“We’re definitely not a band that’s shy. We love to hear ourselves talk. We want to be seen as much as possible. We want to be so big that we can’t even walk down the street.” Mark the words of Redfoo, the programming brain behind electro-hip hop duo LMFAO, who, along with his cohort (and nephew) Sky Blu, have already initiated a full-scale assault on the clubs. In the last year alone, three self-produced and self-distributed LMFAO tracks — “I’m In Miami Bitch,” “Lil’ Hipster Girl” and “Yes” — have become as ubiquitous on the dance floor as any hit by the likes of Rihanna or T.I., while remixes of Fergie’s “Clumsy,” Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and Katy Perry’s “Hot ‘N’ Cold,” have lent instant credibility to two guys who’ve turned clowning around into an art form and a business.
It’s all part of an elaborate plan for world domination. No, really. For Foo and Sky, as they refer to each other, what started as a natural collaboration (uncle and nephew, who happen to be close in age, tinkering with drum machines and recording software) with a mix tape thrown in as an afterthought, has evolved into a multi-platform musical movement. With one key mission: live tonight like there’s no tomorrow.
Foo and Sky call it Party Rock, and it’s the name of their debut album, label (via the will.i.am Music Group and Interscope Records), clothing line and general outlook on any given day. “It’s always better to have a party in your life,” explains Foo. “Fun and laughter, the girls, dancing, celebrating… We want to feel the same way walking down the sidewalk as we do on stage.” Which explains an awful lot about their street attire. The guys, who are devout PETA members, favor pimp jackets, oversized glasses (minus the actual glass), faux fur embellishments and the occasional leopard spandex skin tight pants (girls sizes only). If it’s not vintage, then it’s their own Party Rock brand, which Foo and Sky wear exclusively. And their stylish strut seems to be working. “We get way more women now,” says Sky.
Like many rock stars-in-the-making, girls are a recurring theme in LMFAO’s music. From the sun and booze-fueled party anthem, “I’m In Miami Bitch,” to the hilariously scene-y “Lil’ Hipster Girl,” to “I Am Not A Whore,” in which Foo flips your typical song-and-dance mating ritual around with a stroke of reverse psychology genius. “We’ll often write songs based off of simple catch phrases that we’ll hear or say,” he explains. “‘I Am Not A Whore’ started as an experiment to talk to more girls. Because in the club, when the music’s loud, girls come up to us all the time saying, ‘I love your glasses’ or, ‘I love your hair,’ or sometimes they’ll walk by and grab us on the ass. But once we’d say ‘Thank you’ or whatever, the transaction was over! I thought, there’s got to be a way to keep talking and create an interest. We were missing out on all these girls! So I’d say, ‘Just because you’re giving me compliments, doesn’t mean I’ll sleep with you. I am not a whore.’ Amazingly, it worked!” Sky poo poo’d the idea originally, but even he couldn’t deny the volume of cell numbers Foo was collecting. It inspired the line: “I’m a human, not a sandwich.”
It’s high jinx like these that serve as fuel for LMFAO’s non-stop party — one that essentially kicked off at the 2007 Winter Music Conference in Miami. It was there that a mixtape containing “I’m In Miami Bitch” first caught the attention of DJs, club goers and music business executives, expanding LMFAO’s reach far beyond their native Los Angeles. Within a year, a tireless internet initiative, which included daily YouTube updates, a steady flow of comedic skits and bits as well as self-produced music videos, launched them into the homes of millions, and in the process, caught the eyes (and ears) of Interscope Records. “Forget about shopping around, we didn’t send one press shot or one bio,” says Foo, still somewhat bewildered. “They had no idea what they were signing. What they knew was that they were hearing us on the radio and in the club, where at one point, we had a set of three or four songs in rotation.”
Upping the ante, Foo and Sky next took on Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” giving it a dance-ready beat as part of its LMFAO treatment. “Within five hours, it was all over the world,” boasts Sky of the blogosphere buzz. Adds Foo: “We saw a void. Kanye put out a record that sounded like a demo, couldn’t really be played in the clubs, but had a great melody. So when we see a void, we’re gonna create and fill it, if we can. That’s how we’re surviving, by watching the trends.”
To that end, LMFAO is as much a brand as it is a band whose goal is instant recognition. “We feel like there’s so much room for invention,” says Foo. “With the internet, the mobile movement, software and music, it’s like the gold rush right now. Eighteen months ago, there was no band, T-shirts or song. But with research and the spirit of entrepreneurship, we basically invented money out of nowhere. I don’t look at it as making product and selling it. Everything you see is an idea and a concept.” And they’re just getting started. The guys also have plans for their own web TV show, a phone app and a movie, which Foo describes as Purple Rain meets Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Spinal Tap and Spaceballs. Sounds just about right.
But first, there’s the music, which stands firm as their No. 1 priority. “It’s like a fleet,” says Foo. “You can only move as fast as your slowest ship, so we have to drag our acting, our comedy and our clothing with us. We don’t want to get too far ahead.”
Looking just over the horizon, the path is promising, to say the least. The guys have already been recruited by Lady GaGa and Chris Cornell for single remixes, and are fielding requests from a host of major artists in the pop and hip hop worlds. And with their full-length debut scheduled for release this spring, expect the buzz to hit a feverish pitch in the coming months. “Party Rock is the kind of record a band would make on their third album,” Foo deadpans. “It’s gonna be our Thriller — it’s meant to take you away, to escape to this world of fun, dance, sex, craziness, do-what-you-want attitude. It’s our lives.”
Now let’s party like it’s 2009!