During Super Bowl Week in Miami, you can't get much more super than having the Black Eyed Peas performing the night before the big game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the pop-hop hitmakers storm downtown Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena as part of The E.N.D. World Tour. You'll hear mega-smashes including "Where Is the Love?", "Let's Get It Started", "My Humps", "Don't Phunk With My Heart" and the recent No. 1s "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling".
Peas' rapper Taboo took time to talk to Miami.com about the tour, the band’s crazy-cool experience on Oprah, and why Peas leader will.i.am wants to race Saints running back Reggie Bush.
With the album The E.N.D., you guys went for a more electro vibe. What inspired that?
Actually, will.i.am, when he was filming The X-Men, was in Australia for about two or three months. And when we would go to Australia before, we'd go to these hip-hop clubs, and this time around he asked some friends who were local people, "Yo, where are the dopest hip-hop clubs?" and they said hip-hop was not hittin' over here - it's all about the electro scene. And Will went to these clubs and started getting in tune with the music, and it kind of reminded him of hip-hop beats circa early-'90s, but without any lyrics. And he comes back and tells it like, "Yo, I'm gonna start DJing," and me and Fergie are like, "DJing?" He and Apl [.de.ap] got really into DJing in the electro scene, kind of building a name and meeting tastemakers like Steve Aoki and David Guetta and Boys Noize and all these people who have been really well-established in the scene. And Will is like, "This is the future - this is what we're gonna incorporate." We're not saying we're electro, but we're gonna create our own homage to this type of scene. We infused electro sounds, dance sounds, house sounds with the Black Eyed Peas style to create a style of our own, which is called "electrostatic funk."
What can we expect from your show in Miami?
Well, the Miami show is gonna be humongous, because Miami has always supported us since 1998 when we first came out, and Miami is the sexiest place on the planet. People have always seen the Black Eyed Peas with lighting and raw energy, and now we've got these LED screens to go along with our wardrobe changes, choreography, dancers. It's very futuristic - the theme is post-apocalyptic, 3008, Mad Max meets Blade Runner. If you saw our presentation at the Grammys, it's like that.
You guys went on Oprah and had the audience dancing as one to I Gotta Feeling, and it was the most incredible thing [YouTube it if you haven't seen it]. How did that come about?
We reached out to Oprah's people because we wanted to be a part of the kick-off to her new season, and we came up with the idea of creating the biggest flash mob that had ever been seen on television. So we created our version of I Gotta Feeling specifically for the Oprah Winfrey Show, and instead of saying "Tonight's the night," we said "Today's the day," and we put Oprah's name in the song. And it was a great experience because we actually pulled it off. We hired about 200 choreographers to teach 1,000 people how to rock the routine. And we were honored that they shut down Michigan Avenue [in Chicago] for us to do that.
How long did you work on that?
It took roughly a couple weeks for everybody to learn the routine.
What's the Peas' songwriting process like?
Well, we'll have two studios going, and it's like a factory of music. We'll go into one room and I'll come up with a hook or lay down a verse, and then Fergie will be in the other room laying down some vocals, and then we'll switch rooms. We'll have so many songs going on, and then we'll all focus on one room. We don't do one song a day - we do like four songs a day. It's a big creative party, because we're all bouncing from room to room, and we're jumping around in the vocal booth, doing ad-libs and laughing. It's an experience.
When you guys are down here are you gonna check out any Super Bowl events?
We actually have a couple parties we'll participate in. And we're all football fans and good friends with Reggie Bush, so we're rooting for Reggie. Actually, he and Will have this little competition going, where Will challenged Reggie Bush to a race. If you could write that in there, hopefully Reggie reads it and knows that Will is coming after him and wants to race him.
You think he could keep up with him?
Yeah! Will was a football player before he became will.i.am. He's always had the sports blood in him, because his uncle is Lynn Cain, who played [fullback] for the Atlanta Falcons [from 1979-'84]. So Will was either gonna become a football player or become a musician, and he chose musician, thank God. But he's got it in him.
Apl.de.ap, Fergie, Taboo and will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. Photo: AP