Naysayers who believe that ’80s electro-funk died with the collapse of the Berlin Wall—and the implosion of New Edition shortly after Bobby Brown’s departure—have yet to hear Chromeo, the Montreal duo who are bringing the genre back from the grave. Comprising former hip-hop producers Dave 1 (real name, Dave Macklovitch) and P-Thugg (real name, Patrick Gamayal), the band pays homage to the Me Decade on its debut, She’s In Control (Vice), by turns channelling super-freak Rick James and master of white-boy soul, Huey Lewis. The album is bound to inspire a mad rush on pastel-coloured suit jackets with three-quarterlength sleeves or, at least, a breakdancing revival. And Chromeo (the name, says Dave 1, is imbued with a sense of retro-futuristic romance—a combination of “chrome” and “Romeo”) is fine with that. “Everything I listen to is from ’83 to ’87,” says P-Thugg, 26. “Dave’s the rock guy with the smart, poetic lyrics.”
Best friends for over a decade, the two met in junior high and began playing together in various bands, touring Montreal’s club circuit. In 2001, renowned Montreal DJ Tiga, head of Turbo Recordings, asked them to cut a record. “We didn’t know what to do,” says Dave 1, now 25. “So he sat us down at his house and played us records. He schooled us, but we still didn’t know what we were going to sound like. He said, ‘Do what comes naturally.’
So we did.” Although Dave 1 has since moved to New York City to pursue a Ph.D. in French literature, the two visit each other frequently and plan on recruiting a live backing band—“the Chromettes”—for their upcoming tour. “We’d love to be like Hall & Oates,” Dave 1 explains. “Say what you want about them, but no one ever questioned their sincerity. Hopefully, we’ll be around long enough that no one will question ours either.”
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.