Interview with Dave 1 of Chromeo

Chromeo first appeared on our radar when their single “Needy Girl” became a club sensation in 2004. The duo of Patrick (P-Thugg) Gemayel and David (Dave 1) Macklovitch have been pumping out electro-funk gems ever since. Chromeo has won awards from MTV & CBC Radio, played for all of the major late-night TV outfits, provided tracks for video games, performed at some of the largest festivals on Earth, released several albums, and jokingly describe themselves as “the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” Dave 1 is also the brother of talented DJ/producer A-Trak.

They’ll be rolling into Philly on Halloween to play a show at the Electric Factory and we thought it’d be nice to treat you all to some Q&A with Dave 1 to help psych you up for the show.

Independent Philly: Who came up with the name Chromeo? Does it have any special meaning?

Dave 1: I came up with the name…and it’s simply a cross between chrome and romeo, with a bit of a nod to Cameo.

IP: You’ve played at some of the biggest festivals in the world, what’s the largest crowd you’ve ever performed in front of?

D1: Probably Coachella, which was about 40,000 people.

IP: We’ll be checking you out twice this month, first at Moog Festival in North Carolina, and then in Philadelphia on Halloween. Do you prefer to play large scale festivals or more intimate venues?

D1: I guess both are cool for different reasons. Big shows are fun because you reach new audiences and can connect with different people who wouldn’t necessarily know your music. Smaller shows are fun because you play a longer set for a tighter fan base and you know what you’re getting into. We’re at the stage now where we’re lucky enough to be playing in front of crowds that we know will be familiar with our music.

IP: What can fans in Philly that have never seen you perform live expect from a Chromeo show?

D1: Lots of funk, lots of fun. Lots of sing-a-longs. Lots of crowd participation. It’s a crunk show and we try to be as generous as possible with our audience.

IP: When we spoke with your brother (A-Trak) back in April, he said that although he has a terrible slap-shot, it’s still better than yours… is that true?

D1: I agree with him. I’ve never even taken a slap shot.

IP: You and your brother live across the street from one another, but you’re both often out on the road touring. How often do you get to see each other?

D1: It really depends. When we’re both in town for a week, we’ll see each other every day and make the most of it. It’s been a month now. It really just depends on schedules.

IP: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen at one of your shows?

D1: Nothing really crazy happens. People crowd surfing and jumping on each other. A lot of that. Some people come dressed as us, which is fun. People making out is fun. People making out intensely. We were supposed to play Hard fest in L.A. a few years ago and the show got shut down before we went on because it was oversold and they couldn’t let anyone else on the floor. People were jumping from the balconies to the floor. The riot cops came. It was kind of dark. I was glad we got to play another Hard Festival after that one.

IP: Do you ever see people wearing masks of your face in the audience?

D1: When we put out “Bonafide Lovin'” video, two dudes came to a show with giant 3D masks of P-Thugg and myself. It was kind of crazy.

IP: How do you find the time to earn your Ph.D in French Literature from Columbia University, teach French language classes at Barnard College, tour, and create new music? Do you have a clone?

D1: I’m just very good with time management.

IP: Aside from speaking French or English, what are the three biggest differences between French-Canadians and English speaking Canadians?

D1: They are two very distinct cultures. I don’t want to resort to stereotypes but politically, up until the 70’s, most French Canadians were working class and English speakers were upper middle class; although that line has blurred more now. I can relate to both because one of my parents is Moroccan and the other is French.

IP: What bands/artists are getting the most play on your IPOD these days?

D1: Hip-hop, new Rick Ross, Drake, The Weekend, Waka Flocka, Hall & Oats, the new Rapture album. A new album from a french electro-house duo that I can’t mention…

IP: You released your three studio albums in 2004, 2007, and 2010… does this mean we have to wait until 2013 for your next one?

D1: We’re finishing the current tour in November, so we’ll either wrap the new album early in 2012 or we’ll take a whole year to work on it and release in 2013. We can’t escape the cycle.

IP: Tell us something that would surprise, or even shock our readers…

D1: P-Thugg has a huge crush on Celine Dion. Seriously. He has since we were kids. He thinks she optimizes everything a woman should be.

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