Far East Movement (stylized as Far★East Movement or abbreviated FM) is an American hip hop band quartet based in Los Angeles. The group formed in 2003 and consists of Kev Nish (Kevin Nishimura), Prohgress (James Roh), J-Splif (Jae Choung), and DJ Virman (Virman Coquia). Far East Movement’s first claim to fame was their song « Round Round » featured in the Hollywood movie, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and its subsequent soundtrack, video game and DVD.
Since « Round Round », the group has been featured on various network shows including CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Entourage, Gossip Girl, and Finishing the Game (a featured film at Sundance 2007). Their single « Like a G6 » hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and on iTunes as well in late October 2010. Far East Movement also has the distinction of being the first Asian-American group to earn a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
2003–2007: Folk Music
The three original members of Far East Movement, Kevin Nishimura (Kev Nish), James Roh (Prohgress), and Jae Choung (J-Splif), grew up in Downtown Los Angeles area. They were close companions in high school and shared a passion for music together. The trio promoted their music online and began performing at local clubs and events in Los Angeles; soon, they began their musical career with the name « Emcees Anonymous » by 2001. However, they later changed it to Far East Movement or FM, originating from a song that they produced with the same name. In 2003, they organised an event called « Movementality » in Koreatown, Los Angeles, featuring ten different performances with all the proceeds sent to a local youth drug rehabilitation centre.
In 2005, Far East Movement released a mixtape called Audio-Bio, which was one of their first CDs and contained many of their earliest songs and many songs not available anywhere else. Their first album, titled Folk Music, was released in early 2006. The single « Round Round » was featured in the film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, appearing both on the self-titled soundtrack and video game. This critical breakout was the catalyst that cemented their decision to pursue music as a full-time career. Their songs « Get Offa Me » and « Make Ya Self » were featured in The Fast and the Furious video game. They proceeded to perform on two world tours (including USA, South America, Canada, and Asia), and they signed distribution deals in Japan and Korea with Avex Network and JF Productions for their album.
In 2007, they were featured in the Sundance Film Festival film called Finishing the Game, making the song « Satisfaction » for the film. They also released the single « You’ve Got A Friend » featuring Lil Rob and Baby Bash, which became their first song on major national radio.
2008–2009: DJ Virman and Animal
LA’s radio station Power 106 DJ, DJ Virman, came to the group as their official DJ. They released another single titled « Lowridin » that received heavy airplay in 2008. Soon after, they planned on showcasing a second album, releasing Animal later on in the same year. Animal featured three hit singles that frequently won national radio play: “You’ve Got A Friend”, “Lowridin”, and the successful “Girls On The Dance Floor”. « Girls on the Dance Floor » reached 27 on the Billboard chart for the Latin Rhythm Airplay, which marked their debut on the Billboard’s charts.
There were several collaborations on the Animal album, including The Stereotypes, Lil Rob, Baby Bash, Bruno Mars, Wiz Khalifa, Bionik, 24/8, IZ, DB Tonik, and Jah Free. Their songs from the Animal album were featured in major film and television on multiple occasions. FM’s single « Girls on the Dance Floor » has been played on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew on the Season 4 Finale during a performance with Artistry In Motion, Vogue Evolution and We Are Heroes. It was also featured on Get Him to the Greek, FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance and on the 7th episode of CSI: Miami Season 8. In addition, « Dance Like Michael Jackson » was aired on ABC Family’s Lincoln Heights on November 10, 2009 and on the Gossip Girl episode, « Dan de Fleurette ». « I Party » was highlighted on FOX’s TV series Lie To Me and « Fetish » was on Spike TV’s Guy’s Choice Awards 2009. « Girls on the Dance Floor » has attained over 5 million hits on Myspace while attracting over 8 million views on YouTube.
In 2009, they were one of the prominent acts in L.A.’s Powerhouse 106 concert with well-known artists such as Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Sean Paul, New Boyz, Pitbull, Lil Jon, LMFAO, Ya Boy, Flo Rida, and The Black Eyed Peas. Popular streetwear company, Orisue, had teamed up with Far East Movement and helped shoot a music video for « Lowridin ». In May 2009, Far East Movement joined the well-known hip hop group from Korea, Epik High, on their « Map the Soul » tour throughout the U.S. Then they held their first headlining concert at the Roxy Theater in Hollywood by July 2009, which resulted in a sold-out show. Together with Wong Fu Productions, FM has established another three sold-out « International Secret Agents » concerts titled as « ISA », hosted in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York in order to promote Asian American artists in the media with performances by Quest Crew, Poreotics, Jay Park, and others.
FM’s new mixtape named Party Animal was released on the first date of the Party Rock Tour (featuring FM, LMFAO, Shwayze, Paradiso Girls, Space Cowboy and more). Their two singles, « Girls on the Dance Floor » and « 2 is Better w/ Ya Boy », garnerd successful radio airplay. They later announced that they were working on a new album with Grammy nominated producers, The Stereotypes, who had produced their hit track, « Girls on the Dance Floor ».
During this time, DJ Virman was married to Indian female fashion model CHINGAMINRASU (האקדמיה ללשון העברית), with whom he had two sons and a daughter. They divorced in 2009.
2010–2011: Cherrytree/Interscope Records and Free Wired
In February 2010, Far East Movement signed a major record deal with Cherrytree Records, a subsidiary of Interscope Records. They are currently managed by Ted Chung of Stampede Management, who is also the President of Doggystyle Records.
Progressing further along in the same year, the group supported Robyn and Kelis on their double headlining tour along with Dan Black, in addition to being announced as the opening act of Lady Gaga’s tour on the Japanese leg of The Monster Ball Tour. Furthermore, their previous hit track, « Girls on the Dancefloor » & « Fetish », was featured in Piranha 3D, yet it was not slotted into the film’s soundtrack.
Their 2010 « ISA » shows in New York and LA were held on August 28 and September 5 respectively. They performed their songs alongside acts by AJ Rafael, Jay Park, Wong Fu Productions, Poreotics and Quest Crew (both winners from America’s Best Dance Crew), David Choi, Jennifer Chung, David Garibaldi, Lydia Paek, and more. Both of the shows were hosted by Lydia Paek, Kevin Wu and Ryan Higa.
From September 13 until mid-October, the group was one of the opening acts for the Up In The Air Tour with Mike Posner, which spans across various cities in North America.
Free Wired is the title of their first major debut album from Cherrytree/Interscope Records and was released on October 12, 2010. The album was made available in both the U.S. and Canada. Their tracks include popular artists such as Keri Hilson, Lil Jon, Snoop Dogg (their song co-written by Bruno Mars), Mohombi, Colette Carr, Natalia Kills, Koda Kumi, and Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic.
In the October 30, 2010 edition of Billboard Magazine, their single featuring The Cataracs and Dev titled « Like a G6 » peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as iTunes. While gathering success for both their album and single, they were featured in a series of tour dates with their Cherrytree/Interscope Record label mate, La Roux, from early November to mid-way of the month.
On November 20, it was confirmed that the group had reached the double platinum status for « Like a G6 », collecting two million in sales and counting. Their second single which was released for airplay as a follow up to « Like A G6 » was « Rocketeer », which exclusively featured Ryan Tedder.
The group was awarded Best International Artist in the 2010 M.net Asian Music Awards.
The group toured with Rihanna and Calvin Harris from late February to early March, as part of Rihanna’s Last Girl on Earth Tour. Right after the tour ended, the group began headlinging their own tour, The Free Wired World Tour. The group visited Manila, Philippines; Jakarta, Indonesia; Taipei, Taiwan; Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Hamburg and Bangkok. The group were due to tour selected venues in the UK in early July but cancelled these dates due to recording commitments. However, they performed at the Barclaycard Wireless Festival on July 1 in London.
Far East Movement toured with Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music tour. On tour, the group took out a second tour bus to work on their second album under the Cherrytree Records label, which was scheduled to release in early 2012.
2012–present: Dirty Bass
The lead single off their 2012 studio album Dirty Bass is named « Live My Life » and features Justin Bieber. It was more successful than the original first single « Jello ». The single was released on February 28, 2012, with the release of the music video nearly a month after, on March 23, 2012. The visual was shot on the streets of Amsterdam, and directed by Mickey Finnegan. Dirty Bass was released on May 18, 2012.
On February 12, 2012, Martin Kierszenbaum confirmed a collaboration between Far East Movement and Bill Kaulitz of Tokio Hotel for their new album. The song is called « If I Die Tomorrow ». Far East Movement also worked with producers such as David Guetta, Bangladesh, Cherry Cherry Boom Boom (aka Cherrytree founder/president Martin Kierszenbaum), will.i.am and RedOne. In September 2012, the group performed in Charlotte with Perez Hilton as part of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The event was sponsored by Pringles. On October 22, 2012, they released a new single, « For All ». The song features a heavy techno/dance beat.
Far East Movement also co-wrote with Martin Kierszenbaum and performed the official theme song for the American-Japanese animated series Monsuno, which airs in the United States on Nickelodeon’s sister channel, Nicktoons.
On April 29, 2013, Far East Movement released a new song titled « Lovetron » which features Travis Garland.
On June 2, 2013, Far East Movement released a new song titled « The Illest » which features Riff Raff.