Upon first listen, one might assume that the back catalog of Canadian dance-duo Chromeo is a product of the past, three albums of 80’s-influenced electro tunes with just enough authentic funk to fool the ears of even the most refined listener. But it’s only their mutual love for the sounds of said era that brought Chromeo together in 2002, and since then they’ve been at the forefront of an entire scene of Casio-armed revivalists. The new New Wave.
I spoke with Chromeo vocalist Dave 1, born David Macklovitch, who also spends time teaching college courses in his native French tongue to students at Bernard College(!), about life on the road and the success that he and partner P-Thugg have seen thanks to a few retro synthesizer tones and a penchant for writing crazy-catchy choruses.
The duo are currently crisscrossing the country on one of their most extensive outings to date, the Night Falls tour, a nearly forty date excursion that will see the duo performing to thousands of fans coast to coast and back again. Though it’s been just over a year since their latest effort, Business Casual, hit record store racks, fans are still as excited to hear the hits as the group are to play them.
“We haven’t been doing any new stuff on this tour,” Dave explained via phone call from Chromeo’s stop in Orlando, FL. “We’ve been writing some new songs but we haven’t been able to hit the studio or anything yet so it’s just ideas right now. We’ve just been trying to keep the set as tight as possible, give the people what they want.”
As anyone who has ever had the pleasure of attending a party with a Chromeo-heavy soundtrack knows, the duo are damn good at turning out feel-good dance tracks. Mr. 1 attributes their success and songwriting prowess to the mutual nature in which their songs take shape, even now that the two reside in different countries.
“It’s really symbiotic, we just write really well together and apart,” Dave revealed. “I live in New York now, but [P-Thugg] is still up in Montreal. We both travel back and forth all the time though, I’m up or he’s down. Sometimes he’ll write a really good hook or a riff and I’ll add lyrics, or I’ll write a hook. We both do everything really.”
In an album cycle that has seen their songs featured in video game and movie soundtracks, and included musical guest slots on Letterman and Conan, the real highlight of the last year for the duo has been connecting with new fans and taking their unique live show to new fans around the globe.
“Coachella, the Sasquatch Festival, Austin City Limits just a few days ago was really big for us,” Dave recalled, “but we just did New Orleans for the first time too. I’d never even been to New Orleans before! Anywhere we’ve never been before, anywhere where it’s going to be our first chance to give them a Chromeo show, those are the ones we really like.”
Chromeo make their first ever stop in Columbus, Ohio on September 27 at the Newport Music Hall, with more than a month left to go on the Night Falls tour. They’ll be hitting a few more first-time sites in the coming weeks, and each of those cities are sure to catch a band in perfect calibration, finely tuned from dozens of shows behind them, and if Dave has anything to do with it, dozens more to come.
“It’s been a year since Business Casual came out, and we’ve been touring nonstop for almost a year and a half. But we’re just not ready to go home yet.”
Written by Alex Mosie