Exclusive Interview: Joshua “Fatty” Olds Of Family Force 5 Talks New Album, Fall Tour And More!


(PCM) Atlanta based Party Rock band Family Force 5 have announced the dates of their Fall 2015 “Tour Stands Still”. The tour kicks off on October 16th in Vienna, Virginia and works its way throughout the United States wrapping up on November 2nd in Chicago, Illinois. The band will be touring in support of their critically acclaimed album Time Stands Still. The band has also announced their upcoming Time Still Stands remix album which comes out November 6th and is available for pre-order now!

We were recently able to catch up with Family Force 5’s Joshua “Fatty” Olds to chat about the upcoming tour, remix album and more!

On what has been going on with the band since their stint on the 2015 Vans Warped Tour

JOSHUA “FATTY” OLDS: We have been in the studio and we just started recording the next record. We are also dropping a remix record that will be out in November and we are getting ready to kick-off our fall tour. We have been doing a lot of stuff with writing and recording and preparing for three more tours to finish out the year, as well as, doing the normal everyday band stuff.

On the direction of the band’s new material 

JFO: The new material is not a super departure from Family Force 5 proper, but it’s leaning super heavy on the funky side of Family Force 5 for this record and the direction that we are going. This album probably won’t drop until April, so there is still some room for it to lean in other directions, but right now it’s leaning super heavy in funk, almost a nu-wave funk. It’s still real dancey and still has elements of rock, but it’s a lot more funky than “Time Stands Still”.

On what goes into their party-like live performances 

JFO: I think that really categorizes Family Force 5 really well! We came up with a lot of 80’s performers where it was just an entertaining show to watch, kind of like old school punk shows that were really, really fun to watch with everybody running around and you never know what you are going to get when you go. We took that idea because we grew up watching that and we grew up loving music and entertainment as well and we always want to entertain people. We think ‘What would I like to see’ or ‘What would Family Force 5 like to see’ if we were going to go out to a rock show and we try to put all those elements in our live show. We also love dancey funk music, music that makes your body move, because we grew up in Atlanta, so that is kind of our thought process behind the live shows. If it doesn’t make you move and it doesn’t make you want to be there, then why should you be going.

It keeps the live aspect of music alive to me, like I want to go see this in a live setting because it is phenomenal. To me, if you are not going to move, than I might as well just buy your record instead of going to your show.

On the up rise of social media and technology i.e. cell phones at live shows

JFO: I think kids still like come to live shows. I think the one thing that has changed with social media coming into play, like YouTube and all of that … when I was coming up there weren’t too many outlets to find music. I remember waiting in line at places like Turtles music to pick up a CD of my favorite band that was coming out on Tuesday, but now with this generation of kids, social media is great so that you can promote yourself and you can be in the forefront of getting your music out there, but I think the attention span has changed a little bit. The fans are just as rabid and crazy, but the process of recording a record and waiting years to put out a records, I think that has changed completely.

Record the record, let the record be out for a year, but in-between that release remix records, release videos is the way to be in the forefront of this generations mind. They are forward thinkers and if you are not in front of their mind, they forget about you. They can find their new acts on YouTube or Facebook as there are some many new outlets to find music now that in some sense it’s amazing and in the other sense it saturates the market a little bit, so I think you just have to learn to change and evolve with the audience. Make sure you are still putting out rad music and in the forefront of their mind to go and see you live and make them want you to put out the extra thing you have to offer.

On there being more pressure for bands to stay out the road longer 

JFO: I actually think there is more pressure for bands to put out more and more music. We love to tour, so I love staying on the road. It’s part of my passion. If I come home and sit here for two weeks I sometimes go ‘What am I doing with my life?’, so Family Force 5 has always loved to tour and we love to play shows. Part of that is we love to watch the kids go crazy and you love music so that is the driving force behind it. It is the overwhelming love for music that keeps me waking up everyday and wanting to go back out on the road.

Having your music influence someone’s life or a kid comes up and says ‘ Hey, I started playing bass guitar because of you’, and that’s crazy to even think about because I was that kid growing up and Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, those were all the shows that I would go to and I started playing music because of their music.

On the surreal nature of fan interaction and their music’s effect on people’s lives

JFO: I think that is always a surreal thing. When someone notices you or you influence somebody because every musician I’ve ever met doesn’t go ‘I want to be in music to make a living’ or ‘ I want to be in music to be a rock star’, they say ‘I want to be in music because I love music’ or ‘ I love to play it’ , so when you start to get noticed or to have those moments where people freak out around you, that’s always awkward because you don’t ever think of yourself as that way. You just think ‘Hey, I’m walking on stage with my guitar and this is what I love to do’. So, I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with that, however with the influence side of things and someone picking up a guitar or bass, I think that is super cool, but the other side of it, I guess I am more the introvert guy in the band. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that, not that I don’t like it, but that wasn’t in the front of my mind when I picked up my guitar and said I think I want to do this.

On the challenges of crafting a set list

JFO: Honestly, this set list took probably about a week because there’s the ever present I just want to go out and play everything new, but then there’s the thing of all the past music that is also great so of course fans are going to want to hear some of that. It took about a week or week and half of all of us sitting down to figure out what we wanted to play. I think we came up with a good set. There’s a nice balance of stuff all the way back from the first record and there’s some stuff from the second record, maybe one song off the third record and then the previous record, the fourth record, and we are possibly going to play some stuff from the fifth record that is coming out next year. There is a decent mix, but then there’s times where you go ‘Man, I wish I could just play for three hours!’ and just pack it all in there. But it’s a decent mix of all the records in there.

On which songs made the cut for the upcoming remix album and putting that together

JFO: We get together as a band and we pick the ones that we think would be awesome for the remix record and then we give that music to people that we know who are our friends or some people that we respect that do remixes and we just see if they want to do the remix which is generally, if you look at all those records, it’s not us remixing everything. It’s our friends, it’s people that are known for remixing and we like to do that for the fans because they love, but for us as well because it is a chance to listen to someone else’s take on our music. We get jazzed about it and sometimes their versions of our music are better and we end up playing those live.

It keeps us creative too! Sometimes some of them come back and it’s something that we would have never thought of, but it’s the coolest thing in the world. It certainly keeps things fresh.

On being surprised by which songs fans tend to gravitate towards

JFO: I am always surprised! That is one of the things that can be the most perplexing about music, but probably also the best thing too! Sometimes you sit down and write a song and you’re like ‘Yes .. this is totally going to go over .. everybody is going to love this’ and then you play it live a couple of times and it’s crickets. Or you write another song that you think is a good song, but not a smash and people go nuts for it. That’s always changing too though, as people grow and their tastes change. That is sometimes why Family Force 5 works so well because there is that mix of genres all over the place.  It leans rock n’ roll and it leans funky, but it’s also super dancey and it’s got 80’s accents … it’s got 80’s rock, regular hard rock, and throwback fun music so it’s kind of like throwing everything into the melting pot with something for every person’s taste in music.

On the generation appeal of Family Force 5’s music 

JFO: When I was coming up in the 90’s alternative scene that kind of hit my generation we were like ‘ Dude, I’m a hardcore Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Stone Temple Pilots guy and there’s nothing else’ but with this generation you can go from Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift all the way across the board where I listen to country music, I listen to pop music, I listen to rock music and that’s cool and that’s awesome about this generation. It’s just cool that everybody is into so many different things. It opened up the doors for a lot of bands to get super creative and not have to write in only one vein.

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