WILLMAR -- If the body of Christ could be divided into individual parts, the band Family Force 5 would like to think of themselves as the dancing shoes -- or maybe the booty.
The Atlanta-based Christian band is widely popular across the country for its dance-inspiring beats and fun, upbeat lyrics. Their shows promise to be loud, crazy and entertaining, but with a Christian message at the core.
Family Force 5 will take the stage around 8:45 this evening at Sonshine, following Remedy Drive. The two concerts tonight are free to the public, and the festival officially begins Thursday morning.
Since the release of their first album in 2005, Family Force 5 has been categorized under a variety of genres, including rock, punk, electric, crunk and hip hop. But to the band members, it's less about the label and more about just making music.
"We don't believe in labels," said guitarist Derek "Chap Stique" Mount during a phone interview Tuesday. "We just hope that our music resonates with people."
The band initially began with brothers Solomon Olds ("Soul Glow Activatur"), Jacob Olds ("Crouton") and Joshua Olds ("Fatty"). In the beginning, their mother ran the sound board for the band, and their father acted as the band's manager. Eventually, the brothers added Nathan Currin ("Nadaddy") and Mount to the group, and they became Family Force 5, otherwise known as FF5.
With nicknames like "Chap Stique" and "Crouton" and songs that inspire mosh pits and head banging, FF5 tries to find audiences that other contemporary Christian bands might not be reaching.
"We're glad that people of all different faiths like (our music)," Mount said. "It's a very different approach than most other Christian bands have taken."
The band has released three full-length studio albums, an extension album and a remix album. Recently, the band played a track on the soundtrack for Disney's "Alice In Wonderland," directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.
With so much success -- both in the Christian and mainstream circuits -- Mount said the band members rely on each other to keep themselves grounded. Their faith "plays a big role" as well, he said.
"It's good to have each other here," Mount said, adding that the band downloads podcasts of sermons and takes part in regular Bible studies over the phone. "You gotta make the effort, otherwise we're just out here in our own world."
Band members also place importance on keeping in touch with their fans as much as possible. The band's Facebook and Twitter pages have more than 158,000 followers combined, and they even have a phone number fans can call if they want to chat with the band members.
"We appreciate our fans so much," Mount said. "We try to invest in them."
Currently, the band is working on recording its new album, due out in early 2011. Next week, the band will also begin their third tour to Europe, playing concerts in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
But before the band goes across the pond, Sonshiners can expect a concert tonight complete with an 800-pound drum machine, a new lights show and some "pretty cool outfits," Mount said.
"We'll also have a special treat at the end," he said.
The band will also take Sonshine's Stage Two on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. for an acoustic show, something the band started doing for the first time at last year's Sonshine Festival.
And even though the acoustic concert will be much mellower than today's concert, the band's message will stay the same -- just as it always has.
"Our message is about joy and liberation," Mount said. "Sometimes it's an escape, sometimes it's just about having a good time. We're not afraid to say who we are, and we're definitely not shoving anything down people's throats."
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