by Robbie Zant
Chromeo [kroh-mee-oh]: (origin – 2004; a mixture of ‘chrome + Romeo’) noun
(1) music duo David (Dave 1) Macklovitch and Patrick (P-Thugg) Gemayel hailing from Montreal, Canada
(2) funky guitar riffs and sizzling synth lines strutting on a pair of high-heeled neon legs
(3) a louder, beefed-up version of your Uncle Stew’s favorite disco record (bell-bottom pants and gold chain optional)
(4) a nostalgically fresh sound
(5) what you will be dancing to tonight Tuesday, May 15 at Niceto
Not that they needed or were comprehensively characterized by this multi-faceted definition… It’s difficult to fully describe our innovative, genre-mashing, internationally known friends in just a few words. To flesh out “Chromeo” and all it entails, we were lucky enough to talk with Dave 1 and P-Thugg as they continue on their first ever South American tour to play in BA on May 15.
Having known each other for so long, what are the musical influences that brought you together? What are the distinct interests that each of you brings to the table?
We first met in high school. We knew each other but we started making music together when I joined Pee's (P-Thugg) high school band. That's how we discovered funk music together and that's what fueled our friendship. Before that, as a kid, I was into classic rock and Pee was into hip hop. Now I listen to tons of hip hop and Pee listens to obscure funk records. It's strange, the influences we bring to the band are different than what we listen to sometimes -- I came up with the main riff for the song “Outta Sight”, for instance, and it sounds like Minneapolis funk which Pee listens to more than me. I'm the guitarist in the band but Pee's the one who came up with the fiery guitar riff for “Night by Night”.
How has your music evolved since you first started playing together? What traces are left from that era?
We were just trying to figure out what funk music was. We sucked. Hopefully we evolved a bit. I certainly didn't sing back then -- the first time I ever sang in my life is when we recorded Needy Girl. We try to improve with every album. People always ask us what the next album will sound like. The only answer we can give is: "better than the last one!"
Dave 1, you’re currently working on earning a PhD. in French Literature? How has this aspect of your life affected your music career? Is there an overlap between Chromeo and Pleasure Reading in 18th century France?
No overlap at all, just two interests I've always had. It never really affected my music career -- I just hope that those interests can contribute to making me a well-rounded person. I love listening to Rick Ross and I love literary theory.
You guys are coming to play four gigs in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia – do you have any expectations for how you will be received? Do you have any impressions of Buenos Aires?
No expectations at all, we've never been! We just hope it goes well and that we have fans down here. We know it took us a while for us to organize a South American tour and we'll put on the best shows possible. Buenos Aires? Let's see... A bunch of Latinos with Italian names, haha. Smoking Gitanes cigarettes and shouting "che boludo"! Seriously though, clichés aside, BA is a city I've been dreaming of going to for years. I'm aware of how unique it is and can't wait to see it for myself. And of course I'm a Borges admirer...
Are there any South American artists you guys are listening to right now?
We always loved The Twelves and Mixhell. I like Argentinian cumbia villera! The big rock nacional hits are cool too though. And we listen to old 70s bossa nova or Brazilian funk and soul records. I love this Brazilian band from the 70s called Os Tincoas.
What’s the closest reality has come to a scene from “When The Night Falls” music video (you two being chased by impregnated funk-loving zombie babes)?
C'mon you already know the answer: after our last show!
What are we going to see next from Chromeo? Albums? Remixes? Other projects?
We're starting on our new album right now. In fact we took a break from studio time to come to South America, but we'll get right back to it. It'll come out next year.