a special edition DVD and on the iTunes LP edition.[14][dead link]

Most reviews have been positive, with BBC Music declaring that "...synths are brutally manhandled and pushed to their limits across the eight tracks".[15] The Irish Times reported that "This is a very impressive collection that is carried along with a stirring sense of velocity and momentum".[16][dead link] However, praise hasn't been unanimous for the LP, with the American rock magazine Spin giving it a rating of three out of five stars.[17]

At the New York Comic Con, on 10 October 2010, English film director Joe Wright announced that The Chemical Brothers would be scoring the soundtrack to his upcoming film, Hanna.[18] Joe Wright, who had worked with The Chemical Brothers in the past as a member of the visual company Vegetable Vision, expressed his feelings on the score, stating that he was "very excited to finally... work with a more modern beat. There's a lot of bass, it's very loud."[19] The soundtrack was released exclusively on iTunes on 15 March 2011 and on CD on 4 July 2011.

Two weeks after the announcement regarding Hanna, rumors began circulating that The Chemical Brothers had recorded part of the score for the movie Black Swan, after a post in Ed Simon's Twitter account. A second post on the Chemical Brothers' own Twitter account seemed to confirm this.[citation needed] On 22 November 2010, a Black Swan music video was released along with the movie trailer. This music video featured a different version of the track "Don't Think" and announced that the movie would feature new music from The Chemical Brothers, along with a handful of other artists.[20] The next day, the names of the eight tracks not composed by Clint MansellBlack Swan's main composer – were released, listing The Chemical Brothers as contributing three new songs for the movie.[21] On 29 November, an exclusive video was posted on, containing more footage of the alternate version of "Don't Think".[22] Mansell's work was released the next day. No announcement has been made yet on whether the original tracks not by Mansell would be given a release or not.


The Chemical Brothers are credited as being one of the few truly arena-sized electronic acts. Their live acts comprise large screens displaying psychedelic images, strobe lights, and lasers that project over the crowd.[citation needed] There has been speculation over how much of their live gigs are pre-recorded, although they insist (on their official website FAQ) that they have a mere outline of track order and the rest is mixed live. This would seem to be confirmed by concertgoers who have seen gigs on consecutive nights and have posted notable differences between the sets played.

The Brothers have also played at many major festivals, including Glastonbury, Reading, the HFStival, and Leeds festival. They currently hold the record for most gigs performed in a year at the Brixton Academy. The brothers have infamously, despite their high status in the mainstream, never appeared on Top of the Pops, with the use of music videos to replace the performance, sometimes accompanied by a video apologising for their absence. In 1999, a live US tour video of "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" was shown, even though the song was not in the top 40 at the time, and also released other singles before then at the time.

In addition to performing their own music, they also hold regular DJ nights where they mix other artist's tracks (in the style of Brothers Gonna Work It Out).

As with their recorded albums, The Chemical Brothers are well-known for their incorporation of guest vocalists into their live performances. Notable appearances in recent gigs have included Bernard Sumner of New Order, who sang on the original "Out of Control", Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, and Tim Burgess.

The duo also played at the launch event for the Wii video game console.[citation needed]

On the night of 1 September 2007, The Chemical Brothers played at the main stage of the Electric Picnic to a crowd of around 20,000.[citation needed]

The Chemical Brothers appeared in Los Angeles on 29 September 2007, headlining the 13th Annual Nocturnal Wonderland Festival.[citation needed]

The duo was one of the headliners for Roskilde Festival 2008 in Denmark. The festival is held from 3–6 July and is the biggest festival in Northern Europe.[citation needed]

The Chemical Brothers played at London's Olympia Grand Hall on 30 August 2008. This was the first time any major band has played at Olympia's Grand Hall in over 10 years.[citation needed]

On 18 April 2009, The Chemical Brothers performed a DJ Set at the Coachella Festival, at which they premiered two previously unnamed new tracks. The tracks were the bonus track "Don't Think" and "Escape Velocity", both of which were later included on the album Further.[citation needed]

On 8 February 2010, they confirmed their presence at Sónar Festival in Barcelona in June 2010. They also announced they would be performing another two nights at the London Roundhouse in Camden, on 20 and 21 May. Due to phenomenal demand, as tickets sold out within two minutes, they added a further two nights; 22 and 23 May.[citation needed]

On 3 September 2010, they performed at North Coast Music Festival in Chicago. The following day they performed at Electric Zoo festival in New York City.[citation needed]

On 4–14 March 2011, they headlined the Future Music Festival in five cities across Australia.[citation needed]

On 27 March 2011, they headlined Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL and closed out the Main Stage for the weekend. They also were the closing performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Friday 15 April 2011.[citation needed]

The Chemical Brothers headlined the UK dance festival Creamfields in Cheshire on 27 August 2011.[23][dead link]

The band also played at the 'Other Stage' at Glastonbury Festival 2011 as that stage's lead headliners.

The typeface used to write the typical "The Chemical Brothers" logo is derived from Sho,[24] designed by Karlgeorg Hoefer in 1992. The Chemical Brothers' original logo differs only in a few details from orthodox Sho, e.g. in the letters a and b. Mergenthaler Linotype Company holds the licence for this typeface.


Studio albums
Soundtrack albums
  • Hanna (2011)
Main compilation albums
  • Brothers Gonna Work It Out (1998)
  • Singles 93-03 (2003)
  • Brotherhood (2008)

See also


  1. ^ a b "Chemical Brothers Interview". IGN. 16 February 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  2. ^ John Bush. "The Chemical Brothers". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Chemical Brothers". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Brothers Gonna Work It Out (XDUSTCD 101) booklet, page 2.
  5. ^ "Sample Sources". Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  6. ^ (Posted: 3 Apr 1997) (3 April 1997). "Dig Your Own Hole : The Chemical Brothers : Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-05-12. [dead link]
  7. ^ "The Butterfly Effect (2004) – Soundtracks". Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Flip The Switch – The Chemical Brothers remixed". Retrieved 2009-09-13. [dead link]
  9. ^ Chemical Brothers New Material – The Chemical Brothers Official Site[dead link]
  10. ^ Simons, Ed. "Post at the official forum". Archived from the original on 2007–11–03. Retrieved 2007–07–12. [dead link]
  11. ^ Album release date announced – The Chemical Brothers Official Website[dead link]
  12. ^ "New album The Chemical Brothers delayed - here's a 'sorry guys'". 18 May 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Chemical Brothers launch details new album". 12 April 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Further – the new album released 7 June on Freestyle Dust / Parlophone Records,[dead link]
  15. ^ Ian Wade (7 June 2010). "Review of The Chemical Brothers - Further". BBC Music. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Chemical Brothers – The Irish Times – Fri, 28 May 2010. The Irish Times (2010–05–28). Retrieved on 2011–04–06.[dead link]
  17. ^ Charles Aaron. "Chemical Brothers, 'Further' (Freestyle Dust/Astralwerks)". Spin. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Chemical Brothers will score Hanna". Filmonic. 9 October 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "The Chemical Brothers To Score Joe Wright's Teenage Assassin Film, 'Hanna'". 10 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Black Swan". 
  21. ^ Keith Jagernauth (23 November 2010). "‘Black Swan’ Features 3 New Songs By The Chemicals Brothers, New Tracks By Pete Min, Jakes & More". Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Exclusive Video: Natalie Portman Explores Her Dark Side in 'Black Swan' Clip". 29 November 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "Saturday 27th August 2011 – Creamfields 2011". Creamfields. Retrieved 22 March 2011. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Sho" typeface font at Linotype

External links

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