The Drop’s own Missy Scheinberg got to sit down up close and personal with the dynamic duo known as Chromeo. The two comprise of Dave P (A-Trak’s brother) and P-Thugg, and these two have been making moves in the music game for years now. It was great getting to speak with the two at their Governor’s Ball show out on Governor’s Island in New York City.
The Drop Media: Hey guys, so I write for The Drop Media, and I’ve got a few questions for you. First off, one of the things that in my opinion sets you apart from many other artists these days is how you’ve collaborated with so many different people over such a large spectrum: you had that incredible Bonnaroo set with Daryl Hall, you have songs featuring members of Vampire Weekend and La Roux, you’ve done work with your brother and Fool’s Gold – with so many different inspirations and encompassing so many genres, what will you be doing next?
Dave1: Well, we’re working on a new album now. We’re in the studio almost everyday.
TDM: What kind of inspirations are you drawing from for this album, as your last album was a little bit different from the previous two?
Dave1: Yeah – more dance floor, sort of happy, and fun stuff. The last one was a more sentimental record. I guess so far this is dancier, disco-y. We’re trying to make the songs bigger.
TDM: Is there anyone you’ve been hoping to collaborate with?
Dave1: Yeah, but we’re gonna wait – right, P?
Dave1: We’ve gotta get the album sort of mapped out more, but there will definitely be some more collaborations on this one.
TDM: So you guys just finished a DJ residency in Vegas – why did you guys decide to DJ sets and how do those compare to your live headlining shows and festival sets?
Dave1: The DJ stuff was just a cool way to stay connected with new music, and it’s genuinely fun. And it’s a good way to stay active while we are in between our albums, you know?
P-Thugg: It’s not as demanding as a live show: you’re just there for one day and come back and write some more, because that’s our focus right now.
TDM: What kind of music do you tend to play at your DJ sets? I know that you’re not totally catering to this whole popular EDM thing with your original music…
P-Thugg: Well, you kind of have to go there a little.
Dave1: Yeah, you have to.
P-Thugg: Can’t just play funk and 80’s stuff.
Dave1: In Vegas especially. It’s cool, like, I’m not really mad at it. Like, my brother (A-Trak) gives us songs, and we play stuff that we like, mix it up, and give it our own little touch, and a lot our remixes. It’s really – it’s cool, too – it’s not because our music is different, and just because our original music doesn’t sound like that, doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate it, you know?
TDM: Because of new technology, DJs have been trading in vinyl for CDJs and Serato, and yet there’s still this rise in vinyl sales.
P-Thugg: I still buy vinyl, it’s just annoying to shlep it around, you know? Everything that’s on the iTunes or on mp3, we probably have on vinyl, too. Except for the newer stuff.
TDM: Do you guys have any favorites in your vinyl collections?
P-Thugg: I have a bunch of really cool Brazilian records I just got. A lot of really obscure funk stuff that I was really proud to get. We played in Chicago on our last tour, and I scored big time over there.
TDM: So I don’t know if you guys have been following this whole Emily White – the intern at NPR – situation…
Dave1: Yeah, someone was just mentioning that. What was that? I hadn’t been following.
TDM: There was that NPR intern who wrote in her blog, and then there was the response by David Lowry -
Dave1: Brief me on everything
TDM: Okay, so in short, this girl is an intern at NPR, and she writes in her blog about how she has eleven thousand songs in her computer library, but she’s only bought fifteen albums in her entire life.
Dave1: That’s actually on the high end of what I would expect if she’s only twenty, you know, intern age.
TDM: Well, it was interesting because she kept on saying what she thought was so wrong with the fact that everyone’s downloading illegally, and yet it seems like that’s what she’s been doing.
Dave1: How did people respond to this?
TDM: There was this one response from David Lowry where he was saying how people have the wrong attitude about this stuff: it shouldn’t be, you know, “screw the industry, let’s download illegally, because artists aren’t getting their shares”, because obviously then they get even less of a share.
Dave1: I mean sadly, the reality is that right now labels are back on top. If you look in the realm of very commercial music. If you look at, you know, what’s playing on the radio, what’s selling a lot of records, what’s getting the most views on Youtube – it’s all major label pop. So whatever’s like – I mean, there are a couple of success stories per year, say like, the Gotye song, when you’ve got something a little more organic that infiltrates the mainstream – but more often than not, it’s starships kind of singles as we have a very label-orchestrated record that just pushes down. So, it’s funny because in weird ways it’s almost like there was a comeback of really major label-engineered pop music right now. I mean, I guess every artist can get into where they fit in. You’ve got artists – all these dubstep kids that don’t put out records and give out music for free and lead terrifically healthy careers. And you’ve got other artists that throw these starships around and sort of cater to a very mainstream, international sound, and sell records that way. So, it’s actually not always one or the other, but the reality is you have a lot of younger music consumers that have never bought a record. And it’s not a bad thing. And we can find other ways to earn a living by making our music; you’re not only dependent on record sales. So, it’s all good. I mean, the market organically sort of takes it’s shape, and the business is well, and you adapt to it. We have a pretty Zen perspective, and that’s the way you have to go.
TDM: Yeah, I mean with all of this new technology, it’s hard for the music industry to necessarily catch up.
Dave1: But I mean there was a time where you felt like there was a counter-cultural digital presence. And I think that era is over. I think that now iTunes – if you look at what’s being promoted by iTunes, it’s Bieber all over the place. If you look at what gets killer Vevo views, it’s Bieber all over the place. Turn on the radio, it’s Bieber, you know that’s what I’m saying, it’s not like you’ve got this… alternative.
TDM: Right. But back to you guys and your music: you guys really fit into so many different genres and sub-genres. How would you guys classify your music?
P-Thugg: Smooth electro-funk!
TDM: Who have been your big influences? Have they changed from when you guys first started off as a band until now?
Dave1: For us it stays Daft Punk and 80’s music. You know, that’s really kind of what it still is for us. And on every album we sort of get into a different flavor. A lot of old records, really.
P-Thugg: The basics are always the best.
TDM: Anyone in particular?
Dave1: It’s always the same: Daft Punk, Hall & Oates, and Prince. Whatever cool, French disco-house from the late 90’s. And I mean whatever we like now.
P-Thugg: The original duos and the French records.
Dave1: And whatever’s cool now. And Chic. And whatever’s ill now, like 2 Chainz. You know, whatever’s on the radio that we like, like hip-hop stuff: ASAP (Rocky), Danny Brown. We just listen to that, and somehow I’m sure it gets integrated into what we do. Who knows!
TDM: Is there anyone here at Governors Ball that you’re looking forward to checking out?
Dave1: We’re gonna miss Santigold I think, because we’re doing press, but that would be great. But you know, love Santi, obviously Duck Sauce and Cudi. All the fam – like Cudi’s Fool’s Gold, Duck Sauce, Santi we’re cool with.
TDM: Yeah, I feel like today is very Fool’s Gold-run with you guys, Duck Sauce – and it’s Duck Sauce’s first New York City show, right?
Dave1: Yeah, that’s crazy. Wow.
TDM: Well it’s been nice talking to you guys, and I’m looking forward to that new record!