Canadian Bands You Should Know: Chromeo

Was your New Year's resolution to try or listen to something new? I would suggest you give a listen to the electrofunk duo Chromeo. They are currently a leader in the rising ranks of dance and club music coming from Canada. That being said, David Macklovitch, aka Dave 1, and Patrick Gemayel, aka P-Thugg, were playing music together long before the creation of Chromeo in 2004. Chromeo has a new record that was released May 12, 2014, shortly after playing Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival along with other Canadian acts such as Arcade Fire, Austra and Tiga.
Their musical relationship began back when they were teenagers and Macklovitch joined Gemayel's funk band. After the band ended, the two decided to work together and began producing hip hop music. Tiga, one of Canada’s top DJs and music producers, worked alongside Macklovitch's at a record store, and gave Chromeo the opportunity to sign with his record label, Turbo.

Though many great groups in history have had similar influences, Chromeo's members are widely different, almost backwards, in their influences and musical history. Macklovitch was born in Canada and grew up listening to rock n' roll, until the Beastie Boys brought him over to hip-hop. Gemayel on the other hand, was born in Lebanon and did not know North American music until he was eight, when his family moved to Canada. He began listening to Michael Jackson, which quickly led to hip-hop. When he was a teenager he began listening to funk and reggae. Once high school hit, rock n' roll was his new preference of music. Luckily for the duo, when they met around the age of 15, they were both into funk and collected such records.
Fast forward to 2004 and Chromeo has released their first album She's in Control. With positive feedback from critics, Chromeo had their foot in the music industry door and was on their way to playing all over the world. In the eyes of the band members, She's in Control was not a huge success, but they did get attention for “Needy Girl” the top single off the album. The song featured their instrumental talents trickling in from their previous funk band with a nice mix of electro sounds, scratching and a catchy beat.

Soon after the release of She's in Control, the Chromeo duo were back at it, playing shows all over the world, but also compiling, recording and remixing new songs for their audience. They released a mix CD in 2005 called Un Joli Mix Pour Toi. Since then, they've released the full mix CD, along with their other mixes, on SoundCloud. Here is their first full mix, 47 minutes of Un Joli Mix Pour Toi.

Three years after their first mix, Chromeo had released another mix and was just putting out their second full album Fancy Footwork. That same year, they were the special guest on the tenth episode of Live From Daryl's House, an award winning TV show where Daryl Hall, from Hall and Oates, jammed and hung out with guests. Chromeo, Hall and a backing band jammed out eight songs, mixing rock n' roll, acoustic, hip hop and funk to produce a milestone in Chromeo's career, where they got to play with one of their idols and influences. Now at over 60 episodes and still going, Daryl Hall has played with artists from CeeLo Green to Rob Thomas on his show.
Check out the episode here.
Their 2010 album Business Casual propelled Chromeo to new heights. The album peaked at #70 on the Billboard 200 with one of their songs, “When the Night Falls” recorded with Solange Knowles, Beyoncé's younger sister. Several music videos came from that album, with “Night by Night” being performed live on Late Show with David Letterman in 2010, “Don't Turn the Lights On” featured on the video games FIFA 11 and DiRT 3, and “Hot Mess” being performed live on Conan in 2011.
The music video for “Hot Mess” features both members of Chromeo as cops hated by an all-female police department. Behind this comedic and sensual video is a catchy tune that will certainly have you grooving along. The synchronized dance halfway through the video is nicely accompanied by a synthesizer solo, playing to the origins and growth of Chromeo.

In September 2013, Chromeo announced their fourth album White Women. Several singles were already released from the much anticipated album before the official album release date. After Business Casual's success, much is to be looked forward to with this newest album.
One of the most recent videos put out by Chromeo, a single off from White Women, “Come Alive”, features Toro y Moi.

At the end of February 2014, Chromeo released one of their latest single from White Women, “Jealous (I Ain't With It)” on their SoundCloud account. With over 600,000 plays, there is no doubt that White Women is heavily anticipated by the tease of singles that Chromeo has been gently placing for our ears to enjoy. “Jealous (I Ain't With It)” is an update summer-feel song that is sure to set the mood for the upcoming warm weather. A catchy chorus completes this potential top summer dance hit. Be sure to check it out and look out for it on a dance floor near you.

Click here to read my full review of Chromeo's new album White Women.

Andrew Martel

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