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"Derek Mount" continued...

GIOA: What has been one of the biggest obstacles or struggles for you in your faith?

Derek: Ah, man. That’s a great question. You know, I think personally it’s a double-edged sword being kind of a free spirit, having this lifestyle of being a touring musician and songwriter. There’s a lot of ambiguity in my life. A lot of times I don’t know what my schedule is going to look like that day or the next month… or even what country we’ll be in. It gets really hard to make plans and set goals with family. When you travel as often as we do, it’s often hard to have a community as well. We’re not consistently seeing the same peers that we’d like to see, or even going to the same church that we’d like to continue to attend. I want to know things so much more than I am able to know. I like to be in control more than I’m able to be.

GIOA: Christians in the entertainment business can often be looked at as “Super Christians”, but we all obviously have the ability to fall short at times. This can be a struggle for some. How do you deal with being under the media microscope?

Derek: I think it’s humorous. I don’t know where we go that idea that if someone is a performer, or an author, or a speaker, that he or she has got it all figured out. I certainly don’t pretend that I do, and I hope people would understand that. I don’t think I’ve really struggled too much with the whole microscope issue. It’s more or less just a laugh for me. You know, you just take it with a grain of salt and do the best you can.

GIOA: Understood! That media microscope can bring some strange things to the internet. There are some pictures online that look like you’re “shooting the bird” from the stage. What would you say that’s all about?

Derek: (Laughing) I have to be honest, I have no clue what you’re talking about, but… you might be looking at somebody else. I’ve never intentionally “shot the bird” at all.

GIOA: It might just be one of things that looks that way! I was just curious about it.

Derek: Oh, that’s hilarious. Even among a lot of my peers that are kind of crazy, they always make fun of me because I don’t cuss, so… I don’t think that’s ever been an issue… unless it was just a matter of misinterpretation.

GIOA: If a lost person asked what you believe, how would you address that question?

Derek: Sometimes… obviously, you have to be grounded and have some confidence in what you’re saying, but a lot of times it’s about meeting the person where he or she is coming from. Family Force 5 plays in bars and clubs, dirty nasty places that most other Christian bands would never set foot. So, it’s really encouraging for us that we’re not just seeing the youth group kids. We’re usually seeing the sweaty kid who is probably doing some drugs. So, a lot of times you do have to figure out where he or she is coming from and what kind of experiences the person has had and show love… What I would say is “I believe there is an amazing God who loves you, and loves me, and loves all of us more than we could ever imagine. That His Son changed the world and saved the world, and I hope that you can connect with that love, because it’s the most amazing life-giving, life-changing perspective-altering force we will ever experience and can ever experience. It’s changed my life, and I hope it can change yours.” You know, I think what’s important in these interactions for us is that I don’t want it to just be this one-time thing where we give someone a short answer and act like everything’s perfect. We would hope, and we have seen that it’s more about a relationship with these kids… or not just kids, adults too… We try to connect with them and stay in touch through Facebook, through Twitter, through MySpace, through e-mail, through phone calls. Family Force 5 is the kind of band that goes and spends the night at people’s houses, and you know… rides roller coasters… and goes to their campfires. So, I think it’s exciting that we feel like our experience with God has changed our lives so much that it is something that you want to share, but it’s not as much about the words as it is about the way we can relate with these people. I do love the fact that our band gets to reach an audience that a lot of other faith-based bands might not get to experience or encounter.

GIOA: How does your faith play a role in your music? Obviously, Family Force 5 isn’t overtly “Praise & Worship.”

Derek: Oh, it’s just the central thing. Everybody’s always like “What if you guys did a worship album?”, or you know like “What if you toured with this band?” I mean, the truth is: we think that what we make is worship music. It just sounds completely different from traditional worship music. It’s whack, it’s weird, it’s unique, and sometimes it’s humorous. I believe that being who you’re supposed to be is a form of worship. Certainly we have songs that we don’t even claim have any spiritual depth to them, to us, but they still bear incredible fruit! For instance… last week I met this amazing girl, and she had been in some of the shootings in Connecticut really recently. She showed me where a bullet hit her in the ear and told me a story about how one of her friends was next to her and was shot and killed, and I was like… about to ball my eyes out, and she said, “Your music is the only thing that’s kinda made me smile throughout the last several months.” She was like “I’ve been a wreck and seen counselors, and I’ve been considering suicide, and somehow your music makes me laugh.” What was funny was I was like well “Can you tell me if there is a particular song that really resonated with you?” … and I was expecting it to be one of our more powerful ballads about something that we’ve intentionally written with a spiritual story, like “Superhero” or “Not Alone”… and she was like “No, I mean it’s mostly ‘Wobble’ and ‘Drama Queen’ and ‘Fever’ and ‘Dance or Die’”… All these silly songs… You know, “Dance or Die” is a song about robots and the apocalypse and dancing to fight a war against the robots. It’s just amazing to us that somehow these things that we do to make people smile can be spiritual, and I hope that kind of stuff is happening more than we realize. And I like to think it is.

GIOA: Definitely, it is. I think a lot of times in the ministry aspect we think that we have to be a preacher or we have to be that particular “Praise & Worship” type of band, but God uses us in every walk, in everything we do.

Derek: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. I hate to use a very cliché term but the whole idea that someone who is a doctor that happens to be a Christian isn’t necessarily a Christian doctor. That person is changing lives and saving lives, and helping people and impacting not only the patients but also the people with whom the doctor’s working. I hope and think that we’re smart enough to realize that our band is getting humble enough to realize that we don’t necessarily have to be a worship band in order to create a worship experience.

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