Chromeo band members David Macklovitch left and

first_img Chromeo band members David Macklovitch, left, and Patrick Gemayel pose for a photograph in Toronto on Friday, May 2, 2014. Five albums into Chromeo’s legacy and the funk-flexing duo from Montreal are rethinking how they use female imagery. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette TORONTO – Five albums into Chromeo’s career and the funk-flexing duo from Montreal are rethinking how they use female imagery.Over the past decade, the retro-flavoured act crafted a tongue-in-cheek style and corny image that often featured a pair of anonymous, slinky legs in high heels — a trademark that appears on album covers, single artwork and in concerts.Long limbs are seen leaning against a photocopier on the cover of their 2010 album “Business Casual,” and poking out of the side of a limousine on the single for “Sexy Socialite” a few years later.But Chromeo’s main vocalist Dave Macklovitch says he and his stage partner Patrick Gemayel decided to change things up with the new album “Head Over Heels,” released earlier this month. So they each donned a pair of pumps and dressed in skirts for the cover.“I don’t want to use fragmented women’s body parts in our imagery any more,” Macklovitch explained.“It was cool when we did it, I was proud of it. But I think now, I like the way our fans get a kick of seeing (Patrick) and I like this. I also like the message it sends — it gives us a slight sense of responsibility.”The decision also comes after Chromeo was forced to defend their 2014 album “White Women,” a title inspired by a 1976 book by German fashion photographer Helmut Newton. The duo considered the album provocative, others labelled it another effort to objectify women — something they’ve both steadfastly denied.None of this means Chromeo is tossing aside the legs forever, though. Macklovitch says they will continue to perch their keyboards atop a pair of plastic female legs at their concerts, hoping the audience reconsiders the context now that they’ve also seen them dressed in heels.Chromeo swings through Toronto (July 3 and 4), Quebec (July 5), Ottawa (July 7) and Montreal (Aug. 3) on a number of festival dates. The duo will play concerts in later this summer in Calgary (Sept. 3), Edmonton (Sept. 4) and Vancouver (Sept. 7).Macklovitch spoke with The Canadian Press about his changing perspectives and plans for a Chromeo album with a neo-soul twist.CP: Why did you decide to make the change now?Macklovitch: We’ve wanted to do that for a long time. When I look at some of our older imagery it’s cool if you look at it from the lens of like 1970s erotic photography, old school calendars and (stuff) like that, but not everyone has this context in mind when they see those images. I can see how those images could also send a message that’s not the message I want to send out. This album cover was a way to make a clean slate and reset the paradigm on the symbolism of our legs. And now when we have the legs keyboard stands on stage and we’re behind them, it’s our legs, it’s not somebody else’s, it’s ours. It’s a way of reclaiming something.CP: Chromeo has always played around with double entendres and subtext, but it seems like you’re being more cautious with thematic elements now. Do you see it that way? Have you consciously rethought your messaging?Macklovitch: You know, honestly, I have, but I think now everybody is so sensitive and so paranoid that it gets lost in half the reviews I read. On the new (song “Juice”) I say, “Relationships ain’t a democracy, I’m good if you just stay on top of me.” That’s basically saying I’ve got zero power — you have everything, you control everything. And people are still like, “Well I don’t know.” There’s such a neuroses around those topics nowadays and I think everybody gets paranoid about it.CP: Are you saying that people are bringing their own perspective to a track like “Juice,” where the genders aren’t defined in the lyrics?Macklovitch: We’re always going to sing about relationships that aren’t heteronormative relationships. I hate when people say that (Gemayel) and I are like cis males — first of all, they don’t know what we are. You don’t know. Secondly, anything we talk about can apply to any relationship dynamic. Chromeo’s music exists in kind of this liminal, ambiguous space and I want to keep it that way.CP: “Head Over Heels” includes a number of collaborations with music industry powerhouses, including chart artists like French Montana and producer The-Dream, who co-wrote Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Why did you decide to double down on big names?Macklovitch: Honestly, it’s what felt right to us on a fifth album. We had done so much music, I don’t want to say in a vacuum, but in a fairly autonomous and isolated way. For this album we wanted almost a polyphonic version of Chromeo to present. We had a lot of co-producers and co-writers on this album. This is not anything that was forced by any industry thing, it’s really what we felt experimenting with. Conceptually the songs are tighter, they’re also more in your face. This album to me is like bold-faced Chromeo.CP: Does that mean we can expect other funk projects from Chromeo in the future or is something different on the horizon?Macklovitch: This album already contains the seeds of where we’re going to go next. The last thing we did on the album was the interlude “Right Back Home to You,” and that’s kind of a more soulful thing. I’m itching to make almost like a neo-soul album… something soulful, almost like the early Maxwell albums. Not even neo-soul — acid jazz, like Brand New Heavies, like early Jamiroquai.— This interview has been edited and condensed.Follow @dfriend on Twitter. Q&A: Montreal duo Chromeo wants to hit ‘reset’ on female imagery in their musiclast_img

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