Highland Park four-piece Fidlar made a name for themselves last year for their explosive skate pop-punk, which led to scarred limbs and broken mic stands at house parties across L.A.
As we wrote in March, they were either on the brink of getting huge or flaming out; looks like it was the former. On the eve of their self-titled debut album (out today) we embedded and traveled all over fucking California with them!
A House Party — Davis
January 17, 2013
On a relatively quiet neighborhood right off 5th Street in Davis lies a house on a corner, where the sidewalk is littered with bikes, cigarette butts, and college kids.
A big white van is in the driveway. Brandon Schwartzel, Fidlar's bassist, is leaning on the back smoking a cigarette as he adjusts his black beanie. He's got a green camouflage jacket and a Mickey Mouse sweater. It's the first night of Fidlar's mini California blitzkrieg.
The current tour features their good buddies Pangea and Meat Market, and may be a closing chapter of sorts. They are growing beyond house parties, but these shows are just to have fun and be around friends who they won't get to see when they're on the road all the time.
“Everything has been happening so fast… we just wanted to get back to something that was more us,” Schwartzel says.
They set up in the furniture-less living room. Bodies are already sweaty, and the kitchen is a disaster area, with broken glass on the floors and broken plates, dirty dishes, and bags of trash line on the countertops. The sink is overflowing.
The Brothers Kuehn — Max on drums and Elvis on guitar — sip beers as they finish getting ready. Schwartzel is flanked by Zac Carper, their main vocalist. A room that is supposed to hold 40 all of sudden has close a 100 people in it. With their tight knit formation, the band hopes to prevent destruction of their equipment.
Their brief set is deafening, their thrash enlivens the drunk and stoned. Crowd surfing commences, which is a wild thing to happen in a living room with short ceilings. Unfortunately all the lights go out mid-set, sending the place into complete darkness. They go back on briefly but then flicker for the rest of the set.
Afterward Carper heads out to the backyard, still sweating. He wipes his face and steam emanates from his body. “These are our people,” he says. “The broke kids who come out to our shows and drink beer in living rooms.”
Amoeba Records — San Francisco
January 18, 2013
Just after 5, the Amoeba clerk begins putting caution tape around the set of stairs leading to their stage. Elvis takes his guitar out and begins tuning; a voice above announces that they're doing an in-store followed by an autograph signing. Elvis smirks to himself as if to say, “Since when does my band get announced over a retail loudspeaker?”
“It's gonna be weird,” he says aloud. “These people may not even know who we even are.”
Upstairs, the guys discuss band riders, the Wiltern, and a strange billing with Cage the Elephant. They welcome their manager, Brian Frank, with hugs and cheers; after all, he's championed them for two years now.
Frank has word of their travel schedule, which is met with a collective groan. Their days at home are being plucked off. Flights must be booked quickly, and their labels are tossing around money, as much as can be tossed in this day and age. (Their UK label, Wichita Recordings, wants the guys to stop over in London to do promotion after their Japan run.) It looks like they might not be home until April.
A notary has also arrived. She's hear to talk publishing contracts for their album. Oh, and to get them to sign. The feeling seems to be: Excited yet nervous.
“Can we sign in purple [ink] or is that not ok?” Elvis says. Alice Baxley, Carper's sister and band photographer, hovers above her brother as he flips through the pages, dropping down his Hancocks.
“This is it, man,” she says. “Selling your soul the devil, man.”