Downstairs in Camden Dingwalls, Clash get ready to interview Zac Carper (lead singer and guitarist) and Elvis Kuehn (vocals and lead guitarist) from FIDLAR. Their PR asks if we would like a drink. We’re worried. The bar has Red Stripe, but that may be too expensive for a band that have a tune called ‘Cheap Beer’, which has a video featuring an oversized tattoo clad punk going round people’s houses to beat and blow up who ever drinks overpriced beer. I opt for Fosters instead, just to be on the safe side. But would they really spit on us even if we did order a pint that cost over £4? We delve into the depths of the punk psyche to see what FIDLAR are really about.
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We noticed that on your new album you’ve re-recorded songs like ‘No Waves’ and ‘Wake Bake Skate’. Any reason for that?
Zac: ‘No Waves’ was the original recording, but we added the drums and guitars to it. It’s a lot of demo versions but we added a lot of shit on it. So everyone is on the album.
How come you didn’t add fan favourites like ‘Awkward’ and ‘West Coast’?
Z: We recorded those songs after the album was done. So they’ll be on the next album.
The video for ‘West Coast’ makes fun of Henry Rollins and the whole straight edge ethos. What do you think of that whole scene?
Elvis: It wasn’t so much a comment on that. We don’t really play a lot with the straight edge bands, they’re into the hardcore scene. I have friends that are into it. I don’t have anything against them.
Z: The video was just making fun of those commercials (video features a lot of anti-drug messages), because they are hilarious. We grew up watching those.
E: One of our interviewers actually thought Henry Rollins was in the video. We just played along with it.
Z: We said he did ten push ups every time he was bummed out.
E: It was just a phone interview with a college radio station.
Z: Which was live on air too!
So are you guys fans of Black Flag?
E: Yeah, Keith Morris is awesome. We’ve played 3 or 4 shows with Off!. One of the shows we played with them, he was like: ‘FEEDLAR! Fuck it dude life’s a rip off.’
Kate Nash is a huge fan of yours. How did that come about?
Z: My roommate is her manager for acting. She was at our house one time and we were like, ‘who’s this British girl?’ I had no idea who she was.
Whose idea was it to put her vocals on ‘Awkward’?
Z: It was my idea, we recorded that song and I was like it would be nice to have female vocals on it. We recorded all that stuff at our house.
You guys are known for playing covers at your show (Blink 182, CCR). What’s the reasoning behind that? Any others you do?
Z: We done a recording of ‘Common People’, the Pulp song. It just goes with what we’re listening to at the time. The Lexington show, before that we played in Hackney at Radfest, and all these kids came up to us and were like: ‘why didn’t you play Dammit!?’ So we said: ‘you come to the show tomorrow and we’ll play ‘Dammit’.’ And everyone came and was like: ‘DAMMIT! DAMMIT!’
What’s your problem with expensive beer?
Z: Absolutely nothing! Like, this must be expensive, it’s nice as shit (points to bottle of Kopparberg cider he’s drinking). Nothing against it, the song’s just a story, just kinda about snobby people. People that won’t drink cheap beer. FUCK POSH.
How will FIDLAR be spending christmas?
E: Brandon (Schwartzel, their bassist) gets into Christmas.
Z: He’s like a kid in a fucking candy store. He takes so fucking long to pick out a Christmas tree.
E: I just go to my grandparents...
Z: I get a six pack and some Xanax and stay in my room. Not doing that this year, done that last year...it got dark.
*Interview gets interrupted by a waitress wanting to move us for a private party.
Z: Fuck your party! Fuck you and your fucking party! We not good enough for you?
You’re all known for partying. What’s your wildest party memory?
Z: I don’t remember this...but a couple of weeks ago I apparently peed all over Brandon’s backpack. I feel really bad. We were on tour with Jeff The Brotherhood and we all went out one night to this very sketchy bar.
E: It was super gangster and the bar tender was just pouring vodka in all our mouths and playing that song ‘Shots’.
Z: Yeah and the DJ was shouting: ‘WHITE BOYS GET FUCKED UP TOO!’ We went back to the hotel, I blacked out and peed all over Brandon’s backpack. I read this on a blog...I don’t remember this, but apparently Max did a bump before we played ‘Cocaine’.
E: I remember that. That actually happened.
Z: We were like: ‘this song’s called ‘Cocaine’!’ He was just like (does massive sniffing noise). A lot of ecstasy, a lot of cocaine, a lot of drugs.
The band don’t boast. Their Dingwalls’ gig is the epitome of chaos: blood gushing from noses, sweat dripping from the ceiling, and a lot of beer chugged and chucked around. It’s almost like how Satan would spend his Tuesday night, if he had the recipe for a perfect pop punk chorus.
Drugs, drinking and urine. Just a regular night for FIDLAR.
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Words by Jamie Carson