Family Force 5 Interview
The guys share the highs and lows of life in a band, and how they keep on trusting Jesus through all of it.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a band more fun, random or out-there than Family Force 5. Need proof? Prior to his interview, while taking his morning jog, lead guitarist Derek Mount accidentally entered the Sydney marathon and won gold. Fresh from victory, Derek chatted with Fervr about his alias-bound band members: “Soul Glow Activator” (Solomon Olds, lead vocals and rhythm guitar); “Crouton” (Jacob Olds, drums); “Fatty” (Joshua Olds, bass); “Nadaddy” (Nathan Currin, synth and percussion); and “Chap Stique” (himself).
If Family Force 5 got trapped on a desert island without any food, and you had to eat one of your band members, who would you eat and why?
Oh man. That is a toughy …I think Crouton’s such a nice guy, he’d probably offer and he’d be like, “Hey guys, you can eat me”. Soul Glow already said he’s giving his body to science so we can’t do that. I’m too grainy. And Nadaddy’s really good at survival so he’d probably be too important because he’d be like making fires and stuff. And Fatty’s so strong he just seems like he’d be in his home element – he looks barbaric, like a He-Man kind of dude anyway, so I don’t see that happening. I think Crouton would probably be the first to go. And his calves – you could eat those for months. They’re huge. I’d hate to see it happen, I love that guy. And Crouton, if you’re listening or reading, I’m not saying I want this to happen. So let’s make sure we don’t get stranded on this island.
You guys are pretty unique and different. What would you say to a young person who wants to be unique and different but feels pressured to fit in with the crowd?
Yeah I mean that’s incredibly important, just be yourself. Being genuine is one of the most incredible traits that a person can have. I think that’s what we’re all called to do and to be and for some reason it’s really hard in this world. A lot of the time there’s pressure to be somebody else or to live up to certain expectations or to fit in with a certain crowd. I just think it’s ridiculous, you know? It’s very important to just be true and be genuine and I think that’s a very legitimate form of worship – if you’re created to be something, then actually being that, and not just molding to some pattern that everybody else has followed or put out there for you.
Where do you personally get your identity and self-worth from?
I know it’s the textbook Sunday school answer but through my faith in Jesus Christ, definitely. That’s where liberation begins for me. Galations 3:28 – that there’s no slave, no free, no male, no female, no Jew, no Greek. To me, that’s really powerful and profound. It’s very true that we are who we are in Jesus’ eyes and God’s eyes. Through that, all those barriers have been destroyed and all those classifications, that we think are going to make us smarter or understand this world more, are shattered … I think that’s so important, that our ground of being is a true source and something we can really rely on and connect with. And obviously I think God is that cornerstone and we have to find that – and it’s hard, it’s definitely not natural to us as humans.
Your band members and you look pretty close. What traits do you look for in a good friend?
I think we are very close – especially with three family members in the band – sometimes too close! We know a lot about each other. I think humour is so important in a good friend … I think loyalty is probably really high up there as well, just someone you can trust and someone you can depend on and who’s going to grow with you and help you become a better person. But I don’t know, when I look at my friends, sometimes I’m like, “None of them are any of those things I just said”, but I still love ‘em to death. It kind of goes back to what we were saying about being yourself and I think someone who’s just genuinely themselves is what I usually look for, someone who is going to be real with you.
Is having fun important to you guys? It definitely looks like it!
We get serious about having fun! That’s a big part of our calling. We all grew up being in these cultures in the American south that thought church had to be very stoic and cold. And it’s the very opposite of what we believe in – we want it to be fun. Our experience with Christ is very life-giving and very joyful. Our band, we don’t over-think things too much. It’s just really silly party music and we hope that when people come to the show, or when they listen to it, that it gives them some feeling of joy or release or escape or whatever that person may need at that time.
Sometimes it can feel like serving God and having fun are two different things. Do you believe they can be the same thing?
I think they can be the same thing. I mean, obviously there are times where that’s not the case too. But yeah, absolutely. Liberation! Freedom! ‘It’s for freedom that Christ came and set us free’ (Galatians 5:1). And I think that’s so true and so important and it’s such a beautiful message and there’s so much joy through our faith that when we fail to see that, we’re the ones missing out. It’s not like God needs us to be these people on our knees, crying every day – which sometimes we have to be and I think that’s incredibly important and valuable – but that doesn’t mean every day. Joy is where it’s at. Jesus starts with ‘J’, joy starts with ‘J’!
Personally, why is being a Christian worth it?
To me, it’s a way of life that kind of goes beyond that question. I don’t think it’s an either/or kind of thing. I think the most enriching part of life we can ever have is when we try to dig deeper. No matter what we go through, no matter what we experience, no matter how many highs we have, no matter how much success somebody might have in this world, we’re always going to come back to the emptiness and loneliness. And to me, the message of Christ transcends that in such a powerful way. I think that’s what we were touching on in our song ‘Not Alone’ – which is one of the only serious songs we have – I think there’s this tremendous comfort in a relationship with God and I can’t imagine life without it.
What do you do when it gets tough to be a Christian?
We tour so much it’s just ridiculous. It’s really hard to go 300 days a year without being with your family sometimes. For us – I know it sounds silly – but your faith does play a big role in that and sometimes you start to question things or things start falling apart around you or a lot of kids we meet on the road have lost parents or siblings or are dealing with depression. I think it’s normal for us to go through these struggles. It’s part of life and it’s horrible but it builds character and it builds perseverance. There’s never a magic potion, easy, wrap-it-up-in-a-box-with-a-bow answer. I think sometimes as a church we want that, and we paint that picture, but the walk with Christ is never guaranteed an easy route – I think that’s kind of beautiful. And sometimes it’s not [about] the getting out of the hard part of life as much as it’s the journey through it and having the stories of somebody like Job, and some of the struggles of Abraham with Isaac, to look at and find some kind of common ground with what you’re going through or some kind of reassurance that it’s not just you that’s being ‘picked on’ right now. I don’t know. I don’t think there’s ever a time where you’re going to be void from any of those struggles and I think that that’s a healthy thing to realise.
You see a lot of teenagers at your shows. What would you say to someone who underestimates teenagers and what they can do?
Spend time with them and it’ll change your mind – they’re amazing … I think they’re incredible. One of my favourite books is Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle. She talks a lot about how, when she was a child, she knew that she could walk on water the same way that Peter knew he could walk on water for a second – until he realised that he couldn’t, and then he couldn’t. And I think a lot of teenagers still know that they can walk on water and they’re walking on it – and what I would say to those adults is don’t tell them that they can’t walk on water otherwise they might not and they might sink. So encourage them.
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