When RedBullUSA.com spoke with FIDLAR at the beginning of last summer, the Los Angeles skate-punk band was preparing to tour with the Hives and planning to release its debut album by the end of the summer.
The Hives tour went off without a hitch, but after finding the album mix to be unsatisfactory, they had producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Guided By Voice, Elliott Smith, et al.) take another stab at it. Following some delays, FIDLAR's self-titled debut was released last week on the Mom & Pop Music label.
“We're stoked on it now, so it's cool,” says FIDLAR bassist bassist Brandon Schwartzel. “And we've been selling the album at our shows since October, so for us it's already been out for a while, but whatever.”
Now that the album's out, and the band has been steadilyy zig-zagging across the U.S. as well as playing shows and festivals in Europe, we caught up with Schwartzel to get an update on the wild world of FIDLAR.
RedBullUSA.com: Last year, you mentioned you were sick of how the press keeps calling you slackers and focusing on how much you like to party, rather than focus on the music. Has this changed?
FIDLAR: It's changing a little bit. We hadn't toured very much at that time. The Hives tour was our first tour, and since then we've done European and U.S. tours nonstop, and also our own warehouse shows in L.A. whenever we're back in town. It's pretty evident that we're not slackers, and that we're always working. But our songs are about having no jobs, no money and fucking around, so it's expected. This is hard work, though. We bust ass.
RedBullUSA.com: How was your first trip to Europe?
FIDLAR: It was great. We played a few huge festivals. European festivals are way crazier than the ones in the States. They're massive, and out in the country, and there are roller coasters and shit. It's like a big state fair with tons of bands playing. And it's bands from all over the world, where a lot of U.S. festivals are just U.S. bands.
We went back to Europe again at the end of the year to do some small headlining shows. We sold out this one 400 capacity show, and it was crazy. One of the security guards dived off the stage. I had never seen that before. Everyone was telling us that when you play Paris or London, it's like an arms-folded kind of scene. But the shows ended up being as rowdy as our L.A. shows.
RedBullUSA.com: The people who told you that are probably just in really shitty bands.
FIDLAR: True. It's just cool to know that no matter where we play, everyone's rowdy and wants to have fun. People love to fuck around and push each other. Kids love getting fucking up and listening to loud music all over the world. It's like a universal thing that people like to do.
"We sold out this one 400 capacity show, and it was crazy. One of the security guards dived off the stage. I had never seen that before."
RedBullUSA.com: Have you been reading any of the reviews since the album came out?
FIDLAR: I just read the Pitchfork review this morning, and it seemed pretty good. Pitchfork's kinda “whatever,” but I guess they're tastemakers, and a lot of people go to that website. I thought their review was pretty spot-on and positive. There have been some negative reviews. But that's a good thing, because our record's not something everyone should like. It would be weird if there were no bad things said about the band. Someone has to hate it.
RedBullUSA.com: What sort of people do you think will automatically hate FIDLAR?
FIDLAR: Probably super-arty, indie kids. They probably think our songs are immature, and not well thought-out. But those people are up their own asses. And maybe not old people. I don't think my grandparents have heard the record, but I know for sure that my parents aren't into it. They think this is a phase I'm going through, but I've been playing music forever. I wish they'd realize this is not gonna change. They're still proud of me as a person, but they don't dig the music.
But we do have a lot of old, stoked rock dads coming up to us after the shows. They're awesome. We played some shows with OFF!, the punk band, and it was cool to see all these old Black Flag dads be totally into our shit. It's nice to have that old punk guy cred.
RedBullUSA.com: But your parents still don't dig FIDLAR?
FIDLAR: My mom's happy that the band's doing well, and that we're traveling, touring and selling records. She just doesn't like the music. But we make music your parents shouldn't like. If my parents were like “Oh, your new record is so great!” then I'd know we were doing something wrong.