By Michael Hamersly
If you were too wild to enjoy the recent refined elegance of the Pet Shop Boys concert at the Fillmore in Miami Beach, but still wanted to shake your ass at a great dance-pop show, over at hotspot LIV at the Fontainebleau was where L.A. electro-hop duo LMFAO stormed the stage.
The group, consisting of DJ/rappers/entrepreneurs Stefan Kendal “Redfoo” Gordy and Skyler “Sky Blu” Gordy (Redfoo’s nephew), has exploded on the hipster music scene on the strength of the new CD “Party Rock,” featuring the frenetic, Vocoder-driven tracks “I Am Not a Whore,” “La La La” and, of course, “I’m In Miami Bitch.” The guys have also remixed hits from big names including Fergie (“Clumsy”), Kanye West (“Love Lockdown”) and Katy Perry (“Hot ‘N’ Cold”).
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Redfoo talked to Miami.com about life as a rock star (naked Twister, anyone?), life as the son of legendary Motown founder Berry Gordy, and LMFAO’s friendship with late celebrity DJ AM.
How close to real life is your Party Rock image?
It is real life. Even wilder, because videos don’t really allow you to do it right. There are a lot of videos that we can’t even show, because they’re illegal. Our photographer, Paparazzi Pete, tried to sneak in and tape this girl during sexual activities, and she caught him. He was hiding in the room like an ostrich – he thought that if he couldn’t see her, she couldn’t see him. And I’m like, “What are you doing, man?!!?!?” That’s the type of ridiculousness that happens. We’re in Vegas, and I still haven’t slept since yesterday, because I was at the roulette table.
How’d you do?
I did well with the drinks. But let’s just say my four drinks were worth $300. And my credit card limit is up for 24 hours – luckily our road manager did not leave us any cash for this Vegas trip.
How was your luck with the ladies before LMFAO started taking off?
To be quite honest, Sky was always in and out of relationships, but I was single ready to mingle, and I’m pretty skilled with seduction, if you will. However, I think that a certain type of girl, you know, the model types, 8 and above, have a “famous dude” radar. And I definitely feel that we’ve popped on the radar. They have a full-time, 24-hour screen, and we’ve been bleeping on their screen. We get way more attention from the 8s and above. Celebrity sonar.
What inspired “I’m In Miami Bitch”?
It’s a traveler’s song. We had never been to Miami, and we had heard stories from local DJs. The WMC, Winter Music Conference, was the first time we went, and everybody was telling us we missed it last year – there’s booties poppin’ and everybody’s drinking all day and playing all night. And we just heard all these tales, so we wrote about it, so excited to go there. And we made up the naked Twister and brought one down there, and the very first night, we played naked Twister.
Which came first, your music or your fashion line?
You know what? I think the T-shirts came first. We bought a shirt press because we wanted to make those Tupac-type of shirts, where you take pictures and put ’em on the shirts. We were DJs, and we started doing that as a side hustle, and then we got pretty good at it. When we started our group, we started making our own shirts, with our logo. And we made a rule: We’re only gonna wear our shirts from now on, from our song titles. And now we write songs, and the title has to be a good shirt.
What musicians influenced your style?
Eddie Murphy, baby. “Party All the Time.” Even his stand-up act and his fashion inspired us. Rick James and, of course, Michael Jackson. One of our biggest inspirations – we’ve been saying this for a long time, but it happens to be relevant now – is DJ AM. Behind Michael Jackson, he’s probably our No. 2 inspiration, because he’s the one who got us into electro music – he hired us to do a commercial for him. He said to make some electro, and gave us this CD, and that CD is our blueprint. We studied this CD for months, and it had Justice and Uffie and a lot of people from France, the Ed Banger [Records] crew. And just watching him – we were pretty good friends, and his mix of rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop and electro…when we make albums, songs and remixes, we do it with AM in mind, like “Will he play this?” So he’s a tremendous influence. His whole situation can’t be more ironic and it can’t be more of a shock – it’s almost still unbelievable.
How did you end up remixing tracks by Fergie, Katy Perry, Kanye West, etc.?
These remixes you talk about are totally unauthorized. Except for Katy Perry – they actually gave us the acapella; however, they never bought the remix. And they never commented on the remix when we emailed it. They didn’t say anything, and we waited 10 days and said, “You know what? We’re gonna just put it out ourselves.” And that’s the beauty of this – we were DJs for a year before we did this, so we knew every important DJ in Hollywood and in different big cities, so we had a pretty big network of over 150 tastemaker DJs. And they happened to love the stuff we made, because we made it with them in mind. Kanye was unhappy about the “Love Lockdown” remix, and voiced his opinion aggressively.
Has Berry Gordy helped open doors for you, or was it all on your own?
It happened as much on our own as it possibly could be, probably 99.9 percent. There was one thing he helped with – when we made our deal with our manager, he recommended a lawyer he was using, and said he was going to pay for it. And the bill was $60,000, but we totally paid for it ourselves, and felt good about it, because the last thing we wanna do, is owe Dad money. Doing it ourselves is so important to us, not just because we get to say we did it ourselves, but the actual experience and contacts. We were very hands-on, because it’s just more enjoyable that way.
Did the Motown sound have any influence on you?
I would say a tremendous influence; however, our sound sounds nothing like it. Our structure and our songwriting philosophy is totally Motown, meaning we write relationship songs over dance music. That’s one of the secrets people don’t realize: All those songs are basically love songs to dance music.
Did your grandmother really text you “LMFAO”?
Oh yeah. It was iChat, actually. Our original name we were going with was Sexy Dudes, and the most important thing for a band in the beginning stages is the name. You have to have confidence in your name, and my grandmother is like the family shaman, very wise. So I hit her up on iChat, and said “What do you think of our name, Sexy Dudes?” And she replied, “LMFAO, you little bitch.” Grandma’s a gangsta.