I was sitting in my mother’s basement, wrapped in a towel and recovering from my wicked hangover, the kind that can only happen when you see an old friend from high school for your once-a-year reunion.
Luckily, my interview with Dave 1 of Chromeo was over the phone. And, unlike me – he was wearing clothes. Jeans and a flannel shirt to be exact, because it’s “chilly in Chicago.” He said this from his hotel room in the windy city, where our lines connected and where this interview would both live and die somewhere between the wires.
For the record, phone interviews suck.
- You can’t see the person so it’s difficult to read and react based on the subtleties of their idiosyncrasies.
- You basically have to stick to the script because banter on the phone is reserved for best friends.
- You never know who is in the room making them dance on little strings; a PR person standing in the corner giving them the nod or the shake.
It all feels very plastic, very surface, very detached. And I suppose I’m frustrated because I know that things could have been so much better than they turned out.
Chromeo (one part Dave 1 and the other P-Thugg) are performing in Vancouver on Saturday, October 25 and feel particularly connected to the city, as it is one of the markets they have played the most.
He told me this at the end of the interview; when I squeezed in the final question “do you have a message for any of your Vancouver fans?”
“When we were just coming up, playing here was one of the first shows where we felt we killed it,” said Dave 1.
He wants Vancouver fans to know about that connection.
So I cradled the phone, I jotted my notes and I began the clock for our time slot.
N: What does it mean to stay true to the sound of Chromeo?
D: We’ve always had this funky ’80s influence sound, and we just try to refine it. We are affiliated with a lot of electronic festivals and I think that comes from our sound being remix friendly, but we do our own thing.
N: What has been one of the best moments of your career so far?
D: We just did a big LA show, with 5,000 tickets sold. It was a career highlight for sure, but it’s always an amazing moment when you know your hard work has paid off. Instead of thinking ‘holy shit this is my life’ I would rather spend an hour or two answering fan tweets to express my gratitude.
N: Speaking of tweets, someone wanted me to ask you if you ever get jealous?
D: I think everyone has had that in a relationship. Looking at other artists though, I’m never jealous because I’m able to be a fan. If I look at someone like Dave Hines playing guitar I just think ‘dude you’re killing it.’” Professional jealousy is dark, relationship jealousy is cute.
It was coming down to crunch time, so I decided to play a quick game of “Would You Rather.”
Yes, that is correct. I decided to spend the remainder of my allotted time playing games, and please allow me to explain.
Sometimes the strangest questions, if strategically put, can merit the best reaction; an unexpected story, a laugh, a connection, and Lord knows I was searching for SOMETHING at this point.
Fabricated answers are tough to detect over the phone, so I hit the red button, I left the box and I figured, “try to have your people predict THIS.” A-ha!
Yet, sometimes it can backfire, they are stiff, they don’t feel taken seriously, they don’t want to play games, they don’t want to party like monkeys in a rolling barrel, they just want to pace their hotel room in Chicago, answer your silly questions and move on with their lives. Nothing lost, and certainly nothing gained.
N: We are going to play a quick game of “Would you Rather!” Doesn’t that sound fun? SO…would you rather fight off 1,000 tiny horses or one giant duck?
D: The duck for sure, I would run and duck. The horses would remind me of ants or cockroaches.
N: Would you rather lose your sight or your voice?
D: Well, right now I’m earning my living with my voice so I would rather keep that.
N: Would you rather die by fire or by drowning?
D: That’s too dark, I don’t want to think about that.
N: I asked because I read in a previous interview that your tour bus actually caught on fire once and if it wasn’t for someone having a craving for donuts it may have gone unnoticed. That’s pretty scary…
D: Yeah, I wasn’t in the bus at the time.
N: Oh, okay.
N: Would you rather lose one leg or both arms?
D: One leg.
N: Well….I guess that’s all the time we have. Good chatting with you. Have a great show in Vancouver on Saturday.
Blah, blah, blah.
Oh man, I thought. That was a close call. I almost lost complete consciousness. Maybe he was high, maybe I was hung-over, or maybe the distance between Chicago and Canada was a little too far apart, like diverging icebergs. I could certainly feel the chill.
Enjoy the show, Vancouver, and for the record, death by drowning would be worse, Dave 1.