LONDON (AFP) — Hip-hop is unlikely to conjure up images of Jewish academics and Arab accountants, but the unusual alliance of Canadian duo Chromeo continues to defy convention while revealing the genre’s universal appeal.

Dave 1 and P-Thugg bonded as adolescents over their love of rap music and now perform their hook-laden, melodic hip-hop to enthusiastic dance-floors worldwide.

However, the talents of the self-styled “only successful Jew/Arab partnership in history” are not limited to synthesisers and turntables.

Dave 1, also known as David Macklovitch, is studying for a PhD in French literature, while P-Thugg, real name Partick Gemayel, is a fully qualified accountant.

Dave 1 explained the band’s background to AFP ahead of their sold-out London show. “P-Thugg’s Lebanese and my mum’s Jewish but we never thought about it because we went to a very cosmopolitan high school where everybody was from somewhere exotic. It’s never been a problem, why would it be?”

The multi-instrumentalists incorporate a wide variety of influences into their music but draw mainly on their encyclopaedic knowledge of hip-hop: “When I was in high school it was the mid-90s and that was the best era for hip-hop, people say it’s the late 80s but they’re stupid,” explains Dave 1.

“What we’re trying to do as Chromeo is a homage of that stuff. We’re hip-hop producers, if you like something you just sample it.

“We’ll have a little nod to Phil Collins over there if we want, most people do it anyway but don’t admit it. If it’s good it’s going to be commercial and successful, I don’t have a problem with that. If I did I wouldn’t make this kind of music,” he added.

Dave 1’s younger brother, A-Trak, was the world’s youngest ever DMC world DJ champion and is now Kanye West’s tour DJ. West, along with other hip-hop artists, has received criticism for his “bling” lifestyle and excessive vanity.

“If I was a rapper I would have a chain that’s four feet tall with diamonds, I like the people who look like entertainers. Look at Keith Richards, he looks like an alien and that’s why he’s so great,” said Dave 1.

Despite the pair’s obvious love of making music, they remain realistic about the unpredictable nature of the industry.

“It’s great that people like the music that I write in five minutes but it’s so fickle, it’s so trend related and the business is always corrupt so I wouldn’t rely on that.

“It was always important for us to be well rounded as individuals and do other things,” said Dave 1.

Chromeo are currently touring their second album, “Fancy Footwork,” and are set to play the Lollapalooza and Leeds and Reading festivals this summer after recently stealing the show at California’s Coachella festival.

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