Joseph Llanes for AOL
FEM blew through AOL Music's Los Angeles studio to perform a high-energy set including tracks from Dirty Bass and a tribute to one of their music inspirations, the Beastie Boys. After their performance, the laid-back band who ooze a chill California vibe, took a breather to answer questions about their slick style, craziest tour moments, seeing the "normal" side of Lady Gaga and pondered why Jay-Z hasn't been returning their calls.
Check out the band's exclusive performance here and sit in on our conversation below.
Can you talk a little bit about why you chose to title your new album Dirty Bass?
Kev Nish: Well, with Dirty Bass we wanted to take the reference of classic late 80's, early 90's L.A.-based, 808 music, that booty shaking music; and really take that era of music and match that up with Dutch house, pop, dance music of today and blend those two together, so that's that dirty and that bass. You know, some of the classic bass records from Rodney O & Joe Cooley to "Paul Revere" and the simple flow from the Beastie Boys, then you've got Run DMC, LL Cool J and it's just got a style and swag to it. There's the gold chains, the boom boxes, the sub woofers in the trunk, cars that go "boom," just that whole vibe, and really bring that world to life and that lifestyle to life with this album, Dirty Bass.
As a group, what has been the hardest obstacle you've had to overcome on your road to fame?
Prohgress: DJ Virman.
Kev Nish: I was going to say you. I was going to say Prohgress. That Mohawk is hard to get over. It's like a mountain. We still don't feel like we're anywhere near what you would call fame or anything like that. We were always like this do-it-yourself crew, like down the street just passing out CD's with our email address on it; got the AOL address on it with your phone number. Dude, it was like, "Yo, yo here, check out our CD,' we'd just bum rush people. They were like, "What do you want, what do you want?" "No, just listen to our music," and that was just a constant grind and we still live by that mentality. We recorded some of this album in bathrooms of Holiday Inns on the road and we're a do-it-yourself crew. It's a never-ending, always evolving grind that we still don't feel like we've reached where we want to be yet.
Now that you've toured all over the globe, what has been your craziest, "I can't believe that just happened" moment?
Kev Nish: Sidney Samson from Amsterdam said Prohgress might have had the longest crowd surf in Amsterdam history.
Prohgress: They might as well have called the Coast Guard there. We were out there for the Cherry Tree Tour with LMFAO and I like to partake in a little bit of crowd surfing every once in a while and there was like 10,000 people there. I jumped out and I was literally out there for like 15-20 minutes. They took me all the way to the back and all the way to the front again. It took so long that they just kept going with the show and started rapping my verses for me.
Kev Nish: Yeah, we just started the song, I wasn't going to wait. They were calling the Coast Guard.
Prohgress: Back stroke, breaststroke, butterfly.
Kev Nish: Like we need to drop a ladder.
J-Splif: You need to hit that to the sun like S.O.S!
Prohgress: That's what it's there for, functionality.
Kev Nish: That was a wild moment. I never thought that anyone would want to hold you that long.
Prohgress: Right? And I came back with no socks. How'd that happen?
Kev Nish: But even getting signed, when we first got signed to Cherry Tree, that was a dream come true because we used to intern at Interscope. We wanted to learn the music business, learn the game and we'd be like making copies and seeing Will.I.Am and all these artists coming through thinking, "Damn, one day it'd be dope to be an artist here." It was crazy, the day we walked in the halls as an artist and seeing our own posters on the walls, like we remember we were the ones that had to put up the posters and stuff so it's truly a trip and we still ain't woken up.
- Movie Stars With Secret Musical Pasts
- Steven Seagal, 'Songs From the Crystal Cave'
- Clint Eastwood, 'Rawhide's Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites'
- Robert Downey, Jr., 'The Futurist'
- John Travolta, 'Let Her In'
- Alyssa Milano, 'Look in My Heart'
- Leonard Nimoy, 'Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space'
- Ryan Gosling, 'Dead Man's Bones'
- Peter Gallagher, '7 Days in Memphis'
- Brian Austin Green, 'One Stop Carnival'
- Craziest Backstage Demands
- Jennifer Lopez
- Kanye West
- Mary J. Blige
- Katy Perry
- Mariah Carey
- Celebrity Makeup Makeovers
- Kelly Osbourne
- Christina Aguilera
- Nicki Minaj
- Taylor Momsen
- Lily Allen
You've worked with a wide range of artists already from Snoop Dogg to Justin Bieber -- is there one artist that you're dying to work with that you just haven't been able to lock down yet?
Kev Nish: Damn, well you know Jay-Z hasn't been returning my calls.
Prohgress: Yeah, what's up with that Jay?
J-Splif: We tried to hit up Hologram Tupac, but we heard from Ron Burgundy that he got shot.
Prohgress: Ron Burgundy, breaking news.
J-Splif: Missed him twice.
Kev Nish: It's a cold world, man, cold world. But, you know, actually a group that we do a tribute for in our show, that were a big influence on us, is the Beastie Boys. RIP to MCA, but to be able to collab with them officially; we sampled their song "So What You Want," and it was an honor that they cleared it and let us do that, but to actually do a legit song with them -- and Linkin Park! We sat behind Linkin Park at the Billboard Awards, which was cool because it was like, "That's Mike Shinoda and everyone!" That would be tight because they're the kings of that mash up, that hip-hop/rock fusion.
Prohgress: Plus they could probably patch-in your phone calls to Jay, right?
Kev Nish: Oh yeah, they did work with Jay.
Prohgress: Strategic moves.
Lady Gaga has a very outlandish and stylized image; was there anything that you found surprisingly normal about her when you were on that tour?
Kev Nish: When we toured with her she had a recording studio built under the crazy
stage where she can work on her album and we just had pizza and beer. It was like, "Hey, you guys can come to my recording studio and drink a beer and eat some pizza."
Prohgress: My kind of girl.
Kev Nish: Yeah, and just talk music. Like, oh yeah what DJ's you messing with, what producers you messing with? Like real casual, real cool.
Clearly you guys are a very stylish group on your own, but what's one trend you rocked in the past that makes you cringe to think about now?
Kev Nish: That's a tough one because we're always fresh.
J-Splif: I'm always on point.
Kev Nish: I don't know. Well, I mean there was a time when J did the bell bottoms in the 90's and it was like, "Yo, you're either too early or you're too late, homie!"
Prohgress: Virman was trying to bring back Kris Kross because he wore his pants backwards, but it was just because he wore his pants backwards.
Dj Virman: Hey, that was a cool look. Oh, it was backwards? Damn!