Editor – Justin Howard @Jthnomad
Amidst the champagne showers and female dancers doing the bump and grind that is the infamous trademark of a Redfoo performance, lays an entertainer along the lines of Charlie Chaplin. Drawing upon his childhood growing up as a mixed-race kid in white beach community, Redfoo turned his teenage awkwardness into one of the top-rated musical acts of today. Launching a solo career after the skyrocketing success of LMFAO, Redfoo firmly established himself as a musical character who displays his love of fashion in his own clothing line, LA FREAK.
Getting Freaky With Redfoo
Justin Howard – The first time I met you, you sprayed me with champagne.
Redfoo – Hope you enjoyed that!
Justin Howard – Let’s talk about the inspiration behind your music videos.
Redfoo – Comedy is the main inspiration behind them, and just the stuff I grew up watching like Benny Hill, Charlie Chaplin, and Scooby Doo. Just those funny physical jokes, running around from the cops, that fast motion. Dancing, of course. All of our videos are inspired by Michael Jackson videos. And musicals from way back in the ’40s and ’50s. I think every movie in that period was a musical. It was always a musical, they were singing and dancing all the time. So that is how I see music videos. Even Austin Powers was an inspiration. Making it look like a movie is what I love to do and telling a real story from beginning to end. With a punch line at the end!.
I’m always creating a whole world, like a movie. It is a real world, a big escape. You can watch the video, and you get transported into that reality.
Justin Howard – One of the things I like about your videos is that you capture a ’40s vibe. The audience really gets captured by it. It isn’t just one element, it is all these visual narratives together. You string them together to create a world, and it is fun.
Redfoo – That’s the thing with me. It is very serious. It is not just one joke. Or one thing. The world has a mentality, has a past and a present. All the videos are connected. The director, I have the same director on all the videos and we are really conscious of the whole story. It is like a trilogy. All the videos are all interlocked, kinda like a big Star Wars thing. Even ‘Party Rock’ was this video that had taken place before, it is the reason why we ended up in the hospital for ‘Party Rock Anthem.’ So we get the biggest kick out of it, keeping up the story.
There is one comment in the video where it says on one of the headlines in the beginning when they are speaking during the fake news broadcast. If you pause it, it says “Awkward moment if you have paused this frame, just to be reading this.” We are talking to the viewer. Some fans have caught that and put the time in the comments online so other people could see it. It is little things like that. I am really just doing my best to entertain the viewer as much as possible. From an entertainer’s standpoint. Not just as a musician, but everything: the fashion, the dancing, and the comedy. It is really fun to me.
Justin Howard – Let’s dive into that. You are not just a musician. You are something of a character. An entertainer. You remind me of ‘Dame Edna,’ there seems to be no part of being an entertainer that is taboo for you. So on the journey of becoming an entertainer, what is the creative process like for you? Say you want to make a new Redfoo Star Wars video, what is it like to get all these elements going?
Redfoo – I guess for me, my whole life I felt like a character. I am half black and half white. I was raised in a white beach community and then I went to Sweden. I never fit in, I was always getting looked at because my hair. I am constantly finding myself in these situations where people are watching me. Like right now I am walking in a parking lot and people are watching me talk on the phone. So I take a moment like this and I figure out how I can relate it to everybody.
The raw emotion and the raw feeling. Then I start to imagine visually. Like when I was writing ‘Sexy and I Know It’ I was writing it visually. This is what I saw in my head, walking down by the beach, being with a crew, posing then running away. I am not writing this stuff, because I have to express a certain pain. Really I step back, like a comedy writer and I say “what is the best way to tell this story” but it comes from a feeling. It is a feeling I have so how do we tell this story? How do we craft this story to where this feeling happens. I get ridiculous, how can I be ridiculous, what is ridiculous?
I was talking to a guy in my production company who directed ‘Behind The Speedo.’ We were doing ‘Behind The Speedo’ and he wrote the first treatment idea for the video and he was like “in your live shows you do this thing ‘where I have a message’ and Martin Luther King says “I have a dream” and Obama says “Yes, we can” and my message is “Let’s get ridiculous.” Totally not a serious message, but it is serious because I feel in life I get ridiculous. Everybody at the parties is ridiculous and that is the party. People are dancing on the tables and it is incredible. We are spraying champagne. It is coming from a character of who I am.
Justin Howard – I just love this visual of you walking along the beach and you having this movie reel playing in your brain. Like flickering images and that is what inspires you to write these lyrics.
Redfoo – You are right, it is like a projector and it is going off. I was in France, I was walking and I saw this older guy in a Speedo. A white Speedo. And he had a belt piece and he was tan. He was just walking, he thought he was sexy and he knew it. I remember I said to him “That’s It!” I immediately pictured me walking down the street. You know it is not the coolest thing. I grew up in a surf community. No one was wearing a Speedo. Everyone was in surf shorts. I imagined being very serious about myself wearing a Speedo.
So it is always the character, the attitude, even in Miami I am like ‘I have a Red Bull and Vodka in my hand.” That was the best thing to have at a party, was a Red Bull and Vodka in your hand. If you had that, you felt amazing. I was just trying to write about that.
Justin Howard – Let’s talk about my favorite medium – fashion. You mentioned that your team made the blazers for all the dancers in the videos. You have your own fashion line ‘La Freak.’ Let’s talk about the launch of it.
Redfoo – That is one of my passions! I always wanted to have a clothing line. In all the videos, instead of getting stylists, we just made all our own clothes. It didn’t make sense to me to go buy stuff. We started making shirts, the first shirt was the “I’m in Miami Bitch’ shirt. I said, every song I am going to make a shirt. I made a decision I am only going to wear the clothes that I make. We started making pants, underwear. Now I am fully clothed in the clothing we make.
Justin Howard – One of your signature looks is the animal print, where did it come from?
Redfoo – I want animal print. The crazy thing about animal print is that, back in the day when American Appeal was very popular and everybody was wearing American Appeal – skinny jeans and all that stuff – I couldn’t find any skinny jeans for men. It was so early, so I went to Zara and I bought a size 13 in girls’. A white pair to wear. So I dyed that pair purple, and this is the type of vibe I want! In Miami I saw a girl wearing an animal print shirt. No dude was wearing animal print, it was only older black ladies that were wearing animal print.
I saw this girl and she had pink and purple animal print. I said “That is so fucking hot. I want to wear that as my shirt. I want to wear that as my pants.” I started making animal print pants and experimenting with that. I bought fabric downtown and I remember American Appeal was saying stripes was going to be the next big thing. I kinda took it as a competition, I was like, no, it is going to be animal print. No body was doing animal print, so we just started and we made shit. We made shorts and we made the videos with animal prints in them. Girls were always like “I like your pants!” Girls always love my clothes. I was like ‘Yeah Baby!”
That is one of our things with La Freak, animal print is our print. We always use Chebra, which is the Cheetah and Zebra print. Everything I wear is a specific animal print. That is like one big inspiration. Being an animal. Being wild and it is so fun! I am wearing a Lycra animal print shirt right now. It is the funniest thing.
Justin Howard – If you can’t dress up in LA and be a little freaky, where can you?
Redfoo – That is what ‘La Freak’ is. A freak is anyone who is outstanding. Like what stands out about them. Whatever it is. It is my animal prints, my hair, whatever. It is so fun. I want my music and my fashion to all be as one. My music has to stick out, has to stand out. It has to express the mood, the modality I am feeling in that period of time or how I want to feel at the club. How I want to feel in summer time. So I make songs. People say ‘Man, I work out to your songs’ because when I was working out I made these songs.
That energy, I want that energy around me. It is not just me, it is the company I keep and that inspired me. When I am around these people, they are so confident. I love a confident, creative person. That inspires me to be confident. I always keep the right energies around me. Can’t be any attitude, can’t be mean, we have to have fun. Just having a good time together.
Justin Howard – What are you doing next that you are excited about, and that you can share?
Redfoo – I have my new album ‘Party Rock Mansion.’ I am going to be doing more TV, more movies. My own stuff, I have a couple scripts in the works.
Follow Redfoo & LA FREAK on Instagram