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Family Force 5

As one of the hardest working bands with one of the wildest and most entertaining live shows around, we caught up with Family Force 5 on the Scranton, PA stop of the Vans Warped Tour to talk to them about their upcoming new album, Dance Or Die. With less than a month til its release, we discussed the songs, the style change, the concept story of the album (as well as plenty of other random nonsense too!) with guitarist Derek "Chap Stique" Mount and keyboardist Nathan "Nadaddy" Currin... Oh, don't want to deal with all the nonsensical questions at the beginning? No worries. Click here to skip to the part of the interview that gets right to the point about the new album...
This interview took place on: 7/27/08.

  • Jesus freak Hideout (John DiBiase): OK, fun questions first... Choose only one: A. DuckTales, B. Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers, or C. Darkwing Duck
    Chap Stique: DW, man! Darkwing Duck for me!
    Nadaddy: I'd say Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers for me, because the Nintendo game for that was absolutely incredible. Running around as mini chipmunks throwing giant apples at things was awesome.
    Chap Stique: That's a good call.
    Nadaddy: Snagged me for hours.

  • JFH (John): That is a great game. DuckTales was hard!
    Nadaddy: It was. Not nearly as fun.
    Chap Stique: Yeah... it was a letdown. You know what else was a letdown? The X-Men Sega game. *Nadaddy laughs* Total piece of junk videogame, man. The arcade was awesome and I was like "yes!" I thought it was going to be the same but it was totally not.

  • JFH (John): True or False: Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.
    Chap Stique: False! Return Of The Jedi.
    Nadaddy: False! Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope. The first one that came out in 1977.
    Chap Stique: Y'know what's also in Star Wars mode? The pictures for our new record.
    Nadaddy: Yes! They're beyond Star Wars. They're epically planetary.

  • JFH (John): True or False: Fanny packs are a fashion trend that should NEVER - under any circumstance - return.
    Chap Stique: False. (John: really?!) They're incredible! (John: No they're not!) You say that now... just wait.
    Nadaddy: Yes, true! They should never return. Wear a cool belt.
    Chap Stique: You guys say that now and Katy Perry's going to be wearing a fanny pack in about 2 weeks and you're going to be jealous!
    Nadaddy: She can do what she wants. She can live in the past. I'm not gonna wear one, thanks.

  • JFH (John): What might happen should I NOT get my "Back Off The Wall?"
    Nadaddy: If you fail to remove your back from the wall..... *pause*
    Chap Stique: It will be removed from you.
    Nadaddy: Yes! You will be san-back!
    Chap Stique: Backless! You will try to dislodge your back from the wall but it will be stuck there and all of your other members of your body - like your neck and your arms - will leave the wall.
    Nadaddy: Right! And your back will remain because you've left it there too long.
    Chap Stique: No parkin' on the dancefloor!
    Nadaddy: That's right! What he said.

  • JFH (John): So basically the song's about not hanging out in the back of the club - against the wall...?
    Nadaddy: Yeah, man! No wallflowers in our party!
    Chap Stique: Yeah. And it can be metaphorical, too. If you got your back up against the wall, man - get outta there!
    Nadaddy: Yeah man! You gotta get out! You're in a bad spot, dawg!
    Chap Stique: GET OFF THE WALL! *laughs*

  • JFH (John): If there was a movie to be made about Family Force 5, who would you cast as each other?
    Nadaddy: Let's do a non-serious and a serious. Non-serious first.
    Chap Stique: Well, my answers are pretty similar - they're both non-serious.
    Nadaddy: OK, I'd cast Starscream as me.
    Chap Stique: I'd cast Keith from Voltron as Soul Glow Activatur.
    Nadaddy: I would cast Jazz from Transformers as Crouton.
    Chap Stique: I would cast Axel, from Streets Of Rage, another Sega Genesis video game, as me.
    Nadaddy: For Fatty... the Yeti. It has big arms, it's tall, strong...

  • JFH (John): So, how about serious then?
    Nadaddy: Well, my favorite actor is Edward Norton, so I would love to be played by him.
    Chap Stique: Probably Joey Ramone because that way people would be like "Oh, hey! He's actually better looking than the actor who played him." Everybody else, I'd be uglier than the actor who portrayed me.

  • JFH (John): How about the other guys?
    Chap Stique: Elijah Wood for Soul Glow! *laughter*
    Nadaddy: Yes! And Gollum for Xanadu.
    Chap Stique: Or Jon Heder! How about Crouton? Mark Whalberg? I guess that'd be Fatty...
    Nadaddy: Yeah, Mark Whalberg for Fatty. That would work. Crouton? Theo from Cosby Show?
    Chap Stique: Yes. He's got the voice.

  • JFH (John): What's the worst movie EVER?
    Nadaddy: Howard The Duck is the worst movie ever!
    Chap Stique: Little Man is the worst movie ever!
    Nadaddy: Close second for me as well *laughs*

  • JFH (John): Seriously, you guys actually saw that?
    Chap Stique: In the theater! With this guy! *points at Nadaddy*
    Nadaddy: Preface why we had to see Little Man. OK, it was like 4:30 and we had to get back to where we were supposed to be for 7, and the only movie playing during that time period was Little Man. Nobody wanted to see it, but we were like "Well, we're not going to be able to see a movie this entire tour, so we might as go and see it."
    Chap Stique: We hadn't had a day off in years.
    Nadaddy: Yeah, so we were like, "forget it, we're just going to go and be in the movie theater and have some fun" and it was probably the biggest waste of money and the biggest waste of time in my entire life.

  • JFH (John): Wow, that's pretty extreme.
    Chap Stique: *laughs* It was incredible.
    Nadaddy: If we watched it now, we'd probably die laughing the entire time simply at how BAD it is.
    Chap Stique: Yeah. Watching it with the frame of reference that we paid money to watch it is hilarious. I'll tell you what's NOT the worst movie ever is Milo and Otis. Great movie.
    Nadaddy: Y'know what movie looks almost as bad as Little Man is that new Eddie Murphy movie. Eddie Murphy in Eddie Murphy or something like that? Meet Dave.

  • JFH (John): What's a sequel that you feel NEEDS to be made?
    Nadaddy: I know one that needs to be and I recently found out is already being made, which was Transformers 2. I saw spy shots online from a car site... They have the new Camarro in it.
    Chap Stique: I'm excited about that.
    Nadaddy: Voltron is going to come out in 2010.
    Chap Stique: That's the movie that needs to be made.
    Nadaddy: That's what we're excited about.
    Chap Stique: We're really hoping that somehow Family Force 5 can get on the soundtrack for that.
    Nadaddy: Yeah, that's my life goal right now.
    Chap Stique: Especially if we can play the... *breaks into singing the theme melody, which Nadaddy quickly joins in*

  • JFH (John): Who would make a better U.S. President? Optimus Prime or Sgt. Slaughter?
    Chap Stique: Ha-ha, wow!
    Nadaddy: *laughs heartily* I can't believe you went there with Sgt. Slaughter. I was just telling the guys...
    Chap Stique: *laughs* Yeah, I think the answer's obvious, but I want to say Slaughter somehow. He's never been the underdog until now!
    Nadaddy: What about Big Boss Man? I was just telling the guys... Actually, Ulimate Warrior would be better. For 6th grade, we won our basketball championships and my coach took us to WWF, at the time, Wrestling and we saw Ultimate Warrior and Big Boss Man. It was phenomenal.
    Chap Stique: *laughs* Sgt. Slaughter versus Big Boss Man would be about the best match ever.
    Nadaddy: That's the battle right there! ... And Big Boss. From the cartoon show Cops. Remember that cartoon? That was quality.
  • JFH (John): Examples of the worst "Party Foul" you have experienced or seen?
    Nadaddy: I party-fouled myself the other day. I was going through a catering line and had a plate of food with multiple smorgasbords on it and then I had a bowl of soup and a bowl of fruit and a bowl of dessert. And I turned the corner and tried to hold the plate against the side of the table to put dressing on the salad part and it totally just flipped towards me and went all over my open feet, cuz I had flip-flops on, and all down my leg. And I had to slosh through it all the way back to the bus before I could clean it. Spilling good food is always a party foul - party or not.
    Chap Stique: I'll tell you my biggest party foul. I was a freshman in college and it was like the first week in school and, at that point, you don't know anybody. There's this really cool track where everybody runs at our school. So I was running and I had these tear-away pants that were awesome, and for some reason not wearing anything under the tear-away pants besides some really old looking boxer briefs, and my thumb just kind of caught the little buttons and they all went *does rapid-popping impression* and my pants just totally fell down. And I stood there and - I have a wife, so I don't know if I can say this - but there were a lot of beautiful girls running around the track laughing and I was in my old man scanties. The funny thing was they weren't like normal pants where you can just pull them up, you had to like, *does individual snapping sound* (John: Snap them back together!) *laughs* And it was painfully long.
    Nadaddy: It's a 2-second "off" and a 30-minute "on" with those pants.
    Chap Stique: *laughs* Good call!

  • JFH (John): If you were trapped on an island with only one funky album to listen to to get your dance-on for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    Chap Stique: Mine would have to be Discovery by Daft Punk, probably.
    Nadaddy: Could it be a big album like Michael Jackson, HIStory? (John: Yes! Fair enough) Alright. That works for me!

  • JFH (John): Best dance move ever?
    Nadaddy: The Running Man. It was the most done for its time and it's the most retro dance move now and it's the most commonly made fun of. And still hilarious to watch.
    Chap Stique: The Mashed Potato!
    Nadaddy: I don't even know what that is. I've heard people sing about it...
    Chap Stique: Yeah, Ray Charles goes, "DO THE MASHED POTATO!! Do the Aligator!" And I just love the way he says that.
    Nadaddy: I like The Sprinkler. What's up with the 50's / 60's with cool dance moves?
    Chap Stique: The Monster Mash!!
    Nadaddy: Yeah! We have a lot of those now. Yeah, everybody did it. No matter what.
    Chap Stique: That's when people could dance more regularly. Nobody tells us how to dance anymore.
    Nadaddy: Yeah, now you've got "YOOOOOUUUU!!!" I don't even know what that is! Is that a move?
    Chap Stique: "YOOOOOUUUU!!!" Yeah.

  • JFH (John): Alright -- inspiration for the new album! A migration from crunk to dance. From the album cover art to promo photos... it's going all very 80's. Where did that come from?
    DOD Chap Stique: We don't think of it as being 80's unless you're talking about the year 3080! We think it's more futuristic than anything. I think Dance Or Die is kind of like the apocalypse. That's the soundtrack to the apocalypse. That's basically how we thought when we wrote this record. We wanted lasers and explosions and bombs and robots to be very actively involved. So I would say that was most of the inspiration.
    Chap Stique: Yeah. It might be like if you were in the 80's and you were looking at the future it would look more like this -- like "David Bowie" future.
    Nadaddy: Kind of like "Brave New World" did. He was in his time looking forward to the 80's.
    Chap Stique: Yeah! Aldous Huxley. Yeah, I guess we're children of the 80's... as we have established with our Voltron and Thundercats discussions.

  • JFH (John): "D-I-E 4" who?
    Chap Stique: Ooo! That is an awesome question actually. It would seem like there would be one simple answer, but there are actually a lot of answers for that. There is a loose concept album that goes with Dance Or Die. We're very excited to, at some point, trickle in some little clues about that story, but that is a song that is part of the story. So in that sense, it's two characters talking to each other. It's a character saying that. But, the same way that Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon is kind of a concept album or The Wall is a concept album, and those lyrics mean something, every song by itself. Obviously, to us, when we wrote "D-I-E 4 Y-O-U," it was originally in our hearts saying we would die for You - to Jesus Christ. But then when we looked at the lyrics, we were like "we look a little bold saying this, let's transform this into a Christ message to us." It became this very circular song. It means a lot of things.
    Nadaddy: Yeah. You can look at it from a lot of angles.

  • JFH (John): How is the story going to come out? Is it in the CD jacket?
    Nadaddy: No. We're probably going to leak it out in pieces and maybe, eventually, have some kind of graphic novel or something like that that would kind of be out there for people who are more interested in that aspect of the album if they want it. Rather than put it in the album and kind of throw it at people who may not be into that kind of stuff necessarily. For people who want to dig a little deeper and see more of a meaning, we're going to have a nice piece out there for you guys too. For you noids!

  • JFH (John): What is "Share It With Me" about it?
    Chap Stique: We had a very specific meaning when we wrote it... I don't know how deep to go with sharing this. You're the first person that's asked!
    Nadaddy: Well, it's just something that we've all been through - and a lot of other people have been through at certain points in their lives, where one aspect or one dream they had previously been pursuing kind of goes by the wayside. So, whether that be a dream of a career or doing a particular thing in their life, or being with a certain person, or whatever it may be. It's that.
    Chap Stique: Gets shattered and it hurts.

  • JFH (John): It's not about a specific relationship?
    Chap Stique: It started that way and I think any good story, any good song has a specific element to it. We started to write it about one specific incident and it kind of took on a different meaning for each one of us individually. And that's one unique thing about Family Force 5. We have five writers, so to tell a story about one guy's experience, each person's usually adding his own experiences. It was originally about one of the band members and an experience he had, but then as we rewrote and rewrote, I think it took on a much deeper meaning than just a relationship. And again, it's a very big part of the story. That's one of the reveals of the story.

  • JFH (John): Cuz with that, "How In The World," and "The First Time," it seems like there are a lot more love songs on this record.
    Nadaddy: There's a big love story as part of that concept. It's set in the future and it's a big battle and a big love story all wrapped up into one.
    Chap Stique: It's what "Dance or Die" is. It's an allegory. You can look at it on the surface and say "'Dance or Die,' ha ha that's funny," but it also really is true. You can choose to live this life by dancing and loving and living, and being abundantly in experience of what Christ gave you and really living it freely, or you can die and literally, die. That's what this album's about. We have a choice and what are you going to do? We hope you choose to dance.
    Nadaddy: I think, as Christians, in our relationship with God and others, it is just as much of a love story between us and God and us and others like He asks us to do, as it is a battle to stay on the right track and keep garbage out of our lives and battle forces of straight up evil in the world, y'know? They're there and you're going to have to battle them.

  • JFH (John): So what is "Radiator" about?
    Nadaddy: Huge... a huge and climactic ending to the story. "Radiator," outside of the conceptual story that we came up with, is about being filled with God's presence and the positivity that comes with that and being willing to show that to others around you and be a light to others. As cliche as that sound, that's what it's about.
    Chap Stique: It kind of takes you into that other world where, it's a very rare experience but every now and then you have these moments when you feel like there's nothing in this world that you are a part of. And there is a connection with God that just totally transcends everything. Y'know, we talk about "I am transcending space and time..." where none of that matters, y'know what I mean? It's kind of a really cool place to go and, to me, the funnest song to write on the record. We got to turn into a robot for a few minutes. It's about losing everything that's human about us.
    Nadaddy: It's about the journey, too. It's about the transformation as we grow closer to God and become more like Him, it's about that transformation, as well, to the eventual leaving of this body and going to Heaven and being a completely different and new creature in a place where there is no wrong or right - because it's all right - and it's going to be that way for eternity.

  • JFH (John): Do you guys have a favorite song on the record?
    Chap Stique: I think you just named it for me. Yeah, "Radiator," yeah.
    Nadaddy: Yeah.

  • JFH (John): So that means we'll be hearing it live at some point?
    Chap Stique: Yes. Actually... how early did you get there (*to the show earlier that morning) because we jammed on that for a little second while we were soundchecking.

  • JFH (John): I thought I heard it while we were walking around! That song was the last one playing in the car when we got here so it was in my head and I heard that and thought, "...that sounds like the song in my head right now but it's too early... are they soundchecking?"
    Chap Stique: Well, I will say "Dance Or Die" is still one of my favorite songs. It's very, very epic to me and totally loses any inhibition when you listen to that song. It's very dancey and it sets the scene.
    Nadaddy: It's the epic opener and it definitely sets the scene for the rest of the record.

  • JFH (John): Who were you guys listening to when you were writing the record?
    Chap Stique: Daft Punk and Justice, I think, were big influences on this record, but I wasn't listening to too much other than a lot of Muse. And a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, to be honest with you. I listen to it like every night, man! "Only Living Boy In New York!" I love that song.

  • JFH (John): Do you think you'll end up doing any of the new slower songs live?
    Chap Stique: Yeah! We were just talking about the setlist on the way here, actually. We can't reveal ALL of it yet, but I know at least one of those slow tunes, actually TWO of those slow songs on this record will probably be in it.

  • JFH (John): You have a Fall Tour planned yet?
    Chap Stique: Yeah! We have a tour called "Dance Rawr Dance 2" and it is going to be with us, Danger Radio, PlayRadioPlay, and Ultraviolet Sound. It'll be really fun.
    Nadaddy: So that's be early October.

  • JFH (John): What are your thoughts on the evolution of the Christian music industry - to the point where it has embraced a band like Family Force 5?
    Chap Stique: I think it's really exciting. I think the evolution is really the change in the purpose of what the music does. Originally, it was a very Puritan idea, I think, to be like "Hey, music is bad, let's please make music that kids can listen to that doesn't have cuss words in it!" I think it's very silly to hide from the world and stay in a little bubble that doesn't accomplish much. I'd never point fingers at any Christian music because a lot of it has done wonderful things for the listeners, but we think that bands like Underoath and P.O.D. and Switchfoot and Devil Wears Prada are really making strides at making music that's real and relevant to everybody and we hope that it takes you deeper than just staying away from what's bad and helps you focus on something that's good and helps you have a positive connection and experience with the band and the music. To me, it's really exciting because being creative and being innovative is a really spiritual concept. It's very much following what God has commanded us to do. I think a lot of times Christian music turned out to be watered-down versions of what was popular in the mainstream.

  • JFH (John): It still has a little bit of that...
    Chap Stique: Yeah, and it probably always will. But it's really exciting to watch, I think, progress and innovation happen.

  • JFH (John): What has God been teaching you guys lately?
    Nadaddy: I think out here, as many other "Christian bands" are out here on Warped Tour, we've had a few Bible studies so far on this tour, which we did last year as well and we're studying James right now which is awesome.

  • JFH (John): I love James. Very "meat and potatoes."
    Nadaddy: It's very cut and dry! *laughs* And we were talking the other night about not being partial to people for any reason, basically like depending on how much money they have or whatever status they're in or whatever class they are, per se, and I think it's very, very easy to do that - to make that snap quick judgement when you're walking through the airport or walking through Warped Tour or something like that. It's really cliche, but you really can't judge a book by its cover and you can't know who these people are just by how they dress or how many tattoos they have or don't have or whatever they look like when they're coming out to Warped Tour or they're coming to a church that you're playing. And it's encouraged me and reminded me to stop and spend the time to actually ask these kids questions about who they are and really get to know them and spend some time with them and be able to interact and share a little bit about who we are with them and just show them a little bit of love that they might not otherwise see from anybody else, nevermind from a band.
    Chap Stique: I think for me, that definitely resonates cuz I have been in those studies as well, but I think - not to sound cheesy or ethereal or anything - but I've had a lot of really cool readings and books that show me how much bigger God is than anything we can fathom and how intricate in detail God can be and, to me, it's very silly how often I try to categorize God and to pretend I know traits about God that I don't and just to be open everyday to realize you can experience God in SO many different ways and that the patterns that have been taught to us and the formulas that we've been told to follow in order to have these experiences are so - to me - belittling and embarrassing. I've been trying really hard to grasp how powerful and beautiful and infinite God is. I think that's just been really encouraging and mind blowing and also, at times, discouraging, y'know? In a cool way. That's been very prevalent to me.

  • JFH (John): Any last comments?
    Nadaddy: We have an album coming out on August 19th called Dance Or Die!

  • JFH (John): Really?!
    Nadaddy: Yes! It's going to be awesome! It's sweaty, awesome, rock n' roll future music!

  • JFH (John): Do you like it?
    Chap Stique: Yes. We like it.
    Nadaddy: We love it! We're excited. And also just check us out on MySpace, as usual. Always putting new stuff up! We're going to be finishing up the last four Really Real Shows and bidding adieu to our good buddy Tubb-O. We want to connect with people there. Adieu!





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