Far East Movement is on the move. Still riding high on the success of Free Wired, its debut album that brought the airwave-flooding hits "Like A G6" and "Rocketeer," the Los Angeles electro-hop quartet is wasting no time cranking out its follow-up--and this time they're doing LA-style dirty bass.
"Growing up, everyone had a Ford Escort or a Honda Civic with a banging system," says Kev Nish by phone. "We're taking that culture to the dance floor."
For its sophomore album with CherryTree/Interscope Records, expected out in early 2012, FM is working with producers David Guetta, the Stereotypes, Bangladesh, Cherry Cherry Boom Boom, among others. Tracks include "Jello," featuring 20-year-old hip-hop prodigy Rye Rye, which Nish hopes to tease out in November.
In the meantime, the group is finishing off its run on the Lil Wayne tour, and gearing up for this Saturday's International Secret Agents show in Long Beach, an annual all-day festival that features Sean Kingston, B.O.B., singer Cathy Nguyen, comedian Kevin Wu, and YouTube star Ryan Higa.
FM is hosting a meet-and-greet TODAY (!!) from 5-6 p.m. at BevMo in Long Beach, 6521 East Pacific Coast Highway. They'll be raffling off sold-out VIP ISA tickets.
Far East Movement performs at International Secret Agents at Harry Bridges Memorial Park, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, Sat., 1 p.m. (showtime is 3-9 p.m.). $50. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the youth educational nonprofit 4C the Power.
OC Weekly: Tell us about your new ride.
Kev Nish: It's a 1989 Cadillac limo. We're decking it out with an Alpine sound system with 12-inch subwoofers, and testing all our music in it. If it sounds right in the car, it'll sound right on the album.
It's gonna be the car that represents FM. Batman has the Batmobile, Redbull has the Redbull cars. Far East Movement needed a mobile. If we ever get invited to the Grammys, this is what we'll roll up in.
FM has always had a very hands-on, DIY mentality--you used to practice by downloading beats off of Napster and rapping into a computer microphone. Has that remained now that you're with CherryTree/Interscope?
Yeah, we're still able do it ourselves. They let us do what we what, but they nurture us as artists as we grow. It's a collaborative process. We can't take 100 percent of the credit, and they can't either. That's what makes a great marriage.
ISA San Francisco was last weekend. How was that?
Amazing. There was so much energy. On stage, we yelled, "Are my International Secret Agents in the house?" and I've never heard a room of 2,000 get so loud. I was just watching the video on YouTube, and I got chills.
What inspired ISA?
The idea was that there's this new generation of Internet-savvy youth. They YouTube, they blog, they download music. They're globally minded--a young Caucasian in Oklahoma can watch a Korean pop star online. As globally-minded artists, we wanted to cater to them.
You help lead workshops for the nonprofit 4C the Power. Why is that important to you?
We teach kids how to write a song, something that requires teamwork, building off ideas, inspiring creativity. It's so cool when we later hear that they're doing better in school, and their energy is better. We started doing these workshops in 2008, before we were signed, and we'll always make time for them. It's a whole different energy than being on stage, but it's the same thrill.
How do you stay fresh?
We go to clubs to mine for new music. What's the deejay playing? What makes us feel a certain way? We're always experimenting, mashing up rock, pop and hip-hop--whatever sounds good to us. In order to keep going, we have to keep pushing and asking, how can we take this party to the next level?
We often write lyrics on napkins or on our blackberries in the heat of the moment. We never overthink it. We're not poets or scholars--we're just making music from the heart.