by Quinn Thomas
VANCOUVER – “Fuck it dog, life’s a risk” is the expanded name of the Los Angeles based skate punk band who exploded in 2012 with the release of their single, “Cheap Beer.” Since then FIDLAR have been honing their skills and crafting catchy pop songs with a relatable edge. Their aesthetic strongly resonates with the youth and the hungover mornings that come with partying. But to simply reduce the quartet to just being a party band would be a disservice.
Frontman Zac Carper is easy to claim as a modern-day artistic workhorse. He is always touring or recording but prefers the latter. This is due in part to a rocky history with substance abuse and recovery.
“I write songs because I gotta write songs,” Carper says. “To me, it’s like my therapy. I don’t really have a life outside of this. Everyone else in the band has girlfriends and they’re from L.A so they have a lot of friends, but I just stay in my studio and create my own little world.”
On Carper’s latest material, traditional rock instrumentation has been pushed aside in favour of distorted 808s and rattling hi-hats, which are staples of trap influenced hip-hop.
“A lot of what’s trending right now is some of the most punk rock music,” he says. “Studios are studios and people can make amazing records in their bedroom.”
Cultivating emerging ideas then blending it to taste with traditional methods is how music advances. So pulling aesthetics from Soundcloud-based rap artists, Carper is really just blending punk from a traditional and modern perspective. This pushes both punk and hip-hop forward in ways, similar to bands like Death Grips.
“The reality is that if it’s a good song, that’s what is gonna make it last longer. That’s why I like XXXtentacion and Lil Pump and all those that are really doing well right now they have great songs.”
Having just finished recording a new studio album, his influences range from production done by Mario Caldato Jr., War, The Black Keys and most notably Kanye West’s, divisive sixth album, Yeezus.
“I love that record so much that record is a huge influence on our new record, Yeezus. That’s like one of the most punk records ever.”
On September 13th, 2018 the single “Too Real” was released. Upon first listen it’s easy to identify that polished, glossy, industrial hip-hop sound that lends itself well to being blended with organic instrumentation. The track just oozes Yeezus from the skipping 808s at the beginning of the song, to lyrics dealing in socio-economic commentary (watch the music video and you’ll get it), to painting midway through the song. All these elements are found in tracks like “I Am A God” and “New Slaves”.
This all seems like a positive direction for the group and the punk rock genre they are building on as well. Paving the way for more bands to explore a broader textural sonic palette, FIDLAR offer a breath of fresh air to the trappings of conventional instrumentation that have been choking punk rock for so long.
FIDLAR perform at the Vogue Theatre on October 29.The Vogue Theatre