With the 2004 debut release She's In Control, an original sense of humor, and supersexy songs, Canadian duo Chromeo managed to delight bored folks stranded on lonely dance floors in megaclubs all across the globe.
Friends since high school, Patrick Gemayel (AKA P-Thugg) and David Macklovitch (AKA Dave 1) grew up in the same city, Montreal, sharing the same musical sensibilities. These days, though, P-Thugg continues to live in their hometown while Proust fan Dave 1 works toward his Ph.D in French Literature at New York's Columbia University. But the distance hasn't kept them from producing new music, like 2010's Business Casual, or from bringing electro-funk fun to bored folks everywhere.
Conveniently, the boys will be turning the Fillmore Miami Beach into a hypnotically jazzy disco September 20. And all hyped up about dancing and laughing, Crossfade spoke with Dave 1 about Hall & Oates, Weird Al Yankovic, and the Miami Sound Machine.
Crossfade: You are getting your Ph.D in French Lit. Who is your favorite French writer?
Dave 1: Proust. There is no other competition.
You and P-Thugg have been friends since high school. I'm sure it has its perks. Does it have any challenges?
Obviously, we know each other really well. So it's kind of like an old couple. I know P more than I know pretty much anybody except my brother, A-Trak. It doesn't really have any downsides. It only has upsides, because we're both very focused. And we both know what's best for both of us. He knows what kind of crazy person I am and I know P, so it works.
You got to work with Hall and Oates. Were you always fans? You've been compared to them musically.
I was always a fan. I remember listening to them as a kid. When we started the first Chromeo album, we kind of rediscovered them. And this was before they became trendy again. I would do interviews and say, "We're like a modern-day Hall and Oates." And people would think I'm joking. Or, like, they'd hang up the phone or something. There's a whole generation of bands that have played a big role in giving them their newfound critical acclaim. Hall and Oates know that. And in turn, they've picked us up, asked us to play with them a couple times, and we're going to work on some other stuff with them eventually. It's like an inter-generational musical friendship.
You guys went to Daryl Hall's house for an episode of the web series Live from Daryl's House. I've always wanted to ask: What's it like in there?
He buys these country houses in the Northeast, like, around Connecticut. And he refurbishes them. So this is one that he bought. It's in the middle of nowhere. He did a little studio. There's a pool. It's nice. It's cool. Nice gourmet kitchen. He's got a wine cellar. And everybody in the band eats together and hangs out, and he records his thing. It's amazing.
Your music is funny. "Needy Girl" is a really funny song.
It's humorous in a way. It's funny without being joke music.
You're not Weird Al Yankovic.
We've treaded that line. I thought "Momma's Boy" was going to be Weird Al, and that's why I didn't want to do it. I was like, "You know, P. I've got this really cool song that I want to do. But it's way too Weird Al to do it with Chromeo. It's called 'Momma's Boy' and it's, like, this superjazzed ballad." And he was like, "Let's do it! Let's do it!" And we played that song in LA and we had like 17,000 people singing with us.
So the big difference is it's funny, but it's sincere. You can tell that we're actually sincere about how much we love this kind music and how much these lyrics relate to everyday situations. It's the sincerity that touches people. Whereas when you're doing a joke thing, it's a pose.
You're not parodying anybody. Do you ever get tired of hearing one of your songs?
When I came to Miami, I was at Gigi's a couple of times when my songs came on. And it's a little awkward. But I'm flattered. I'm honored in a way. I feel like going up to whoever played it and being like, "Yo, thank you." Then I'm like, "Am I supposed to ignore it?" It would be so cheesy to be like, "So anyway..." But I also can't start dancing on the tables.
You could show off your double pleat.
I can't do the double pleat. At the end of the day, we're so grateful. It's like, "Who woulda thunk?"
I saw in GQ that you picked your favorite items. You said you play the Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro Gold Top. Is that your preferred instrument?
Yeah. But I actually just bought a new one. I just bought a really cool 1959 Stratocaster. So I think I'm going to switch. But traditionally, I've played the Les Paul.
Is there going to be anything special about Chromeo's Miami show?
We'll have to think of something. Maybe we'll bring out the Miami Sound Machine.
Everyone would love that.
Maybe we'll cover "Conga." What I think is going to be the next shit is ... When we started doing the whole Rick James sort of funk, everybody thought it was a joke. And now it's accepted. Then we started playing all these guitar solos in our songs and everybody started doing yacht rock jokes. And we were like, "We saw that one coming." I think the next level is tropical funk like "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie. That kind of thing is very Hawaiian shirt, white pants, Club Med. But it's also really funky and cool. It's got a cool groove. P would definitely wear a Hawaiian shirt.
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Would you wear the Hawaiian shirt?
Nah. But the white pants, though, for sure.
Chromeo with Mayer Hawthorne and Sammy Bananas. Tuesday, September 20. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Night falls at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $27.50 plus fees via livenation.com. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.