Looking for that secret recipe for some savory rock?
Of course you are. It goes like this: Mix a handful of thunderous beats and a dash of dirty Souf swagger in a bucket filled with Southern-fried, greasy guitar. Then roast ingredients all day in the sweltering Georgia heat, pepper with good-time lyrics, and enjoy the spicy southern rock jambalaya of Family Force 5
Since 2005, the genre-obliterating Atlanta quintet has been setting audiences’ feet alight with their incendiary dance-rock anthems, turning that dance floor into hot coals, refusing to let fans keep their kicks still.
After three years of touring the universe and electrifying crowds at big festivals like Sonisphere and the Vans Warped Tour, Family Force 5 is back with their third release, appropriately titled III
. “We wanted this to be our Thriller album. We just didn’t land the guest appearances by Paul McCartney or Eddie Van Halen,” guitarist Derek Mount jokes about the much-anticipated follow-up to Dance or Die
. “We wrote this record everywhere while we were on tour,” says Solomon. “It was written on my laptop and recorded in studios around the world. We wrote nearly 70 songs in the back of the bus, on airplanes, in barbecue joints, and in a cabin in the North Georgia mountains.”
III takes Family Force 5 back to their rock roots, and those early days when the Olds brothers would perform in a backyard shed at their parents’ Marietta, Ga. home. Music wasn’t a choice for these brothers; it was in their blood. Their father Jerome Olds was a well-regarded singer and their mother was a music teacher.
“We were destined for music,” Solomon says. “We knew we had to do it.”
NRT's Bill Lurwick recently spoke with guitarist Derek "Chap Stique" Mount about III
Derek, the letter "I" is repeated three times in the title of your album. Is it pronounced "eye-eye-eye" or is it the Roman numeral three?
It’s not even any of the above. It’s like when Prince was a symbol. I’m holding up the name of the album right now. I can’t say it, but if it was "eye-eye-eye," I think that would be hilarious. It would just be a little too confusing with the "aye aye," the animal that’s kind of like a monkey.
So it’s just "three."
So what are we going to be hearing first off the new album?
We have this song called "Not Alone," and it’s a departure for us. We have added some new elements to our sound and, not to sound too silly, but we kind of grew up a bit. We were like, “Hey man. We’ve been doing this for a while. Let's try something different.”
One of the biggest struggles we’ve had has been being on the road so much, because we’re very much a live band. We’ve been doing 200 to 300 days of travel a year for the last several years, and the biggest issue we face is family stuff. Being gone from wives and kids that long tends to really, really, really make life difficult--or even for guys that don’t have families to establish any real relationships.
We wrote this song that kind of started from conversations we had on the phone with all of our families that were just like, “You need to quit. You need to get home. You need to be here.” It’s just such a big struggle. It’s a little bit of a mature song for Family Force 5. I think it’s kind of new, so we just gave it a shot at radio for the first time and we’re excited that people are really digging it.
Now about the track "Can You Feel It"--will I be hearing this on Sportscenter?
Dude, thank you. We hope so. That’s my dream. One time "Fever" played on Sportscenter and "Raise It Up" also played on there. I didn’t even know it was going to happen and I was watching this Kobe Bryant highlight and I was like, “Oh my gosh. There’s 'Fever.'” It was kind of amazing. Let’s hope "Can You Feel It" gets on there. I’m a big sports fan.
A friend of mine, who has a family, just moved back in with his parents. You guys wrote a song with a line in it about that very thing. The song is called "Paycheck." What’s up with that song?
Again, we have a very silly side of Family Force 5 and a lot of the party element, but we kind of decided to write about a few more real life kind of things. Especially being in a band and having a lot of friends in bands, we just saw crazy amounts of the effects of the economy being so bad and it’s just something that we thought a lot of America and a lot of the world could relate with if we wrote about the struggles of the finances.
The line you’re referring to is: "I’m broke. Broke is a joke. I’m thinking about moving back in with my folks. Walked away from my house. Watch my bank account go up in smoke." It’s a very honest song, and I think everything in there is something that all of us in the band have been through and when you sleep on a lot of floors and you shower in a lot of sinks and just eating maybe one meal a day for several years and that’s what that song is kind of about.
What I love is the voice of the song, the chorus. It’s very desperate and it keeps saying, “I can’t afford to live this way. I need a paycheck.” Thinking that that’s kind of the answer, but as the song goes on we hit the bridge, which I think is all of our favorite part of that song. The payoff is where the singer, the person in the song, has a change of heart and says, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t you worry. It’s our lucky day because I found some change.”
What that means is obviously is a bigger meaning than I found change, but the change of heart. To me that’s a really personal song and we’re pretty–again, we haven’t played that one yet either, but we’re probably going to throw it in early in the set because it’s kind of high-energy.
"Tank Top" is another song that I guess people could say is a pop song. It’s kind of a call-out song.
Sure, definitely. I’d say it’s got the R&B vibe a little more than a lot of the other stuff and the club heads are really big in that one. We have a remix contest for it right now Indaba music. There are a lot of fans that are trying to remix it and it’s been really fun to respond to that. It’s definitely a departure for us because Crouton, our drummer, leads the entire song. He’s got this really cool voice that he uses. It’s super low and we’re just trying to figure out how are we going to do this live because he’s like, “I don’t know if I can play this and sing at the same time.” It’s crazy, but we’re excited about it.
Are you guys still having fun after all these years? Is it more work or more fun? Which one?
Absolutely more fun. You grow to love each other. You learn more and more about each other and you’ve been through so much together. There are certainly days where something’s going on at home and you’re just like, “I want to be there and I need to be with my family," or, "I’m losing all my friends at home.” There’s certain things that you go through being in a band that a lot of other people probably don’t experience and there are certain trials where there’s so much focus on pressure and on critiques or whatever or something that you’re doing, but overall there’s so much joy in getting to do what you’ve dreamt of doing your whole life and also just seeing people resonate with what you write and watching someone connect with it.
It’s amazing everyday when you open up email or Twitter or Facebook or whatever it is and somebody just says like, “Your show last night was the best night of my life.” I’m hoping they’re jesting a little bit. I hope they have better nights than that, but it’s truly amazing. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
It’s III from Family Force 5. We’re totally pumped about it. Best to you guys as you head out on the road.
Thank you so much.
Bill Lurwick, the voice of NewReleaseTuesday.com's weekly New Christian Music Podcast, has been in radio since 1989 and is currently heard on KJIL in Dodge City, KS.