Photos by Krystal Ramirez
The Funklordz are coming back.
With their fourth studio album, Heads Over Heels, dropping June 15, electro-funk duo David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel—collectively known as Chromeo—are in the middle of a world tour that includes a stop at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on April 12.
When last we saw Chromeo, Dave and P were closing out the final night of 2016’s Life Is Beautiful festival, treating the masses to their irresistible, ’80s-infused synth, drum machine beats and electric guitar licks.
It was magnificent, packed front-to-back with Chromeo’s greatest hits, which is an odd thing to say as the duo didn’t break through until the mid-aughts.
They’re no nostalgia band, but every time they hit the town, fans show love like Chromeo’s been in their lives for decades. They long for everything from “Fancy Footwork” to “Jealous,” and they know every lyric.
“The songs from [2014’s White Women], they feel like they’re classics,” Macklovitch says. “It’s like now when I play ‘Old 45’s,’ it gets as much love as [2007’s] ‘Bonafied Lovin.’”
Speaking with Vegas Seven on the same morning that Chromeo debuted its newest single, a collaboration with rapper DRAM titled “Must’ve Been,” Macklovitch discusses, among other topics, the prospects of a new Las Vegas residency and why it took four years to release a new album.
The “Must’ve Been” video has you and P running around as little kids. Is this the Chromeo origin story?
It’s pretty accurate [laughs]. We didn’t meet when we were that young, but we’ve been goofing around since the age of 14. Our band is really about friendship, and that’s what the video is all about.
It’s been so long since we’ve heard new Chromeo music.
It took a while because we wanted to do a clean slate and just experiment with a bunch of stuff. I wanted to take three years but it took four years. I wanted to work on my vocals a little more, so it was like one year of boot camp. And then, when we started to put the songs together, we wanted more of a live feel and with a slower tempo. “Must’ve Been” is the fastest song on the album.
And DRAM is not the only guest star on Head Over Heels, which also features The Dream, French Montana and Raphael Saddiq.
It’s more of a collaborative album, but we brought all of these voices into the Chromeo sound. It’s not like DRAM sounds foreign. And The Dream [guesting on new track “Bedroom Calling”] sounds like DeBarge on that shit. When you hear the French Montana shit, it sounds like Biggie’s “Hypnotize.” And Raphael is playing drums and bass on a track called “Just Friends,” which features a singer named Amber Mark. We got her on the come up and it’s amazing.
Heads Over Heels has some stuff that’s lighthearted, but there’s also some deeper stuff, more emotional stuff than we’ve done before.
And for the tour, you recently posted on Twitter a callout for fans to request their favorite Chromeo tracks.
Yes. I put “Needy Girl” back in [the set list]! I put “Momma’s Boy” back in; that was out.
Is “100%” coming back?
That’s a classic. That song is like Miami Vice.
[Laughs] When we did that song, I said, “You gotta be wearing white pants—white pants and jacket.”
You did a short residency at Drai’s Nightclub in 2015. Ever consider doing another one in Las Vegas?
[Drai’s] was cool, but the Vegas residency thing is more of a DJ thing, and we’re more of a band. I would love to do a residency where we could just play funk and soul. It would be cool to have a residency where we play music that’s different, and you don’t have to hear the same old songs.
Your brother Alain (a.k.a A-Trak) is a current Drai’s resident. You’ve gone on record saying without A-Trak, there’d be no Chromeo.
He helps us behind the scenes so much. He helped us put together the new live show; he was there at rehearsal, he’s listened to every Chromeo demo since day one and championed us—he might as well be part of the band; he’s just not in the photos. Not one thing that Chromeo does doesn’t get run by him, and I’m the same with his stuff.
Chromeo’s Head Over Heels drops June 15. Tickets for their April 12 Brooklyn Bowl show start at $33.50, brooklynbowl.com/las-vegas.