Black Eyed Peas: Forging Diverse Sounds Into Pop

The Black Eyed Peas; courtesy of IGA i i

hide captionThe Black Eyed Peas, left to right: Will.I.Am, Fergie, Taboo and Apl.

courtesy of IGA
The Black Eyed Peas; courtesy of IGA

The Black Eyed Peas, left to right: Will.I.Am, Fergie, Taboo and Apl.

courtesy of IGA

The blockbuster music group Black Eyed Peas welcomed guest host Lynn Neary backstage before its Washington, D.C., concert Tuesday night. The group's members spoke with her about how their diverse backgrounds influence their sound, and they chatted about their politics, their work in films and, of course, their music.

Black Eyed Peas' current line-up of Will.I.Am, Fergie, Apl and Taboo has been recording and performing together since 2003. They say they've managed to avoid the sort of fighting and tension they've heard other bands experience.

"Friendship. It's easy," Fergie says. "After doing [the solo album] The Duchess and touring without the guys, I remember getting back in the studio with them and it was so much fun. I missed them."

"The Black Eyed Peas as a whole is something I always look forward to," Taboo says.

Humor also keeps the group going.

"That's our favorite pastime, being on the road: laughter," Apl says. "We come up with slogans on the road and then we start putting them on the songs. It's just our personality."

Constantly Laughing

The group writes its lyrics collectively.

"I wish that everybody knew that we had a sense of humor with the lyrics," Fergie says. "We're constantly laughing."

Apl says they also rely on each other for constructive criticism, and they they check in to make sure what they're writing isn't corny. And the group supports the members' work outside Black Eyed Peas.

"I'm the first one that got to see [Nine]," Apl says of the film, in which Fergie appears.

"Apl has a lot of songs that are paying homage to his native tongue," Taboo says. "He's from the Philippines. He has songs inspired by his culture. We have songs that are inspired by the Latin side. We have songs that are inspired by rock, African rhythms. Whatever country we go to usually inspires us."

They've also directly incorporated diverse music into their songs. In "Bebot," from the group's album Monkey Business, Apl raps in Tagalog and uses samples of Filipino folk songs. In "The Apl Song," from Elephunk, he told the story of being adopted from a Third World country and moving to the U.S. at a young age.

With all its influences and sounds, the group's members say they're not sure how to think of their music.

"It's hard to categorize this group, because it's hard to categorize each of us individually," Fergie says. "We all have eclectic tastes, and it all comes together in this nice bouillabaisse, with lots of different ingredients."

Will.I.Am has said that he hopes people would use the group's latest album, The E.N.D., for escapism.

"It's about creating new memories for people," Fergie says. "Bringing people together for music, for the love of the music, and for having a good time with their family and friends. Because, in the end, those are the things you remember."

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