The Chemical Brothers are a British electronic dance music duo who first gained popularity in the 1990s. Along with similar artists, such as The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim, they helped bring electronic music to wider mainstream popularity.
The band was formed by Tom Rowlands and Ed Simmons, two students at the University of Manchester who shared an interest in beat-driven music. Both students were drawn to Manchester by the city’s musical history, which included The Smiths, New Order and the famous Hacienda Club. Sharing an interest in bands as diverse as Kraftwerk, Public Enemy and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Rowlands and Simmons immersed themselves in the city’s burgeoning electronic music scene, dubbed “Madchester” by critics.
After DJing local club nights, the pair began to experiment with recorded sounds in their own bedrooms, creating sample-based electronic music that was both melodic and aggressive. An early single caught the ear of prominent British DJs, and the group moved to London to work on new releases. Remixing larger acts such as Primal Scream and The Prodigy, the duo found themselves gaining high-profile fans, including Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, who invited the band to open for Oasis in 1996.
The band’s emergence coincided with an upswing in the popularity of electronic music, and their second album, 1997’s “Dig Your Own Hole,” topped UK charts and went gold in the United States. Over the course of nearly 20 years, the group has maintained their popularity, with 2015’s “Born in the Echoes” debuting at the top of the U.K. charts.