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Chromeo: Head Over Heels

One of the big buzz bands from Coachella, and touring Australia for Splendour in the Grass this month, iconic Montreal funk duo Dave 1 (David Macklovitch. left) and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) — aka CHROMEO — have released their new album and take us through it track by track…

1. “Must’ve Been” (feat. DRAM)
If we were going to have a guest guitar player, it’d have to be Jesse Johnson from The Time. We saw him play live with D’Angelo and he blew us away. This is our way of saying, “OK, you heard ‘Jealous’ but don’t get it twisted we’re back on our funky shit.”

2. “Don’t Sleep” (feat. French Montana & Stefflon Don)
We wanted a bop, like Mariah’s “Fantasy” or “Return Of The Mack” or “Cutie Pie” by One Way. Something that hearkens back to both low-rider funk and late ’90s R&B. So we got with the late ’90s R&B mastering Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and made this. It’s one of our faves on the album.

3. “One Track Mind”
This is our Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel moment but also, somehow, Drake — maybe? We had never done a minimalist song before, something where the emotion cuts through, but it’s still fun, funny and funky. The three F’s!

4. “Count Me Out”
Minneapolis funk. That’s like “My Girl Is Calling Me A Liar” or “Outta Sight” from the Fancy Footwork album, but updated with a mean, mega sound. Also the lyrics are amusing because it’s sung from the perspective of a real puritanical dude who is threatened by how free his lover is. But his fear of open relationships plays out like a fear of numbers, of arithmetic.

5. “Bad Decision”
One of the first tracks we started working on for this album, and one of the last ones we finished. These are all slower, more boppy tempos than we’re used to, with more live guitar and bass than before. This one almost feels like real early Chili Peppers to us.

6. “Right Back Home To You” (Interlude)
The album was done and we flew Ian Isaiah to L.A., played some chords for him, had him come up with melodies and lyrics and recorded him on the spot. He’s special — he’s part Hood By Air, part church. He claims both. We needed some kind of spontaneous, spiritual blessing to round off the album.

7. “Just Friends” (feat. Amber Mark)
We worked on the music with Raphael Saadiq, who plays guitar and bass here. The post chorus is Pee on his advanced jazz chords, we had to let that shine somewhere on the album. Amber sounds incredible — this is our duet where we bicker back and forth.

8. “Juice”
It was important for us to tuck this song in the middle of the album to give it some context. Hear it by itself and it’s a little blithe, but hopefully in context it comes off like the synth funk jam we intend it to be.

9. “Slumming It”
We love the 2000s MySpace hit “Rich Girl” by The Virgins, and Wade is a buddy of mine, so that was our inspiration. It’s got that ’80s Stones feel, that’s one of our favourite vibes right there. Love the idea that the dad is upset but the mum is secretly down, too.

10. “Bedroom Calling Pt. 1”
Every album has to have a ballad, right? As with “One Track Mind”, we tried treading on some emotional territory here, but there are layers of funky synths and guitars in the mix as well. We’re really proud of this one. Along with “One Track Mind” it feels like new grounds for Chromeo.

11. “Bedroom Calling Pt. 2” (feat. The-Dream)
We’ve been obsessed with The-Dream since his first album. I listen to “Fast Car” and “Yamaha” once a week. So we’re thrilled to have gotten him on a track, and he unleashed his inner Prince-meets-El DeBarge on this one. I kept my singing to a minimum — we just had to ride with him. We wanted to make our dream Dream song.

12. “Room Service”
We went for something real soulful here. This is the one song from the album I can play on repeat forever. Tawatha Agee from Mtume is on backing vocals — she’s all over the album but she really shines on this track. Hopefully this shows a more sophisticated side of Chromeo, but we’re never gonna forego the humour. “Go ahead and steal the shampoo!” ■

Chromeo’s album Head Over Heels is available now

BY DAVE 1

For the full article grab the July 2018 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

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Jordan Spieth

A Star is Born