If you’re at home trying to burn the perfect party mix, don’t even bother. Go out and pick yourself up a copy of Far East Movement’s Free Wired. With ten in-your-face danceable party hits featuring a line up of heavy-hitters like One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, Snoop Dog and Keri Hilson, the boys of Far East Movement aren’t just making a splash in the music industry, they’re hitting the scene like a G6.
Kev Nish of Far East Movement took some time out of touring to speak with PopCounterCulture about the new album, exploding onto the music scene, and living the free wired life.
PopCounterCulture: Can you tell us about the sound of the new album and how it came together?
Kev Nish: We always say that no genre really define us. We went out and took our hip hop influences, alternative style hooks, dance-electronic sounds, and put it all together. We set out to make what we call a “free wired” sound and we really took that approach as far as song writing too. We were blessed to work with song writers from Bruno Mars to Fernando Garibay who worked with Lady Gaga. That was the process on making this full album, keeping it creative and outside the box.
PCC: How’s the tour going so far?
KN: The tour has been great. We actually just got off tour with Mike Posner that was non-stop fun. Through that tour we saw the single “Like a G6” rise in different markets and radio so every city got better and better as we progressed.
PCC: Have you adjusted to all the female attention from fans?
KN: Yeah, we have noticed that. The crowds have been crazier. They’re starting to ask for songs from the album that we haven’t really dropped yet. I’m really glad about the response we’ve been getting online. It’s been great. We’re definitely blessed and very grateful.
PCC: How does headlining your own shows feel compared to opening for huge acts like Lady Gaga?
KN: I gotta say we love opening because we’re like sponges. We like learning and we’re fans. When you get to open for someone you’re a fan of, the best thing is you get free backstage access and tickets to the show. When you headline, it’s just us. At [Lady] Gaga’s show, we were front and centre every time watching the show, backstage, geeking out, and really just soaking it all in.
PCC: Where did you guys come up with the word “Slizzard” from “Like a G6”?
KV: That’s actually not a word we invented. I gotta give respect to a lot of the southern rappers like Big Boi from Outkast. It’s in a lot of the southern tracks. We wanted it in the hook because that’s how we do when we’re in downtown LA, by the time you hit club number 4 and you’re stumbling out at 6AM – you’re a slizzard. When you need a wheel chair to get out of the club, that’s slizzard.
PCC: When recording Like a G6 you guys had to know it was a hot track, but did you guys expect it to explode like it did?
KN: No, we did not expect it to do anything. For fun, we went into the studio and we said we want to give you one night where, when we all go out and we’re popping bottles, listening to the DJ drop the hot hits, feeling fly – that’s exactly how we wanted people to feel . When we were in the studio making it, we had no idea that it would even chart let alone get radio play. The DJs and the music listeners are the ones really dictating, and it’s a really great feeling to know that music can still be worked that way.
PCC: How did you guys get so many big names like Keri Hilson and Snoop Dog to appear on the album?
KN: We were writing the song “Rocketeer” and we were like wow, ‘we need an alternative style hook’ and we were a huge fan of One Republic. Let’s see if Ryan Tedder would be down to do it. We’ve been rejected a few times as well, but Ryan Tedder heard the song right away and said he wanted to be on this. That was with Snoop Dog too. Growing up on the west coast, we wanted to show classic west coast meeting new school west coast.
PCC: What do you think it is about Free Wired that is captivating everyone around the world including other artists like 50 Cent?
KN: We used to intern at Interscope and literally can remember getting lunch for 50 Cent and G-Unit. The fact that 50 actually went in and laid a track, it boggles our mind. We’re just fans. I can’t tell you because I don’t know what it is. We don’t want to wake up. We’re in a free wired dream right now.
PCC: How much do you attribute fashion and music-making style to growing up in that LA environment?
KN: Oh I’d say 120% or 130%. LA raised us from the fashion, being in downtown LA, the fashion district, to Melrose and all the designers and up-and-coming designers, to the multicultural aspect of it. You got three city blocks where you can get twenty different cultures, all authentic, and it keeps our perspective open to experimentation.
PCC: How much love are you getting, particularly from the Asian community for representing a minority group in mainstream hip hop?
KN: We’ve noticed it on Twitter and Facebook and we appreciate that they’re proud of it, but at the end of the day, we grew up as LA kids, grew up as struggling artists and as creative kids just trying to follow the dream. Race never really played a part in what we’re doing and still doesn’t, but we are definitely proud that people are embracing it.
PCC: How does it feel to so easily share your lives with fans online?
KN: We love it. That’s a part of being free wired, you know. We never had any other outlets besides the Internet. When you’re an Internet artist, an up-and-coming artist, you don’t have access to radio right away so we embraced the Internet.
PCC: What does a day in the life of someone who is “free wired” look like?
KN: A day in our lives for instance, we wake up, make sure that we got the right tie, right shades, right chicks. We’re making sure everything is clean. If you’re wearing it from the night before, make sure you got that Febreze on. For us, we’ll hit a taco spot for lunch, go out, download music all day, video blog, food blog, movie blog. At night, go have some drinks and then after that hit maybe an electro club, maybe a hip hop club at 12. At 1AM a top 40 club and then we’ll stumble out of the club at 4AM and maybe hit up another taco stand or a hot dog stand. Keep it multicultural, keep it open, and keep it fun.
Catch Far East Movement on tour at a city near you and pick up the album Free Wired, in stores now!