Every time Family Force 5 rolls into town it’s like a rock and roll circus on sterroids, and music fans just can’t get enough of it. On this Warped tour, they were rocking some new digs straight out of the future armed and ready for an intergallactic battle that they seemed to reinact onstage. Energetic doesn’t even come close to describing their set, it’s like a Jane Fonda workout on crack, and we’re jonzin for another fix. More keytar!
With their Dance Rawr Dance II tour following up Warped tour, a new dvd and cd in the works, there was lots to catch up on with the band. TWRY staffer Lexi, or, as Family Force 5 would name her, “Hush Puppy” sat down with Nadaddy and Chap Stique to catch up on all things FF5.
Interviewed by: Lexi Shapiro | September 2008
(We highly recommend listening to the audio version of this interview for the full Family Force 5 experience. You can listen to it here.)
So, I am here with Chap Stique and Nadaddy of Family Force 5…
Chap Stique: Yeah! There you go!
And this is…
Chap Stique: Hush Puppy!
…Hush Puppy reporting!
Chap Stique: Do you ever use that name when you’re interviewing other bands?
No, I can safely say I’ve never introduced myself to Hush Puppy as anyone… to anyone as Hush Puppy…
Chap Stique: Well, I am honored.
Nadaddy: …as Hush Puppy to anyone.
Yeah, it’s been a long day in the heat.
Chap Stique: That’s an honor. It’s like an inside joke we have.
I was honored that you bestowed a gangster name upon me, so…
Chap Stique: It happens every now and again, but you got a better one than most other people. We called someone… what was the one we came up with the other day? Triforce…
Nadaddy: Triforce Entendra.
Chap Stique: …Entendra. That’s a ridiculous gangster name.
Nadaddy: I think that’s an album name.
Chap Stique: Yeah.
Nadaddy: That needs to be our third album, honestly.
I’m definitely happy with Hush Puppy, then. Thank you very much!
Chap Stique: *laughs* No problem.
SO, I figured I wanted to catch up a little bit with you guys, since it’s been about a year now since the magazine has gotten to talk to you. And, a lot has changed for you. The Dance or Die album is wildly anticipated by the large fan base that you’ve amassed in such a short period of time. Fans got a quick taste of what to expect from the E.P., but what else can you tell us about the upcoming album?
Nadaddy: The album is very sweaty rock and roll music. There’s a lot of stuff to make you move like there was on the last record. There’s a couple of slow songs on this album that might tug at your heart strings a little bit. It’s just very future-sounding music. It’s like the soundtrack if Voltron and Transformers had a huge intergalactic battle in the year 3030 on some sandy, future Netherworld.
Chap Stique: Yeah.
So, You just signed with Tooth and Nail. How did that come about?
Nadaddy: Let’s clarify!
Chap Stique: Let’s clarify! Family Force 5 is actually an independent band, but we are working with Tooth and Nail. We have a distribution deal through EMI.
Nadaddy: Their parent.
Chap Stique: EMI is the parent of Tooth and Nail, so we use a lot of the EMI affiliates to help promote and market it. So, we are very excited to have their help, and it’s already been great, and they’ve been very cool to us. That CD’s going to be in Best Buy, and Hot Topic, and Wal-Mart, and maybe Target, and F.Y.E. So, we’re real excited; it should get out to the fans. But, Tooth and Nail’s been awesome, too. It’s cool to be associated with bands like Jonezetta.
But, you still want to stay an independent band.
Chap Stique: Yes, we are.
Nadaddy: We are an independent band.
So, Tub-O has recently left the Family Force 5 crew for other ventures. Can you tell me about the projects that he is working on?
Chap Stique: Sure! He’s a great guy, and he’s got a really cool concept to do a video about how people in other countries… they always get portrayed as being these poor people who need our help, and they don’t have any money or education. And he’s been on a lot of trips and met a lot of these kids, and been like “These kids, they totally get life. They’re living it abundantly, and they‘re cracking up and they‘re funny, and they‘re making the best of what they have. And, so, he’s making…it’s almost like a comedy kind of film, but it’s all real stuff. And, he’s in Africa filming a lot of kids and kind of showing all of us that they are really making the best of life with nothing. And, it’s kind of a wake-up call for all of us in our comfort zone in America. Or, not just America, but those of us that think we have it bad sometimes. But, it’s going to be really cool; he’s always dreamt of doing that. And, he’s going to finish out four more Really Real shows, and then we will have four complete seasons. So, be on the look-out for the DVD.
That was actually my next question: when is the DVD going to be coming out?
Chap Stique: We don’t know yet. Soon, we hope.
And, what about after Tub-O’s gone completely? Will there be any more Really Real shows?
Nadaddy: Ah, maybe, maybe not. We may take this opportunity to kind of move in a different direction and do something else. We’re a very visual band, so we definitely want to keep that video element /content, coming to fans like that, and we love doing it. But, we may kind of go off and be creative in a different way this time.
Because, on the blog that you guys posted about Tub-O actually leaving, there is just a complete 50/50 split; it was “Oh, no, I’m going to miss him” / “…What about the Really Real shows?” And, it seems like your fan base is really desperate for you guys to keep making those, so I just wanted to find out plans.
Chap Stique: We will continue to entertain in SOME way. We’re not sure exactly how.
Nadaddy: It may not be called exactly Really Real Show.
Chap Stique: Yeah, I don’t know if we could do the Really Real Show without Tub-O. We may have to come up with the Fakey Fake Show. I don’t know, we’ll see.
Chap Stique live on Warped Tour – Full gallery here
So, you guys have a new spacesuit-esque wardrobe going on.
Chap Stique: Yes, we do.
What inspired the change in attire?
Chap Stique: We just always wanted to look like Voltron. That was our dream. That’s what the name Family Force 5 means; it’s like five robots that come together to form a giant robot that brings peace and justice to the galaxy. The record Dance or Die, like Nadaddy said, is very futuristic, and we wanted to look the part. We want to look like warriors from the future.
Nadaddy: These look like radiators.
Chap Stique: Yeah, like radiators, and that’s what they are. I think Ewoks kind of inspired some of the coats, too.
Who makes your costumes for you guys?
Nadaddy: There’s actually a designer named Sharon Toxic of Canada that has helped us out with this run of costumes, and we worked with her to get these in time for Warped Tour. But, as Family Force 5, as an entertainment kind of company, we’re going to be trying to move forward and kind of come out with our own line hopefully soon. Within the next year is kind of what we’re hoping for. So, be on the lookout for that, as well. We’ve got a lot of kids asking us here at Warped Tour, “Where can I get those pants?! Where can I get those?!” So, we’re going to try to give you guys what you’re asking for.
Chap Stique: But, hopefully a little less smelly. We don’t get to wash ours that regularly, so…
You smell just fine to me right now.
Chap Stique: Oh, thanks!
Maybe it’s because I’ve been sitting in the heat all day, too.
Nadaddy: Your nose is shot.
Chap Stique: You’re missing out.
Nadaddy: Your olfactory nerve is shorted.
I heard the release of the video for Never Let Me Go was pushed back to due legal issues? Can you tell me what happened or why the video actually got pushed back?
Chap Stique: There was nothing major or oppressing or anything. We were just in-between different situations with some record deals that we’ve had, and certain balls got dropped, and certain people were out of communication loops. So, it’s fine. You know, we‘re…
Nadaddy: Please check out the video! We spent a lot of time on it. We like it. It’s really cool!
Yeah, who came up with the concept for that? Where did that come from? It’s so out of left field.
Nadaddy: We all kind of brainstormed, and there was a couple ideas that we started with. We liked the kind of stop-animation type things, but we wanted to make it a little bit different and kind of make it our own. And, just the whole tick-tock type thing in the song just made it fit really well with how we were doing it. And, it’s all still images that we used.
And the animal heads?
Chap Stique: Why not?!
Why not the animal heads?
Chap Stique: Actually, you know where the inspiration for the animal heads came in was we did this tour with tobyMac, and it was at this church. And, we walked in and we’re like, “Do you guys have a drama room?” And they were like, “Yeah!” And so, we went in the drama room and found these incredible outfits that were like gorilla suits. So, we played an entire show dressed up as these neon pink and green and purple gorillas. And, everybody freaked out about it and they loved it.
Yeah, I remember seeing pictures of you guys in that. I remember that.
Chap Stique: Yeah, it was weird. It was like Sesame Street characters playing or something.
Nadaddy: It was very surreal.
Chap Stique: And, we looked at the pictures, and then there were some where we were in the full outfits, and we were like, “Oh, this is hilarious.” And, then there were some where we had these big furry suits on, but no animal head, and it was just our normal head, and it looked incredible. Everybody was like, “That’s SO hilarious-looking!” So, we decided to do it the other way and have our human bodies with animal heads on it and it was incredible. We actually became those animals in our minds when we did it. *pause* CAW-CAW (bird noise)!
So, there are so many updates regarding your personal lives since we last got a chance to talk to you guys. Soul Glow had his baby, Cash. How old is Cash, now?
Nadaddy: Almost a year old.
Chap Stique: Yeah, we’re having a birthday party.
Nadaddy: We’re going to have a bash for Cash.
Chap Stique: Chuck E. Cheese!
Nadaddy: But not money, the kid!
So, what changes have you noticed in Soul Glow since Cash came?
Chap Stique: He’s gentle.
Nadaddy: He’s very happy when he’s around his wife and kid.
Chap Stique: Cash can almost say “daddy” now. He goes “D-D! D-D!”
Nadaddy: It’s pretty awesome. He’s loving being a father, and it’s really cool to see that and be able to watch the kid grow up and stuff like that, and just see their interaction, him fitting this new role. It’s really cool.
Chap Stique: It is cool. He’s very excited.
Nadaddy: It makes me excited to be a dad eventually.
Chap Stique: He’s a good dad.
So, you and Crouton both got married, too.
Chap Stique: Oh, it’s true!
So, what kind of impact has that had on your life? What have you learned from married life thus far?
Chap Stique: I’ve learned a lot. It’s pretty incredible. I think a lot of marriage is just trying to be as selfless as possible and kind of to make sure that you really take on the responsibility that your job, at the end of the day, is to love the heck out of that person, more than anybody else does, you know? And, that’s a big responsibility, and it’s been fun. We’re having a blast. My wife’s out on the road. She got a job with one of the sponsors of the tour, so we get to hang out every day on Warped and be really sweaty and go eat catering together, and it’s awesome. So, that’s been great, and marriage is fun. It’s like having a slumber party with your best friend every day. So, it’s pretty cool.
And, this is where we insert the collective, like, girly “Awwww.”
Chap Stique: Yeah, please do that!
Chap Stique: …when you post it.
Like, in parentheses, “All ‘awwwww’.”
Nadaddy: If you transcribe it, yeah.
Nadaddy: You need lots of W’s.
So, what are your plans for after Warped Tour?
Nadaddy: We have a fall tour coming up that’s going to be called Dance RAWR…
Chap Stique: RAWWWWWR!
Nadaddy: … Dance II.
Oh, a sequel.
Nadaddy: Yeah, the sequel to last year’s Dance Rawr Dance. And this year, it’s going to be us headlining and then it’s going to be Pray… PlayRadioPlay, Danger Radio… “PrayRadioPray!”Chap Stique: That sounds like a good… “PrayRadioPlay.”
Nadaddy: “PlayRadioPray.”Chap Stique: Yeah, I like that.
“PlayRadioPray” though sounds more like prey, like p-r-e-y.
Chap Stique: Oh, yes.
That sounds like one of the RAWR band names.
Chap Stique: That’s true. RAWR!
You’d want to go with “PrayRadioPlay.” It sounds like you’re praying… for… a song or something.
Nadaddy: Or, their real name, PlayRadioPlay!
Yeah, you could do that too.
Nadaddy: … And, Danger Radio and Ultraviolet Sound, also will be on that tour. So, that’s going to be really fun. It starts in the beginning of October, around October 6th, I think is when the start date is.
Chap Stique: *In Japanese accent* I clap so hard when you pray.
It’s not just a show, it’s an adventure
So, there’s a few questions that we never got to ask you guys. It’s always bothered me… “Put Ur Hands Up.” Apparently, it’s whack, but what is step 3?
*Both think and start retracing lyrics*
Nadaddy: Press rewind?
No, there’s no step 3!
Chap Stique: *Thinking* Yeah, you got it now… *laughs* I’m not the singer. I don’t know! *laughs* Wait a minute!
There is no step 3 in that song.
Chap Stique: What are you claiming, here?!
Nadaddy: So, you’re saying that we say there’s a step 3, but that we don’t tell you what it is.
Mhm. You skip straight from step 2 to step 4, and you say that step 3 was whack… There’s no step 3.
Nadaddy: Well, if it was whack!…
Chap Stique: I don’t say it, Soul glow says it.
Nadaddy: If it was whack, then you don’t even need to know. That means that we read it over and we’re like, “Naw.”
Chap Stique: “No man.”
Nadaddy: “That ain’t cool. Write the 4.”
Chap Stique: Who wants three when you can have four? It’s like James Brown said…
Nadaddy: Some canolis!
Chap Stique: “Just play the one. The rest of the measure doesn’t matter. You do whatever you want. Just meet me on the one.” You know?
Nadaddy: It’s just like canolis.
*Both in Sopranos-esque accents*
Chap Stique: Canoli, canoli.
Nadaddy: Why do you want one or two or three when you can have four.
Chap Stique: Hey, so you’re buying one canoli for your girlfriend? You only love her that much? Why not buy four?
Nadaddy: That’s garbage.
Chap Stique: Garbage. Three! That’s…
Nadaddy: Four canolis, two each.
Chap Stique: Four canolis.
Nadaddy: Two for you, two for you.
Chap Stique: What are you, a cheapskate or something?!
Nadaddy: Give all four to her. You can get some more later.
Chap Stique: I don’t know. I want to go look at the lyrics right away when we get done.
Nadaddy: I’m going to go listen to that song.
You know what, we at They Will Rock You would appreciate that. If you could somehow get back to us after talking to Soul Glow and find out what step 3 is supposed to be.
Chap Stique: That’s hilarious.
That has plagued me. Every time I listen to that song, it drives me crazy.
Chap Stique: *laughs* I’m sorry!
Nadaddy: Rest assured, it was whack.
Chap Stique: That was before my time that that lyric was written.
So, you guys don’t overtly speak of God or Jesus in your songs, opting to do so instead subtly. They seem to be love songs and so on and so forth, but if you start to look for it closely, almost all of your songs seem as if they could be referring to God (with the exception of songs like Drama Queen, of course). Is that the case? Are the majority of the lyrics actually allusions to God and religion?
Nadaddy: A lot could be both, especially on this new record. Like Chap Stique was mentioning earlier, there’s a whole concept/story that goes along with the album, and in that way the songs have a double-meaning, as well. They have one meaning in the plotline and then one meaning just all on their own. And then, of those meanings on their own, it could go totally very specific to another person or it could be also a reference to God. A lot of them are meant and are written to be both. They’re not meant to be one in particular. Some of them are just about break-dancing or seeing somebody cut a rug, but others are definitely speaking of a relationship with either someone else or God or both.
Chap Stique: I think you reach a certain level of depth when you leave a little bit of ambiguity in a song, and if you make it too specific, then someone can’t relate to it or connect with it as well. And, we try to write songs that might mean something for one person and something else for another. I mean, it’s a very interesting process. We were talking about this yesterday. But, most bands have one person write a song, and therefore, they can say this is what the song’s about, but we have five people writing all of our songs and all of our lyrics. And so, a line that Nadaddy may say might mean something totally different to him than it meant to me or vice versa, you know? So, yeah, most of our songs have very spiritual meanings behind them to us, but even in-between the five of us might be a different way. And, I think relationships, our love here on earth, is the most incredible form of spirituality we have. So, they kind of go hand in hand and when you blur that line a little, it purposely makes it a little bit more intriguing.
So, with the various audio blogs and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer and everything, are there any plans for a Christmas album? Because, that would be purely awesome.
Chap Stique: Not yet, but you might have just given us an idea! I think it’s usually crappy when bands try to do Christmas songs.
Yeah, but they always try to do them so seriously or they take themselves too seriously. I think of you guys made one…
Nadaddy: There’s a radio station that used to put out a Christmas album every year in Atlanta and it was always SO bad, so…
Chap Stique: We’ll have to see.
Nadaddy: I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.
Chap Stique: *Sings Sleigh Ride in banjo-esque “ding” syllables*
So, do you guys have any last words?
Nadaddy: Pick up our album, August 19th, Dance or Die.
Chap Stique: Y’unz! Y’unz is one of my last words.
Chap Stique: We’re in Pittsburgh.
Chap Stique: Y’inz!
Yes, y’inz or y’inzers.
Chap Stique: Y’inz is packed in there like sardines!
Nadaddy: Whoa, wait!
Chap Stique: Ginzers?!
Chap Stique: Ginster?!
Chap Stique: Y’inzers?! *laughs*
Nadaddy: Please explain what that means.
Well, since Pittsburghers say “y’inz,” if you’re referring to people who are the cliché Pittsburgher that would say “y’inz,” they’re y’inzers.
Chap Stique: WHAT!?
Nadaddy: So, we’re around a bunch of y’inzers!
I am not a y’inzer. I like proper grammar and speaking without the accent.
Chap Stique: That is hilarious!
Yes, but, Warped Tour… you’re around a lot of y’inzers.
Chap Stique: Well, we heard a lot of it today. That’s hilarious!
You could probably impress a lot of people.
Nadaddy: What a great term!
Walk up, and just be like, “Hey, y’inzers…”
Chap Stique: There’s a food which is somewhat like a Hot Pocket that you can buy in Europe called the Ginster, which is what I thought you were referring to. Ginster!
No, no, no. We don’t call each other Hot Pockets.
Chap Stique: *laughs* That’s awesome, though. Y’inzer. That’s my last word.
So, you got an interview and a word of the day, so…
Nadaddy: That’s definitely the word of the day. It’ll be the word of our audio blog, too.
Y’inzer? Will you say it in an audio blog?
Nadaddy: Yes, we will, for sure.
Chap Stique: Yes.
Alright, and, you have to credit…
Chap Stique: As long as you listen to it.
I will! You have to credit the wonderful Pittsburgh-ese instructor, Hush Puppy, that taught you this word. Okay?
Chap Stique: Alright.
Chap Stique: Giant Eagle!