To musical purists, Los Angeles' FIDLAR isn't all that complicated. To the Urban Outfitters, vinyl-collecting teen set, FIDLAR could be seen as intimidating. To the dirty, denim-clad, skateboarding, chainsmoking neo-angst kids, FIDLAR is a voice. Acronymic for Fuck It Dog, Life's A Risk, the band, in all aspects of their approach, embody the antithesis of stereotyped current Los Angeles music. They're brash, they're loud, and you'll likely leave a show bloody, covered in beer, or both -- they're simply fun as hell.
Of all things, FIDLAR was formed as a viable response to the frustrations of its members: An outlet that differed from the Silver Lake and Echo Park scenes, something in line with the rise of similarly heavy acts like The Shrine and Pangea, and even the major-to-minor label change for bassist Brandon Schwartzel, who came from slicked-back L.A. brethren act Rooney.
"Me and Zac lived in Echo Park and Silver Lake for a long time and were around all those indie bands that were playing, and that was kind of one of the reasons that we started making music that we do," says Schwartzel, speaking by phone after having just stepped out of a Russian spa in Seattle. "We just wanted to play loud, playing with bands that had the same attitude. It's awesome to see everyone doing well."
Having found a home on New York's Mom + Pop Music, FIDLAR, along with Californian compatriots Wavves, stand out in the roster as the more rambunctious foil to acts like Metric and Hunters. While the label deal was initially questioned by the band, wondering if their approach and sound would fit in with the established indie brand, the Mom + Pop alliance has proven to be an ideal fit for the band.
"A lot of people say 'That's the enemy,' that's the label and all of the bullshit that comes with being a band, but you can find a way to work it out," Schwartzel says. "We basically just tell [Mom + Pop] what we want to do and they put it out, which is cool, it's how it should be."
What FIDLAR does is fast, frenzied, and reminiscent of skate culture, even if it's not readily recognizable.
Laced with insider Californian references on songs like headbang-ready "5 to 9" or "Cheap Beer," L.A. is as much a part of FIDLAR's sound as the pages they've torn from the punk bible. One can't help but wonder if FIDLAR's at the forefront of a new punk movement, now stemming from Highland Park and Culver City rather than the late '70s wave from the South Bay.
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"We didn't just wind up [in Los Angeles], and we're not aggro about it, like 'We're only gonna record in L.A., we're never gonna leave!'" Schwartzel laughs. "As of now we've been touring a bunch and we check out other cities and you go to a new town, going 'Maybe I could live here,' but whenever I come back home, I go, 'No, this is better.'"
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As the epicenter of West Coast hedonism, there doesn't seem to be a place than L.A. that's better suited to FIDLAR's ethic, or lack thereof. The band's longevity isn't a question, as they're not the types to plan that far ahead. Whether in lyricism or evidenced by their live set, FIDLAR is about what feels good and what's most fun in the moment.
"We don't really think about it too much, we make the music we want and we record how we want to record, put it out how we want to put it out," Schwartzel says. "For us, that keeps us happy because we're never not doing something we want to do."
FIDLAR are scheduled to play Crescent Ballroom on Tuesday, September 24.
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