Thanks to the massive sticker bearing their name on the front door, it’s pretty easy to spot FIDLAR’s rehearsal, party and doss space, located in east Los Angeles’ artsy but still “ghetto-as-shit” enclave of Highland Park. Upstairs, in a tiny, sweat-dripping sauna of a room, the stoner skate-rats – including Hawaii-raised frontman Zac Carper, who has stripped down to his underwear – are practising for their first ever European shows. With one small rotating fan doing a pitiful job of keeping the temperature down, it’s hard to believe this is where the band played their first gigs. “We could fit like, 50 people at the most in there,” explains a now fully dressed Zac, supping a Tecate with bassist Brandon Schwartzel and guitar-and-drum-playing brothers Elvis and Max Kuehn. “It’s a small-ass room.”
Waking up one morning after a legendary house party, Zac found whisky-washed east Hollywood poet Charles Bukowski’s epitaph ‘Don’t Try’ spray painted above his bed. So they nicked it for the title of their current EP, which comes ahead of the autumn release of their debut album. A four-track grot’n’roll triumph, ‘Don’t Try’ kicks off with the Beach Boys-via-Black Flag throwdown of ‘No Waves’ – a song inspired by Zac’s time in rehab and not, as some have suggested, a dig at fellow SoCal weed enthusiasts Wavves.
“The counsellors always ask you, ‘How do you feel?’” he explains. “The song’s about saying, ‘I dunno – I just wanna go surfing, have fun and party with my friends.’”
“And not be in rehab,” adds Max, who after turning 21 yesterday and having his fake ID taken off him the week before, is glugging one of his first legal beers. Despite their punk leanings, FIDLAR are massive classic rock-heads, slipping clattering Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon covers into their hectic sets. Oh, and Blink-182. “If there’s a lot of kids going off, we play ‘Dammit’,” admits Zac. “But we wanna record a country album one day.” If their country songs are even half as good as their Del Taco-fuelled, mosh-pit starting lo-fi pop racket, then we’re in.
Need To Know
For fans of: The Black Lips, Wavves
Based: Los Angeles
See them live: Radfest (August 19), The Lexington (August 20), Reading and Leeds Festivals (August 24-26).
Believe it or not: As well as growing ranks of fans, each member of the band has a DIY, sewing-needle FIDLAR tattoo. Well, all apart from Elvis – “because I’m not stupid.” “We’ll get him one day,” laughs Zac.