Chromeo will be performing at the House of Blues on September 30th. If you love to dance-go.
Dave, where are you guys from originally and how did the band get started?
We’re from Montreal Canada. We grew up as teenagers listening to hip hop music. Through hip hop we discovered funk music and soul music. We started collecting records and doing our homework on music that came before us. Armed with a big record collection as teenagers-we started producing hip hop with local rappers and stuff.
Then randomly, I got asked to do a project on an electronic music label, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was like what’s that(electronic music)? So I said yes and brought in my best friend P(Thug)-the other member of the band-and we just started playing original music instead of sampling. We started playing original music and buying all these vintage keyboards and just got a kick out of using old drum machines and synthesizers. We were doing like our version of what an old Prince record was. And that eventually turned into Chromeo.
You mean you got started by listening to hip hip records and then backing in to the original samples?
You know we discovered Parliament through listening to Dr. Dre-for instance. So then we got into Parliament-crazy because that was what Dre sampled…you know what I’m saying’. (Our development) it was like the other way around, the contemporary (hip hop) music was what led us to the older music.
So you have a Jewish background and P-Thug has a Arab background. That’s an odd combination. How does this play into the music you perform?
It doesn’t make any difference in our music. We’ve been best friends since we were kids. I’ve known him for 17 years, like we’ve actually been best friends for 17 years. We’re really similar, our families are really similar-and both our families our close. (Us coming from different backgrounds) really, it never plays into anything. If anything it shows that that stuff doesn’t mean anything. It’s a superficial difference. If you get to know the people around you-you will see similarities no matter what your background.
Is your main inspiration the desire to create your own music based on what you’ve heard from the past?
Yeh, it’s like we wanted to give back. When we started Chromeo-people were making fun of shit like Rick James-it was like a David Chappelle joke-and we were like naw, this man is a genus an innovator and was one of our musical heroes, and we are going to do something that he influences within a modern context. We wanted to rediscover the tradition and take it as seriously as whatever else that was trendy. We wanted to show that this (older) music influences cats nowadays. And that’s what we did. In the meantime, a lot of our fans that don’t know the old school music-know it now through us-it just opens their minds.
You know Chicago has always been a house music town. Is there a big dance scene in Montreal that produces the style of music you are doing?
Absolutely, not. We’re just two weird kids collecting records. And Chicago house, that’s like hip hop to us-we’re all a part of this generation that’s carrying the torch.
Did you and P-Thug co-write the single, “When the Night Comes”?
Yes we did. We do everything together.
In the video concept all the girls end up being pregnant…what’s up with that?
Man our stuff is just weird. Our videos are just weird. It’s just funny. And for this album all of the videos are like mini movies. Growing up I watched videos that were out there…nuts…those videos were so far out there-I felt like we should bring that creativity back.
You don’t have to take yourself so seriously. People are sitting in front of their computers all day, just dying to go to youtube and see something that is dope, something that they can laugh about and pass it on to their friends and that’s why we do it.
What can fans expect from your album, “Business Casual” and your upcoming show at the House of Blues-September 30th?
Well, it’s been out for almost a year now and this is our fourth single and I can’t believe we are already four singles deep on that one. It’s a more sophisticated record than our previous stuff.
And our live show is better than its ever been, its tighter than its ever been-it’s got the electronic element for the younger kids and its got the live element for those who understand our influences. It’s the best of both worlds.
We’ll be performing with a bunch of gear-surrounded by keyboards and other instruments-we’ll have sing alongs and talk to the audience-it’s a very generous live show.
The first show at the House of Blues has already sold out and now we’re on for a second show the following night.
Now that’s a show I’m gonna see!