by Johnny Papan
VANCOUVER – Chromeo are an electro-funk duo from Montreal, Quebec. Formed in 2002 by childhood friends Dave 1 and P-Thugg, the widely-renowned Funklordz grooved their way to fame after the release of their sophomore album Fancy Footwork, which was nominated for a JUNO in 2008. A decade later, the inseparable pair are set to drop their fifth record, Head Over Heels, this May.
“It’s our most collaborative and funk-centric album to date,” explains Dave 1, born David Macklovitch, the singer and guitarist of the group. “It has the most muscular, concept-driven songwriting. At the same time, we hear other voices and other musicians. In a way, it’s doubling down on the funk thing but also expanding the collaboration thing.”
The album’s collaborators include an eclectic mix of modern day pop artists as well as some admired stars from the era of 1970s funk. Guest musicians include Jesse Johnson, guitarist of the Time, as well as Pino Palladino, who has offered bass duties for artists such as D’Angelo, John Mayer, Elton John, and the Who. Modern day stars who appear on the album include D.R.A.M., French Montana, and the-Dream.
“It’s so weird to have a mix of newer artists on these songs as well as old school ‘70s and ‘80s artists with us trying to be at the nexus of all that,” he says.
Lyrically, Chromeo is known for complementing their electro-grooves with dialogues of love, sex, and relationships. They continue to explore these concepts on Head Over Heels, although Macklovitch confirms a mature evolution of their written words.
“Every song really has a purpose and a message and an idea,” Macklovitch states. “We always wanted to write about love and relationships but from a different angle than what you would hear in most music. We kinda wanted to write it from more of an anti-hero, kind of love-torn, schmucky, insecure, conflicted angle. A neurotic stance. We’re the neurotic romantics, you know? There are songs that express regret, there are songs about flirting, there are songs of admiration and adoration, like ‘Juice.’ There are songs about adulterous relationships. We’re just trying to paint a whole picture.”
On the subject of romance, Macklovitch confirms that the record also avoids lyrical storytelling clichés, most notably the man chasing the woman scenario. This time, the group opted for an openness in gender and orientation relationship diversity.
“I think what we’re trying to do with this album is that we don’t want it necessarily to be about men and ladies. We don’t want it to be that heteronormative,” Macklovitch concludes. “That’s why we’re shaving our legs and wearing heels on the album cover. Relationships can go so many different ways and we want to focus on diversity instead of just a song that is like a man talking to a woman and trying to seduce her into sleeping with him. I just feel like there’s so much more to a relationship than that.”
Chromeo plays the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on April 9
Chromeo, Commodore Ballroom