by Joanna Orland
Yup, I got to talk to one of my favourite bands of modern times, the Montreal-NYC based Chromeo. Well, I got to speak with 50% of the band, namely P-Thugg. Originally hailing from Montreal, Canada, the band split their time between their hometown where P-Thugg (I think I can get away with calling him “Pee” now that we’ve actually spoken?) has his mega synthy studio and New York where Dave is currently doing his Ph.D in French Literature at Columbia University.
The guys met way back in high school and played in many bands together before officially forming Chromeo. The name Chromeo has a very random background.
“Well it’s Chrome and Romeo. It’s the mix of metal and you know, a romantic figure. A bit of a mix of macho and lover.”
Talking to P-Thugg, it is apparent that he is an old skool music and vintage gear lover. He spends most of his free time on tour being a self-proclaimed “nerd” checking out record and vintage gear shops. The man has quite the collection of vintage toys and hardware, and only uses modern equipment to record the final piece in Pro Tools, rather than for the demos or sounds themselves. He was even quick to answer my question about what his favourite synth sound of all time is.
“Probably the MiniMoog Bass from Thriller. It’s just, you know, one of the warmest and deepest sounds that I know. I’m a bass player and I love the synth bass. And I think the perfect example, if I had to put the synth bass in the dictionary and a description, I would put that song.“
In addition to being a nerd, P-Thugg is also a cool guy. The man is a living contradiction! He’s quite confident that he and Dave are funny guys and it shows in their music. They don’t take themselves too seriously and they make their music because they love it, not because they’re trying to be rock stars. While Dave 1 handles the main vocals with P-Thugg providing vocal support on the old Talkbox, Pee reveals that his secret dream was always to be a lead singer!
“The ladies love the Talkbox. They love the sound, they love the tubes. I just fell in love with the Talkbox the first time I heard it on Zapp’s record, which was More Bounce to the Ounce. I just knew right there, you know, that I had to try this. Plus, I’m a really bad singer and my dream has always been to sing. It allows me to sing without hitting bum notes. Gives me a beautiful voice.”
Here’s the point in the interview where P-Thugg’s beard starts dialling out on his iPhone. Probably an attempt to seek help from my prying questions.
Chromeo have collaborated with many artists via duets and remixes. Pee likes to keep the collaborations “in the family” and states that they are not calculated collaborations, but rather organic and develop naturally. This band does not do anything it doesn’t want to. It’s all about being true to themselves.
Chromeo’s influences are rather varied, but most obviously include 70’s and 80’s funk alongside some classic rock and even modern artists. Even with all of their cool collaborations, the one person Pee would love to collaborate with more than anyone living, is the late Roger Troutman from Zapp.
“It’s hard to say, I mean I would love to collaborate with dead people like Roger Troutman. Yeah, I would like to have a Talkbox duo with Roger Troutman.“
Here’s the point in the interview where P-Thugg puts me on hold for a few minutes as the hotel try to get him to check out. I edited it out as what is interesting about 5 minutes of room tone?
As far as their live shows go, Chromeo are fricking fantastic live! They’ll be playing London’s O2 Academy Brixton on November 25th. What can the audience expect from Chromeo’s live show?
“A lot of fun. A lot of dancing. A lot of ladies, that’s why the guys come. A lot of Talkbox.“
And what can Chromeo expect from the British audience in return?
“Drunk English people, that’s my favourite part. I love London.“
One word to sum up Chromeo? This one was way too easy…
Thank you to P-Thugg for the chat and to Chromeo for their amazing music, videos and image. This band bring the FUN back to Funk. (This cheesy joke is acceptable because Chromeo aren’t pretending to be anything they’re not, so why should I? Cheesy and proud!)
My other interview with Chromeo is available on iPad & iPhone User Magazine‘s web site.