Chromeo AKA the IROC BOYZ came up to Boston a few weeks back for Johnny Appleseed Cider’s Summer Kick-off event at the Seaport World Trade Center–which just happened to include the world’s largest ice luge; a 26 foot-tall bottle of the brewer’s namesake hard-cider. It was also memorable in other ways; for one, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with two of modern funk’s finest, none other than Dave1 and P-Thugg for an extended conversation about their favorite subjects including synthesizers, sneakers and hip-hop.
After a quick photo-op or two, the fellas joined me in the back-room for a candid chat, delving into their critically-adored new album White Women, their affinity for hip-hop and how regional it’s becoming again, not to mention who’s on their collaborative bucket list now that Solange is crossed off. Once we got our 30 or so minutes of funk fandom out of the way, Dave & P took to the stage to deliver an electrifying tandem DJ set, running though some of their favorite ’80s sophistofunk cuts and some deep house for a packed balcony of nearly 5,000 heads. Read through the interview and hit the link below to get more White Women in your life:
OKP: Lets open up with the album. Pretty major commercial success this year, Time’s got you locked in at song of the summer. How’s that feel?
Dave: Obviously it feels good. I mean, we still believe there’s a lot of work ahead of us. So we don’t really look back, we just keep going.
OKP: Was there a different approach to this album than the last, gearwise or as far as process? To me, it marks a much more mature sound for you guys…
P Thugg: Gear wise, we got a couple of new synthesizers.
OKP: Ok, word. What kind?
OKP:: Oh wow, you guys have quite an arsenal over there.
D: Well, the arsenal was always tight, but those three that P mentioned we used on almost every song.
P: And then the usual suspects, like a Prophet 5, an old drum tracks sequencer.
OKP: How are you guys programming your drums?
D: Most of the sounds we actually just chop up drums on the MPC like old hip-hop beats and we program them in the sequencer like back when we did hip-hop beats.
OKP:So those are the vestiges of that process.
P: One song has completely raw sequential drum tracks.
D: Two actually.
OKP: Oh really? Which ones?
D: “Over Your Shoulder” and “Lost On The Way Home.” We always have that. On every album we have a couple of songs or at least one, that has like, the raw drum tracks. But you mix it up.
OKP: Which begs the question…where is the digital/analog balance?
D: Thats a good question. But from just what you were saying, the process on this album was different. We did everything together, which kinda sounds obvious, but it never was obvious to us. We used to live in different cities.
OKP: You weren’t living together when you were making Business Casual?
D: Oh no. On the last album, P was still living in Montreal and I was living in New York. We were just getting together for some sessions. And then going back and getting together and going back and getting together.
On this one we really just set up shop in Brooklyn, both of us, and worked on the whole record together every day.
OKP: One studio? Several?
D: One studio for producing and writing and then one studio for tracking and some other stuff with the Oliver guys out in LA.
OKP: Is that where you guys got mixed down?
D: No. We actually mixed and mastered in London. So its actually all over the place.
OKP: I just find it interesting to hear how a record could be pieced together in all these different parts of the country and abroad but still feel succinct and–you know–one.
D: Well, mixing it all with the same guy will bring it all together.
P: And we go to different studios for the same exact steps. So you know, we pre-produce and write in our studio. Record vocals, guitars in New York. And then another touch of production in LA. So its always the same process. Always the same chronologies.
D: It ends up being very systematic. But you know, our whole MO with this record was whatever is a habit, we should break. And then maybe on the next record we’ll do something completely different.
OKP: Sure. So yall are gonna get on some Rockabilly shit?
Voodoo & Old Donuts.