Not everybody is going to get it. Some people toss aside the writings of the brilliant Charles Bukowski, calling them the work of a senseless drunk. Those in the know, recognize that he combined the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero. You’ve probably heard of FIDLAR by now, as the indie rock media tries to wrap their brains around the band, referencing their SoCal stoner aesthetic. But like a few other SoCal bands (Barbarian comes to mind), they draw you in with some tasty waves before exploding with an attack that is in no way haphazard. These guys know what they’re doing and they’re quite good at it.
Having grown up watching skateboard videos soundtracked by the likes of the Circle Jerks and Minutement, Los Angeles’s own FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog Lifes A Risk) immediately captured my heart. Having started out making their own version of those old skate punk videos, their music grabbed me immediately as the first authentic “punk” band I’d heard in decades. What makes FIDLAR an important band, is their ability to take the snarl of early LA punk and channel The Pixies ability to make it translate to the masses. Truly the most important record of this millenium, their self-titled debut follows a series of singles and forty some-odd videos that they made themselves, over the years. This is no slap-dash, we don’t know how to play our instruments bunch. This is a bunch of talented musicians, who’ve figured out how to take a tired genre and blow it up, much to our delight. Todd talked to guitarist/vocalist Zac Carper about skate punk, YouTube and more, as the band prepared to leave for Japan.
Todd: “Bukowski Punk”. I think we’ve created a new genre! Any objections? Getting tired of genre-classification/comparisons to other bands?
Zac: A lot of people label us as Slacker-Punk. I think I understand that, but we aren’t slackers at all. We all work hard in this band. We do a lot of the shit ourselves and we are constantly out on the road. But Bukowski punk is awesome. I love that.
Todd: I grew up in the 80′s watching skate punk videos, so I love that you guys have always embraced this concept. Can you talk about the early YouTube videos and how you built your following?
Zac: The early YouTube videos were more of a stoned haze. We would record a song and then we’d get a bunch of YouTube clips and put them together to the song. It’s our form of digital graffiti. It was more to make us laugh then a concept or a way to build fans. We just thought it was super funny.
Todd: Can we get techy with you for a moment? I love the sound on the new album. It sounds like your maxing out everything during the recording process, which gives it a distorted, but very live sound. Was it a conscious decision to record like this or just a product of your environment?
Zac: We recorded the record ourselves at our place in Highland Park, so we were EXTREMELY hands on with it. We were really picky on what we were using. We tried a lot of different microphones/guitars/amps/etc…. it was super fuckin fun. Usually the amps were turned to 10 and we compressed the shit out of everything. Sometimes compression can make things sound squished but we spent a lot of time dialing in our sound. We like big/fucked-up/distorted shit.
Todd: I read an older interview where you discussed being afraid of signing with a bigger label. How’re you feeling about that now?
Zac: Nah, we’re stoked on our label now. Mom + Pop Records. They let us do whatever the fuck we want. It’s rad.
Todd: With SXSW coming up, we’re gearing up for our coverage. As seasoned SXSW veterans, do you have any advice for people attending?
Zac: Drink water and don’t forget to eat. I always forget to do that there.
Todd: You’ve already done some pretty fun tours in the past year. Any good stories to tell us? Are The Hives as “grandiose” off-stage as on?
Zac: The Hives were fuckin amazing. That was some of the funnest times I have ever had. We all got really fucked up in Chicago for Elvis’s birthday once and all the Hives came out to celebrate. They got him so wasted he barfed on the bar. Then Vigilante got kicked out for spitting at the bartender and stealing tips. It was a pretty fun night.
Todd: You’re going to Japan! What’s the thing you’re most excited to see/eat/do while you’re there?
Zac: I have a lot of family there so I can’t wait to see them. I haven’t seen them since I was like 14 or something. I’ve been to Japan a lot growing up so I’m just stoked to be going back.
Todd: I’m going to take the “under” on one year before you release another album. Should I bet the house or save my money?
Zac: We already want to put another album out. We love recording and that whole process. So fuckin fun, but yea. We’ll put something out again soon.
02/02 – Tokyo, Japan – Hostess Club Weekender
02/13 – Berlin, Germany – Bi Nuu
02/14 – Hamburg, Germany – Ubel & Gefahrlich
02/15 – Frankfurt, Germany – Zoom Frankfurt
02/16 – Cologne, Germany – Gebaude 9
02/17 – Munich, Germany – Feierwerk / Hansa 39
02/19 – Paris, France – Fireworks! Festival
02/21 – Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy 3
02/22 – Dublin, Ireland – O2 Academy 2
02/24 – Bristol, UK – The Louisiana
02/25 – London, UK – NME Awards Show at The Garage
02/26 – Oxford, UK – O2 Academy 2
02/27 – Brighton, UK – The Haunt
02/28 – Leeds, UK – The Cockpit
03/02 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
03/04 – Antwerp, Belgium –Trix Centrum Voor Muziek
03/06 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hafenkneip
03/08 – Milan, Italy – Lo Fi
03/09 – Maastricht, Netherlands – Bruis Festival
03/10 – Zeewolde, Netherlands – Where The Wild Things Are Festival
3/17 – Prophet Bar – Dallas, TX *
3/19 – Club Congress – Tucson, AZ *
3/20 – Echo – Los Angeles, CA *
3/21 – Casbah – San Diego, CA *
3/22 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA *
3/23 – Burgerama @ The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA
3/27 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO *
3/28 – Waiting Room – Omaha, NE *
3/29 – 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN *
3/30 – Rave Bar – Milwaukee, WI *
4/01 – Subterranean – Chicago, IL *
4/02 – Basement – Columbus, OH *
4/03 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH*
4/04 – Magic Stick (Lounge) – Detroit, MI *
4/05 – Horshoe – Toronto, ON *
4/06 – Salla Rosa – Montreal, QC *
4/08 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA *
4/09 – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA *
4/11 – Glasslands – Brooklyn, NY *
4/12 – Shea Stadium – Brooklyn, NY *
4/13 – Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC *
4/15 – Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA *
4/16 – Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN *
4/18 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX *
4/20 – Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ *
4/21 – The Smell – Los Angeles, CA*
* – with Wavves