I walked up to The Biltmore before the show began with a set interview with FIDLAR’s Zac Carper. A white van was parked outside the main entrance with a crowd hanging under a cloud of smoke. The band was smoking weed in the van. Perfect. Brandon Schwartzel (bassist) was kind enough to introduce himself and helped me find Zac. He knocked on the door and, almost instantly, the door opened and Zac’s head poked out from behind the door. We walked inside, sat in a booth and talked about drugs, beer, penises, and rock music.
Vancouver Weekly: So, is this your first time in Vancouver?
Zac Carper: No, we played here with The Hives… a year ago?
Where was that?
Dude, I don’t remember [chuckles]. It was a year ago and it was a pretty drunk tour. We were all trying to think about it today. The border guy was like “have you played in Vancouver before?” And we were like “Yeah!” And then he was like “where did you guys play?” And it was like “ahhhhhhhhhhhh”. It was a big place, it was nice… but, yeah… I don’t remember.
Was it Rogers Arena? The big stadium thing? Maybe The Commodore?
Nooo… Wait, maybe it was The Commodore… It was The Commodore. Is it in like a shopping mall area? Not a shopping mall area, but you can’t drive on it.
Yeah, the Granville Strip.
Yeah, it must have been The Commodore. It sounds familiar.
It’s like a big ballroom with a nice dance-floor.
Yeah, it’s huge! It sounds awesome there. It’s nice.
Definitely my favourite venue.
Yeah, I stayed in Vancouver for about eight months. Back when I was squatting. Back when I was a crust punk. I was in Chinatown… like Hastings and Pender cross-street area.
Along Main Street?
Yeah, a real nice area [sarcasm]. Real friendly, nice area.
Lot of partying going on?
Yeah, I was doing a lot of heroin, and just doing a lot of drugs. I remember one time… this is like a classic. Y’know everybody was, like, y’know, there’s no guns in Canada. Me and my friend were walking down the street on Hastings I think and this junky homeless dude comes up and has a gun. He points it at us and says “give me your money”, and my friend just pulls out his wallet and throws it on the ground and was like “that’s all I have”. I didn’t have any money. I had a hoodie on, though. I don’t know, probably a Rancid hoodie or some shit like that. Umm…and the guy comes up to me with the gun and I was like “ah shit, this is it”… and he shoves something inside my hoodie pocket. Then, he grabbed the wallet and took off.
What did he put in your pocket?
A fuckin’ bag of weed!
Yeah! It was the weirdest thing. Ever.
So he attacked you then gave you a bag of weed?
I know! It was like a thirty dollar bag of weed too.
That’s the weirdest drug exchange I’ve ever heard.
He forced us to buy weed. [laughs]
So I have a question that’s been bothering me. For party purposes, do you prefer 40s of beer or eight-packs?
We don’t have eight-packs.
You don’t have eight-packs?
No we don’t have eight-packs.
Because when I go out a six-pack is never enough and a twelve case can be a little ambitious.
Yeah, a twelve-pack you’ll be pissing all night. Eight-pack sounds great!
It’s like the perfect medium. But, I mean…40s of beer are awesome.
I used to drink a lot of 40s y’know… There was this one I used to drink all the time called King Cobra. We would always say “just two dollars to feel like a million bucks”.
We have Olde English up here.
Yeah, the green bottles. I just go for beers now. I’ve been doing hard liquor lately too.
Doesn’t get you bloated?
Yeah, I’m on a diet. [laughs] It just gets the job done quicker, y’know?
Streamline the drunk.
Yeah, mainline it. But yeah, just been doing hard liquor lately. I’ve been doing a lot of vodka and club soda that way you just maintain a drunk all day.
While keeping yourself hydrated. It’s perfect! But I brought up the 40s of beer because I was watching your video for “Cocaine” with Nick Offerman.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, he was rocking the 40s of Mickeys.
How did you guys hook that up?
Elvis and Max’s dad played in Megan Mullally’s band. Megan is [Nick’s] wife. The story is he was at the dentist office, opened up a magazine, like a Rolling Stone or something, saw us and thought “hey, I know those kids”. So, he emailed Elvis (it was all Nick’s idea).
He came up with the concept for the video?
He made up the concept and everything. He said something weird/awesome like “I wanna whip out my glorious hog and show the world what I have and piss all over LA”. And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds awesome!”
It was awesome. Where did you guys get the fake dick?
Well we had to go to a prop company. All our budget went into the fake penis. The whole $2000 that we had. It was just like, we got the money and were like “alright, here it is”.
So, you got some buddies to shoot the film and stuff?
My brother-in-law does a lot of filming… he did it all and edited it. Yeah, it was pretty funny sending the invoice to our managers. Just like, “We need $2000 for a fake penis”, and we hired a penis tech. We called him The Penis Wrangler. He didn’t get paid no less than sixty dollar per hour. Union scale. Full Benefits. The penis actually cost twelve-hundred and he cost the difference. We treat our people good.
[laughs] Yeah, you didn’t want to make him feel too dirty handling a penis all day.
Exactly, we want to make him feel good.
So, you guys have played big festivals.
Yeah, we just did Bumbershoot.
Do you prefer stuff like this (in a small club)?
Way better. Way more.
What is it? Are the crowds better?
Yeah, I mean the atmosphere. We just played Reading and Leeds a couple weeks ago. So that was just thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Just a sea of people. Which is kinda cool and all. But, there’s nothing like this. This is way more personal and intimate. The people that are here for us. They’re not just… walkin’ around. These are our people. Y’know what I mean?
Yeah. Totally. Also, I can imagine at big festivals your sound wouldn’t have nearly the same effect.
Yeah, and it’s separated. Venues in Europe, we don’t have our gear. Our gear is really important. So… I just like shows like this a lot better.
I can imagine. So, what’s next on the tour for you guys?
We are heading to Portland. No, wait, we’re doing a show in Seattle then heading to Portland. Then we’re going on a six-week tour with The Orwells in America. It’s our first headlining tour.
First tour in The States?
Yeah, we’ve headlined in Europe and Australia, but we’ve never done a headlining tour in America.
So six weeks. Will that just be all over the place?
Yeah, it’s gonna be pretty intense. It’s a lot of shows. A lot of shows. A lot of sleeping on floors and watching people do coke all night.
You guys are usually called skate-punk, right?
Yeah, people have been labeling us as skate-punk. I just think it’s rock ‘n’ roll. People like to label us. For a while it was slacker punk, which I just never understood. What the fuck is slacker punk, man? What is that? Then, you know, like punk rock, which is more true than anything. I don’t even know what fucking skater punk is. All punk is skater punk to me. Y’know what I mean? So, when people ask what we sound like, I just say we’re a rock band.
Yeah, keep it low-key.
Yeah, I’ve heard garage punk. There’s just so many weird genres nowadays.
It seems like everyone has their own word for it too.
It’s all just rock ‘n’ roll.
I brought it up because I don’t know how to skateboard.
I suck at it!
I’m awful at boards. But, every time I listen to music that sounds like you guys, like Wavves, Mac Demarco, just stuff like that, I really wanna pick it up.
Yeah! But, I mean, we [FIDLAR] all suck at skateboarding.
That makes me feel a little better.
Yeah, it’s just funny. We have a song called “Wake Bake Skate”. That songs about being broke, dude. Being broke and just being able to skate. Wake up, get stoned and skateboarding to your friends. Just drinking beers. We’re not busting out kick-flips or anything. I can’t even land a kick-flip.
I can’t even ollie. Last time I tried longboarding I fell on my face on the cement. That was bad news. Haven’t done it since.
What about your song “Max Can’t Surf”? Can you all surf and he can’t?
I can surf. I’m the only one in the band that surfs. At least, back in LA I try and surf on a regular basis; but that song, we were just like stoned and Elvis and Max are brothers, so they’re always just picking on each other. So Elvis would just be picking on Max saying stuff like “you can’t surf, you can’t surf, you can’t surf”.
Just some regular brother banter. Does Elvis have a song coming his way, then?
Yeah, just to get back at him.
Yeah, I know I didn’t even think about that! That would be a good idea… Elvis Can’t Whiskey.