By Jada Wong
More than 400 fans jumped out of their seats and rushed to the front of the stage in Goldstein Auditorium inside the Schine Student Center on April 24, cheering and pumping their fists in anticipation.
The four compatriots of the popular Asian-American group, Far*East Movement, or FM, didn’t disappoint the crowd, DJ Virman scratched on the 1’s and 2’s as Kev Nish, Prohgress, and J-Splif walked robotically into the spotlight in their signature LED-lit helmets, shiny bombers and skinny trousers. As soon as the four were center stage, the music suddenly came alive, and screaming fans bounced up and down in excitement, beads of sweat soon dotting their foreheads.
The next thirty minutes sped by, packed with catchy beats, fresh style and high energy, as FM rocked the crowd with their popular hits, including “Like a G6,” “Girls on the Dance Floor,” “Dance like Michael Jackson,” “Fetish,” and “Go Ape.”
“It’s awesome performing here,” said Kev Nish, as he sat inside the Jabberwocky Café after the group’s energetic performance. “Syracuse, you guys know how to party. We were excited to get out here; you guys have a lot of cool energy.”
Kev Nish, Prohgress and J-Splif were high school buddies in their hometown of Los Angeles before realizing their shared passion for music in early 2000. Inspired by the lifestyle, fashion, and clubs in downtown L.A, they rapped in parking lots before they bought computers and started recording songs, Prohgress said.
Since then, their single “Girls on the Dance Floor” has become a dance party staple, playing in clubs worldwide and on radio stations. The hit also reached #1 on the radio in Los Angeles. Their music has been featured in blockbuster movies such as “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” and in popular television shows such as MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew,” FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” and ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights.” And, a big boast for the future of the band, they recently signed with Cherrytree Records, a subsidiary of Interscope Records, which represents artists such Feist, La Roux, Sting, LMFAO and Lady Gaga.
“For us to be on the same label as Lady Gaga, we look up to her and she’s inspiring,” said Kev Nish. “She is so passionate and artistic.”
FM’s biggest claim to fame to date was their recent stint in April as the opening act on Lady Gaga’s “The Monster Ball Tour” four tour dates in Japan. Since then, the band has played non-stop from East Coast to West Coast, racking up an incredible amount of frequent flier miles. They flew straight from Japan to Syracuse to perform, then went back to Los Angeles for one night before hopping on a flight to perform at The Bamboozle music festival in New Jersey alongside Weezer and Drake.
“We’ve done so many crappy shows where you get three or four people,” said Prohgress, dressed in an untucked white button down and silver skinny tie, “so you get blessed to do a show halfway across the nation in front of an awesome crowd.”
FM admits that because they’re always booked for performances, they end up missing shows they want to see. They were busy performing in Japan and missed Jay-Z and Beyonce’s rendition of “Young Forever” at this year’s annual Coachella music festival in California.
The four say they love performing for a crowd, but sometimes their performances don’t go exactly as planned, and they haven’t always had the best of luck: Kev Nish has been electrocuted on stage twice, and J-Splif tripped and fell on stage in a packed outdoor venue in Houston, Texas
“There was a bunch of monitors in the front of the stage and I was thinking to myself, ‘I better not trip on this,’” said J-Splif. “I take a step back and, sometimes when you’re about to fall, you try to save yourself, but it was too late. I fell right on my ass. And it hurt, like a Charlie horse! So I’m trying to limp and act cool but the entire time, I’m thinking, ‘Oh damn, did I just fall?”
Another major stage mishap occurred when Prohgress unsuccessfully attempted to stage-dive.
“It was me and Blue from LMFAO – if you’re going to pick one person to keep up with, it’s going to be Blue,” Prohgress joked. “And I’ve only done two jumps into my stage diving career. So Blue jumped and I decided to jump in the same place he did. And there was no one there.”
Despite the number one hits, the performances opening for Lady Gaga, and the stage jokes, DJ Virman insisted the group hasn’t let the experiences change who they really are
“We’re all regular people,” said DJ Virman. “I feel like we’re still the same. We’ve never felt like we’re famous and we don’t look at ourselves differently. We’re all just one big family just hanging out.”