Chain Smoking On Music By The Chainsmokers

“Moved to the city in a broke down car and four years, no calls” I hummed along while “Closer” played on the radio. Here I was poolside at a hotel, listening while enjoying the view of the beach down below. Just the right kind of song for the place I was at. It fit the mood and the ambiance.

The Chainsmokers are an electronic dance music (EDM) group. Behind the name, Drew Taggart (28 years old) and Alex Pall (33 years old) are the American duos behind the tune. Soaring in both earnings and charts, The Chainsmokers are one of the highest-paid DJs of 2018. In 2017, they earned $38 million and in 2018 earned $45.5 million with a three-year gig at Wynn Nightlife in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2016, they won their first Grammy for Best Dance Recording for “Don’t Let Me Down”. Songs like “Closer”, “Something Just Like This”, and “Paris” invoke a feeling of being carefree and just enjoying the moment while catching a view of the ocean somewhere. Chill music is what I like to call it. You can be driving to their tune one moment, the next, dancing to it. The Chainsmokers blur the lines between EDM and pop music collaborating with other big-name artists. Their upbeat rhythm yet light and endearing song lyrics contribute to their popularity, and to one of the longest-running top 10 hits in U.S. history. Also in a tremendous feat, Spotify’s one billion streams count was reached for each of the two of their most popular songs, “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down”.

On a different tone, The Chainsmokers released a new song called, “Sick Boy”. I launched YouTube and had a listen. It was certainly darker but potent in meaning. The lyrics are befitting of what American society have been or may have become. It’s almost as if “Closer” was an adolescent, and “Sick Boy” in their mid-life. A change from being care-free to contemplation through observation with tangible experiences. Regardless of the tone or the lyrics, The Chainsmokers continue their surge in fame.

Clayton Hutson’s Different Hats

Being a live sound engineer means combining technological skills with art. There is the art of deciphering notes and pitch, which is the basis of music theory. There is also the technical skill of understanding the engineering tools needed to deliver pristine sound. Clay Hutson skillfully combines the two and straddles the line often, not just as a sound engineer but as a show producer, tour manager, and events manager.


Clay Hutson’s advice on the best sound equipment comes from years of experience, after working with legends like Marilyn Manson and Grammy-award winner Maxwell. His experience over the years also means he has perfected his technique. Working with different musicians means different instruments and different voices. Working different venues means having to adapt to venue inconsistencies and still produce high-quality sound.


As an audio survivalist who consistently delivers quality sound at live shows, Hutson relies on DiGiCo’s console system. From small shows to larger venues, Hutson wants to give 100% and needs console systems that deliver. On Maxwell’s tour, Hutson went with DiGiCo’s SD7 console. It’s the console Eminem, Jay-Z, and Rihanna favor.


When DiGiCo’s SD11 console came out, Hutson wanted to debut it on frontman Aaron Lewis’ tour. Clay Hutson used the SD11 to match Aaron Lewis’ acoustic instruments. He had no hesitations about what the console would deliver as he was already familiar with the SD7 and SD8 consoles, also from DiGiCo. The console, Hutson says, allows him to deliver impeccable sound engineering no matter the varying details in voices or instruments. What’s also handy about the console, Hutson adds, is its size: it can be checked as baggage on flights and it can efficiently be tucked away on a tour bus.


Clay Hutson continues to wear different hats. He has worked with musicians Guns N’ Roses, Kelly Clarkson, Maxwell, Marilyn Manson, and OneRepublic, working in departments such as sound design, sound engineering, tour manager, and music producer. On a complicated technical show by OneRepublic, Hutson served as an automation operator. The “automation is crucial,” Hutson says, “in revealing the sponsor LED wall in between sets.” From rigging to booking shows to engineering, Hutson has done it all.
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