FIDLAR: An Interview

FIDLAR, an abbreviation of the skaters’ motto ‘Fuck it Dog, Life’s a Risk,’ are a garage punk outfit from California. They’re on the way to the UK this summer to reinvigorate our love of the West Coast’s skate culture and general madness. We caught up with Zac, Brandon, Elvis and Max ahead of a deserved appearance at Reading & Leeds 2013:  

You all started out in other bands, where none of you were lead – what sort of a dynamic has that created?

I think that it’s made us all very open to each other’s ideas creatively and has made our band very collaborative.

How much do you associate with the anger and downright filth of old-school punk? 

I think we all like the “fuck you” attitude of the old-school punk stuff and are definitely influenced musically by bands like Black Flag, The Germs, Dead Kennedys, etc. But as far as our band goes, we’re not very angry people, we just want to have fun and make the music we want.

How do you go about translating skate punk, a quintessentially Californian genre, for a British Audience?

We don’t really think about it too much. I mean people skate in Britain, kids in Britain definitely like to drink and get rowdy at shows, not really much to translate, our songs are pretty straight forward.

Elvis & Max’s father was the keyboardist for the legendary T.S.O.L. – was music a big part of your lives from the day you were born?

The four of us all grew up playing music and never really wanted to do anything outside of making music. But yeah especially for Max and Elvis, they were playing punk shows when they were like 10 years old.

Punk can be a naturally revolutionary genre – if you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

That they would allow you to bring bottled water on airplanes, that’s just bullshit.

‘The Smell’ in Downtown LA seems to encapsulate everything you stand for, with its DIY spirit and emphasis on making sure everyone has a good time – do you see it as a spiritual home?

Yeah it’s definitely one of our home bases back in L.A. and one of the best DIY venues around. It’s awesome that they’ve been able to keep in going for so long and keep it inexpensive and ran by volunteers. It’s such a literally spiritual home, we leave burning sacrifices at the door every time we’re home.

FIDLAR's Brandon Schwartzel - Credit @ Nina Mashurova
FIDLAR’s Brandon Schwartzel – Credit @ Nina Mashurova


How will you cope with the ‘no stage-diving’ rules at Reading & Leeds?

We’ll see what happens but stage diving is really fun.

There are so many brilliant bands playing at Reading/Leeds. Who are you most excited about playing alongside?  Eminem and our homie Kate Na$h.

What can people expect from FIDLAR at the festival? 

We’re actually going to change our clothes after every song, so we’ll probably only have time to play 5 or 6 songs.

What does the future hold for FIDLAR?

We’re in talks with acclaimed film director Michael Bay about scoring his new post apocalyptic action thriller.


FIDLAR once claimed “we think our band sucks” but we’ll pretty sure you’ll disagree with them when they appear on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage at Reading & Leeds 2013. With a possible film score on the horizon, their no holds barred live show looks set to be a main stay at festivals for years to come.

Catch FIDLAR on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage on Friday (Reading) or Saturday (Leeds). Check out our guide here.

Author: Tim Higgins

CFO/Music Correspondent Tim spends every moment he possibly can going to gigs and loves finding small venues with a great atmosphere.