LMFAO’s Redfoo takes us behind the quirky sunglasses, the afro hair, bold lyrics, seductive moves, and off-beat lifestyle before his debut gig in the country. –Aakanksha Devi
He is one half of LMFAO, the vibrant American electro-pop duo started in 2006, and plans to get Mumbai and Gurgaon dancing to his funky tunes, thanks to United V Dance. And while LMFAO is on ‘vacation’, RedFoo, born Stefan Gordy, holds his own in the studio and on stage. He grew up wandering around studios with his father Berry Gordy (founder of Motown Records), meeting the likes of Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Now, the Grammy nominated artiste is busy globe-trotting and promoting his upcoming studio album, I Look Good Naked, and singles Bring Out The Bottles and Let’s Get Ridiculous, while still basking in the glory of LMFAO’s hit songs Party Rock Anthem and Sexy and I Know It. The album, expected later this year, is apparently a reflection of the singer. “I wanted a song that would describe me, and my attitude — being ridiculous, fun and silly. My parents and teachers used to say, ‘You’re ridiculous,’ and I thought to myself, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ That’s what you do at a party. You stand up on a chair and spray some Champagne. That’s ridiculous! You strip down to your Speedo. That’s ridiculous. So that’s where I wanted the vibe to be at … the party, the club,” Redfoo says.
One of the few singers to say there is no real downside to being in the public eye, Redfoo happily lets the world in on his originality. “Instead of everyone in their suit and tie, walking straight, you get to know the people and their ridiculousness. That is all I do, I let the world into my ridiculous self, my real self,” he begins. And when he’s not rocking the stage and making ‘feel good music’, Redfoo is a judge on The X Factor Australia or catches a quick game of tennis with his tennis player girlfriend Victoria Azarenka. He tells us about his penchant for animal print underwear, fluorescent clothes, sunglasses, inspirations and his relationship with SkyBlu, his nephew and fellow bandmate.
Your influences and inspiration
Michael Jackson, Rick James… even Eddie Murphy, because he did stand-up comedy and music. Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Tina Turner, Tina Marie! Rick James, my brother Rockwell. My mom made the first Rick James videos and I’d go to the sets. He’d have fireworks and flashy suits at his concerts. He dressed in high-heeled boots, glitter all over. Seeing that when you’re five, changes your perspective on what’s normal!
Drafting a song
People are the best feedback. It is all pressure but that is what fuels me. I DJ a lot, so if I’m on tour, that’s easy, but if not, you play a track for friends. If they start toe-tapping or dancing and want to buy a copy, that’s a great sign. If they are talking through it, then you say ‘Oh sh*t, that’s not good.’ You can just literally feel their reaction.
I could eaLMFAO’s professional vacation sily say, ‘Okay, sure, in the future we’ll come back together.’ But really, the most accurate way I can say that is that time will tell. It’s not about just the music. That’s easy to do. There’s a dynamic between Sky Blu and me that has changed. There’s a personal dynamic, and energy dynamic. I can’t really speak for him, but I am very protective of that. With LMFAO, people expect electro-pop and dance stuff. So instead of changing LMFAO’s core and putting out a rock album or a hip-hop album, we felt that by splitting up we could experiment with different sounds on our own.
The sexy quotient
I think I’m very sexy because I am me. I am not trying to be somebody else. When you are you, you are sexy.
Will.I.AM is amazing. I remember him from 7th grade until now in the studio. He works so fast and is so musical. I work with Afrojack in the studio — a genius with beats and the computer. Lil’ Jon is crazy! We watch a lot of YouTube together. Pitbull is awesome. He’ll invite the girls over to the studio, and we’ll get some drinks and stuff.
Being Berry Gordy’s son
He second-guesses me all the time. He heard I’m in Miami Bitch, and said, ‘I like that beat, but I don’t get it.’ I said, ‘Well, you have to be from Miami!’ The first LMFAO song he loved was I’m Not a Wh**e. He didn’t like the Sexy and I Know It video. He said, “You wiggling around — you’re going to get in trouble for that.” Our parents didn’t like the name LMFAO. That’s how we knew it was kickass!
Growing up with rock royalty
When I was a kid, my dad didn’t want to discipline me because he saw me five times a year. It was the best of both worlds. I grew up privileged on one side, but a normal kid, skateboarding on the street, on the other. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer at Dad’s. So when I saw Michael Jackson for the first time, he was already MICHAEL JACKSON. So was Rick James and Smokey Robinson (also the ‘guy who plays backgammon with my Dad’ to me). Rockwell, my brother, put out the song Somebody’s Watching Me, that went Number 2 on the Billboard and Michael Jackson sang on it. It was made in the room next door to where I stayed at my Dad’s house!
I actually chose to play video games rather than go to the Motown 25th anniversary show where Michael Jackson did the moonwalk for the first time. I caught the after-party of the biggest televised event in TV history (in 1983) though and Michael Jackson came up to me and said, “Hey, Stefan, how’s it going?” and I had absolutely no clue.
A lot of kids would call me zebra. Hence, my first obsession with black and white. I messed with the glasses earlier, poking out the lens for fun but it didn’t catch on. But then I went partying with my nephew to this club in Miami Beach. It was smoky and dark with electro, house music. I wanted to wear glasses and be cool, too, because they were wearing their shades around. So I put on some glasses and I couldn’t see at all. I really thought I was dancing with hot girls!
It was amazing because I love music and I’ve got an opinion. I always wanted to get into movies and TV and The X Factor approached me and said ‘We want you to be a judge… We want you to be Foo. We want you to be you’. That was a breath of fresh air. My whole life people wanted to change me, this was different.
There are a lot of similarities and opposites between Victoria (Azarenka) and me. I got a big afro, and I’m wild. She’s more refined. We always joke about this story — she was a fan and wanted to meet me. Ken Solomon from the Tennis Channel hooked us up. She said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come to my press conference?’ I went to that. It’s on YouTube. You can see it. It was crazy, fun, and we became friends… for a long time. And then, err, she seduced me!
I drove my scooter for the first time on the streets of LA from Manhattan Beach to Hollywood. I couldn’t take the freeway so I drove through the hood in the morning. It was just exhilarating and fun. I was a little scared, but I ride my bike in the street all the time. I was like ‘It can’t be that different’. But it is different when you are going 50 mph next to a big rig on La Cienega. I actually have my bike right here, and I got to go. I have another meeting so I am just going to drive my scooter today. I may buy another one today! For me, it is totally ridiculous to be driving a scooter, and my manager is going crazy. It’s just one of the most exciting days of my life right now!
India is on a musical high, and we have a huge fanbase here. I’m looking forward to not just performing in India but exploring the country. I’m fascinated by Bollywood, the item songs, the vibrant culture and the beautiful women. In fact, I’m a huge fan of Deepika Padukone, Manjeet Ral from Bhangra band RDB, and Salman Khan, and would like to meet them. Hopefully, Sujit Jain (founder of Netsurf Communications) is going to make this happen. I’d like to party rock with them. I’m definitely hitting the streets for some local cuisine and clothing. It’s going to be one hell of a party and we are converting the country into a party planet, get ready! I am expecting the shows to be one big celebration where we will redefine the meaning of partying. It’s going to be an integration of music and technology with a dash of unseen stage tactics with the Party Rock Crew.
Probably Lady Gaga. Let’s do some dancing, let’s do some partying and see what we can do. Some
fashion, come out there — it could be amazing.
Guilty pleasure song
Sorry For Party Rocking, hands down!
Beyond the stage
I’m always working. If it’s vacation time, I usually spend it in the studio. Festival times are gig
times for entertainers.
Favourite performance destination
Where all the festivals are at. There are a lot of crazy people in the crowd. I like Las Vegas and Ibiza in the club, because everybody goes there. The Gold Coast in Australia is pretty sexy. And I like to just tour in general.
Ten years from now you’ll be…
A successful actor, filmmaker or musician. All the music that I’m going to make is always going to be LMFAO-ish. I love all the topics that we talk about. I was really passionate about bringing party music to the world, so I will always be making some
kind of party music.
The concerts are on May 10, Gurgaon and May 11, Mumbai. Tickets (Rs. 2,250 upwards) on bookmyshow.com