Redfoo, left, and Sky Blu — together known as LMFAO — accepting their MTV Movie Award this month for “Party Rock Anthem,” featured in “21 Jump Street.”
THE fun-loving pop-rock duo LMFAO have been a major presence on the Billboard charts since last year, when they released their sophomore album, “Sorry for Party Rocking” (Interscope). Spoiler: They weren’t sorry. Their single “Party Rock Anthem” was just that: an inescapably addictive soundtrack for clubs, parties, barbecues, street fairs, anywhere people gathered to have a good time. Hits like “Sexy and I Know It” became remixed staples for nightlife-worshiping fans, not least because LMFAO created dance moves along with them.
The two men, who rap, sing and D.J., have high musical lineage: Redfoo, 36 (born Stefan Gordy), is the son of Berry Gordy, the Motown mogul, and Sky Blu, 25 (Skyler Gordy), is Berry Gordy’s grandson and Redfoo’s nephew. Motown, Redfoo said, influenced them from the beginning. “The same reason why we’re doing music is the same reason why Motown did: to make the world a better place and to make people happy,” he said. “The main message is, just have a good time.”
But LMFAO also has broader interests. Redfoo, a former day trader, is behind Beat Rock, a mobile D.J. app; he appears on “Run,” a new single by the rapper Flo Rida. And Sky Blu, who read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” with his book club, is creating D.J. software. They are on their first headlining arena tour in the United States, playing Nassau Coliseum on June 26 and Prudential Center on June 29 (LMFAO are also hosting the MuchMusic Awards Sunday June 17th).
The guys behind LMFAO talked with Melena Ryzik about some of their favorite books, music and comedians and being taken lightly as a band. Redfoo spoke from Los Angeles, where he lives, and Sky Blu joined later, from a D.J. stop abroad. These are excerpts from the conversation.
Q. You and Sky used to live together. How was he as a roommate?
REDFOO I had an apartment, and he used to sleep on the floor, and he was pretty good. If he used a sleeping bag, he’d tidy it up. Then we moved into the house. We call it the Wonderland house. It was the real house where the Wonderland murders took place. We didn’t know it at first. The house was $2,500 a month; we were like, “score.” I don’t really believe in the supernatural, as far as the negativity. Our parents were upset and scared. We saged the house.
Q. But you do believe in “The Secret”?
REDFOO Yes. I would say it’s even stronger than a belief; to me it’s hard-wired as science, as a fact. We do it every day: whatever you imagine, whatever you think about it, what you’re drawn to is what you attract in your life. If you’re thinking about making a hit song, and you think I want everybody in the world to love it, then you kind of make it up, and you do it.
Q. El DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night” was on your list. Was that an inspiration for the band?
REDFOO It was one of the songs that I listened to before LMFAO. The whole reason I got back into the ’80s and back into D.J.-ing, I went through my first and last heartbreak. It’ll be my last heartbreak where I go through it eating chocolate and having group therapy with girls, like, [wailing] “What does it meaaan?” El DeBarge has an amazing voice, and it’s one of those songs that makes you feel good, no matter what you were doing before. The intro, it feels like I’m on an island drinking a margarita. [Sky Blu gets on the line.]
SKY BLU What’s up, baby?
REDFOO Where are you?
SKY BLU I’m in Rio. I’m watching a soccer match on the beach.
Q. Let’s talk about Eddie Murphy. How did he influence you?
SKY BLU Trying to imitate him. For me growing up, it was Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey.
REDFOO That song “Party All the Time,” when he teamed up with Rick James, who is a big influence. He could do it all. He was comedy, movies, music. The Will Smith model is really the Eddie Murphy model.
Q. He also looked pretty fly with that red leather jacket in “Delirious.”
REDFOO That was an obsession for me and Sky. We were stalking that jacket. We couldn’t find it. We just made them.
Q, Does it bother you when people say you’re a joke band?
SKY BLU I don’t think it bothers me. We’re just funny people that make music seriously.
REDFOO A joke band is making fun of bands. When I hear that stuff, I’m like, they just don’t see what it really is. There are bands that make parodies of being in a band, like Spinal Tap. That’s a big influence. They’re making fun of a rock band, but they write lyrics that are better than real rock bands. And Tenacious D: They’re funny, and I don’t think they’re making fun of bands. Even Steel Panther, who are inspirations to us, they’re kind of like doing a whole hair-metal thing, but these dudes are really talented.
Q. You like Skrillex’s remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema.” Do you know Skrillex?
REDFOO A little bit. I met him at a Steve Aoki party. His first EP hit, and it was like, what is this sound? What is this growling? This is so hard, but then it’s so beautiful. That was the thing with Skrillex: It can be so beautiful, and then it can go so raw, kind of like System of a Down.
Q. How do you come up with your dance moves?
REDFOO We like breaking down things. Once you start trying to understand where moves came from, a lot of stuff came from the Roaring ’20s, all this shuffling. Even the moonwalk: Michael Jackson was the first to do it, but on YouTube those cats have been moonwalking since the ’50s.
Q. So you watch, like, Fred Astaire?
REDFOO Yeah, because it’s smooth. The way he walks up stairs, or he might just skip on a ledge. It’s like, damn, that’s some funky stuff.
Q. Sky, you’ve been quiet awhile. Are you still watching soccer?
SKY BLU I was playing. I scored four goals.