We last spoke to Far East Movement (FM) in February 2009 after the release of Animal. Killahbeez caught up with FM on tour in Washington, DC before their performance to discuss their new album, Free Wired, which comes out on October 12th. Their latest single, “Like a G6”, has landed on iTunes number one spot. The track is currently on Billboard’s Hot 100 Charts at number two this week. I had the opportunity to catch up with FM as they were on the road to promote Free Wired last weekend.
Atek: How is life on the road for FM right now?
FM: It’s been incredible. The reaction has been different on every tour. When you see people at markets you’ve never been to before knowing all the lyrics to your songs, it trips you out. It’s been a blessing as well. We have been getting crazy news while being on the road for this tour like, “You guys just hit iTunes”, and we’re like “What?” We will be in random cities when news comes out, one city at a time. It’s been cool and very surreal at the same time.
Atek: Do you get the opportunity to explore different cities?
FM: Once in a while. We’re usually at a radio station, and then we’ll head to sound check and will return back to the hotel to change. We’re back at the venue later in the evening and finally at the airport. Every once in a while, we will get to take in a city on tour. It’s important to get in the culture of the city.
Atek: Congratulations on topping Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart for the number two spot! How does the group feel about being the first Asian American group to break this barrier?
FM: We’ve always made our music to cater to everyone, not just a specific race. We’re very proud to represent our ethnicity but we’re also LA kids as well. It’s been a very proud moment for us in terms of being artists. Cherrytree Records and our A&R Martin Kierszenbaum gave us an opportunity. He said, “I signed you guys because you guys have a party that I want to go to”. For us to hear that from a label where we never imagined being at provided confidence to us. We were able to wild out as ourself, so “Free Wired” is acting as ourselves.
Atek: Is this the story behind the Free Wired.
FM: Yes, it comes from us being able to geek out. The “wired” part is about staying active, staying interactive by living our lives online and letting our play list define us more than a specific genre.
Atek: You guys communicate with your fans online a lot, right?
FM: Yes. We try to as much as possible. It’s an important part of our lifestyle. It’s an important part of how we got started. Interacting with others to help get the word out to people online is what we owe it too. We’re very grateful for it.
Atek: How did you come up with the track, “Like a G6”? What’s the story behind the song?
FM: It was inspired by the first song that we wrote, “Girls on the Dance Floor”, which is produced by the Stereotypes. We wanted another song that had was similar to “Girls on the Dance Floor”. One of our friends who had a mutual relationship with the Cataracs and called us over to their studio. For two hours, we got a little slizzard and just wrote the song on the same evening. We didn’t think much of it and placed it on the Internet before going on tour. Three months later, we came back home and saw that it had a million hits on youtube. Virman suggest that it was a song that was going to move also. We gave it a shot and it’s been crazy from there. And lastly, G6 is not a Pontiac it’s a plane.
Atek: After the track was released, did you ever anticipate that it would go on to become a huge hit?
FM: No. When we were in the studio, we made the song based on a feeling and sound created with the Steroetypes about a party. We were literally like, “Let’s re-create that party in the studio”. On the artistic side, sometimes you just have to live in that moment to create the song and that’s how it came about.
Atek: What will be the next single?
FM: Our next single is “Rocketeer” with Ryan Tedder of One Republic.
Atek: What was it like being on tour with Lady Gaga in Japan?
FM: It was dope. It was our first trip out there. Seeing 15,000 people rocking out to a performance is a really cool thing. She’s re-invested all her money to her stage presence. You can really see it through her costume changes and stage set up. She took the time to meet us. She was very down to earth and humble as well. It was a cool thing and we learned a lot from it. We are blessed to have that opportunity.
Atek: Would you like to collaborate with Lady Gaga?
FM: Yes, we would love that!
Atek: Can you tell me about the two most significant moments for FM?
FM: The first time was hearing, “Girls on the Dance Floor” on the radio and the second significant moment was getting signed with Interscrope. It was like a dream come true going to the fifth floor and signing all the paperwork.
Atek: How has the group matured since starting out?
FM: Over the years, we have been able to try out a few different kicks and ties until we found one that fits. Everything before hand was more like trying on different outfits. And what we have right now, we have been given the opportunity to be ourselves. We feel freer than ever. I think our sound defines us a lot more than it did before in the past. And as well as being performers, we’ve learned a lot while being on the road with other artists (Lady Gage, Robyn, LMFAO and N.E.R.D). Every tour is adding a page to our lesson and history book in how to read a crowd, what to add to the set and what to gave the audience. We’re still learning though. Being “free wired” is constantly changing and taking in inspiration from around the world. We hope to continue that as we grow.
Atek: What’s next for FM?
FM: We’re jumping on tour with La Roux, who is also on Cherrytree Records. We will be involved with non-profit work, staying consistent with being “free wired”. Check out our website and follow us on Twitter for the latest news.
Atek: And a year from now?
FM: You will see us at another hotel lobby doing the same thing next year.
Atek: Fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to speak to me again. Let’s rock out next year!
Photos by Patrick Chuong