HotStar: Family Force 5

Life isn’t always about choosing sides. Crunk rock band Family Force 5 hasn’t, choosing to embrace both the Christian crowd and mainstream fans.

“The music stands for itself and we’re still human beings,” FF5 lead vocalist and guitarist Solomon “Soul Glow Activatur” Olds told Pollstar. “I mean, this is the faith that we choose to believe in and we believe in it strongly. But [while] we’ve got very spiritual songs, we’ve also got some songs that talk about shaking your butt. And we don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that either.”

CAA’s Bryan Myers told Pollstar the touring strategy for FF5 takes a different approach than any other band he’s represented.

“From day one, they started out as what we call a dual-market band. Meaning that they had one foot in the mainstream rock world and one foot in the contemporary Christian world,” Myers said. “The guys grew up going to church; they don’t hide their faith at all but their music speaks to a much broader audience.”

When CAA signed the band, FF5 had a joint record deal with Maverick Records handling the mainstream side and Goatee Records on the contemporary Christian side.

Myers said that while there’s bands that may come from a faith-based point of view but only want to be playing to the mainstream, FF5 is one band that has no issue playing for both – and he thinks “that has been another key ingredient to their success.”

“With this band, they have always had the philosophy that ‘We want to play for our fans – whoever they may be. Whether the fans are in a church or whether they’re in a club, we want to play for all of our fans,’” Myers said.

Myers explained that he took that vision and carved out a unique plan. If he was getting calls from the church fan base, the band would play those shows. But strategically he had to make sure FF5 wasn’t playing in certain markets that were also going to be valuable in the mainstream side.

“So in other words, if a church in Dallas or Houston or Atlanta called us and wanted us to do a show, more than likely we were going to try to save that market for the mainstream club show,” Myers said. “We had to be very careful about burning markets by playing them too often. And once they reached a certain level of a fan base, we had to make sure that we were playing the right venues in those particular markets.

“We’ve kind of gingerly been able to walk through the whole process and get the support from both fan bases. And that has just multiplied their success, so it’s worked very well,” Myers said.

Olds agreed.

“We’re having a blast playing both markets and it doesn’t look like either one of them is shrinking. It looks like it’s growing and growing. We keep playing in bigger and bigger rooms so we’re very blessed to have this happen to us,” he said.

“We love playing live shows. That’s what we’re known for. We play the same show every night with the same amount of energy if there are five people or 5,000.”

Before FF5 began playing to thousands, the band truly began with family, with Olds and his two brothers, Jacob “Crouton” Olds on drums/vocals and Joshua “Fatty” Olds on bass/vocals. Other members include Nathan “Nadaddy” Currin on keys/vocals and Derek “Chap Stique” Mount on guitar.

After working with a dual-record deal, FF5 released its second studio album, this summer’s Dance or Die, on their own label, Transparent Media Group.

“We just looked at the state of the record industry and how these labels are working and how they’re dying,” Olds said. “We were like, ‘Man, I bet we could do this about as good as an indie label could. So why don’t we put it out ourselves?’

“We’re very, very blessed to have this independent thing and it looks like the future of how music will be done. It’s a path that a few people are taking but I think it’s the path for this band,” he said.

Manager Chris Woltman told Pollstar that by not signing with a major label, the band controls its “own destiny from a music content standpoint.”

“We have built our own model, our own multiple-rights deal, by keeping all of the rights that make up the brand and running the business and really owning the business in the truest of independent sense,” Woltman said.

As FF5 continues its DIY ethic, Myers believes the band will eventually be headlining arenas.

“There’s no doubt in our mind this could be a definite arena band. They’ve got all the ingredients – they’ve got the star quality, they’ve got the amazing live show, they’ve got the hardest work ethic of any band that I’ve worked with. So you combine all that and it’s almost a surefire recipe for success.”

Family Force 5 is on tour through December and more dates are forthcoming.