OK, Chromeo's not from Portland. The Montreal/New York duo's hardly "local" (though, there's a few imitators running around town). So, maybe my little electronic music column's breaking the rules this week. Sorry.
The duo of Dave 1 and Pee Thugg just put out their second album (not including a 12" dancefloor banger), another magnificently vocoder-heavy over-the-top homage to 70's and 80s' pop-soul. It's so explosively ironic, the term itself crumbles. If you need a visual reference for that, I attached a YouTube of their "Needy Girl" video after the interview. Straight white suits, gold fronts and trippy disco effects. Love it.
On Wednesday I talked to Dave 1 while the duo passed through Montana (specifically: "Between the patch of red grass and the green tree. Next to the cow, the black one") en route to Cascadia. We talked about going bananas, sing-a-longs and whether or not Portland thinks they're gay. Enjoy.
TL: Have you played Portland before?
Dave 1: Yeah, we played in Portland at the very very very beginning of our journey as Chromeo. We did a show in like 2004. We played Berbatis Pan.
Did the city leave any impression on you?
It was cool. It was the beginning our thing, so it was a really small show. It was a fun show. I remember the poster they made for us was very homoerotic. I think they thought we were a gay band.
In Portland on Saturday, you're playing a historically gay party night...
A gay party night?
No disrespect, but are there going to be non-gay people there, or is it like a serious gay thing?
There'll be non-gay people there….
Maybe Portland is just the city where people think we're gay. I dunno. Maybe that's the thing in Portland.
[we later clarified that Juicy is not officially a gay party night, but the crowd tends to run that way]
That's weird. It's like they don't listen to the songs. [songs which are all about girls] Yeah, I guess. But, you know what, we don't have anything against anybody…except Republicans.
What's your ideal show then?
I don't really care what the crowd is, or where it is or what club it's at, as long as the crowd gets really into it. You know? As long as there's a really high participation level, and they like the songs and it sounded good. I don't care where it is. It's just more the vibe of that night.
Have you ever had a show where the crowd's like "give me a fuckin' break?"
Sure, Yeah. We've had tons of lousy shows, man. It's been a really uphill climb for us. You know, one of the early tours we did in the UK was opening for Bloc Party when their first album came out. Their first headline tour. A lot of their fans back then, they didn't understand why we were opening for them.
Yeah, there's a big difference there…serious and political then…
Funny and gay. Just kidding.
It worked in certain places and some places it didn't. Even like a couple weeks ago we did a show in Belgium and it wasn't super-duper.
It wasn't bananas. We like it to be bananas.
What's bananas look like?
A lot of sing-a-longs, a lot of jumping up and down, a lot of laughing, and a lot of dancing. Crowd surfing.
Crowd surfing? No shit? Where?
New York and Montreal.
Do you find people just know the words to the songs?
Yeah, we're a sing-a-long band. More of a sing-a-long band than a dance band. There's bands that make people dance more than us, but we like the sing-a-long.
"Needy Girl" by Chromeo
Chromeo plays with Flosstradamus and DJ Beyonda Saturday, July 21 at Rotture. 9 pm. $10. 21+.