Chromeo Immerse Fans In Electro-Funk Waves With ‘Date Night: Chromeo Live!’

“We never would have made a proper live album without the band,” says David “Dave 1” Macklovitch. Alongside long-standing collaborator Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel, the duo, known as Chromeo, have been road warriors since 2007. It’s hard to believe it took this long for a live record, but Date Night: Chromeo Live! is more than worth the wait. Recorded throughout their 2018 headlining tour, during which they employed a full backing band for the very first time, the towering 20-track compilation fully immerses the listener in the magic, electricity, and musical vibrancy for which they’ve become known.

Videos by American Songwriter

“When we play as an electronic duo, just P and I, the show is not really itself without the stage design, the lighting and all the theatrics that we really love. It’s a huge part of what we do, and we put so much energy into that because it’s a show,” Davie 1 tells American Songwriter over a recent phone call. “But with the live band, we knew that the music could stand on its own. It allowed us to manipulate songs differently. We always had a bit of an inferiority complex. Being an electronic band, we love live bands. We were huge Jamiroquai fans and would be like, ‘Man, it would be dope to have musicians good enough to go toe to toe with Jamiroquai.’”

Earlier this year, the pair began the “tedious” process of listening to every single recorded performance, one-by-one. “If you want to speak about logistics, we made a folder for every song, and we had all the versions in there,” offers P-Thugg, “and we chose the best version for every city. That’s how we came up with the city choices. If there were two versions that were somewhat as good as the other one, we also wanted to represent all of the cities we played and not leave anything out.”

From New York City to Portland and back to Washington, DC, and then up to Vancouver, Date Night celebrates electronic music’s ability to connect people and create a kind of community you can’t find anywhere else. “I think moving forward, there’s going to be a lot more shows with the band. It just allows us to do so much more,” says Dave 1.

The art of the live album largely means something very different in the modern era, mostly showing up now as one-off Spotify Live single releases or mini EPs. “It seems the art of the live album got lost in the ‘90s─and then in the ‘90s, they started calling everything ‘Unplugged,’” says P-Thugg. “It was basically the replacement of live without saying it was live because it sounds like shit. ‘Unplugged’ was the euphemism for live. Electronic music and hip-hop became really prevalent, so unplugged was the way to say, ‘This is with live instruments.’”

Both musicians grew up in the height of the live record, or at least an era which carried greater reverence for the beauty of it all. “My dad had a copy of Rock of Ages by The Band, and I remember listening to that all the time,” says Dave 1. “Then, when I was a little bit older, I remember that one side of Guns N’ Roses Lies being a live record. And then there’s a couple from the Rolling Stone ─there’s one called Got Live If You Want It that I really used to like growing up. Oh, and then Stop Making Sense [by Talking Heads] is the gold standard for live albums.”

Naturally, the duo longs for the throaty screams and cheers of the crowd, as you’ll hear on the album’s entirety, but they’ve also missed flying, airports, and even “cheap airplane food. We were having withdrawals of the whole process,” admits P-Thugg. “We had been away from it for so long that we started missing the bad stuff. Not only the good stuff.”

As the world slowly opens up, despite ongoing Covid variants, the live arena has returned─“but it’s never going to be the same,” P-Thugg continues. “We really deeply wish that it’s going to go back to what it was. On the one hand, there’s new variants of the virus that are worrisome. And we’re definitely losing sleep over that. Right now, we’re getting a hint of things picking up again, and it feels really nice to be cautiously optimistic about everything. So, we would hate for it to all be taken away from us again. But I don’t know, maybe there’ll be new security measures put into place─and that’s great.”

Over the last year, Chromeo not only kept their creative juices flowing, particularly with the release of an EP called Quarantine Casanova, as well as a remix set, but established their own label Juliet Records and began producing for other artists. “We got to a place where we needed to shepherd and mentor new artists and put our resources and our studio and even our experience at the service of other artists,” says Dave 1. “We’ve been through so many different labels in so many different countries through so many different iterations of the music business, that we wanted to provide a really artist friendly environment and add something to the Chromeo story.”

Even more, the duo have been furiously writing for what they hope emerges as the next Chromeo record, for which they’ve “definitely kept an element of the live performance, like more live drums. On certain songs, there’s definitely a feeling or the idea, subconsciously, to translate with a live band and that to be extended in that arena. But, in terms of what we’re singing about, honestly, that’s still being worked on now,” he continues. “The quarantine EP was so funny, and that is like the closest we’ll ever come to making a comedy album. It connected with our fans a lot, because it was stuff that we were all going through.

“Moving forward, I think the lyrics will show a similar amount of growth. So much has changed,” adds Dave 1. “‘Head Over Heels’ is only three years old, but we feel like it’s seven years old with how much has changed since then, both in the world and for us, in our career. We have a lot of friends that we have watched on social media, over the last year, who were hiking and learning how to fish and to surf, and were going upstate New York and swimming in lakes. We did not do any of that. We just worked on so much new music.”

Leave a Reply

Flossing Turns on the “Switch,” From Upcoming Debut ‘Queen Of The Mall’

Gillespie and Beth

Review: Bobby Gillespie And Jehnny Beth Create Musical Sparks Out of Relationship Ashes