Whatever Happened to Far East Movement?
Whatever happened to Far East Movement?
Far East Movement exploded onto the scene in 2010 with the release of their high-flying debut single "Like a G6."
For anyone who had recently turned 21 (or had an excellent fake ID) at the time, the anthem's rubbery beats and icy vocals likely evoke hazy memories of dancing in the club and tossing back shots in an attempt to get "slizzard." A collaboration with The Cataras and DEV, "Like a G6" soundtracked countless nights out and defined a time when pop was carefree and rowdy.
Watch Far East Movement's "Like a G6" Music Video:
The quartet — originally comprised of Kev Nish, Prohgress, DJ Virman and J-Splif — rode the wave of their breakout success all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
In the process, Billboard reports that Far East Movement knocked fellow newcomer Bruno Mars from the pinnacle position. Not only that, but they were the first Asian-American band to cinch a No. 1 on the Hot 100.
Twelve years after hitting the scene hard, and we're all familiar with the trajectory of Bruno Mars' career. What about the club kings who managed to dethrone him on the chart?
Where are Far East Movement today? Read on to find out.
Chart success came early in their career
Following "Like a G6," Kev Nish, Prohgress, DJ Virman and J-Splif returned to the Top 10 alongside Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic with their follow-up single "Rocketeer." The track peaked at No. 7, according to Billboard.
Free Wired, their major label debut album, featured additional collaborations with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Keri Hilson and Mohombi. Their instant success netted the EDM hit-makers a spot on tours with Rihanna and LMFAO.
Just like that, they became a household name.
Two years later Far East Movement just missed out on the Top 20 with the release of their Justin Bieber-assisted single "Live My Life." The track introduced their sophomore album Dirty Bass, on which the quartet told Billboard they dove further into "booty-poppin' music."
Dirty Bass featured an even more diverse slew of collaborators and pushed the group's sound in different directions.
The title track, a collab with Tyga, lives up to its name with a bone-rattling baseline. Meanwhile, the Cassie-assisted "Fly With U" is built around a dazzling synths and racing beats.
Unfortunately, despite covering a lot of ground sonically, the record failed to produce another hit on the charts.
Watch Far East Movement & Justin Bieber's "Live My Life" Music Video:
Far East Movement were independent by 2016
A steady stream of singles and collaborations flowed from Far East Movement between 2012 and 2016.
By 2016, the quartet had become a trio after J-Splif exited stage right. In an interview with LA Weekly, Kev Nish explained that their partner had to leave the group due to "family stuff."
There were also struggles with their label, who reportedly wanted another smash in the style of "Like a G6."
"We heard the same things from executives — it’s too Asian, too hard to market, everyone [featured] on the songs connects more than you guys,” he explained. Instead of falling in line, they decided to go their own way.
In the process of going independent, Far East Movement took time to rediscover themselves and dove deeper into their identities.
“We pride ourselves on being American as a mofo. We drink beers, grew up in L.A. and party, but it felt like something wasn’t connecting,” Nish told the publication. “We always assumed that we were no different than, say, Mike Posner, but we started realizing that it wasn’t true anymore.”
Nish said that the bandmates spent some time in Asia interacting with local artists. Their goal was pretty simple: to "learn about who we were as people."
Watch Far East Movement & Marshmello's "Freal Luv" Music Video:
Far East Movement's most recent album dropped in 2016
Clearly, the process worked in their favor. Far East Movement's third album Identity arrived via their own label Transparent Agency in 2016.
The LP was every bit as collaborative as their earlier material and had even more of a global feel. The track list featured a slew of Korean artists alongside American performers.
"Freal Luv" features super-producer Marshmello and Tinashe alongside South Korean star Chanyeol. The dance track has no shortage of crossover appeal and should have easily netted the group a hit.
Meanwhile, Far East Movement tapped Girls' Generation member Tiffany Young and King Chain for the ephemeral club cut "Don't Speak." Macy Gray co-signed the group with an appearance on "Forever Survivor."
LA Weekly notes that the album hit the top spot on the iTunes dance chart at the time, proving that Far East Movement was still very much on the cutting edge.
Although Identity failed to garner a chart hit stateside, the group remained a global success. According to Young Post, they were named the Top International Group of 2017 by Billboard Radio China.
Far East Movement, Tiffany Young and King Chain's "Don't Speak" Music Video
There were plans for a fourth album
Far East Movement told Young Post that they planned on releasing a follow-up to Identity in 2018. They intended to create a record that was every bit as much of a mash-up of different cultures as their last.
This time around they wanted to work with Chinese artists. In a conversation with Billboard, the group described the album as being "half-Chinese, half English" and added that it would bridge "East and West."
While the album didn't materialize (yet), the trio continued to release new music. On Spotify, a steady stream of singles surfaced through 2020, including "We Are The Truth."
And while this one may not be readily available on their Spotify page, in 2021 Far East Movement teamed up with Tia Ray to record a song called "Free Smiles." The track landed on the soundtrack for Netflix's Wish Dragon.
Listen to Far East Movement & Tia Ray's "Free Smiles":
The club kings are businessmen, too
Far East Movement may not have released their fourth album just yet, but it's not because they've been lazy.
By early 2018, the hit-makers had several artists signed to their record label, Transparent Agency. Billboard notes that they also had a second label they developed with Trap City.
Somewhere along the line, Transparent Agency transformed into Transparent Arts. The brand's Instagram account bills the company as a label that also provides management and distribution services. According to its website, Transparent Arts "takes the best of American and Asian entertainment business and applies it to our global platform."
Tiffany Young, Dumbfounded and Yultron are just a few of the talents on its roster.
A celebration of culture
In 2018, Far East Movement teamed up with Wong Fu Productions to host Identity LA, a festival that took place during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, according to Medium. The festival included appearances from the likes of Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda and Jay Park.
Kev Nish, Prohgress and DJ Virman continued to sponsor similar events in recent years. They co-hosted Identity: Project Blue Marble in 2020. Nish told Variety that one of the goals of the event was to uplift the community in the face of xenophobia and racism that ramped up during the pandemic.
Their involvement continued into 2021 in the form a livestream event, according to the group's Instagram.
They've come a long way from the days of "Like a G6," and it's a safe bet that there's even more planned for the future.