How They Became… Chromeo
The electrofunk all stars and Daryl Hall collaborators share the story behind their name.
Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature “Name That Band!” inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.)
This week: Funky dance-poppers Chromeo, who will be backing Daryl Hall on the Bonnaroo stop of their upcoming summer tour.
Why Chromeo: “I was in a girl’s bed when I thought of the name Chromeo,” says Dave One, half of the smooth grooving duo. “This was an ex-ex-ex-ex-girlfriend of mine. I think it was probably in 2002. Me and [musical partner] Pee Thug knew we were gonna start this band, but we didn’t have a name. We had a song called ‘Mercury Tears’ and I liked the metallic association, so I had been thinking of the name Chrome. Then this girl suggested Chromium, the element. Right away, I was like, Chromeo! It made sense for us. There’s sort of an ’80s reference to the band Cameo, which we like. Then its got the mix of the metallic harsh vibe and the lover thing. I called up Pee and told him, and he was like, ‘Roll with it.’ I was surprised no one thought of it before. We even looked online — on Altavista or something, this was before I was using Google — and the only thing we could find was some foreign kid on a message board. We were pretty sure he wasn’t gonna sue us.”
Previously Rejected Names: “Originally, we were gonna be called Hijack, but then 9/11 happened and we didn’t want to use that. Really early on, we were gonna call ourselves the Crunk Brothers. This was in, like, 2000, way before the term ‘crunk’ was in the vernacular. But some people we were talking to at the time convinced us that it wouldn’t be a good name.”
Best Band Names Ever: “The dopest band name in the history of music is Judas Priest. The Stylistics is an amazing band name that I wish I’d thought of. There are two things that make a good band name. The first is when it’s something where you’re surprised it didn’t exist before. Justice is a good example. It took until 2004 for a band to be called that? How come there was no metal band from the ’70s with that name? And the other thing that makes a good band name is when it becomes its own expression. On it’s own Daft Punk doesn’t sound good. The two words aren’t intrinsically interesting, but put them together and make some great music and it becomes awesome.”
Worst Band Name Ever: “The The. Even when I was little kid watching music videos, when a The The video came on, I’d be like, ‘That’s corny.'”