An evening spent in the company of Chromeo is one of the best ways to spend one’s Wednesday night – especially when it involves listening to stories behind the making of their new album White Woman and taking silly pics in a photo booth. Thanks to the Samsung Summer Mix Series, that’s how I spent mine.
“An Arab and a Jew came together for the love of one god,” jokes Dave 1 about the origin and ethos behind Chromeo. “Rick James.” Cue the laughter. And it didn’t stop for the whole evening. Dave 1 and P-Thugg are truly easy to talk to, and just as fun-loving as the beats they create.
The desire to “funk up the world” and pay homage to ZZ Top (who knew?!) has been driving them since they came together in high school, and the tap-your-toes-shake-your-booty music the Canadian duo produces. After releasing their third album, Business Casual in 2010, it took two years to make White Woman. P-Thugg moved to New York, and Dave 1 stopped his teaching gigs. “For two years every day, we were in studio – a rat-infested studio in Bushwick. We wanted it to feel like home,” jokes Dave.
You can feel the difference that being together in the same studio, working on the same project, at the same time, had, believes Dave. Being open to collaboration, too. Tracks with Solange and Toro y Moi are some of the best on the album. “The credits read like a Kanye album,” chuckles Dave.
Come Alive and Jealous were both inspired by Toro, aka producer Chaz Bundick. “Every girl he meets has such a crush on him,” says Dave. “But when I got into his music, I found he was really good. We’ve played with him a couple of times; he’s become an honorary third member of the band.”
Jealous has just been certified Gold in Canada, making the guys suitably proud. “We wear our retro references on our sleeve but at the same time our music is now,” says P. Adds Dave: “A lot of people make sacrifices to get into the Top 40 format but we just made a quintessential Chromeo track.”
That sound is fuelled by an aim of mixing high brow with low – high enough without being pretentious,not too low to be vulgar. “I can quote French literature and we can still do a video where just looking at a girl can make her pregnant,” explains Dave.
I think that’s what I appreciate most about Chromeo: it’s a space where an unashamed love for songs that may not be so-called cool on the surface but are classics can thrive. I mean, ZZ Top – I had no idea that band was such an influence on Dave and P-Thugg.
Jamiroquai, yes, and the guys say that producing that comeback album is their dream project. For now, the next part of this trip includes going on a fall tour – inspired by Frequent Flyer , and releasing a line of clothing.
White Woman is out now.