Try to convince Kev Nish of Far East Movement that the group has finally hit the mainstream.
As of Sept. 28, their song “Like a G6” featuring The Cataracs and Dev stood at No. 1 on the iTunes chart and No. 16 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
“We can’t believe it,” Nish said. “It’s mind-boggling to us every day.”
The Los Angeles group consists of members Nish, Prohgress, J-Splif and DJ Virman, with the latter joining in 2008. The original three attended the same high school and began making music in 2003.
“We would chill in the parking lot, in a homie’s attic in Downtown LA and our home computer, plug it into the wall with not much light, record songs and that turned into putting them online for fun,” Nish said. “We’d do any show we could, meet up with DJ Virman and from there everything came together.”
Their musical influences includ a bit of everything- from pop to reggae. Check Nish’s iPod and one would find the Beastie Boys, B.o.B. and Outkast.
Far East Movement take pride in dabbling among difference genres such as pop, hip-hop, dance and electro.
“These days, people are fusing music. You hear it with B.o.B and the alternative hooks on hip-hop beats,” Nish said. “That’s kind of where music is going. People are taking all of their musical tastes and putting them all into one song. We’re across the board.”
Earlier this year, Far East Movement, also known as FM for short, got together with The Cataracs to write their hit single “Like a G6” after partying for three hours and getting wasted at a club.
“It was inspired by our song ‘Girls on the Dancefloor’ that got things popping for us,” he said. “So we asked ourselves, ‘What would be the next ‘Girls on the Dancefloor?’”
This April, FM toured Japan with Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball Tour. Both are signed to Cherrytree Records, which falls under Interscope Records.
“Gaga is so artistic and her work ethic is incredible. You learn so much from watching how hard she works,” Nish said. “Her innovativeness, her show, it’s inspiring. She took us to a level that we needed.”
As worldly travelers, they have visited four of the seven continents. The guys are no strangers to the road.
Nish’s favorite country has been Brazil because of the food, beauty and music. When the group first arrived in South America, its members expected a low turnout since people didn’t know the music.
Instead, more than 1,500 people showed up.
And from each stop along the way, the quartet’s sound evolves with the help of the country’s flavor.
“You pick up new music. It adds value to our perspective and we’re able to apply that to our lyrics and marketing,” Nish said. “It’s a very international world and you really want to add that perspective into pushing music and videos and everything.”
Check out any of their music videos and two of Nish’s tour essentials come into play: a collection of ties and at least four sunglasses. FM manages to stay fly in skinny ties and blazers.
Another essential while hitting the road? Vitamins.
“The road will get you, so you have to stay healthy,” said Nish, who was losing his voice at the time of the interview.
With such a busy schedule- the group is currently touring with Mike Posner (“Cooler Than Me”) on the “Up in the Air Tour”- things continue to heat up.
On “Free Wired,” their first album under Cherrytree that drops Oct. 12, featured artists include Snoop Dogg, Keri Hilson, Pitbull, Sean Kingston, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Lil Jon.
Bruno Mars, who is blowing up the charts with his song “Just the Way You Are,” co-wrote “Girls on the Dancefloor” as well as four other songs on the album.
“I don’t think we’ve reached mainstream yet. For wherever we are right now, a lot of it has to do with our network of people and those working on our music online, on Facebook, Twitter, blogs,” Nish said. “It came before we got songs on the radio. We’re just constantly humbled and inspired by the people around us. One day whenever we’re mainstream and you ask us that question, we’ll have a different answer.”
Until then, Nish and the guys of Far East Movement will relive the thrill of hearing their song on the radio for the first time after years of playing clubs in Downtown LA.
“Our first reaction was like we won a championship and we wanted to go to Disneyland,” Nish said. “It was one of those moments where like all the years growing up, doing music for fun, doing it because you love it, you never figured you’d get a song on the radio, especially in your hometown. It’s surreal every time. We’re grateful, and it inspired us to keep working and there’s a future in doing what we love.”