Everyone knew that group in high school: the slacking stoners who loafed around the hollow linoleum halls without a care in the world. They were the kids who listened to hardcore punk and gave off a general feeling of chagrin. So it’s hard to believe that the fast-paced, high-energy band FIDLAR could be shirked into such a narrow category. Because many people associate elevated tempo and markedly loud vocals with the slackers who wallow in it, it creates an umbrella term of jaded, angry, still-living-with-your-mother, eating-pizza-rolls-for-dinner punk. When they perform with The Orwells Friday night at the High Noon Saloon, FIDLAR will prove that, as guitarist and vocalist Zac Carper has so emphatically exclaimed, “I am not angry…We are not slackers.”
It’s true: Could those slackers from high school have created a highly successful band out of a few inebriated studio sessions and Internet savvy? And would they have been recognized with nominations for “Best Web-Born Artist” from the O Music Awards and “Best Live Act” from the Association of Independent Music? Could those deadbeats have performed around the world in a tour from the booze-soaked beaches of the Australian coast all the way to the city of Madison?
Their performance at the High Noon stage will not be a typical punk show of head banging and cacophonous guitars.
“We got clumped into this like skater punk, slacker punk thing, but we are not really slackers. We don’t just sit around and get stoned all day. People say our music is punk, but I think it’s much more poppy than punk rock. It’s just rock and roll,” Carper said.
The band is comprised of Carper and Elvis Kuehn on guitars and vocals, Max Kuehn on drums and Brandon Schwartzel on the bass. Elvis and Max are sons of beach punk legend Greg Kuehn of T.S.O.L. The two contribute the old-school punk rock feel; Brandon and Zac grew up with a different genre. Carper admits that bands like Green Day and Blink-182 were major influences on his current musical voice. The confluence of genres creates the perfect gumbo of poppy punk rock.
This “pop” is not to be confused with the synthetic, Auto-Tuned music that has brought the likes of Miley and Avicii to the forefront of today’s music culture. The band’s approach stems from a purer tradition.
“You don’t need a laptop to make music. You don’t need to be dubstep or anything like that. You just pick up a guitar and figure it out,” Carper said. This simplistic style is what makes FIDLAR’s music so satisfying to listen to. All you need are ears and an air guitar in order to jam along with them, and their lyrics will resonate with anyone who can identify with themes of being young, partying and not caring about the next step.
Carper’s songwriting process is perfectly representative of the band’s punk ethos. “I usually come up with a melody in my head, and then I create an idea about the lyrics,” he said. “At first I’ll do an acoustic version. Most of the songs on the record were acoustic songs. They started out really slow and really sad. To get me out of being bummed, I would speed up the track and yell instead of sing, and this made me feel better. It got me out of my head.”
Their production style reflects the effect they want to have on their audience Friday night: creating a carefree environment, in which concertgoers ought to, as Carper says, “put on their drinking pants.”