For a long time, nobody knew whether or not to take Chromeo seriously.
After all, the partnership between P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) and Dave 1 (David Macklovitch), the sole members of Chromeo, was already somewhat ridiculous, even before taking into account their lifelong friendship and penchant for over-the-top antics. They described themselves as “the only successful Arab-Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture,” for example.
But after a while, the music began to speak for itself. Chromeo’s sound is a throwback to the golden era of electrofunk — a pastiche of 808s, talk boxes, chunky synthesizers and porny guitar work — and while that may seem irrelevant now, Chromeo’s simple, fresh take on an outmoded genre has given electronic music a kickstart.
“We always wanted to be very visceral and work with strings, the way disco producers did in the late ’70s,” P-Thugg told The Daily Texan while en route to a show in Seattle. “We take [our style cues] from the guys who recorded stuff in the late ’60s and ’70s — we love the classic stuff with disco and strings.”
Currently, the duo is awaiting the Sept. 14 release of their third full-length album, Business Casual. It’s important to note that their last album, 2007’s Fancy Footwork, was their last significant release and their mainstream breakthrough.
“[Business Casual] still retains the same Chromeo essence — we just tried to put more effort into it, get a string section to do a couple of songs and make the album sound more ... musical,” P-Thugg said. “We don’t want to lose the Chromeo style and be too cutesy.”
This summer, Chromeo contributed its song “Fancy Footwork” as the soundtrack to a UK advertisement for VO5 Extreme Hair Gel, amid some criticism and fan backlash.
“I guess some people see it as selling out, but I don’t really see it that way,” P-Thugg said. “It expanded our exposure and a lot of people learned who we are through that commercial and found out about our music, you know?”