Chromeo - Bonafied Funkin'
Montreal electro funk duo Chromeo are returning to Australia for Good Vibrations a mere year after their last trip. The good news is a new album is on the way. The bad news is you won’t be hearing any of it… yet. 3d’s cyclone speaks to p-thugg.
Chromeo began as a hobby, but the Canadians have proven so popular that Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel had to abandon his day job.
P-Thugg used to be an accountant – and he enjoyed it. “If you think about music all the time, you just go crazy,” he said in 2007. “We don’t wanna become slaves of the music.” Nevertheless, something had to give. “I just couldn’t do it any more – I didn’t have any more time,” he says today. “I was constantly leaving on tour and it was too much. I still do Chromeo’s accounting, so I get my balance there.”
Dave 1 (David Macklovitch), Chromeo’s frontman, continues to juggle music with academia – he has embarked on a PhD in French Literature and is teaching – at New York’s Columbia University. “He’s the one who’s the stress case! It’s not too bad ’cause he doesn’t need to be in school [every day]. He doesn’t teach this semester, but, when he did teach, he only had two days out of the week. So it’s not like a nine-to-five job where you have to be there every day and you just can’t do it when you’re on tour. [But] it’s still stressful for him.”
The Montreal combo were aligned with Tiga’s Turbo Recordings early on. They released She’s In Control, home to You’re So Gangsta, in 2004. Three years later, they dropped Fancy Footwork.
Chromeo playfully claim to be “the only successful Arab/Jew partnership since the dawn of human culture.” Dave 1, the older brother of onetime DMC champ A-Trak, is Jewish, while P-Thugg emigrated to Canada from war-torn Lebanon at eight. They became buddies in school. Chromeo was launched to challenge pop’s many overly “serious” bands.
The duo are recording a third album, but it’s too soon to preview material at Good Vibrations. “We just started working on it – we’re working on it as we speak,” P-Thugg says. What direction is it taking- “[It’s] kinda the same direction, maybe [it has] a bit more stuff like Momma’s Boy, for example, but it’s gonna stay ‘Chromeo’. There’s no 180-degree turn. We’re in the same branch. We’re just using new equipment with a bit [of a] different sound, but the essentials are gonna be there.”
In 2008 Chromeo performed with their ’80s hero Daryl Hall – of Hall & Oates fame – for his Webcast series Live From Daryl’s House. “It was our biggest achievement last year, playing with Daryl Hall. He’s singing our lyrics and we were playing his songs. It was one of the greatest moments in my life.”
Chromeo maintain close ties with A-Trak, whose influence has grown with the rise of his Fool’s Gold stable. “We’re involved in each other’s music, of course,” P-Thugg says. “I’ve known him since he was 12, so I’ve been there from the beginning. He calls me when he needs something – or [if] he needs a certain sound, he’s gonna call me up. When we have new demos, he hears them first. He’s the first judge of our songs. We work very closely. We’re almost like three brothers.”
WHAT: Play Good Vibrations, Centennial Park
WHEN: Saturday 14 February