Chromeo have shared their latest single ‘Personal Effects’ and have announced their sixth studio album ‘Adult Contemporary’. Check it out below, along with our interview with frontman Dave 1.
The Canadian electro-funk duo – made up of David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel – teased a new era with the release of ‘Words With You’ earlier this year. Following that track, the duo went on to share two more songs, ‘Replacements‘ featuring La Roux and ‘(I Don’t Need A) New Girl’.
Their newest offering ‘Personal Effects’ is a bright, bassline-heavy track with lyrics: “She knew just what she was doing/ leaving her personal effects behind/ I know I’ll find them one night and she’ll probably be on my mind” – detailing the universal experience of a significant other intentionally leaving items behind as a way to stay haunting their partner.
Along with the release of their fourth single, the “Funklordz” have also announced new album ‘Adult Contemporary’ – which they describe as both their “most honest record to date” and “a meditation on modern, mature relationships”.
It sees Dave 1 and P-Thugg return to their funk roots and go 20 years back in time using their original formula of writing, producing, performing and arranging everything themselves.
“A big thing for us is to always be true to ourselves and where we’re in life at the moment when we make a record,” Dave 1 told NME.
He explained that their second album ‘Fancy Footwork‘ was created at the height of the bloghouse era while 2014 LP ‘White Woman‘ was them in bridal mode, celebrating their 10-year milestone as a duo making them “basically married”.
“Fast forward another 10 years, and we’re in our ‘Adult Contemporary’ phase,” he said. “It had to be something a little more slick and mature and the subject matter had to reflect that which is where we are currently at in our lives.”
He continued: “Now, it’s like ‘OK, how can you reconcile the funk, fun, dance, lighthearted music with real issues that have to do with adult relationships?’ That became the brief on this album.
“I feel like we’re all reckoning with what it really means to enter actual adulthood, and how to navigate that. The question we asked ourselves while creating this record was ‘How do you stay funky in your 30s and 40s while navigating these real-life situations?”
“Also, ‘Adult Contemporary’ is such a funny album title. I don’t know if this is my best album but is this really our best album title. That’s for sure,” he joked.
To celebrate being a duo for two decades, Chromeo decided to go back to where it all started for them – working in a basement with minimal equipment.
“On this album, P and I we’re like, ‘Let’s take it back to the days of being your mom’s basement, let’s just do everything ourselves and go back to how we used to do it’,” Dave 1 told NME. “I was able to find my voice again but it’s different now because I’m more comfortable singing and I’ve had more experience. What came out of that were just these songs about relationship topics that people our age deal with.”
Dave 1 also described the album as their most lyrically focused work to date – dealing in monogamy, insomnia after a breakup, abstinence, codependency, and ambiguity between situationships and friendships. However, the subjects were approached in a typically lighthearted way, rather than wandering too far into darkness.
“I realised that if you can be sincere and funny, at the same time or sincere and cheeky at the same time, that’s really the challenge,” said Dave 1.
“Being funny for the sake of being funny and ironic? that’s corny. Being fake sincere or a tear-jerker, it’s like,’Yo, who are you bro?’ Like, look at the world we live in. The goal is to strike that balance. You always have that duality and I feel like we really cultivated that.”
Reflecting on the topic of their single ‘Personal Effects’, Dave went on to ask why had no one had sung about the experience of being in a relationship and having a significant other leave behind personal items as a way to keep them on one’s mind.
“It’s the most classic thing,” he said. “Like how many times this happened to you like, ‘You left your curling iron babe’. Everyone has gone through this and how come no one has sung about it? Also, classic Seinfeld episode where George leaves his wallet!”
“We were trying to tap into these internal things that just make us all smile and trying to put them into music.”
Within their previous albums, Chromeo flirted with indie, pop and a host of other genres – but this time they remained devoted love of funk.
“I always say that we are a midget standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said. “We admire our forefathers so much, whether it’s Hall and Oates, George Clinton, Bootsy and all those people. So the question is how can we bring our own twist?”
He continued: “I know I’m never going to be as good as Prince or Kool & The Gang. It’s just not happening. So I believe those lyrics, those subject matters and that sensibility, those are some of our little twists.”
Though the main focus of ‘Adult Contemporatry’ was to return to their funk roots, the album only features one collaboration with indie pop icon La Roux on ‘Replacements’.
Earlier this year, they brought her out during their Coachella set as a special guest to perform the track followed by a disco remix of her 2009 hit ‘Bulletproof’ – which was later released as the single ‘Discoproof‘ after fans reaction to the remix.
Speaking about the duo’s decision to bring her on the track, Dave said: “We missed her. We really just missed her voice and missed her vibe. We have known her forever and when we were working on that song, I could just hear her voice on top.”
He continued: “The track really felt like her vibe so I hit her up, We’ve always stayed in touch, and it ended up working out. I mean the whole world misses her. She’s like a national treasure in the UK.”
Reflecting on the era of ‘indie sleaze‘ and the recent nostalgia of everything that came out of the movement, Dave 1 admitted that missed artists like Lilly Allen, CSS, and Feist – sharing that though they have been working on other great things, there hasn’t been anything like them since.
“I miss that kind of sensibility that was indie but really cool and not trying to be crossover, but just like super universal anyway. It’s that little sweet spot,” he said, jokingly adding: “Maybe it’s because I’m old and I have nostalgia associated with that!”
Chromeo are currently on their ‘Funk Yourself’ tour across the US. When asked about the song they’re most excited to play for the crowd, Dave said: “‘Personal Effects’. Playing that song is crazy because people pay attention when it’s a new song. It’s our last song of the encore. When I sing it, people’s eyes light up and they really follow the story. It’s cute and sweet. It’s a fun show.”
The duo have also become quite the philanthropists, or “philanthro-funk lords” as Dave put it. They began raising money during the pandemic and have continued ever since. It began with their lockdown-inspired EP ‘Quarantine Casanova’ that raised over $150,000 in proceeds donated to Know Your Rights Camp for COVID relief in POC communities. In 2021, they raised over $50,000 for the Touring Professionals Alliance.
Limited edition merch initiatives are something that Chromeo have introduced with 100 per cent of the net proceeds being donated to Frontera Fund and Impact Lebanon. Their next initiative will be a limited edition merch piece to raise funds for the Morocco earthquake relief.
“We love giving back,” he added. “Honestly, when you’re 20 years in the game, it’s got to be about something else other than yourself.
“The other thing is like, yeah, we’re funny and we’re like cartoon characters, but we’re also normal human beings, contemporary adults who are aware of what’s going on in the world and want to help any way we can.”
‘Adult Contemporary’ is out on February 16, 2024. Check out the tracklist below and pre-order the LP here.
‘(I Don’t Need A) New Girl’
‘Got It Good’
‘Lost And Found’
‘Replacements (Featuring La Roux)’
‘She Knows It (Personal Effects Pt.2)’
‘Ballad Of The Insomniacs’
‘Words With You’
‘A Cut Above’
‘Two Of Us (Friendsnlovers Pt.2)’