Interview: Brandon Schwartzel of FIDLAR

Fuck it Dog, Life’s a Risk!  That’s the acronym for Los Angeles-based skate-punk band FIDLAR. We aren’t breaking anything new here as they’ve been been embraced by Pitchfork, NME and the likes over the last year plus.  I met them at the Mayan last year when they opened for Cage The Elephant and was quite surprised to hear their noise. We caught up with them this past week and you can too as their tour is in full swing with The Orwells.

Interview by Charissa Lock, Aurora Cowen and Matt Downes with Brandon Schwartzel (BS) of FIDLAR.

We first learned about you at a secret show for Silversun Pickups with Cage The Elephant at the Mayan last year. Those opening slots are far and few between and always seem to be the beginning of something special for emerging artists. What did you take out of that show? or similar type shows? Do you feel elated or deflated (part of the job?) to play to crowds that may be hearing your music for the first time?

BS: That was was cool because at the time we hadn’t really opened up any big theater shows, so it was a change for us, coming from primarily house parties and DIY shows primarily. Also, we don’t really sound like either of those bands so it was a good way for us to steal some of their fans who probably wouldn’t have seen us otherwise. Personally, I like trying to win over crowds that haven’t heard us before.


Your band name FIDLAR is the acronym for “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk,” what band name might you come up with the acronym YMAEWK?

BS: Yiddish Mothers Always Execute With Kindness

Where (locaGon, place, home, etc.) do you usually find yourself creaGng new songs (lyrics, melodies, etc.)?

BS: Most of the writing happens when we’re home in LA, but we’re always gaining stories and ideas wherever and whenever they happen.

When you go on tour, you probably search for nearby skateparks in the cities you play in. Have you found any parks that are more impressive or similar to your LA ones?

BS: We stayed at our friend’s girlfriend’s parent’s house in Seattle (whom we’d never met before crashing at their house for 3 days) and they had a mini ramp in their backyard, which was rad (minus the spider infestation). 


On your tumblr amongst a wide range of creative tour posters, you have a picture of some FIDLAR tattoos. What was the more badass FIDLAR tattoo you’ve seen on a fan?

BS: I’ve been seeing a lot of people getting it on the sides of their fingers. I kind of like that one.

Artists like Kanye West, Prince and M.I.A. have been criticized for their green room diva demands while the Foo Fighters have taken it upon themselves to make jokes via colored drawings of their special requests. What are some of your individual preferences or collaborative tour riders?

BS: We enjoy the alcoholic portion of our rider quite a bit. Elvis likes hummus. Max doesn’t drink vodka. We got guacamole one time, that was cool.

Your track “No Ass,” has a little Buddy Holly vocal twinge and, of course, your 70s punk influences are plenty throughout your LP. If you could transport back into any decade to be a part of a music scene, which would you choose?

BS: It’d be cool to go back and be a (Grateful) Dead head for awhile, you know just really lose/find my mind on hallucinogens.

What was the first album you purchased with your own money?

BS: I can’t remember the first album I purchased but I remember shoplifting Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication from Target.

2013 has brought a lot of great albums to the table. With three months, what upcoming releases are you looking forward to? What have been your favorites of this year?

BS: I think Willie Nelson is putting out a new record in 2013 so that’s exciting. Some fav’s of the year: Deerhunter – Monomania, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter At The Feast and Earl Sweatshirt – Doris.

We work with a lot of baby bands and emerging artists here at ktc. If you had a piece of advice for an artist trying to break out what would it be?

BS: Advice: Don’t do bad drugs.

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