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Interview: Spend Halloween With FIDLAR

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 29, 2013 7:15PM


Short for 'Fuck It Dog, Life's A Risk,' L.A.-based skate-punks FIDLAR have been touring in support of their self-titled debut and have taken Chicago's own teen garage rockers, The Orwells, along for the ride including a sold-out Halloween show at Subterranean.

FIDLAR spews raw and rowdy party odes like “Wake Bake Skate” and “Cheap Beer” to match the sweat and PBR-drenched pit at their shows. We caught up with bassist Brandon Schwartzel somewhere between a New York City all-nighter and a sound check in Philly to discuss planning for an upcoming album, their party music preferences, and Halloween costume choices.

Chicagoist: You’ve got some of our underage Chicago youth along for this tour. The Orwells have said that FIDLAR inspired them to form a band. What’s it like touring with them?

Brandon Schwartzel: It’s awesome. They’re a band that we’ve crossed paths with here and there in the past year. They’re just a really good band and they liked our band so it just made sense to tour together. It’s been great so far. We’ve had a lot of fun with them. A lot of unknown to the venue drinking haha. They’re not allowed to, but we sneak them some stuff every now and then.

Chicagoist: You’re going to be supporting The Pixies next year. How did that come about?

Brandon Schwartzel: Um I have no idea. (laughs) It’s insane. It’s like a dream come true. That was like when we first started working with our booking agent, and manager, and getting a team. They would say, “What are your goals? What are your dream tours?” We were like, “Is that a serious question? I don’t know, get us a tour with The Pixies! How about that?” Thinking it’s never gonna happen. Now it’s a reality and we’re very, very excited. They’re one of our favorite bands.

C: Any other big changes since FIDLAR has been signed?

BS: Mom and Pop is our label and they basically let us do whatever we want. One of the main reasons we signed with them is because they didn’t have any ideas for our band. It sounds like a bad thing, but they were like you guys have your thing. We’ll just give you some money so you can go out on the road and put out your record. It’s cool that they’re very supportive.

C: Punk is always going through phases and it seems like right now there’s kind of a movement around bands like you, Ty Segall, JEFF the Brotherhood, I guess garage punk for lack of a better term. What do you think it is about your sound that people are connecting with right now?

BS: I think the music industry has gotten to the point where you can do things yourself. Make your own records and put them out on the internet. Part of it is with these artists they just want to make the music they want to make. I think that connects with the audience because it’s pretty real and pretty raw. Bands like us, and Ty, and JEFF the Brotherhood, people hear and think, “Oh shit we could do that.” I think it’s more like that punk attitude. Instead of “Fuck everything,” it’s like, “I don’t need you. I just wanna do this myself, have fun, and play the music I want to play.” Then kind of a scene emerges naturally around that attitude.

C: You guys self-recorded the album. What’s the approach going to be on the next one?

BS: We’ve just started talking about it. We’ve always made all of our recordings ourselves. Our band literally started in the studio; we just got together and started recording songs. So that’s something the four of us like being a part of, being in there, messing with the gear, and experimenting a lot. The first record we really wanted to do that way, self-record it, self-produce it, record it in Zac and my house in a studio that we built. It was as DIY as it could be, but it was also a lot of fucking work. We almost all just died because it was a lot to do.

I think we’re going to rebuild our studio when we get off tour and get to be in LA for a little bit. We’ll probably have someone come in to engineer, but we’ve got to write the songs first.

C: Any idea when we can expect a new album?

BS: This tour is wrapping up a few days after we play Chicago. Then we’ll be home for the rest of November and December so we’ll try recording and writing during that time. Things move pretty fast once we get going. Hopefully we’ll have something out by next spring, an EP if not a full record. It’s hard to create stuff when you’re gone all the time, but we’ve got all these pent up ideas.

C: FIDLAR are always getting labeled as slackers although you’re constantly touring and turning out new material. How much of the time are you guys actually fucked up?

BS: I don’t think we’re fucked up more than any other band. We just talk about it more. We’re just young dudes in a band, and everyone in their twenty-somethings gets fucked up. We like partying and doing those things we talk about in our songs, but it’s definitely a band first and that is extra. It makes being in a band more fun at times. If we had to choose it would be no contest. We’re in a band to make music not just to get fucked up haha.

C: What bands do you like to party to?

BS: I’m trying to think of songs I always play when I get fucked up. Probably “Bad Kids” by Black Lips. Actually, I always listen to “Africa” by Toto, I don’t know why because it’s not really a party song. I’m an R&B fan and no one else really likes it, so I’ll play a lot of R. Kelly and some Usher. Usher’s “Climax” I listen to really loud by myself in the van.

C: FIDLAR was originally called Fuck the Clock. What advice do you have for your fans who are stuck in their day jobs?

BS: We put out some songs under that name. I’d say quit and start a band haha. Some people like 9-to-5s, we’re just not really into it.

C: You guys are playing Chicago on Halloween. Can we get a group costume going?

BS: We’re trying to think of something. I have proposed what I think is the best idea. I want to be the Ninja Turtles, but instead of dressing up like turtles dress up like the painters they’re named after. Like dress up as Renaissance painters but have the Ninja Turtles face masks and weapons. For some reason, I can’t picture Elvis in particular getting behind this.

Watch Nick Offerman get fired and piss all over everything in this very NSFW video for FIDLAR’s “Cocaine.”