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

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Philadelphia Names Street After The Roots

The Roots' hometown of Philadelphia is showing the musical collective brotherly love with a new honor. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, the city council named East Passyunk Avenue after the band, the street now adorning the sign Avenue of the Roots.

"They had first started there on Passyunk and South Street, that's where they would go and do their singing at night," Councilman Mark Squilla said. "Philadelphia is still a land of music and arts and culture, and the more we bring attention to it, the better we are."

On Instagram, Questlove shared that the group planned to unveil and celebrate the moment in May but the surprise arrived early. "Really awesome to see the place we honed our skills and craft embrace us like this," Questlove wrote. The ceremony will still take center stage in May.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Welp this is very Philly: technically we were supposed to wait for the vote and then like in May come Picnic Time we’d have an unveiling w confetti & kool aid lol but cats was like “NOAP!!! WE FINNA PUT THIS JAWN UP NOW!!!!!”—-“ really awesome to see the place we honed our skills and craft embrace us like this. #Repost @whyy ・・・ Philadelphia government may never have gotten anything done this quickly before… . A stretch of East Passyunk just below South Street is being dedicated as “Avenue of The Roots” in honor of the famed Philadelphia hip hop group. A resolution to add the honorific was introduced Thursday in City Council by Councilmember Mark Squilla — and by Friday morning, the little red street sign was already installed. . . ✏️ @phillydesign 📸 @imagicdigital . . . #whyilovephilly #philly #philadelphia #phillyevents #visitphilly #discoverphl #phillypulse #peopledelphia #ourphilly #billypenngram #theroots #therootspicnic #phillymusic #phillyhistory #phillyblackpride

A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on Feb 23, 2020 at 7:21pm PST

In a 2019 interview with OkayPlayer, Leroy McCarthy shared his plans to have hip-hop legends recognized in their native cities. That April, he revealed his plans to work with Philly's council to honor The Roots which has now come to fruition. He's also on a mission to have certain New York City's rap pioneers receive a street-renaming ceremony.

"I’m trying to honor hip-hop in every borough. Moving forward, I’m trying to honor Beastie Boys in Manhattan. That’s pending. Biggie was successful in Brooklyn, Wu-Tang is successful in Staten Island. I initiated the honoring of Phife Dawg in Queens, and that was successful but I’m also really trying to get them to add to that same street pole, 'A Tribe Called Quest Boulevard.' So that’s hopefully in the works. I’m trying to assist the family of Big Pun to have a street named for him in the Bronx," McCarthy said.

Continue Reading
Courtesy of adidas

Rapsody And Pusha T Inspire Students At Adidas' All-Star Weekend Career Day

The recording artists, alongside WNBA star Liz Cambage, encouraged student-athletes to chase their musical dreams at adidas Legacy's “World’s Best Career Day.”

Last weekend, stars from all over the country flew into a frigid Chicago for the 69th annual NBA All-Star Weekend, where they celebrated their accomplishments, promoted their projects, and rubbed elbows with other industry leaders.

The NBA All-Star Weekend often serves as a fun spectacle with slam dunk competitions, brand-sponsored parties, and big music showcases. But on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 15), adidas gathered professional athletes, media personalities, musicians, filmmakers, and other creatives to participate in a more impactful endeavor – making connections with the youth and giving them the exposure and resources to chase their dreams.

adidas hosted 240 student-athletes from eight Chicago public high schools at its “World’s Best Career Day” event in downtown Chicago during the highly-anticipated weekend. The event gave the kids an opportunity to get some hands-on learning experience using professional equipment and face-to-face time with celebrities, including Jonah Hill, James Harden, Candace Parker, and others.

Rappers Pusha T, Rapsody, and WNBA star Liz Cambage ran the “Sound Lab,” which served as the music portion of the seven interactive workshops during the career day. The “Sound Lab” consisted of professional recording equipment, including a vocal booth, turntables, mixing consoles, and drum machines. After a brief panel discussion, the students broke up into three groups, where they could work more closely with one of the stars.

“A lot of people don’t have these opportunities, I didn’t have these opportunities,” Pusha T told VIBE after the workshop. “People weren’t really pushing you to go toward your dreams if they were in the music business. To see all of this put together like such, to have makeshift recording studios, engineers, people of quality, who can really explain the game to you. To me, it just sort of reinforces the idea of pushing kids toward their dreams and goals. I think that’s what it’s about.”

Pusha’s workshop mostly focused on the technical aspect of working in a studio and emphasized the importance of the vocalist and recording engineer relationship. He referred to engineers as “the cornerstone of making music” and explained that while it’s an overlooked job in the music business, it’s an important and lucrative one.

After he spoke with a group of about 13 students, a couple of them went into the vocal booth to spit a verse. The G.O.O.D. Music President gave them tips on recording vocals and explained that having a trusted engineer is crucial.

“When the kids did get in the booth, sometimes there’s a bit of anxiety and feeling like, ‘oh man I gotta rush and hurry up,’” Pusha said. “The engineer is the reason you don’t have to rush and hurry up. You can take your time. You can do four bars at a time, get it perfect. And get another four bars, put it all together, and make it sound seamless. You know just being new to the recording structure, I was trying to share those tips with them.”

Rapsody also shared how she hopes the kids in attendance will learn to “think outside of the box” after the career day event. She said the “Sound Lab” workshop will show them there are many different avenues to pursuing a career in music.

“There are so many ways to inject yourself into the music business, outside of just being an emcee, or just being a producer,” Rapsody told VIBE. “Just opening their minds creatively and interacting with them one on one. It’s always dope to look at people who are doing things that are successful and be able to reach them and talk to them because it gives you an aspiration.”

During her section of the workshop, she and her producers, Khrysis and Eric G, showed the young athletes how to use drum machines and samplers while using her song “Aaliyah,” from her 2019 album Eve, as a reference of how to chop up samples.

“Exposure is the biggest thing for kids,” Rapsody said. “Once you expose them to something, it’s endless, like their mind goes. But if you don’t expose them to it, it’s sometimes* they think that it’s not for them and they put themselves in a fishbowl. So it’s dope to be able to have these kids touch machines and talk to myself.”

After the workshop, Rapsody was approached by a few of the student-athletes, including a young, teenage girl who sang for her.

“I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, and for music and creativity, all I really had was TV. I watched videos,” she said. “If I had something like this, I would’ve started following my heart, my passion a lot sooner. Just to have the knowledge, for somebody to teach, to show me that it is available to me. Whatever I want to do is available to me, that I can do it.”

Cambage, who is a house DJ in addition to playing for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, spoke to the teens about being an athlete who also has a passion for music and other creative outlets.

The three-time All-Star center spoke to them about her love of house music and referenced Canadian DJ/producer KAYTRANADA as one of her favorite current artists because he often takes “old ‘90s hip-hop and (puts) a house beat with it.” During her interactive workshop, she showed them different mixing and beatmatching techniques.

“You don’t know how talented someone can be at something until they try it,” said Cambage, who won a 2012 bronze medal as a member of the Australian women’s basketball team. “We could have the next Mozart in the building today, and I think that’s the really exciting thing. Kids are putting themselves out there, being like, ‘yeah I really am interested in this, and I do want to learn about it.’ And adidas is giving them that platform to go chase another dream.”

Since all of the students that attended the career day event are basketball players, Cambage told VIBE she wanted to show them that they can “break that mold of just being an athlete.”

“We do it all, it doesn’t have to be just one thing,” she said. “There are so many things I love and things that inspire me... So I think it’s really important that we’re not just one thing, we can keep learning, we can keep evolving, we can keep finding things that inspire us.”

Fellow WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike, who moonlights as full-time basketball analyst at ESPN, also emphasized to the kids at her workshop they can be a successful athlete with other interests. Ogwumike worked on the broadcasting workshop, alongside Tracy McGrady, Candace Parker, and Maria Taylor.

She viewed the event as a great way to show the teens, particularly the girls and young women, that they can achieve so much when they have opportunities and the infrastructure to succeed.

“Visibility matters, especially for those who feel invisible in society,” she said. “It’s on us as women to uplift others. For so long, we’ve been so competitive, because like a seat at the table, there’s only one for a woman. Now there are more seats at the table, so instead of being competitive, we’re now being collaborative. We’re harnessing our collective power to lift each other up.”

The “World’s Best Career Day” coincided with the launch of adidas Legacy’s expansion to Chicago. The high school basketball program, Legacy, partnered with eight underserved Chicago public high schools, providing their boys and girls basketball teams with fresh adidas gear and opportunities to connect with peers, learn from mentors, and gain exposure to different career paths. The program was founded in Los Angeles in 2017, later expanded to New York City in 2018, and now serves a total of 28 schools and 840 student-athletes within those cities.

Brandon Walker, adidas’ head of North America Sports Marketing - Basketball,  highlighted how Legacy equally serves the boys and girls basketball programs and is made up of 98 percent of students of color.

“I just hope it’s an opportunity for these young men and women to reimagine their future,” Walker told VIBE. “It’s very difficult to dream it if they’ve never seen it. And for them to be in these workshops and see people that look like them, it gives them a chance to realize their potential long-term. Them having a chance to sit across from somebody and get hands-on learning, and say, ‘you know what? Broadcasting isn’t all that difficult, I might be able to do it myself. I’m a real good sketch artist or I can draw, I could be a designer for a major brand.’ Those types of moments are what we hope these young men and women leave with, just opening up their ideas of what’s possible in the future.”

Continue Reading
A general view of the video screens before the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center on February 16, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Posterized Celebrates Chicago’s All-Time Starting Five For NBA All-Star Weekend

Chicago has not experienced the excitement of NBA All-Star weekend since Michael Jordan dominated the weekend in 1988 by winning the dunk contest and taking home the MVP trophy. The hardworking, blue-collar city has produced some of the greatest basketball players over the years. To celebrate those players, fans were invited to vote on their All-Time Starting Five through the Posterized Experience app leading up to All-Star weekend.

Verizon Wireless funded the mobile event app with content support from Project SYNCERE students, a Chicago-based non-profit that aids in preparing underrepresented and disadvantaged students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The pool of 55 nominees was stacked with amazing talent and included men and women who attended high school in the Chicagoland area for four years and dominated on the court, including the late Ben “Benji” Wilson, Isiah Thomas, Candace Parker, Tim Hardaway, Quentin Richardson, and many more.

On Friday (Feb. 14), the top 5 were revealed during "Posterized: The Chicago Experience" powered by Jim Beam. Derrick Rose, the NBA’s youngest MVP to date, racked up the most votes, and joining him on the list were Los Angeles Lakers power forward Anthony Davis, Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, 3-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade, and Antoine Walker.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

SPECIAL GROUP ......

A post shared by Antoine Walker (@toinewalker8) on Jan 31, 2020 at 10:06am PST

Walker, an NBA champion and 3-time All-Star when he played for the Boston Celtics, joined NBC Sports Chicago analyst Jason Goff in announcing the most voted players during the invitation-only event overlooking the picturesque city at the Chicago Sports Museum & Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch Restaurant.

In addition to Walker being on hand, several other retired NBA players stopped by to enjoy the afternoon soiree, including Kenyon Martin and Chicagoland natives Tim Hardaway, Shawn Marion, and Mark Aguirre. Former NFL player and Illinois Senate representative Napoleon Harris, 1985 Chicago Bears champion Otis Wilson, rapper Jadakiss, iconic radio personality Ed Lover, God Shammgod and more joined in the festivities as well.

Throughout the afternoon, guests were treated to all things Chicago including fun stepping dance lessons, the famous Garrett’s Popcorn, and a special “312” screening lounge featuring movies and television shows set in the city. When asked what it meant to be voted a part of the All-Time Starting Five by fans via the Posterized Experience app, Walker answered, “It is an honor to represent my hometown…Chicago and be recognized as a Top 5 player by the fans. Chicago is a town built on hard work. Many basketball stars are born here, and legends are made. I’m glad that I am a product of this amazing city.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

It’s a wrap folks! Thank you Chicagoland for selecting your #AllTimeStartingFive and major thanks to @recothegreat for capturing the perfect portrait of the #Top5! @antdavis23, @drose, @dwyanewade, @isiahthomas and @toinewalker8 is a tough 🏀 squad to beat! #Posterized #PosterizedExperience #AnthonyDavis #DerrickRose #DwyaneWade #IsiahThomas #AntoineWalker

A post shared by Posterized: Chicago Experience (@posterizedexperience) on Feb 15, 2020 at 7:13am PST

Continue Reading

Top Stories