Yes, it’s true – we hung out backstage for a bit with the Far East Movement boys on Saturday when they were in Kuala Lumpur for the Watsons Music Festival 2012. For those of you who were there (and got champagne showered by Prohgress and J-Spliff), you’d know that they put on a damn good show!
But that’s on stage front. Now, let’s find out what went on behind-the-scenes before their gig:
Hi guys! Welcome back to Malaysia. How’s Kuala Lumpur treating you so far?
Kev Nish: “Yeah! Our second time in Kuala Lumpur. It’s warmer than we thought. I mean, we walked out of the plane with winter jackets – we should’ve checked online before we came here. Haha!”
What were you most looking forward to when you heard that you were going to come back?
Kev Nish: “The crowd. The last time we were here, the party was incredible and the energy level was like..you guys know how to party! You guys party right and we love going to a place where we’ve partied before because we’d know what to expect. And people love dance music here.”
So let’s take it from the top – Far East Movement formed in 2003. What was the “Eureka moment” that you had, to say..okay we’re gonna do music.
Kev Nish: “Ah. It was probably..a few years after we started that we realized that. It was probably the Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift soundtrack. We couldn’t believe that something we made at our home got on something that was internationally recognized. So that really inspired us like, hey, maybe this could be a serious thing. Ever since then we just didn’t stop – we kept dreaming, non-stop grinding, and obsessing until we got here.”
What do you think was the biggest challenge that you faced?
J-Spliff: “Not to be whack!”
Kev Nish: “Staying afloat. Because you have to invest your whole life, your every single moment where you don’t get to see your family. You barely have enough time to stay awake in your job or at school. You end up leaving school, your bosses end up firing you, and you’re like..how am I going to live? Like, oh man we gotta figure this out. And it’s in those moments that you kinda look at each other going, yo, can we survive? Can we make this happen? But you know, you plan and you keep having faith and working hard, and it’ll get there. That was definitely the biggest challenge – getting through those times when you’re really almost obliterated off the face of this Earth.”
In Asia, y’all look like one of us. But in the US, Asian-Americans are still a minority. Has breaking into the music industry the way you did worked in your favour or do you deal with discrimination?
Kev Nish: “You know, at this moment I feel like the United States has diversified a lot. I think the Internet and the online culture have encouraged people to watch videos and interact with other people. People are more open-minded than ever. When we first started, I mean, I admit there were certain times where people would go, oh my gosh we heard your record and we thought it was done by a white guy or a black guy. You know, stuff like that. And then there were other people who knew that we were Asian and they weren’t really fazed by it. I don’t know, it’s so multicultural now that people really aren’t affected by anything anymore.”
We heard your album, “Dirty Bass”. It’s awesome! What is Far East Movement’s songwriting process like, since there’s so many of you?
Kev Nish: “Thank you! Songwriting process..it’s like we’re in school – we throw out ideas on a big board. We’ll literally just throw out ideas all day. Sometimes, we’ll listen to a track for three days straight just to get the right hook. We always start with the hook first then we’ll start applying the beats a little more. It could take a few hours to a few days – it all depends on the song. It’s really a collaborative effort between us.”
You’ve worked with Snoop, you’ve worked with Justin Bieber, and you’ve worked with LMFAO. What other surprises can we expect from Far East Movement in the near future?
Kev Nish: “Well, we’re experimenting with sounds. We’ve been really experimenting with this electro trap music so we’ll be releasing a few new songs like that. And really, ‘Turn Up The Love’ is our main focus in the US right now because we’ve spent so much time touring overseas that we feel like we’ve neglected home for awhile. We really want to bring that momentum back to the US.”
Out of curiosity, which one amongst you has the most fans?
J-Spliff and Prohgress: “(points at Kev Nish)”
Kev Nish: “DJ Virman!”
Kev Nish: “Girls love DJs! They always go to him!”
Haha. And what was the craziest fan moment that you’ve ever had?
Kev Nish: “I know Prohgress has got a story.”
Prohgress: “Haha. I don’t know if we ever really get crazy fans moments like, we don’t have people stalking us or doing crazy things like pictures of our faces cut out and pasted on wedding photos or anything like that. One time though, I went crowd surfing in Amsterdam like, 10,000 people and I went all the way to the back. But it went on for so long – a song and a half. So the guys had to perform with me because I couldn’t make it back in time. That was crazy but it’s always good to have that kind of energy.”
So no fans stalking you at your hotels and stuff..
J-Spliff: “No. We get a lot of baked goods though. They like to feed us! We’ve gotten cakes that look like us and stuff. Oh and by the way, I wear a ten-and-a-half, Kev’s a nine-and-a-half, Proh’s a nine-and-a-half, and Virman’s a size nine..”
Kev Nish: “I wear a small.”
J-Spliff: “Kev’s a small, he wears a size 30 waist – you know, just saying! Just in case you guys wanna switch it up a little, you know what I mean? We love clothes, so..”
Haha! Okay. Last question – when are you guys bringing ISA (International Secret Agents) to Kuala Lumpur?
Prohgress and J-Spliff: “Nice!”
Kev Nish: “Yay! (fist bumps)”
Because, you know, we had Wong Fu Productions down, and Ryan Higa too..
Kev Nish: “Well, we’ve been working with Wong Fu Productions and if you noticed, we’ve really upped the web content on ISA. We wanted to spend a lot more time this year on defining what that ISA lifestyle is through media so expect a lot more new ISA TV shows. The next step for ISA is gonna be..in 2013, we’re gonna be working on a main festival for ISA. We wanna make a festival in LA that’s just the hub for ISA and the Asian-American identity. We need the invitation to bring ISA to Kuala Lumpur – we really need the invitation because we would love to come out here and show you guys what ISA is all about.”
Kev Nish: “No, really. We’re so happy that you know what the ISA is all about. That means a lot to us, you know?”
Well now, no prizes for guessing why we’re missing Far East Movement already. Thanks for speaking to us, Kev, Proh, and J-Spliff. And thanks for turnin’ up the love at Watsons Music Festival 2012. Don’t be away for too long now – come back soon!
With the ISA crew, of course.
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Special thanks to our friends from Universal Music Malaysia arranging the meet.
For more information, hit up Far East Movement’s official website or stalk ’em via their Twitter account. Also, their latest album, “Dirty Bass” is now available in a music store near you. You could also purchase it off iTunes here. Go on, show ’em some love – heck, turn up the love!