Chromeo performing

Q&A: Chromeo's Dave 1 Talks 'White Women' LP, Being Forced To Quit His Teaching Job & Working With Solange

Canadian duo Chromeo cannot be defined. When members David Maklovitch (aka Dave 1) and Peter Gemayel (better known as P-Thugg) come together, the end result is eclectic, with an electro-funk-pop-dance explosion of sounds. Last month, they released their fourth album White Women, which debuted at no. 11 on the Billboard 200 charts and at no. 6 in Canada. While they were on their way to Boston to perform at the the Johnny Appleseed World’s Tallest Ice Luge event (June 19), VIBE caught up with lead singer Dave 1 to talk about their growth since their debut album a decade ago, the meaning behind White Women, working with Solange and more.—Tanay Hudson

How did Chromeo partner with Johnny Appleseed?
They used our song “Jealous” in a commercial so when that happened, we wanted to have more of a partnership ‘cause I just feel like when you have a brand that uses a song, it doesn’t feel organic but when there’s an event and fans can actually participate, it's more genuine. It makes for a more credible partnership and that’s what we ended up pursuing.

Do you drink their apple cider?
I like it. It’s a little bit intense but it’s good. It’s easy to like.

It's the 10th anniversary of Chromeo’s first album She’s in Control. How have you guys grown from that album?
It’s a huge evolution. When we first started, we didn’t really know what we were doing. We were still learning and when you look at our first record, which was a totally misunderstood cult album, it’s got pop radio play, which we’ve never had in our career before. We’re doing our biggest live tour so we’re really blessed because it was quite hard at the beginning and it was like a long, slow evolution. It definitely feels better to evolve this way than to blow up out the gate and fall off or to have trouble, following up. We just stayed humbled and knew that if we kept working hard this was going to come so it kept us on our toes. I don’t even look back at the fact that its been 10 years. I feel like if we did that, we would be aging ourselves. To me, this is a new beginning. Maybe after 25 years, we’ll look back but right now we’re just grinding.

You guys named your current album, White Women, after a book by Helmut Newton. Why that particular book?
His photography is a big influence on us. When I saw that he had a book called that I was like ‘Man, I wonder how people would interpret it in America if you came out with an album that was called that?’ Would people immediately think its about race, you know? I just felt like it would get people thinking and talking. People were like ’oh, you like white women?’ and we’re like ‘Not even! It’s about a book by a photographer.’ If you look at the album cover, the girl is not even white. In a weird way, we just felt like it gets people thinking. We’re not necessarily a band that talks about social and political stuff in our lyrics but as a project, we think it’s our duty to make people think with stuff that’s thought provoking and artistically challenging.

You guys produce your own work but do you have a dream list of producers?
If we did, it would have to be organic. We’re friends with people like Pharrell and Kanye so its like if we get up in the studio with them its gotta just feel organic and gotta feel right. Moving forward were definitely open to collaborating more. At the same time its really fulfilling when you have an album that breaks through the way this one did and you know that you did all of it yourself. Like Drake said, ‘All me for real’ you know?

Whose work do you enjoy, producer wise?
I actually love Drake’s guy, 40. I love Kanye. Mustard right now is having a moment which I think is cool. We’ll always remember that as the summer of 2014. I grew up in the '90s so when I grew up, it was Pete Rock, DJ Premier, you know? Those were always my favorites. J. Dilla, rest in peace, I always thought he was the best. I like a lot of electronic producers. Guys like Disclosure are really really good. I think the guys from the Black Keys did a really good job on that new Lana Del Rey record too. I didn’t like the production so much on the first Lana Del Rey record but the new one is beautiful. I like all the new kids who are doing Jersey Club Music. I really like that. It feels fresh.

How was working with Solange on this latest album? Did you guys get to record together in the studio?
Not only did we go to the studio, we went to her house. We spent the night at her house. It was dope. I’ve been friends with her. I've known Solange for years.

How did you guys meet?
We met through my younger brother, A-Trak. He introduced us and she was a fan already. She had actually done something on our last album but she just sang the hook but on this record, I wanted her back, like on a duet. We spent the night at her house, started writing at like 10pm and then left at like eight in the morning. It was really a fun night. I’ve hung out with her a lot since then and she’s also a really inspiring person because she’s a mom. To be a solo artist and at her age and be a mother is really admirable. It takes a lot of courage and a lot of discipline to do what she does.

You have a PhD in French Literature. As a musician, what inspired you to obtain that?
I was actually doing the academic stuff before I was doing music. I always thought that music was going to be a hobby. I was always in school and I did music on the side and even after the band started, my friends and my family had to force me to stop teaching. I was still getting classes in college. They were just like ‘You gotta stop. You can’t teach and be on tour at the same time’ and I was like, ‘Yes I can.’ I was losing my voice and flying like 13 million times a week and at one point I was like ‘You know what? Let me just go ahead and do the music thing.’ It’s funny how life surprises you and throws a curve ball, you know?

What music are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to this music out of Chicago called Bop and it’s like this party music that I’m really feeling right now. It has an irregular tempo with a lot of party chants and dances. I just like regional stuff. I like going on YouTube and getting lost for two hours just listening to stuff from Chicago, or St. Louis or New Orleans. I feel like I’m traveling, you know what I mean? The last thing that I’ve been playing non-stop is that thing Drake put out last month ‘0 to 100.’ I still listen to that everyday. That’s gonna be hard to beat. I love that song “Yayo” with Snootie Wild and Yo Gotti. Everything A$AP I really like. I mean, those are my homies. I love what they do.

A$AP Mob?
Yeah. A$AP Ferg is in our “Jealous” video. Those are my guys. I love those dudes.

That would be a good collaboration.
Let’s see. You never know. They brought a good energy to New York.

What’s up next for Chromeo?
We will be touring all summer. In August, we’re be doing basically every major American festival: Lollapalooza, Oceana in Montreal, Outside Lands in San Francisco. We’re doing our very own show at the Red Rocks. We just announced that on September 12, we’re going to be headlining our own Central Park show and there’s going to be another single in September then we’re gonna go back out [on tour] in the fall. We’re gonna stay busy until the end of the year non-stop.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Nas Says 'Illmatic's Legacy Has “Started To Take On A Life Of Its Own"

Nas’ discography of studio albums has reached double-digits since the release of Nasir in 2018 but given this span, his fans and hip-hop aficionados continue to herald the impact of his debut album Illmatic. Celebrating 25 years this year, the “Cherry Wine” rapper raised a glass in commemoration of this milestone by previously hosting a Symphony Orchestra performance and receiving accolades along the way.

However, during an interview with Haute Living, the Queens native said although he’s grateful for the love of his platinum-selling project, “it has started to take on a life of its own.” The 46-year-old continued to state his claim by noting that the rest of his discography is worthy of recognition and that this year has been a good run for Illmatic.

"Twenty-five years is a lifetime. So I did another Symphony Orchestra show for Illmatic this year; I got another plaque for it. I’m very grateful—it’s so crazy—but to celebrate one album when I’ve made over 10, all the things I’ve worked on—and I’ve been working for so long—to celebrate one album over all else is corny to me," he said. "I don’t want to celebrate another Illmatic anything. I’m done. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for appreciating that record, but it’s over.”

While music will always remain a passion—Nas mentioned a third and fourth installment of his The Lost Tapes series—the entertainer might take his talents to other areas of creativity and entrepreneurship. “Maybe [I’ll open] a new level bookstore, maybe [I’ll do] Broadway,” he said. “I do three things at a time; that’s how I live. The next three things I do, I hope they’re more exciting than anything that I’ve ever done.”

Illmatic remains one of music's most vivid and poetic albums, hosting quintessential East Coast rap melodies from DJ Premier, Large Professor, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, Faith N., and L.E.S. The sole feature goes to fellow The Firm member AZ.

In an interview with Red Bull, Nas discussed the real-life situations Illmatic hosts within its tracks which aids in its truth of standing the test of time. "There’s a lot of historical value in there. Back then there was a killing of a guy named [Jose “Kiko”] Garcia in Washington Heights by the police that I mention in my lyrics. I talk about the Supreme Team, a drug gang in Queens, and their leader named Supreme, who is now locked up," he said. "I talk about Ron G who was a Harlem mixtape DJ who was really popular at the time. It was kind of the first time you’d hear street conversation by someone who knew these guys personally at the time."

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Halle Berry Is #TeamZoeKravitz As Catwoman For Upcoming 'Batman' Film

Earlier this month, it was announced that actress/musician Zoe Kravitz would step into the sleuthing role of Catwoman for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Joining in on the chorus of people that are elated to see Kravitz in this role is fellow Catwoman Halle Berry.

The Oscar Award-winning actress took to Twitter to congratulate Kravitz on her new job, writing “Keep shining queen and welcome to the family!” Kravitz will star opposite Twilight’s Robert Pattinson who’ll play the Dark Knight.

Special shout-out to your new #CatWoman, the eternally graceful & extremely bad ass @ZoeKravitz. Keep shining Queen & welcome to the family! ♥️✨ pic.twitter.com/9YJ2EekcNG

— Halle Berry (@halleberry) October 17, 2019

In 2004, Berry starred as Catwoman in the film of the same name. Directed by Pitof, the movie also starred Alex Borstein, Benjamin Bratt, Frances Conroy, and Sharon Stone. Although the movie wasn't a box office success, Berry said it opened up a world of opportunities in Hollywood.

"Everybody around me said, 'Girl, don't do it. It's going to be the death of you. It's going to end your career.' But guess what I did? I followed my intuition and I did a movie called Catwoman and it bombed miserably," Berry said at 2004's Matrix Awards, per Glamour. "While it failed to most people, it wasn't a failure for me because I met so many interesting people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I learned two forms of martial arts and I learned not what to do."

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Issa Rae Launches Her Own Record Label

Issa Rae has a lot of projects in the works, and she’s making room for another big venture. On Thursday (Oct. 18), the Insecure star announced the launch of her new record label, Raedio, along with introducing the world to TeaMarr, the imprint’s first artist.

“Beyond excited to present the first amazingly talented artist from my new label RAEDIO,” the Emmy winner captioned a clip of TeaMarrr’s music video where she makes a cameo.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Beyond excited to present the first amazingly talented artist from my new label RAEDIO, TeaMarrr (@imaliltcup)! Check out her song and video, "Kinda Love" on all streaming platforms now! (@theraedio)

A post shared by Issa Rae (@issarae) on Oct 18, 2019 at 8:06am PDT

The record label is a partnership with Atlantic Records, according to Variety. Rae’s label will also be responsible for supervising the music on A Black Lady Sketch Show, which she executive produces.

“Music has always been an essential part of every project I do and working with emerging talent is a personal passion,” Rae said in a statement. “Raedio allows me to continue that work within the music industry and audio entertainment space. The Atlantic team are innovators in terms of shifting and shaping culture. I’m excited to join forces with them to discover new artists.”

Raedio is technically her first foray into the recording industry, but music has always been a “central character” in Insecure, Atlantic Chairman & COO Julie Greenwald noted.

“Issa Rae is a next-level, future-thinking creative force who’s been breaking down cultural barriers and conquering one field after another,” said Greenwald. “She’s made music a central character in her artistic evolution, and now she’s brought all that amazing passion, inspiration, and taste to the formation of Raedio. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Issa and her team on this exciting new venture, and TeaMarrr is the perfect artist to launch with.”

Wath TeaMarrr's  “Kinda Love” music video below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories