Los Angeles skate punkers, FIDLAR, are by now famously devil may care. Their songs are about having a good time, all the time, even in the bad times.
However, on the road, there are lessons to be learnt, sometimes from unexpected quarters.
“The first tour we did was with The Hives,” vocalist/guitarist, Zac Carper recalls. “And after the tour Nick the guitar player came up to me and said, ‘This is the first tour you’ve ever done. What did you learn?’ I said straight away, ‘not to bring my skateboard ever again’ (laughs) because we’d play then just get wasted and go skating all night and wake up the next morning and go, ‘oh my god what the fuck did we do?’ That’s what The Hives guys had found too; after their first tour they never brought along their skateboards again.
“Actually, we still bring skateboards, but we don’t skate so heavily on tour. You can’t be waking up in the morning with a broken finger.” It’s been pretty non-stop for FIDLAR in recent times. Their self-titled debut album has captured worldwide attention and they’ve been working hard in support of it.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Carper says. “We’ve been pretty much on tour since June (2012). We’ve only had a couple weeks off, here and there. “Our lives have completely changed in the past year. My friend, who is an older guy who has been in music forever, said, ‘you better put your seatbelt on now, ‘cause it’s gonna go fast’.”
What we have here is a bunch of friends doing what they like, pretty much entertaining themselves, with everyone else getting in on it. It’s like The Janoskians, but with (real) good songs and people who are actually kinda charming.
“Yeah, it’s funny because we thought we were the only people that had this kind of sense of humour,” Carper says. “Then we play shows and we meet all these people and it’s like, ‘oh my God, these are our people’ (laughs). They’re all like people we would hang out with at home, you know? It’s crazy how everybody is responding to it. We are just cracking each other up, that’s the main thing.”
A recent website posting displays this nicely, utilising Daft Punk-styled imagery with the phrase, ‘Random Acid Memories’. It’s tour bus/toilet humour write large.
“Yeah, we use the internet a lot, you know? Especially when we were first starting, our first videos were just other people’s YouTube clips collaged together into one YouTube clip. It’s done mostly just to crack each other up.”
It’s cracking up around the world by the looks, with FIDLAR coming out to Australia for Splendour In The Grass, adding to their growing list of major festival appearances. “We did Reading and Leeds last year,” Carper notes; “we did Lollapalooza. Before we hit Australia we’re doing a whole European tour that is pretty much just only festivals for like, six weeks.
“We have like Coachella and festivals in California and the US, but it’s not like it is in the UK and Europe… and I’m guessing how it is in Australia. The rest of the world, this festival thing is fucking insane (laughs).
“The way that I look at it is that if we’re playing a festival or playing our friend’s living room, we’re just gonna play the same way. Sometimes you do look out and see a mass amount of people and you’re like, ‘okay. Alright. Don’t die. Don’t have a panic attack’, you know? But that all goes away when we start playing.”
Playing so much in recent times has had several good effects on the band.
“We’ve definitely got tighter,” Carper says. “That’s for sure. We’ve just become more honest. As the band progresses, the more we get to know each other the more friends we’ve become. So now it’s just like, ‘woah, I don’t like that’. We don’t really beat around the bush over anything. Sometimes I’ll bring in a song and they’ll be like, ‘this song sucks, dude’. I have to go, ‘okay, it kind of does’, you know? So we’ve become more honest. We’ve played so many shows this past year that it’s become a lot tighter.”
The quartet are so close-knit by this time, that Harper couldn’t imagine a new member joining. At the very least they’d have to induct themselves through years of in-jokes.
“That’s funny,” he notes, “I was just talking about this to my room mates. I was like, ‘I can’t see myself in this band without the four of us’. If one person quite it would be like, ‘oh well, this band is over. Let’s start something new’. We split everything four ways. No matter who does what, everything is split four ways because this is a band and we want to be a band.
“It’s not like Zac & The FIDLARS, or Max & The FIDLARs. It’s FIDLAR and it’s the four of us.”
It’s been a couple years since Carper and co. were stealing studio time in the early hours of the morning to record their first demos. They may be world travelled by now, but their modest attitude remains the same.
“Those songs that we recorded were songs about us being in our 20s in Los Angeles and being broke,” Carper says. “It’s just what was going on.
“And now, well I don’t know how the next record will sound. We don’t really think about it, we just go in and do whatever we do. I bet a lot of the songs are gonna be about touring because we’ve been on tour forever.”
On FIDLAR’s online store there are skate decks emblazoned with the band’s name. Sounds like that could be a dream come true?
“Totally, man,” Harper enthuses. “Before FIDLAR was a band, it was a saying that we used (‘Fuck it dawg, life’s a risk’) when we all went skateboarding. It was like, ‘oh my god, what if we started a skate company called FIDLAR?’ Everybody had these ideas about FIDLAR, about what to do with it, then we started the band and we were like, ‘let’s just name our band FIDLAR and maybe we can turn that into something too’. It’s just became like this thing and as time went on we went, ‘let’s make some skate decks, woo-hoo!’
“We were just doing whatever we wanted to do and now we have people that like us that will give us money to do whatever we want to do.”