Skate-Punk Outfit FIDLAR on Why House Shows Are More Fun, What Its Name Means, and Why It Could Have Only Come From L.A.
With FIDLAR's juvenile lyrics, pro-party sloganeering, considerable punk rock chops, and commitment to DIY ethic, the L.A. foursome has garnered a deserved buzz. Only, the band doesn't seem to care. Its members primary concerns are the next house party performance and their means of delivering unbridled garage-punk to as many energetic "kids" as possible.
FIDLAR performs this Wednesday at Bottom of the Hill
We've reviewed FIDLAR's live show twice now on All Shook Down. Each time, it absolutely trounced the headliner, so it's not surprising that the band is headlining a Bottom of the Hill show this week with only two 7-inch records released. The fruit of the band's signing to Mom+Pop Records hasn't yet been reaped, but a steady stream of raucous performances and effective self-promotion has made the upcoming album one of this year's most anticipated. We recently caught up with FIDLAR over a fickle phone connection as the band's van hurdled through Nebraska. Each member chimed in, finished one another's sentences, and was in such energetic agreement that it became difficult to differentiate individual voices as we discussed DIY ethics, L.A., and home-tattoos. FIDLAR perform this Wednesday, July 10, at Bottom of the Hill with Meat Market and The Shrills.
I know that you guys prefer DIY venues, but you're playing Bottom of the Hill this week in San Francisco. Has it become impractical for FIDLAR to play tiny, underground venues?
It's still practical. We still do a lot of DIY shows.
Why do you prefer those kinds of shows?
They're just more fun. More kids tend to come because there is no cover and they can drink! They're more laid back and kids tend to go off more.
I know that your band name is an acronym that originated with skaters, but what does "Fuck it Dog, Life's a Risk" mean to your band in particular?
[It means] pretty much exactly what it stands for. We're pretty off the cuff. We do whatever we want. It means doing what you want and not being worried about what other people think.
Do you think that FIDLAR could have started anywhere besides L.A.?
I don't think so. It's because of the environment, the skateboarders, the house parties, and whatnot. I'm sure that everywhere else in the world they have the same thing, but there is something unique about L.A. It's probably because there is so much entertainment bullshit. Everybody we were hanging out with saw that and said, "That's fucking lame."
So, FIDLAR is a reaction to L.A. being an overblown glamour capital?
In a way, yeah it is. We wanted to start something raw, do what we want, and not worry about a scene or trying to play at certain venues. It's about not having an agenda or following the way that most bands do things. Most bands move to L.A. and think there is a certain way they ought to do things.
Does everyone contribute to the writing process?
As far as the writing process goes, all songs are written by FIDLAR. That means all of us.
Obviously, FIDLAR has a reputation as a party band. When you're on the road, do people expect you to stay up and party pretty hard with them?
There is a little bit of that. It's not a ton of pressure. There aren't a bunch of people coming to our show trying to get us fucked up. It's definitely part of our show, though. We like partying.
What's the status on your upcoming Mom+Pop Records LP?
We get back to L.A. in a week or two and hopefully we will get it out by September.
I read that it was originally supposed to be out in June.
We went on tour with The Hives and we just didn't have the record finished by then. Once the tour came about, we got busy and we've been on the road for about three weeks. We had to make a bunch of merchandise, we had to buy a van, and we had to do everything else that's required by being in a band first.
FIDLAR is the only punk band on Mom+Pop Records. Do you worry that they don't know what to do with you?
Not really. We just tell them what to do with us. We're kind of doing the same thing we were doing before we got signed. They're just helping us get it to a bigger audience. As far as marketing, we've been doing everything the way we've been doing it from the beginning.
How have you been doing it from the beginning?
YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. [We use] pretty much every Internet forum we can. We'll write a song, record it, and put a video to it in the same night. The next day we'll email it to a bunch of blogs and whoever runs it first will get the exclusive. There are a couple of marketing strategies up our sleeves. There are a handful of blogs that have been covering us for the past couple years that we stay in touch with.
As FIDLAR became more popular and signed to a label with major distribution, has there been any backlash from the punk community?
I haven't heard anything. I mean, we're still very much a DIY band. Mom+Pop is putting out our album, but we recorded it at our house in a studio that we built; we're still making our own shirts and spray painting our own CD covers. The notion that it's glamorous to be signed to a record label isn't really that true any more in the music industry. We're still doing all of the work, but we have help.
Well, how many stick 'n poke tattoos does FIDLAR have combined?
Collectively, we have nine.
Do you all have "FIDLAR" tattoos?
Three out of the four of us do.
Do you every give the fourth guy a hard time about it?
Oh, every day. But he can kick all of our asses combined.