Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]
Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]

Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]

Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]

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:

>>>Purchase Chromeo - White Women (via iTunes)

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?

P: I just got a Synthex. We started working with a Jupiter 8, a Yamaha DX5. Um, a MemoryMoog. Those are the new editions for this album.

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.

D: Exactly.

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?

Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]

D: Ya. Cause you know maybe four albums down the line, obviously you’re still gonna have the same sound, but we wanted to revamp a lot of our working process just for it to feel new.

P: It's not like we have superstitions of how the process should go. It's just how it happened.

OKP: Interesting. So reinforcing and augmenting your work flow is just something you’ve become comfortable with at this point?

D: Yea. I mean right now the whole goal for this album was just to open ourselves as much as possible.

OKP: It's a markedly more evolved sound for you guys. I remember on earlier works like “Opening Up/ Cesoir," where it was more of a vibe-out Moroder feel and nobody had any idea how it would all translate into the live realm. How have you guys been revamping your stage show?

D: Yo. The new show’s on another level. The whole narrative is revamped. There is a narrative now. And its a work in progress. We’re only playing five songs from the new album now. So before the fall we’re gonna add at least two more. It’s just gonna keep building. We’re gonna keep telling the story in different ways and hopefully make it evolve and challenge ourselves really.

You know, P’s playing guitar now as well. We’re doing a lot of dual guitar work. And based on what people react to, we’re gonna do more.

OKP: Can we talk about the name of the album? We're certainly not the first to ask but can you expound on it for a second?

D: Yeah the album’s named after the Helmut Newton book. He was a big influence on us visually, in terms of aesthetics. I didn’t know that the title of his individual monograph. I saw that the title of his first book was White Women. Called to P and said this is what we should call our album, its so funny. It could have been a cool Roxy Music album or a Van Halen album or a Bowie album.

We weren’t sure at first, cause its sort of risqué. And then we thought about it and we were just like, lets do it. It was that simple. Obviously its thought-provoking and most importantly, its discourse provoking. Its conversation provoking.

OKP: Have you caught any flack for it?

D: Well, really not that much.

P: A little bit here and there, but our fans could have turned against us and been like “what the fuck?!” But that didn’t happen.

D: A lot of our fans could have turned against us, but I think people know that we’re more clever than that.

OKP: What was it like working with Solange again?

D: Great. I feel like this is the first time we really worked with her though. On the last record we worked with her and we hung and stuff but she was shy and she only wanted A-Trak in the room when we were recording. Where as this time we were all together and writing together. And obviously the song’s like a real co-write as opposed to you know, just doing a chorus.

This was the first time we really wrote with her and built something with her.

OKP:The track certainly feels more intimate as a result. I wonder has the “no recording unless A-Trak’s here thing” happened before? What’s your most interesting interaction based around your brother?

D: I mean every day on Twitter there’s somebody that’s like “I can’t believe it”

OKP: You mean like someone just figures it out?

D: Yeah, I mean like, a lot of people know. Its just what it is.

OKP: But no one’s refusing to work with you unless your brother’s there right?

D: (Laughing) No, no.

OKP: What about Ezra (from Vampire Weekend)?

P: He was actually on our last record, on the bonus track.

D: Yeah, we had already worked with him and he’s a homie. We had remixed Vampire Weekend before, so there’s a relationship there and he had performed with us at Coachella, playing sax. So yeah we had a relationship, but wanted to actually give him his own track on this one.

OKP:: That’s well done. His vocal on that track is so tight. Really excellent recording.

D:Yeah its crazy. I mean our goal was to try and get different performances from these people than what they do on their own. You know so Ezra sorta sounds a little bit different on Vampire Weekend and so does Solange and Toro too.

OKP:"Come Alive" is real on point--one of my favorite collaboration you’ve done, actually. Are there any other left-field funkateers you wanna work with for the next thing?

Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]

D: Dev. Dev Hynes.


OKP: You guys are like 5 peas in a pod there.

D: Yeah, it would be perfect. Other acts like Death From Above, who we’ve played with. Would definitely like to do some shit with them. The idea’s just staying open. I think there’s a lot of people we’re fans of where it could really work. I’d like to do something with Travi$ Scott, you know. 'Cause you know his vocals, man he’s got that energy.

OKP: Any other rappers you’ve been listening to lately outside of Travis?

P: My shit’s been that A-Trak x Cam'ron record.

D: I’m just into like Chicago bop. Stunt Taylor. Bop, I love bop. I was really into drill, but I like bop cause its kinda the opposite. Like "Fefe On The Block" I listen to that like 20 times a day and to me it's like the best song of the year.

Yeah, I just like the way rap has become regional again. you know? Cause even like that yayo joint with Yo Gotti with whats his name (Snootie Wild) from St. Louis.

So yeah, all this stuff is good. And the Cam x A-Trak shit is great. And obviously everything A$AP is amazing.

OKP: Yeah, A$AP can do no wrong. Ferg came to Roots Picnic and dude has an intensity and an energy that I’ve simply never experienced before.

D: Its like the comeback of Onyx. There bringing a cool thing back to New York, its great. There’s a lot of cool shit happening there now. I love the Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers. I love World’s Fair, you know they’re Fool’s Gold crew. I love Black Dave. He’s nice. You know so all that stuff is great. I think rap is in an amazing place right now. Cause I mean the pop stuff is good. Like Drake. "0-100" is like the best song of the year. And the underground stuff is great and the regional stuff is great and the west coast is back and down south’s back. New York’s got ASAP. So we’re all covered. I mean we got a Canadian rapper.

OKP: Hip-hop is most certainly in a good place.

D: And you know there’s a lot of electronic stuff now too. We’re not suuuper into the EDM thing, but a lot of those guys are just geniuses.

OKP: Well, let’s talk about the recent business move. The Mallard Air…

D: Can’t talk about it.

OKP: Can’t talk about it?! We just reported on it.

D: I know, but the truth will come out in a few weeks.

OKP: OK. Thats fine. We won’t talk directly about it. Can we touch on what its like to be a business owner and a full-time musician?

D: Hahaha

OKP: Are the two similar at all or is that touching too close?

P: Without even talking about that project. We treat our band as a business and you know, I look over accounting, Dave looks over everything that is booking.

OKP: Oh so thats all in-house huh?

P: Oh yeah.

D: Lets just say we’re very hands on. But we also treat our band like an art project, where you know, one doesn’t preclude the other. They’re not mutually exclusive.

OKP: Sure, its a hand in hand type a thing.

D: Well, if things go well, sure. You could have a really tight business and do exciting art, you know?

OKP: One should thrive off the other...

D: I mean, people frown on that, but, like...David Zwirner. You know?

Chromeo Talk Jetset Funk, 'White Women' & Ice Luges [Exclusive Interview + Recap]