Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 10:07 UK

Black Eyed Peas come to an END?

By Mark Savage
BBC News entertainment reporter

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The Black Eyed Peas say they plan to 'constantly update' their new record

Black Eyed Peas
The group are currently number one on both sides of the Atlantic

It's the first day of the recent mini-heatwave. Outside the BBC's Maida Vale studios, fans who have been queuing to see the Black Eyed Peas since sunrise are shedding their jumpers, jackets and raincoats.

Inside, the world's biggest hip-hop group are getting ready to perform their transatlantic number one, Boom Boom Pow.

They will play it, faultlessly, four times in a row for the benefit of a number of upcoming TV and radio shows.

Standing on the other side of the studio door, the sonic rumble of the song's space-age beats are all you can hear, until Fergie lets rip on the middle eight.

"People in the place," she hollers at ear-piercing volume, "if you wanna get do-own, put your hands in the air."

Some of the assembled press involuntarily pump their fists skywards, as if mesmerised into obeyance by the sultry diva's throaty commands.

As the song's last note reverberates around the tiny vocal booth, we are urgently ushered into the room.

"We can't waste any time," a harried press officer explains. "Once they disperse, it's impossible to get them back together."

Closed capsule

will.i.am
Will.i.am has worked with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Estelle

That's certainly been the case over the past four years, as the hip-hop quartet took time out to pursue solo projects - from albums and films to, in Taboo and Fergie's case, marriage (although not to each other).

All of this extra-curricular activity led to speculation that the Black Eyed Peas were finished, which, in turn, inspired their new album title.

"It's called The END because it's the end of those rumours," explains Will "will.i.am" Adams.

"Obviously we're not breaking up. We're here."

But there is a secondary meaning to the title; one that has shaped the entire concept of the album.

The END stands for "The Energy Never Dies", says Taboo, because the group want the music to have a life beyond its release date.

"The old concept of an album is like a closed capsule," will.i.am explains.

"You record it and, when it's finished, the 15 songs exist that way for ever. But on The END we're going to always update the music.

"We'll constantly change, alter, remix, megamix, revamp and flip all of our material."

Ardent fans have already seen the fruits of this approach, with multiple versions of Boom Boom Pow cropping up on the band's social networking site, Dipdive, alongside photos, blogs and alternative edits of music videos.

The record is a smorgasbord of styles centred around dance and electric
Will.i.am

The inspiration, apparently, was Barack Obama and his efforts to harness grass roots support on the internet.

Will.i.am witnessed them first-hand after he wrote a song, Yes We Can, which sampled the future President's speech from the New Hampshire Primary.

That led to appearances at the Democratic National Convention and performances at five inaugural balls in Washington, DC.

"I opened up for Obama - as if he's a band!" chuckles the 34-year old.

So, has Obama uttered any words of wisdom to his unofficial court composer?

"He's focused on the hardest task in the world right now - fixing the American economy. So he didn't really say much, other than, 'we all got a lot to do'."

Hectic schedule

The Black Eyed Peas' contribution to this effort is to pump millions of dollars back into the country's coffers, courtesy of their most commercial album to date.

They're pulling out all the stops to ensure its success, including the exhausting decision to visit five countries in one week, as Fergie explains.

"We left the USA right after American Idol on Wednesday, rushed straight to the airport for London, where we're doing a bunch of TV, and then we head out tonight to Germany, where we do a show as soon as we land.

"The next day we have Paris and then we head straight to Japan."

"It's actually a pretty slow week for the Black Eyed Peas," notes will.i.am.

The band giggle at his wry response, but they're clearly up for the challenge... and desperate not to alienate a single customer.

Cheryl Cole at the Brit Awards
She hasn't asked me to work on her album. I don't want to talk about it. No, I'm kidding. We're going to get down, we're going to do some stuff
Will.i.am on Cheryl Cole's solo record

When, on account of my Irish upbringing, I take mock offence at a lyric about "stepping on leprechauns", will.i.am immediately goes into damage control mode.

"It's not about actual leprechauns," he flusters.

"I'm rapping about, um, er... Cons. Convicts. Criminals. Who are leopards. Leopard-cons. So it's not offensive at all."

Career apocalypse averted, the band steers the conversation onto safer territory, with obligatory platitudes about the quality of their new material.

"The record is a smorgasbord of styles centred around dance and electric," says will.i.am.

"You've got to get on the dancefloor. It's the only thing left to do, cos the sky is falling."

But if the financial crisis has affected the group's de facto leader, his charges are far from joining in the panic.

"Right now we're gathering ideas for our stage show. I can't tell you anything yet because we want to keep it secret - but it's going to be the biggest, most exciting tour of our career," says Fergie.

"I don't think we'll be downsizing," she adds. "Upsizing, if anything."



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SEE ALSO
Black Eyed Peas blast onto chart
17 May 09 |  Entertainment
Black Eyed Peas singer ties knot
12 Jan 09 |  Entertainment
Peas star rejects China boycott
29 Apr 08 |  Entertainment
Stars set Obama speech to music
08 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
Talking Shop: Will.i.am
03 May 08 |  Entertainment

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