The Montreal duo Chromeo plans to show some creative growth on its upcoming third album, "Business Casual" -- flaunting not only its usual array of 70s and 80s R&B and funk sources but also what the group's Dave 1 calls "soft rock" influences, from Christopher Cross and Kenny Loggins to Toto, among others.
"People think that's cheesy and schmaltzy, but it's all relative," says Dave 1 (real name: David Macklovitch). "When we were first name-dropping Hall & Oates, people would laugh at us. They thought I was joking. Look now, and Hall & Oates is the most trendy band in the world. Five years from now Toto is going to be the most trendy band in the world. Those things go in cycles...We don't care about those trends. We just love the music itself."
And, Dave 1 adds, he and partner P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) are willing to embrace anything that they think will move their own music forward.
" 'She's In Control' and 'Fancy Footwork' are great. I love those records," he says. "But that was a long time ago. Now we want to try doing stuff with more interesting chord changes, some different kinds of arrangements and vocal harmonies. We're still learning our way around production, around songwriting. We have to keep it interesting for ourselves."
Dave 1 says the two songs released from "Business Casual" so far -- the "really aggressive" 2009 street track "Night By Night" and the new, "more sophisticated, sexy" "Don't Turn the Lights On" -- are "the two poles" that represent the album's range. The set, which the duo self-produced and recorded in Montreal and Brooklyn, also includes one track, "Don't Walk Away," that incorporates a string section, and a ballad called "J'ai claque la porte" that's sung in French.
"That's my favorite," Dave 1 notes. "It's got an acoustic guitar and stuff, definitely one of the prettiest songs I've ever written. My mom cries every time she hears it. It doesn't really fit the Chromeo style but (P-Thugg) was like, 'We have to put it on the album.'
Dave 1 says "Business Casual" is finished and set for its Sept. 14 release, but the duo is currently putting together an iTunes bonus track as well as a special version of "Hot Mess" that will feature La Roux and be available as a digital add-on.
Chromeo is also on the road through August, including Lollapalooza on Aug. 5 and the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival on Aug. 15. After the album's release, the group will tour the U.K. in November, Australia during December and January, then North America in early 2011 followed by a spring trek through Europe.