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Fidlar on Hangovers, House Parties, and How They Came Up With Their Name

Fidlar on Hangovers, House Parties, and How They Came Up With Their Name
Jennie Warren

See also our feature story: Fidlar Are Drunk, Reckless and Proud of It

Our print feature story this week focuses on Fidlar, Highland Park-based garage punks who are creating major industry buzz without seeming to give a fuck.

Over the course of a beer-drenched BBQ at their home-recording studio, they shared their thoughts between gulps of Bud Light. There wasn't enough room for all of their choice quotes within the article, so here are the inebriated musings of Zac Carper, Brandon Schwartzel, and Elvis and Max Kuehn:

On growing up with their dad in legendary punk act T.S.O.L.:

Elvis Kuehn: My brother and I grew up playing music. My dad gave Max a drum set for his first birthday and got me a guitar later and was like 'That's what you're each gonna play.'

On their adolescent band, The Diffs:

Elvis Kuehn: Max was 12 and I was 13 and we played with all the old punk bands: T.S.O.L., Adolescents, Circle Jerks, Germs. It was weird getting to open for all our legends.

On the Kuehn brother's first musical efforts:

Carper: We got some them on film. (The whole band laughs) Their talent shows, we have them on VHS.

On Fidlar's first jam sessions:

Elvis: The recording studio where we both worked wasn't booked, so me and Zac jammed with some random dude on drums. I was playing Farfisa organ and Zac was playing guitar and we jammed for three hours straight.

Carper: Yeah we jammed for like three hours. We were all hungover! We were super hungover and said, 'Fuck it, let's just jam.' After that we were like: fuck man we should start a band.

Elvis: We would bring in Brandon and Max and record demos all night there.

Carper: Yup, get drunk and record all night.

Schwartzel: It was sweet to have this open vein of a really cool studio. It was called "The Ship" and we pretty much had the keys. We'd go any chance we could just to mess around and see what happened.

On moving to Los Angeles:

Carper: I love L.A. I loved it ever since the start, I've been here for four years. There's been some rough times, but there's rough times anywhere.

On being known for playing house parties, and killing it:

Carper: Before DIYDUI came out we didn't even have a venue show...

Elvis: We didn't have any shows! We weren't getting booked anywhere so we were like fuck it let's just have parties at our place and we'll have our friends play, you know we had The Shrine play and our friend Brian's band Kissing Booth play. And we'd play. So that's how we got people to hear our music. In that room [gestures to the band's "live room" across the hall] it gets so fucking hot and crazy. There's no ventilation.

 

On their first EP, DIYDUI:

Elvis: There were so many demos it was just a matter of picking the tracks we wanted to be on it. We had probably thirty or so...

Carper: I actually counted them the other day it was like almost forty...

Elvis: But "Wake, Bake, Skate" was always automatically going to be the first track on the EP. That was kind of a given.

Carper: We went into the DIYDUI sessions with the mentality of playing live, how that shit sounded live.

On what success means to them:

Carper: Right now we just want to pay the rent! You're always going to come back from touring broke, that's just what happens, but I'd love to come back to our house and be able to pay rent here just from playing music.

Max Kuehn: We want to be able to tour and play for people. A lot of bands go on tour and play to empty crowds, but I think it would be awesome to play for lots of people.

Elvis: With the new record I want it to show every side of the band. Have it show that we're not just a punk band. Show every kind of influence that we have. I think it's going to be a test to see who still likes us after it. It's going to be produced, recorded, and mixed by us here in this house. Just learning to trust our own opinions.

On their "fuck-it" vibe:

Elvis: It's just about doing what you want. It's hard to really say that without sounding cliche.

Carper: Then don't sound cliche. (Laughter) Out of everyone that we know, we do whatever we want. Well, not whatever we want. We wanted to call ourselves "Fuck The Clock", but eventually we went with Fidlar. It's a skate thing; you see FIDLAR tagged all over. The name just kinda stuck.

Schwartzel: I think because there's just some of that attitude with us.

Elvis: If you look at content of our lyrics and even the kind of music we play we're not trying to make it radio friendly or anything like that. It's just about honestly, blatant honesty.

Carper: "Wake, Bake, Skate", "Cheap Beer", "Max Can't Surf", all those songs are true stories. Max really can't surf.

See also our feature story: Fidlar Are Drunk, Reckless and Proud of It

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