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In the Studio

Chromeo Cop Kanye’s Work Ethic for ‘Expansive’ Album

Chromeo / Photo by Tim Saccenti

Even though Chromeo is deep into work on their fourth album, the reality of putting new dance-funk jams into the world is only just now starting to sink in for the Montreal duo. “This is the first interview I’ve done to talk about new music,” says guitarist-vocalist Dave 1. “The album hardly even feels real yet. We just got off the road two months ago. But talking about it makes me realize how far along our concept is.”

For the as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2010’s Business Casual, Dave 1 and keyboardist P-Thugg, working from their Montreal studio, have so far moved on from their earlier dancing-on-a-yacht vibe to another building block of soft-rock style. “On our last record we wanted to have sophisticated smooth jams because people had been pigeonholing us as an electro thing,” explains Dave. “But my mind works with this kind of bucket-list mentality where I’m always thinking about what we haven’t done before.” So what item on the list is the band looking to check off this time around? “I’m working on songs with big choruses,” Dave says, adding that the Supertramp-y stadium ballad “Mamma’s Boy,” from 2007’s Fancy Footwork, is a rough precedent for some of the new material. “I’m looking for a sense of uplift,” he continues. “Writing minor-key verses that go into major-key choruses but doing it without being corny is something I’m interested in. That and having full arrangements. We’re bringing in horns this time. The record is going to be a lot more ambitious and expansive than what we’ve done before. I don’t know why we limited ourselves to three-minute songs before.” With the caveat that they haven’t been approved by P, Dave 1 says early song titles include “Lying Awake at Night,” “Hard to Say No,” and Mile a Minute.”

But even more than going through personal To-Do lists, Chromeo is looking to the big guns for inspiration. “We want to be more serious now,” admits Dave. “As far as work ethic, Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is kind of a model. The amount of man-hours that you can tell went into that record is really impressive. And so is the curatorial approach, where he opened up his circle and brought in other contributors but still gave the whole thing his identity. He was fine-tuning that thing for a year. We want to do the same thing. I don’t want to leave the studio thinking I needed one more month of work to make the music perfect.”

Though the album won’t likely come out till 2013, Chromeo wants their fans to know that the good times are just beginning. “We’ve been doing this since 2004,” says Dave excitedly. “The Chromeo image and semiotics have been solidified. It’s like we built the house, then we renovated the house, and now, with the new record, we’re going to have people over for dinner.”

Dress sexy.