Montreal-based funk duo Chromeo is looking ahead to what's next. We spoke with David "Dave 1" Macklovitch and Patrick "P-Thugg" Gemayel about how their artistry has adapted over 15 years, and their mission to foster the next generation of funk talent.

This interview was conducted on May 26, 2019 by Tori Bedford for WGBH, at the Boston Calling Music Festival.

So tell me a little bit about what you've been working on what's new with you guys.

David "Dave 1" Macklovitch: Our album came out last year... So we've been touring a whole lot and then working on new music and new Chromeo tunes. We put together this live band show that we're touring with this summer — it's the first time ever in our career that we play with a live band and it's going to be turned into a live album that comes out at the end of this year.

This year also marks the 15th anniversary of our first album. So we're trying to do a really nice deluxe reissue at the end of the year. And we are starting our own label.

And you're starting your own label. How did that happen?

Macklovitch: We wanted to produce other artists and get involved with releasing music by other artists. We have a studio in Los Angeles that's a big facility, filled with vintage equipment and stuff... We don't have to use it ourselves the whole time. We want it to become a hub for creatives that we admire.

We've been in the game for 15 years so we feel like it's time for us to foster a new generation of talent or many new generations of talent. Actually — old generations too because we want to find old-school funk idols of ours and produce new stuff for them too. At some point in your musical career it's not just about yourself — you have to start giving. And that's where we feel we're at right now.

How does it feel to be finally able to be giving back?

Patrick "P-Thugg" Gemayel: It feels amazing. With what we've built in the past 15 years ending with this studio... which is now the Chromeo headquarters — now we have so many resources to make things happen.

Are you feeling a kind of burden or a sense of duty about having a platform now and having the ability to uplift other artists?

Macklovitch: We want to and it's inspiring for us. If you know our music, I'm sure you could hear in the last few years that the sound that we've been crafting for a long time, you can hear it in other people's music as well. And why not? Why shouldn't we also give it ourselves to other artists? BTS, the K-pop band, asked us for beats last week and we sent them tracks. We're in a place where the Chromeo universe can expand a little bit because we've built so much with these five albums.

Gemayel: It's also always been about more than just music. It's been aesthetic, and the way we look, the way we talk about everything, the way we live it every day — it's always gone further than just music. It just felt more and more natural.

What do you mean by that? It goes outside of music, but in what way?

Gemayel: We're involved in all aspects of what we do, whether it's tour financials or record covers, photo shoots, or videos. We have input in everything and everything. We touch everything that is Chromeo.

Macklovitch: Chromeo is almost like a creative agency. That's why the label is so important for us, because we want to put out other records and use what we've learned both on the business side and on the musical craftsmanship side to serve other artists.

What's the label going to be called?

Macklovitch: Juliette.

I read recently that you guys are giving up some of your image— you had a lot of imagery of women's legs as a big part of it. You talked about how you're involved in every decision, and now it feels like you have a bigger responsibility. It sounds like you're having a bit of a reckoning with your relationship to imagery around women. Is that fair?

Macklovitch: Yeah. Things evolve — nothing exists in a vacuum. Even though we're a retro 80s-influenced band, you have to be sensitive to the climate. I even have lyrics on the previous album White Women that I wouldn't write nowadays. I just feel like our collective consciousness evolves and it influences us to make certain decisions... and with the legs thing, we ran with it for ten years.

But on the last album, we kind closed the cycle by revealing our own legs and kind of subverting that whole thing. We might still use it, but we don't feel like it needs to be our main artistic crutch. It's not a reckoning that's filled with shame and regret. It's more just like — there are other creative possibilities. Does that make sense?

Yeah, it's interesting because I think we live in an age where a lot of people are afraid to change or are afraid to accept that maybe things they said before they wouldn't say now.

Gemayel: It's not changing — it's adapting. We're never going to change our DNA — we will always be funk and humor. We just adapt our DNA to whatever's happening — evolution. Simple.

Who are you listening to you right now?

Gemayel: Right now I'm just old school. It's cool stuff — Zapp. Parliament. Rick James. I'm going back to the essentials.

Macklovitch: I already know the whole Flying Lotus album by heart. It came out on Friday. I know the whole Steve Lacy record by heart... So it's kind of a dichotomy between me and P [Gemayel], because P is like the archivist between the two of us and I'm sort of like the tentacles that go out into the world, and that's how we complement each other.

You talked about helping new artists and giving a platform to new artists. Do you have advice for people who are maybe starting out or are at a stage where you were once?

Macklovitch: The music business has changed so much — last year when we put out our album it was nuts out there... The advice is to find your own lane and your own specific vibe and develop it to the fullest. That's what we did — once we crafted our identity we went full on with it and we didn't care if people thought it was corny or tongue-in-cheek. We did it so much that after awhile people couldn't do anything but accept it at the least, and in the best case scenario, respect it.

Gemayel: Exactly.

Thank you guys.

(Transcribed and condensed for clarity by Meghan Smith)