Chromeo: Business Casual

The Canadian electro pop duo returns with a third album of Hall & Oates and Philipe Zdar collaborations

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Canadian purveyors of piano-tie pop Chromeo are back with their third album 'Business Casual' which straight away gives us a heads up as to where the guys are right now musically. Whilst their last record 'Fancy Footwork' was filled to the brim with buoyant synth-fuelled belters, Dave Macklovich and Patrick Gemayel are getting serious but doing so as nonchalantly as ever. The focus this time round has been on developing their sound with a much more considered approach to their production in addition to their actual song-writing. One would assume that working with Philipe Zdar as well as their musical forefathers Hall & Oates helped the process somewhat. Fret not those of you who fell in love with the catchy choruses though as I can say with some experience that it takes a fair amount of restraint to not sing along to ‘Don’t Turn The Lights On’ on a Monday morning commute. Other excerpts such as ‘Grow Up’ has something of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Me Feel’ to it and the first single that came from the album ‘Night by Night’ is as funky as hell. Meanwhile, Dave demonstrates his forté (albeit experimentally he later explains) on ‘J'ai Claque La Porte’ as his Ph.D in French Language at distinguished American University, Columbia is put to good use. To find out more about this new erudite and polished Chromeo, we gave Dave Macklovich a ring...

Dazed Digital: Talk to me about the journey between Fancy Footwork and Business Casual – Has there been a shift from being more playful to being more serious as the titles might suggest?

Dave Macklovich: I mean, Fancy Footwork was a big record for us obviously and sort of a surprise in term of the acclaim it received. On Business Casual we tried to, I guess typically do the same, wild changing up and evolve in certain ways. With Fancy Footwork, I think that what we achieved is coming up with a number of really charming, really fun eighties-pop ditties and with Business Casual, I wanted to get more into the production and song-writing side and have a record of more lush, more rich, more musical songs and maybe have it be a little less about hooks and more about, this time around, more about interesting things musically with this album and that’s why you’ve got songs like ‘Don’t Turn The Lights On’ which are somewhat more sophisticated than before.  

DD: What was it like for you jamming with Hall & Oates? Were you nervous at all? I would assume that they had a huge influence on you guys as a band…

Dave Macklovich: Yeah, huge. We were prepared for it. I think those guys were kind of nervous because they knew that we were super-fans and knew all their shit by heart and on our end, we were like we’re ‘studio’ guys, we’re not incredible musicians. Those guys can play circles around us so we’ve just got to come correct especially me vocally, you know, how can you have me singing next to Daryl Hall? I was just trying not to make a fool of myself! 

DD: You also recently played on the Letterman show with Bill Clinton. Did you guys manage to speak at all? 

Dave Macklovich: Nah, the Letterman show is really segregated. The musicians, especially with Clinton, he’s not walking around the studio shaking peoples hands, you know? 

DD: I was going to suggest you should have tried to get him down to the studio to play some sax on the next record…

Dave Macklovich: Yeah, you’re the 400th person to make that joke. 

DD: Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It still would have been amazing though…

Dave Macklovich: It would have been incredible but still, the Letterman show I think was the best TV appearance we’ve ever done. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. 

DD: What track would you say you’re proudest of from the new album?

Dave Macklovich: The French one (J'ai Claque La Porte) because that one wasn’t an obvious fit. It was a song I wrote and I didn’t know if it was going to work for Chromeo but P was like ‘Nah, lets do it as Chromeo!’ and so I worked hard on that one and managed to pull it off. I think it’s a pretty song and what it means is that when I come up with songs like that one and ‘Mama’s Boy’, it can fit within the Chromeo mould and so Chromeo, even though we have such a specific sound, its not limiting because we can just fit everything into it. 

DD: Have you had many exes calling you up asking if you’re talking about them on a track? 

Dave Macklovich: Nah, they haven’t. I was on the phone with an ex about an hour ago which is never fun but they haven’t really. It’ll be like, if I’m with a girl, she’ll be like ‘who’s this song about?’ - ‘nobody man’. 

DD: You’re playing at the Roundhouse with Midnight Juggernauts soon, What’s your favourite thing about coming to London?

Dave Macklovich: The homies! You know, we’ve got a cool little posse over there. There’s (Backyard label-boss) Gil who’s like family to us so it’s always good to come home. We get to hang out and its also a place where we get to play some of the biggest shows so its really moving to be able to play for such big crowds. We just love it there. We have a longstanding love-affair with the UK and people just get us out there.

Chromeo's third album 'Business Casual' is out now. Catch them at London's Roundhouse on November 12th.

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