FIDLAR learn how to deal with life
LA four-piece FIDLAR today release their sophomore full length album. Courtney Dabb chatted to Zac from the band:
Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. Stoked and Broke from your self-titled release is a blistering track which I would recommend to anyone wanting to understand FIDLAR. It may be obvious, but what is the band’s ethos and vision?
The Ethos and Vision of FIDLAR is to do whatever the fuck you want to do. Whether its, “Hey, I wanna go to college and become a lawyer” or “Hey, I wanna draw fantasy dragons for the rest of my life,” it’s all about chasing your dream and not letting anyone tell you what to do. When I was writing the first album, all I wanted to do was get play shows, write songs, drink beer, do drugs, get stoned, watch TV, go skate, go surf… Hence where Stoked and Broke came from.
Would you say that your new album Too is a straight evolution from your previous releases or a completely separate beast that doesn’t share much in common with its predecessor?
It is definitely an evolution. This record is the day after the storm. The day after the bender. A sort of PTSD.
How far back do some of those songs stretch back? Is it all relatively all new material or have some of these songs been with you for years and are only now seeing the light of day?
Some songs are older songs that have been re-worked. Some songs are brand new. Its funny. I was listening to old Voice memos and I heard some connections being made from that to this record. Sometimes it takes months/years to write a song. Sometimes old ideas become new ideas after some time. “Bad Habits” was actually one of the first songs I started writing for this new record and that happened years ago. The melody came to me and it started years of working on lyrics. changing things out, etc… I think that song in particular explains everything that has happened in the band.
Was there a greater sense of confidence in recording and producing this album, being you’re second release?
No. It was actually a little more nerve-wrecking. This was the first time we went in with a real deal producer and in a really awesome nice recording studio. It was nerve-wrecking but a necessary venture. Jay Joyce (our producer) challenged us in ways that we could not imagine. This record definitely could not have been made without him.
What does this album say about you and the stage of your life that you are in right now?
This record is definitely different from what people think of us as. I was 20 when we started fidlar. I am 28 right now. The first record was a different time in all of our lives. This second record is right now. The third record is gonna be the future. I write from personal experiences, so for me to write about “getting fucked up all the time” would’ve been a lie, because I don’t get fucked up all the time anymore. This album is more about the problems that arise with extensive partying and learning how to deal with life in general, because without the help of drugs and alcohol, life can be really fuckin hard.
Do you feel that there is a danger in losing the intensity of your sound over time and sustaining such a balls-against-the-wall approach to life and music?
I don’t believe in ideas of “losing our sound” because whatever we sound like at the time is whoever we are. If we decide to start playing Country music tomorrow, then FIDLAR is a country band. If we decide to start playing Polka music then FIDLAR is a Polka band. Its about being who you are and not being ashamed of it.
As your success and global awareness snowballs, you have gained the attention and had the privilege of playing with some iconic acts including The Pixies & The Hives. Did you as a band take anything in particular anyway from playing with these acts that has enhanced your sound or gained any insights that have helped you as musicians?
Pele from The Hives really taught me a lot about being a performer. He taught me how to engage with the audience. We used to go on stage and just blast through songs and get off of stage, but he taught me that I should engage with the audience. I owe him a lot for that. They also drank us under the table. Those Swedes can fuckin party. Fuckin Vikings man…
I remember seeing you guys in 2013 when you were last in Australia and having just survived being crushed to death by a frenzied crowd, it was one of the most high octane performers I’ve ever seen. What were the live acts you witnessed as a punter that made you think ‘yes this is how an artist should engage with their audience?’
I remember seeing the Black Lips and that changed my life. I thought there wasn’t any more rock bands in the world that had that kind of energy and that controlled chaos. Thee Oh Sees was another one that had that. Amazing bands.
You are in the midst of a world tour on the back of your new album. What have been some of most memorable gigs to date and why?
Definitely Australia. We’ve never been treated so kindly by a group of people. I remember when after we played Splendor in the Grass, we went to our hotel we were staying at. We went into our rooms at the same time and everyone came running back out and was like “dude! WTF? this hotel room is bigger then my apartment!” that was the point where we all felt like things were kind of lifting off. Crazy man.
Do you find touring to be inspirational whereby it helps you write and create more material or are you so focused on the task at hand that writing and creating new material takes a back seat?
Touring is definitely an inspiration for me. I love being on the road and having unreal experiences that can only happen on the road. I actually write a lot on the road but it’s a different kind of writing. It’s more about the thinking of the songs. The ideas. The stories.
What does music give you that nothing else does?
Music is like Xanax to me. It’s an anti-anxiety drug. It helps me deal with everything in my life. When I’m happy, I listen to music. When I’m sad, I listen to music. It is the great neutraliser.
What has the rest of 2015 have instore for you?
A lot of touring. A lot of stories.
Keep up to date with Fidlar on Facebook. Their second full length album, Too, is out on September 4, 2015.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.