Dave 1 and P-Thugg of Chromeo are experiencing something right now that they haven't experienced much before: radio play. So far, they find it pretty darn gratifying.
The electro-funk duo out of Canada released its debut album, "She's in Control," in 2004, and became a critics' darling in 2007 with the release of its sophomore release, "Fancy Footwork."
Now Chromeo's new song "Jealous (I Ain't With It)" is gaining traction, and Dave 1, whose real name is David Macklovitch, couldn't be happier.
"I guess we knew this song was going to be one of the best ones from the earliest stages, but we kept chiseling it and fine-tuning it for a long time," he told CBS News. "And I guess what's 'historic' in our career is that it's the first of ours that's ever been played on the radio. And to me, what's a little subversive about the song is that it's written from a male persona that you don't hear on the radio much. You don't hear the neurotic, spiteful, castrated, goofy, powerless man on the radio that much. On the contrary you'll hear a Casanova, lady-killer...We wanted to turn that cliche on its head with 'Jealous.' And to make something charming and relatable and quirky."
That's the approach Dave 1 and P-Thugg (real name Patrick Gemayel) took with their new album, "White Women," released in May. It also helped that they dedicated a lot of time to the making of the set. P-Thugg moved to New York, while Dave, who's been pursuing graduate work at Columbia University, put all "academic activity" on hold.
"It was really a symbiotic writing process...We both spent the most time ever working on this album and we wrote everything together in New York over the course of a year and a half," said Dave 1.
"White Women" features Chromeo's signature funk sound, alongside guest appearances by Solange Knowles, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and recording artist/producer Toro y Moi. Dave 1 says the collaborations happened very organically and in the same room as Chromeo was recording its album.
"'Fancy Footwork' gives the feeling of two nerdy kids in a basement in Montreal doing this really quirky kind of music in a bubble," said Dave 1. "And on this album, we wanted to establish more of a cultural dialogue and hence the provocative album title and collaborations with different musicians that come from different spheres of the current cultural landscape... For people who have known us for a while as two oddballs from Canada doing funk music -- to see us integrate other people from your record collection into our universe, I think there's something satisfying about that."
Dave 1 says the album's title is named after the first book of photography by Hermit Newton. The cover art features both Dave 1 and P-Thugg arm-in-arm with a woman dressed in white dress and donning a bridal veil.
"He was always a big influence on our artwork...I felt like there was something really David Bowie about it, or very Brian Ferry Roxy Music...So we just decided to appropriate it," he said. "If you look at the cover the 'white woman' is a bride. She's not even white on the record...and there's this weird three-way marriage between P, myself and her... One interpretation of the album cover is the bride represents the band and he and I have been married to the band for 10 years now. And we've been friends for about 20 years. So in many ways it was almost a coronation of this partnership. It's a really healthy working relationship...In general, I tend to steer the ship in terms of creative direction and zany ideas...He's my sounding board...He may say, 'Dave this is not going to fly.'"
But this time around, Dave 1 not only consulted his longtime friend and musical partner, but he also consulted some trusted musicians friends and execs before the finished product surfaced.
"We would always work in a vacuum. We thought it would be interesting and stimulating if integrated more people's opinions," said Dave 1. But he says they didn't wrote music with radio in mind "for the simple fact that we've never gotten radio before. We wouldn't even know what to do."
"Jealous (I Ain't With It") has been going over well during Chromeo's live shows, too. Dave 1 says it's the biggest song in their sets.
"If you're in band and you're doing this four albums deep -- and you have a song on your fourth album that becomes the biggest song in your set that feels really really good," he said. "The curve for a lot of artists' careers now is to have a huge impact in the beginning and never really are able to reach after that...It's nice to have a kind of a rebirth."
Chromeo performed "Jealous (I Ain't With It") along with an hour-long DJ set during a free show at Boston's Seaport District last Thursday to help Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider kick off the start of summer with the world's largest ice luge. The track, named one of the best songs of the year so far by Time magazine, appears in a commercial for Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider as well.
"We've actually never gotten any kind of criticism for it from our fans because we make sure that they're always included in the process," Dave 1 said about having a Chromeo song appear in a brand commercial spot.
Chromeo better get used to hearing and perform "Jealous (I Ain't With It") because the summer is filled with concerts and festival stops, including visits to Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.
"Everything with us is so borderline," said Dave 1. "We relish in that liminal space between high-brow and low-brow, between sacred and profane, between nerdy and just decadent. We love that ambiguity and we cultivate it. Believe it or not, it actually takes a lot of work to exist in that space and thrive in it."