Ke$ha's sleaze to Kanye's groupies: Inside the wild, and tiring, life of LMFAO
LMFAO might own the term 'party rocking,' but when members Redfoo and SkyBlu arrive at a Toronto hotel for a round of press interviews, the dance-rap duo look like they need to get acquainted with the concept of 'disco napping.'
This summer, they are on tour with Ke$ha to support their second full-length, "Sorry For Party Rocking." The night before, they performed at the Molson Amphitheatre where they led a stage full of dancers through the MTV Video Music Award-nominated choreography for their breakthrough banger "Party Rock Anthem," a number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven straight weeks.
They are cordial, but clearly tired. Redfoo is at the dining room table, catatonically picking at a chicken salad and Skyblu is seated directly across, his face buried in a pillow. Their entourage is scattered around the hotel living room and balcony in varying states of consciousness.
So, what's it like touring with Ke$ha? "She's an upbeat fun person, if you will," Skyblu says wearily. "She actually is, uh, quite sleazy, contrary to popular belief."
"Well, it's not that contrary," Redfoo interrupts, fingering a piece of chicken. "I mean her tour is the 'Get Sleazy' tour."
Sleaze aside, LMFAO hope to emulate the "Tik Tok" singer's multiple chart successes and have even been exchanging emails with her producer, Dr. Luke, though they haven't firmed up plans to work together.
Not that they desperately need his hit-making abilities. After releasing their debut album in 2009, which spawned the Southern rap club hit "Shots" and the equally confrontational "I'm In Miami Bitch," Redfoo (a.k.a. Stefan Kendal Gordy) and Skyblu (a.k.a. Skylar Husten Gordy) claim to have figured out the formula for The Number One Hit Record.
"You gotta make your song for the globe and it's easy for us because the club kinda represents the global market," Redfoo explains. "If you make it just for the radio you might be making it just for that region. You go to New York and the radio is different. You go anywhere, the radio is different, but the club is the same. And that's the secret."
To wit: "Party Rock Anthem" debuted on New Year's Eve and shot to number one in Canada a week later. It's since topped charts in 17 more countries, including the United States. The music video for the song has clocked around 163 million YouTube views thanks in part to its "shufflin'" dance routine, a reinvention of '90s dance craze The Running Man.
Asked how many number ones "Sorry For Party Rocking" will score, Redfoo predicts six. "I mean, just 'cause MJ had five," he says.
That they were to temporarily stave off Katy Perry from tying Jackson's chart record of scoring five number ones from one album is obviously a source of pride for the duo. (She tied the record this week with her single "Last Friday Night [T.G.I.F.]"). The King of Pop was, after all, a member of their extended family. Redfoo is the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy and Skyblu is Gordy's grandson, making them uncle and nephew.
"We shuffled on past her," Skyblu says, dropping a pun on Perry. "We came through and had to do something. Adele was rolling in the deep for a minute, you know what I'm saying?"
LMFAO's rising profile recently caught the attention of Kanye West, who asked them to work on "Watch The Throne," his joint album with Jay-Z. The duo has production and mixing credits on "Lift Off," which features Beyoncé. So how did they end up in the studio with Yeezy?
"Kanye had heard 'Champagne Showers' in a club in Cannes," says Redfoo. "I was DJing and he just said, 'Man you gotta come check out my album. Come check it out! Work on it!' So he flew us to Paris and we worked on it and then we went to New York and worked on it. He had a lot of people working on this one song: Seal, I think Bruno Mars. A bunch of people."
"Seal?" Skyblu asks, momentarily raising his head from the pillow.
"Yeah," Redfoo replies.
"I mean, everybody worked on this stuff," he continues. "There was an ending that we had put on that they changed at the last minute. It was growing to a climax like 'dut dut dut dut dut' [bangs table] and everything came back together."
As he describes the sound, he fans his arms above his head and gazes fixedly at the ceiling. "But they turned the corner on the ending. They just went jazzy. Took out the beat. We were adding more beats, more things," he says. "Kanye is the master producer so he knew his fan base and he knew what he wanted to do."
The biggest things they absorbed from the experience were West's professionalism and his willingness to seek creative input from others.
"He had like five studios going, multiple people working on stuff," says Redfoo. "When he wants to let people hear it, he has a little party. Just like, you know, invite some girls over, party, play the music, see how they react, see what songs they like. That's the same thing we do too. He recorded his whole album in hotels. So it's like a party; they get you in there and order food."
LMFAO have separate recording studios blocks away from each other in Hollywood. Sometimes they work together, sometimes not. Do they ever worry their party jams will lack spontaneity if they rely on the Internet too much while recording?
"Sometimes, but then there's kinda cool principles you have," says Redfoo. "You'll be like, 'Hey dude, do your rap in the same melody; or, you always talk about what the song is about."
Take the "Sorry For Party Rocking" track "Take It To The Hole," for example. "Take It To The Hole has multiple meanings," says Redfoo. "I was talking about 'Take It To The Hole,' like, take it to the hole baby, to getting freaky with it."
Skyblu? "I was just rapping about basketball."