Interview with Far*East Movement
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 16:10:06
Far East Movement Photos
Far East Movement Videos
If you open for Lady Gaga, even in Europe, you must have something going on. Far*East Movement –AKA FM- certainly have it going on, and yes, they were selected to open for Gaga overseas in April 2010. The band's vivacious brand of electro pop is infectious and will make even the stodgiest wallflower want to shake that thang. The band is currently openly for Kelis and Robyn on their summer tour; their album's guest list includes Snoop Dogg, Sean Kingston, OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Lil' John; and they happily and heartily pledge their allegiance to their home city of Los Angeles. Internet-created sensations are a dime a dozen, but Far East Movement climbed the ladder of musical success the old fashioned way. Their song, "Girls on the Dance Floor" was a #1 requested song in their home city before they even got signed. ARTISTdirect's Amy Sciarretto spoke to FM's Prohgress and Kev Nish about making music to jump on trampolines to, the importance of staying connected and eating tacos while sipping champagne.
Twitter bio time. 140 words or less: What do I need to know? Kev: Far*East Movement is where you are free to geek out. Stay connected, 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, downtown LA. We make music can jump on a trampoline to, on a rooftop to, or in downtown LA. You can listen to it while you eat tacos or sip champagne.
How do you keep your music on the "fun" and "street" level? Kev: It's how we grew up. A lot of our music and our name represents our lifestyle and our outlook on Los Angeles, which is going up and down in LA, whether it be our time off tour or what food we prefer.
And the food you prefer is… Kev: It has to be Tacos from El Torino, one of the low key spots we go to! The clubs. We grew up around DJs and the club scene, so that is a heavy influence on our music. The LA club scene vibe is within our music.
What do you think of people and pop culture watchers who say that LA has no real vibe, and that nobody from there, yet everyone lives there? Prohgress: I would say that there is a good amount of Angelinos who are born and raised like ourselves. It is a melting pot of different types, ethnicities and professions, like actors, lawyers, musicians, so I think it has a real creative energy. It's not like there are no roots here. It is a little different and you can feel it. It's not like people are up 26 hours a day hustling to get theirs in NYC, or uptempo like Chicago. Once you get your feet wet in LA, you will love it like we do.
Kev: We keep our outlet very international. Anywhere you go in LA is authentic to a culture, like Little Tokyo, and that is a huge thing and deal.
You toured overseas with Lady Gaga, only the biggest international pop star. Any Gaga-related stories or "moments" you'd like to share? Kev: We had a chance to chill with her backstage, and she gave us advice on our member, DJ Brass Monkey. He is a stand out member of the group, an incredible DJ. She gave him fashion advice. She said to put a knife through his head and put blood on his eyes, to give him "Monster Ball" flavor, so we did that. The tour was the most elaborate thing we have ever seen; being fans of music and going to shows at House of Blues or The Roxy, we never saw a stadium show like the one she puts together. As an artist, it inspires you to step up your game. Her show hash her singing all of two hours. When you sing out, full volume, for two hours? Wow. As a rapper, my voice would be shot, but she was doing it back-to-back nights, so she has had some serious vocal training.
Prohgress: She is a perfectionist, a great artist. She is an inspiration. She makes great music and it translates. Music is a universal language, and you feel that in Japan, where there are 10,000 people singing every single word of songs, like 'Dancing in the Dark' to 'Bad Romance' and all dressed up in her outfits. By the end of the show, which is two hours, they are all sweaty and they can't even speak English and answer you when you ask, 'Where is the bathroom?' but they know all of her lyrics.
Let's talk about dance music in 2010 – can you give a mini, state of the scene address? Kev: It's exciting, with things like the fusion that is going on right now. Before, it was just rap over dance beats, which would not get picked up. Now, major radio and MTV are giving it play with Kid Cudi, the [Black Eyed] Peas and everyone is breaking it in. It makes music exciting again. People for a while were saying music is boring. Now it has no boundaries. People are down to experiment and they are understanding our music -finally!- now. We always experimented and tried different things, like sampling Beck, who is an LA native, and we sampled his song "Girl." Being able to see music change that way… I never thought that dance music over electro beats and hip-hop lyrics would hit LA radio or any radio at that.
What was it like working with Snoop Dogg? Prohgress: We grew up listening to Snoop on Power 106, hearing him on the radio with 'Nothin' But a G Thang' or 'Gin and Juice.' We would think, 'If only we could get up there like Snoop Dogg!' Years later, to meet him and to be able to have that connection through management to talk to him, to send over tracks and for him to be on a track? That is crazy. And it's not like it is regular Snoop on the song. He is not dropping regular Snoop. He integrates himself into the song.
Kev: We are complete fans. You meet Snoop, you can't be an artist. It's Snoop Dogg, so you're like, 'Can I get a picture?' When that happened, we had the geekiest smiles on our faces.
You have a left-of-center guest list. You also have Ryan Tedder OneRepublic! Kev: He dug the track. The track is the next official single, 'Rocketeer.' We are fortunate that everyone at our label, from Jimmy Iovine to everyone in the office, is behind it and Ryan is the icing on the cake. I cannot wait to perform it with him. That was another fan moment. We are fans of Onerepublic, too.
You guys like being connected, 25/8/366. Talk about that "free-wired" lifestyle. Prohgress: We are inspired by the web, from listening to what's on people's MySpace players, sketches, etc. We stay connected to our people and we always respond back, so add us, check us out , and we blog every day. We have an Internet radio show, on Saturdays at 6 PM, at www.cherrytree records.com. We like be as free-wired as possible. That's the name of the album and it's our style.