Photo: Alice Baxley
Few bands are as distinctly West Coast as FIDLAR, a Los Angeles-based punk and garage trio whose founding members are descended from a famous surfboard designer and keyboardist for a famed Long Beach punk outfit. Since debuting in 2013, FIDLAR, whose name serves as an acronym for "Fuck It Dawg, Life's a Risk," has produced a diverse array of beachy rock defined by cheeky lyrics and eclectic sounds.
Pittsburgh City Paper
spoke with FIDLAR bassist Brandon Schwartzel ahead of the band's sold-out show on Tue., Jan. 23 at Spirit
, where Schwartzel, along with fellow members Max Kuehn (drums) and Zac Carper (vocals/guitar/keyboard), will be joined by Snarling Dogs and Rave Ami.
1. I just listened to your latest EP unplug and was surprised. Not only is it acoustic, the production is poppier and sunnier than your previous work. Why the shift?
Look, sometimes feral punk kids get sad and wanna listen to something that doesn’t make their ears bleed. FIDLAR is here to be the soundtrack of the entire emotional spectrum.
2. It seems like you don't adhere to any one genre or sound - in addition to last year’s unplug and That’s Life, Almost Free has elements of Beastie Boys, while your debut album was more dirtbag punk. How do you approach playing with different styles and was there ever a point where it felt unnatural or not something you were totally comfortable with?
We just make the music we want to make. We listen to all kinds of stuff. Sometimes you want to thrash out, sometimes you wanna play slow and sad. Ya know, fuck it dog. There’s no rules.
3. One thing that remains consistent throughout your music is the use of soundbites. How do you go about choosing the soundbites that intro many of your songs?
Call it the universe, call it divine intervention … sometimes the sound bite chooses you, ya know?
4. In terms of songwriting, your lyrics tend to be distinctly irreverent (I often think of "Cheap Beer," which is a big fav of mine.) Would you say you are reaching for humor in your songs?
If there’s a line or phrase that makes us laugh, we tend to turn it into a song. So the answer is yes.
5. This isn't the first time you've played in Pittsburgh. How do you feel about returning to the city? Any plans to go out and explore?
I’m excited to hit Primanti Bros.
! Been way too long.