October 09, 2008 , 1:40 PM ET
by Andre Paine, London
The Black Eyed Peas are due to complete their fifth album, "The E.N.D.," in London next week. "I'll be finishing the record Oct. 15," producer and group member will.i.am tells Billboard.com. Recording sessions have been taking place at Metropolis Studios in London.
The album title is not an indication that it's intended to be the hip-hop outfit's final record. "No, no -- it stands for 'The Energy Never Dies,'" explains will.i.am.
Black Eyed Peas' previous set, 2005's "Monkey Business" (A&M/Interscope), has sold 4.2 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. "We still have a contract with them," says will.i.am, adding that the number of albums left to deliver was "not that many."
Asked about the group's future relationship with the Universal Music label, will.i.am said, "It all depends on how they evolve, it's up to them to define what they're going to be in the future."
"They want it to come out soon but I don't know if that's the right thing," he added, when asked about the label's plans for the record. However, will.i.am says he's partly tempted to try and release it in 2008 because he's convinced that this will be the final year where physical sales are significant.
"For the last remaining stores that sell CDs, this is the last Christmas that CDs will be in stores," he predicts. "It's f*cking scary."
However, he the Black Eyed Peas are embracing online music delivery; following the successful viral campaign for will.i.am's "Yes We Can" song backing Barack Obama's Presidential campaign.
"We're just finishing the songs and collaborating with the software guys," says will.i.am, who said he wants Black Eyed Peas' music to be interactive, offering embedded information and even "songs within songs" when the user clicks on a pop-up.
"I'm tired of making songs for the radio and for MTV," he says. "You should make songs for where songs are actually being listened and played. We have new people -- software programmers. They are just as important as me, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie. That's us, the visual members.
"But nowadays it isn't just physical with music and content anymore -- you have to have proprietary software. Just borrowing other people's sh*t doesn't empower the growth and how you monetize that content, so that's why it's important that we got a software guy that is part of the Peas."