Ask FIDLAR bassist Brandon Schwartzel some basic questions about his band, and his answers reflect more than a bit of weariness with the rigmarole of publicity and music journalism. For example, in response to a question about when he and his bandmates — vocalist/guitarists Zac Carper and Elvis Kuehn, as well as Elvis's brother, drummer Max Kuehn — knew they wanted to be in a band together, he replies: "We were actually court-ordered to start a band for rehabilitation purposes, so I guess we all knew when the judge slammed down his gavel."
And when asked to elaborate on how and why Carper and Kuehn initially hit it off (as the story goes, the pair met while working together in a recording studio, enlisted the other two members, and emerged as FIDLAR in 2010), Schwartzel says: "Zac was actually getting picked on by some real bullies outside of the studio when Elvis happened to arrive on the scene and, to say the least, delivered each of those thugs a good wallop on the chin. Then they hugged and got a pizza and jammed together."
Schwartzel's half-wiseguy, half-serious remarks are actually completely in line with FIDLAR's carefree aesthetic — their name is an acronym for the phrase "fuck it, dog, life's a risk," and favorite lyrical topics include drinking and weed — and loose-but-assured music. The LA quartet's self-titled debut (Mom + Pop Records) contains blurry lo-fi punk infected by surf and garage rock, power-pop, and skate culture. Still, it's a mistake to consider the band slacker savants; after all, they've toured with the Hives and Jeff the Brotherhood, and recording their debut was an ambitious, calculated process.
"We really wanted to do the record ourselves, so we built a studio in our house and self-produced the whole thing together as a band," Schwartzel says. "We just wanted to record something that gave a good picture of who we are as a band."
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