If Far East Movement doesn’t sound familiar, the group’s ubiquitous hit “Like a G6 should, considering the single was the greatest Airplay Gainer on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last week, pushing the song up to No. 2 in the country. Add in the fact that it moved 216,000 digital copies to outsell Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” to become the No. 1 digital song and it’s apparent the energetic foursome—Kev Nish, Prohgress, J-Splif, and DJ Virman—have crafted an unshakable sound. It’s the kind of music that encompasses everything, even the genres that never get play on those trusty iPods.
Rap-Up.com caught up with the group, also known as FM, as they prepare for the release of their fifth album, Free Wired, in stores now. Check out what Kev Nish and Prohgress reveal about collaborating with Snoop Dogg, the advice bestowed upon them by Lady Gaga, and what it truly means to “geek out.”
1. How have you been celebrating the success of “Like a G6?
Kev Nish: We haven’t really had a chance to celebrate since we’ve been on tour. I noticed when we perform it in these different cities it’s crazy. We’ll start off our shows saying, “Who’s feeling fly like a G6?” You just hear the crowd go, “Ohh, yeah!” They know it and when the song comes on we’ve definitely seen a reaction. It’s kind of surreal to us.
2. You guys use the phrase “geek out” a lot. What does that mean?
Kev Nish: It’s the way we talk, a lot of it came from how we are when we’re out in L.A., whether it be around people we’re collaborating with like Snoop Dogg. We use it as a word to just kind of be yourself. It’s our way of saying wil’ out in a sense.
3. Speaking of Snoop, what was it like working with him on the track “If I Was You (OMG)”?
Kev Nish: We actually met him on set for his music video “I Wanna Rock.” He invited us out to do a cameo, so we came and that’s when we first met. That’s the definition of geeking out, ’cause you’re supposed to be meeting him as an artist, but you can’t because we grew up listening to him, and we’ve been fans from day one. When we met him, we were kind of figuring out when was the best time to get a picture. To have him on a song of ours—it’s a dance song, fast tempo, and he’s actually singing on it like “Sensual Seduction”—it’s a real honor.
4. How was it opening for Lady Gaga on her “Monster Ball” tour?
Prohgress: It was amazing! We actually went to Japan with her for about four or five days. Just to see 15,000, 20,000 people in the arena, jumping up and down, and singing every word to her songs for two hours, and afterwards [fans] try to talk to her and you can’t really talk back, you really see how music is the universal language. We’d watch the stage show, which was amazing in itself—she’d have all these different costume changes. She had a Transformer dress that would have moving parts to it and all the production was so amazing and so intricate.
5. Did she give you any advice?
Kev Nish: Just to be ourselves. She invited us into her recording studio backstage, and she was saying that she keeps her ears to the club, to all the DJs and the producers, just always keep your ears to the streets. Other than that, we definitely apply that on a daily basis—we hit the blogs heavy, we’re always in the club seeing how people react, what the DJs are playing.
6. So would you consider yourselves party animals?
Kev Nish: [Laughs] A little bit!
Prohgress: We also go to the clubs for “research.” The thing is, we have a lot of friends who are DJs. So if we’re not on the dance floor with the girls, then we’re at the turntables with the DJs. We figure DJs are kind of like scientists—the way they mix up their songs and use mash-ups, rock for one second, then dance for another, then hip-hop. This is all inspiration for us. We love watching the way a DJ can move a crowd.
7. How did you get Keri Hilson on “Don’t Look Now”?
Kev Nish: The song was inspired by trance stuff, ’cause we like to hit up all different scenes of music, and the way trance and rave music affects the crowd is crazy. Our goal was to make a love song inspired by those elements. When we got in the studio with The Stereotypes to make the song, Keri Hilson was definitely the first person on pretty much everyone in the studio’s list. Luckily with Cherrytree, Interscope threw out the request, and Keri heard the song and loved it.
8. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Kev Nish: It’s gotta be food. We’re some foodies.
Kev Nish: We got to the point where we do this food blog on our website. Every city we go, it’s our goal to find what’s the most authentic food in that city. L.A. you get a good dose of everything. But for instance, in Salt Lake City you got fry sauce. In Philly, of course, you gotta get the cheesesteak. We tried Geno’s and Pat’s and shot a video on that and it actually made it on Zagat.com, and that’s like the food review mecca. We really tripped out to see one of our food reviews and videos make it on that blog. It was an honor.
9. What’s it like being the first Asian-American group to break onto the mainstream pop charts?
Kev Nish: We always look at it like, we just grew up as L.A. kids first. We’re American first and foremost, we were all born and raised here, so for us it kind of means more. We love to represent our community and we’re proud of that, but it means more to us as guys that started out with a dream as L.A. kids making music—to struggle through these years, to follow our dreams and do everything we could to get a song on the radio, to go from doing shows in front of five people with a bunch of other acts to shows with Lady Gaga. We never really had hardships or anything like that because of our race. We’re just straight up musicians.
10. How are you adapting to the rock star lifestyle?
Prohgress: Sometimes we hit up three to four clubs a night, party with the homies, and have a good time, but sometimes you gotta wake up at 7-8 a.m. and do an interview or walk into a meeting somewhere. You gotta make sure you look fresh at all times. That’s why we wear the ties and the sunglasses, to cover up the bags under our eyes ’cause we haven’t slept in three or four days!