Having spent much of the last year and a half touring in support of their third full-length, Business Casual, the gents of Chromeo returned to their (current) home base, New York, this past weekend for a show at Governors Ball. Dave 1 and P-Thugg (otherwise known as David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel, respectively) chatted with us at last weekend's festival about a forthcoming album, the first things they do when back in their native Montreal, and conspiracy theories (because, well, why not?). Read on.
So you guys both currently live in New York but, as many know, are originally from Montreal and are headed back there soon for the Jazz Fest. What's the first thing you do when you get home?
P-Thugg: I go have a poutine. First thing.
Are you a purist or do you put extra stuff on it?
P-Thugg: Traditional. Maybe I'll have sausage on it once in a while or chicken and peas but traditional.
Dave 1: I just hang out with my mom and dad.
Dave, you've also been working on a PhD at Columbia all this time you guys have been recording and touring as Chromeo. How has it been trying to strike a balance and do two such different things at the same time?
Dave 1: I was doing all of it at once and I got really exhausted. Before Business Casual, I was doing more of my dissertation but when our touring schedule got busier, I focused more on the music. I kind of organically gravitate towards what's more demanding or more stimulating at one time.
Are you done with your dissertation?
Dave 1: No. I probably will go back to teaching [undergrads] next year. It just depends where we're at with the album.
Have you ever gotten people signing up for your class just because they're fans of Chromeo?
Dave 1: I have no way of knowing that --
No one ever came up to you after class and said they were fans of your music?
Dave 1: Well...yeah. A little bit but never to the point of being uncomfortable or out-of-line. It never got awkward. Sometimes I would find out a little bit later on in the semester maybe, but it was never weird.
P-Thugg: Or you would see them at shows.
You mentioned work on a new album. What can you share about it with us?
Dave 1: We're working on it now, as we speak and so far are really happy with it. It's less sentimental than Business Casual. It's more happy, effusive, dancefloor-centric [music].
P-Thugg: It's more light-hearted but more musical, too. It's got more substance.
When will it come out?
P-Thugg: Next year.
I read an interview you gave, Dave, in which you describe your lyrics as having this "Larry David"-neurotic quality. Can you talk more how about how you guys developed that?
Dave 1: We sing love songs but we want to tackle them in an original way because a lot of the weaker aspects of some contemporary electronic music is the lyrics -- they're so cliche and you can tell they're an afterthought. For us, lyrics have always been really important and also, I was never a real singer -- a trained singer -- so when we started, I had to make up for that by being more clever. [-Thugg] and I found this angle of having these quirky, sentimental lyrics from a Woody Allen-esque, love-torn perspective 'cause it wouldn't be convincing if I sang them from an R&B, "white guy Mike Posner" [perspective]. It wouldn't be convincing on me. But when we sing "Momma's Boy" or "Needy Girl," you're like, "I bet you he's really like that!"
So are you guys neurotic?
Dave 1: Yeah, yeah!
P-Thugg: Just everyday situations.
So you're like the observational comedy of music.
P-Thugg: Yeah, like if I'm standing in line behind somebody [at the ice cream store] and he's tasting ice cream, it's like a [Curb Your Enthusiasm] episode where the lady in front of Larry David is tasting ten different kinds of ice creams and he's still waiting and you get anxious and you're like "Mahhh!" That's how we react everyday.
And now that I've had you admit you're both neurotic, what else can you share that people might be surprised to hear about you guys? P -- what's one thing people don't know or wouldn't expect to hear about Dave?
P-Thugg: He's a big bicycle buff.
Dave 1: True.
P-Thugg: He can build bicycles and shit.
Dave 1: I could. I don't know if I still can. When I was a teenager, I bought a mountain bike with my bar mitzvah money. I love bikes.
Dave, what's one thing about P that people would be surprised to know?
Dave 1: He's a very big conspiracy theorist. We've never said that about him in an interview before.
What are some of the conspiracy theories that you're thinking about now, P?
P-Thugg: There's too many! I'm more about esoteric conspiracies. I believe in arcturians. Do you know what arcturians are?
P-Thugg: They're beings that exist inside us and animate our bodies. We're just the vessel -- they're what travels from our previous lives. Have you ever felt that you've been in another body before and you just know stuff because you know it? The arcturians watch over us and they're the next level after our third-dimension. We live in a three-dimensional world but there are fourth, fifth and sixth dimensions.
Dave 1: This is some heavy stuff! No one knows that about P!
P-Thugg: I'll tell you something that's gonna fuck you up. When you think about physical matter, the other dimensions are anti-matter. Whatever you're built of, doesn't really exist because at the sub-atomic level -- ahh I have to draw it!
Dave 1: My shit about mountain bikes is pretty weak compared to this!