Jeremiah Davis will go to nearly any length to give fans the most authentic view of The Chainsmokers. Most recently, the videographer accompanied The Chainsmokers to nine Asian cities from Sept. 7 to Sept. 17. Davis’ most pressing task was to create recap videos from each city, and with the accelerated tour pace, there was no time to second-guess or overly edit. The result? The rawest content of The Chainsmokers that Davis has ever given fans.
At just 23 years old, Davis has been part of The Chainsmokers team in some capacity since producing drone footage for the duo’s record-breaking “Closer” lyric video, which he shot in May 2016 (since its release in July 2016, the clip has become the most-viewed lyric video on YouTube, surpassing the 1 billion mark). Davis’ role has allowed him to get to know Alex Pall and Drew Taggart personally, motivating him to portray them as the hardworking, kind men he works with on a daily basis to those who can only judge them from afar as two EDM dudes jumping around onstage.
“Biggest misconception is that they really have the best intentions at heart to inspire people through their music in the most positive way possible,” Davis says of The Chainsmokers. “Every time I go on tour with them, I’m always blown away by the push and the hard-work element of their flow.”
Davis has previously filmed The Chainsmokers on the North American leg of their Memories … Do Not Open Tour this spring, and a cluster of shows throughout Europe before that in February and March. The recent Asian run through China, India, Japan, Thailand, Taipei, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines marks Davis’ longest stint with The Chainsmokers on tour in terms of days, cities and shows — hard evidence of the duo’s team making tour life more seamless with each trek.
“The first tour I did with them — like if it was as gruesome or hard on my body as the first tour was, I couldn’t still be doing it today,” Davis explains. “Neither could they, probably.”
The central thread of this Asia run was Road to Ultra, a chain of single-day, one-stage events orchestrated by Ultra Music Festival — in this case, leading up to Ultra Japan, where the guys headlined on Sept. 17. And with their superstar team, just five shows (in Mumbai, New Delhi, Taipei, Tokyo and Shanghai) weren’t enough for The Chainsmokers, so they added in four more as part of their official Memories … Do Not Open Tour sprinkled in between, hitting South Korea, Vietnam, Bangkok and Philippines. Of the nine cities Davis documented, he says Taipei stands out to him as a highlight.
“That was the first night I ran with them onto the stage,” Davis recalls. “The viewer is getting a very raw experience [in the video] of what Drew and Alex really experience. You are with them backstage running with Alex and Drew onto the stage, and then you get revealed [to you] this roaring crowd. It’s the first time the viewer’s seeing it, and it’s really the first time Drew and Alex are seeing this crowd. To me, that’s a very special moment.”
To Davis, capturing this moment validates to fans in bite-size form what The Chainsmokers claim when asked how they manage to never give into exhaustion. “Once they take the stage it just electrifies them — and that’s why. Anybody would get up on that stage and just be fired up.”
His favorite show of the Asian run came in Tokyo, Japan, where they (literally) found themselves in the middle of a typhoon — but thanks to the dedication of the guys and their fans alike, the show went on.
“They played in front of thousands of people while it was pouring rain,” Davis remembers. “The stage wasn’t covered, so Drew and Alex were just drenched. I was onstage, drenched, trying to protect my camera — every other shot I’d wipe the lens. One of my cameras ended up not working for two days, actually.”
While in Vietnam — the first time The Chainsmokers had ever performed in the country — there was no time for the team to take in the sights like they had in other places such as Bangkok and Tokyo (“Drew and Alex are always down to explore,” he says), so Davis scouted out their hotel’s roof as a potential spot to capture memorable footage. With no “DO NOT PASS” signs in sight, he concluded that the roof was fair game.
After scouting the area, Davis shot a Snapchat to Pall of the city-spanning view from the roof — and 10 minutes later, despite a risky climb, they were all videotaping atop the hotel. “Getting on top of the roof of a building is very rare to do, just because doors have to be unlocked and it has to be safe enough to do. To have that opportunity anywhere with Drew or Alex is very rare, and to be able to do it in Vietnam was pretty amazing.”
Davis has a new Snapchat show that debuted on Sept. 23, titled “Without Limits” and can be found in the Discover feed every weekend. In the show, Davis travels to various places around the world with his friends, engaging in activities that can be described as risky or even dangerous. “My work with [The Chainsmokers] has taught me that having a platform and an audience is a gift,” he says, “because there are so many talented people in the world creating amazing things, and not everyone is given the opportunity to have a platform.”
Above anything, Davis feels his only responsibility is to stay true to himself and his values, something The Chainsmokers and their team has allowed him to do as he simultaneously helps gives fans a little more insight into the guys’ experiences. Although the Asia run has been over for a couple weeks now, the guys will inevitably push on to do more shows sooner rather than later — and Davis will go with them whenever he is tapped.
“Every time I come back from a Chainsmoker tour, I’m exhausted but I feel so accomplished,” Davis says. “I can’t help but think that someday, I will be sharing this and telling the story that I toured the world with one of the biggest artists in the world in my 20s. This is something that I’ll tell my grandkids someday.”