By Andrea Domanick
Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo are bringing their bonafide lovin’ to the Strip on Friday as they kick off a monthly DJ residency at Pure in Caesars Palace.
Members Dave 1 and P-Thugg formed the group as a hip-hop project while attending high school in Montreal, but the influence of favorites like Rick James and Parliament couldn’t be avoided; since then, they’ve been making crowds the world over get down to sleek, sexy tunes like “Bonafide Lovin’” and “Night By Night.”
I spoke with keyboard/synth-master P-Thugg from Chromeo’s studio in New York about what’s in store for Friday’s gig (hint: not EDM), and why they just can’t shake the funk.
Andrea Domanick: Chromeo usually performs as a live act. Why do a DJ residency in Las Vegas?
P-Thugg: We DJ'd a pool party [at the Palms last May] and really liked it -- it was a good party vibe, and people were up for anything, so we decided to look into doing a residency. We’ve only played Vegas live once, at the House of Blues, so we thought doing more DJ gigs would be a good way to introduce people to what we’re like. What we’d really like to do is start playing more live shows in Vegas. We have lots of fans on both coasts and have toured it all, but we’ve never come through Vegas a lot, and we’d like to change that.
A.D.: What can fans expect from the residency? Do you feel like you need to cater more to the EDM scene that’s so popular here?
P-Thugg: No, EDM is really not our type of music. We’re not against it; it's just not us. We’re not going to be creating stuff live and making music in the way that those big DJs on the Strip do. We’re just musician bozos playing records, and we want to get people to dance. As DJs, of course we try to cater to the crowd we’re playing for, but we’re pretty eclectic. We’ll play stuff like Duck Sauce, Fool’s Gold, our own songs and then some old classics like Chaka Khan and New Edition.
A.D.: How much experience do you have DJ'ing? How does it compare to playing live?
P-Thugg: Playing live, people know what to expect from us in terms of it being songs they know from our records. But a DJ set for us is hard because we’re not really DJs in the traditional sense. But it’s a fun challenge, and we want to learn. It is a bit less stressful in some ways than playing a live show because there’s less technical stuff involved, but it’s hard on your brain because you’re constantly watching the crowd and worrying about whether or not they’re gonna dance to the songs you pick.
A.D.: Your last album, "Business Casual," was kind of a stylistic departure for Chromeo. It was sleeker than your past records. What’s next for you musically?
P-Thugg: Right now we’re working on a new album. We just started, so we’re still setting things up in the studio. I can’t wait ’til we start working every day, writing and recording for 10 hours a day, and then begin the song selection process. I listen to a lot of vinyl, it’s a great way to find unexpected kinds of music, so a lot of times that will end up influencing a record. I think for this album we’re going to try to have more instrumentation, more strings and horns and things like that. We want to push it every time we make an album, but ultimately we’re still going to have the same sound. We can’t change that -- the funk is our blood, so it’s always gonna be funky. We’re just starting to polish it more.
A.D.: What do you guys like to do in Vegas when you’re not behind the decks?
P-Thugg: Go to the movies? That’s really all we do in Vegas. Everything is all in one place in your hotel, so it’s sort of hard to know what else is going on outside of it. I’d like to check out Old Vegas, or maybe find a place to buy vinyl. I gamble sometimes. I won 900 bucks last time in roulette. They just kept bringing over those White Russians.