Q&A: Nadaddy and Crouton of Family Force 5

The versatile artists of Family Force 5 have been on their journey to popularity since the early ‘90s. With three of the members being brothers and the rest from other mothers, the family was formed in Atlanta. First breaking into the Christian market, the guys hit mainstream success in 2004 with their first major album, “Business Up Front/Party in the Back.”

Now touring on their latest album “III,” the guys are headed across the country, stopping in the Phoenix area at Martini Ranch on Nov. 10. The State Press spoke with Nathan Currin (aka Nadaddy) and Jacob Olds (Crouton) of the Family about their upcoming show in Scottsdale, their new album and their unique sound.

The State Press: Your “About Me” section on your site says you guys have “savory rock.” What makes your music savory?

Nathan Currin: We’re a little salty.

Jacob Olds: I don’t know if we came up that or somewhat else did. It’s a bit funny, because it makes me think of beef jerky.

SP: You are pretty well known for your aggressive sound with positive lyrics. That’s an odd pairing. Is it purposeful irony?

NC: I don’t know if the two really compete with each other. I think you can have a positive message and still be really passionate about it and have aggressive music that people want to dance to and get excited about.

JO: We’re positive people, there’s no time for depression.

SP: You were hoping that “III” would be your “Thriller” album. Having now released it, do you think it’s up to par?

NC: Yeah, I think it rules. I think it’s going to take over the world, pretty much. I mean, we’re really excited about it. It’s really fun to play some of our best work. I think we all feel like it’s the most honest representation of where we are collectively musically and where we are as people right now. There are some serious songs on there, because I think it’s relevant to talk about the things that are hitting everybody right now: the economy and things like that. We even went with a couple ballad songs and more poppy sounding songs. We’re trying to explore other music genres that we haven’t stepped foot into yet. So, I think we did and I think we pulled it off. I think it’s awesome.

SP: What do you think that this album brings to the table the last two haven’t?

JO: I think we’ve changed it up since the beginning. The second record was a little different than the first. I think it’s more of a challenge when you challenge yourself to do something else. And it keeps you from getting bored. With most artists, their records aren’t exactly the same as the first record. You have to give people room to grow.  We’re trying to write better songs.

SP: After knowing everyone for so long, how comfortable is the writing process within the group?

NC: I have known the three brothers since right before the twins turned 16, which was about 16 years ago. From my perspective, these guys are like the brothers that I never had because I was the only child. On this last record, I think we got a cabin up north and just turned off all the cell phones and never turned on the television and did nothing but write. I think that was some of the best things we ever did. I think it has been some of the best work we ever did. It’s made us stronger as a band, too. And we got to pull out the shotgun and shoot some deer while we were out there, too. We got some four-wheelers. You know, we’re rednecks.

SP: You’re regulars on the Vans Warped Tour for the past few years. What’s your take on that annual trip?

NC: We’ve done Vans Warped Tour for four years but it’s different every year because of the lineup. It’s a nine-week tour, you’re just out there with your friends, there are some people you don’t know, but you’re just going to make friends.

JO: If you’re a band and it’s your first tour, get ready. Get ready to sweat a lot, not take any showers and smell, but it’s an incredibly fun tour and you get to see a lot of people you normally wouldn’t get to see.

SP: You have the genre label of Christian rock, but there aren’t a lot of blatant religious references in your songs. What makes you apply to that genre?

NC: We all are Christians, so I think on the first couple of albums there are songs that are written with God in mind and our beliefs in mind. At the same time, we try to play both the Christian and mainstream market as far as venues. We’ve played churches, but we started in Atlanta in clubs. Since the beginning, we’ve tried to appeal to both markets and make music for everyone. There’s going to be songs that have more than one meaning. They’re written that way on purpose because when you hear a song by your favorite band, it’s going to mean something to you that’s completely different than it’s meaning to your best friend.

SP: Do you ever worry about the stigma that can come along with that label?

NC: I think we’re real. There’s that aspect to us that we are who we are and we’re going to play the music that we like. We’re not going to worry about what stigma people assign to us whether we’re weird, indie, electronic, or dub-step. I’m not going to worry about it because we’re just going to do what we want to do. We’re passionate about it and feel that it’s everything we want to do. We want to put out albums we’d want to buy personally. We went into this last album writing completely out of the box. It wasn’t a record for any particular person, genre, or with any type of restriction on it.

SP: You’ve done a lot of side projects from a Christmas album to soundtracks to the “Punk Goes…” series. What’s been your favorite?

JO: I think getting anything on a movie trailer or having anything to do with the soundtrack, to me, is pretty incredible. That “Almost Alice” thing was awesome. We had stuff in a movie called “Warrior’s Way,” and seeing a movie with the trailer playing your song is pretty awesome. And then our Christmas album, that was really fun to make.

SP: What’s next?

NC: We began our tour yesterday. It’s called the It’s All Gold Tour, supporting this third album. We started in Orlando, Fla. and had an awesome show the other day. We had an off day yesterday and now we’re here in Charlotte, N.C., and we’re going to start writing a couple hours a day on the next thing which is going to be “3.5” and will be an augmented version of our third — more awesome jams on it.

 

Reach the reporter at lkjorda1@asu.edu

 

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