16th Annual Artist Survey: FIDLAR

Zac Carper on #MeToo, 2018's Best Albums, Anthony Bourdain, Disastrous Job Interviews, and Childhood Birthday Parties

Feb 11, 2019 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 16th Annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last year, plus some fun personal questions. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2018 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Zac Carper of FIDLAR.

The Los Angeles four-piece released a new album, Almost Free, last month via Mom + Pop. It finds the band pushing their sound further. Carper described the recording of the album in a press release announcing it: "A lot of the vibe [in the studio] was, 'Well, why can't we do that? Why can't we have horns? Why can't we have key changes? Why can't we have a harmonica loop?' It was about taking the ceiling off. Having it be limitless. Ain't no rules." 

For our annual Artist Survey we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about the midterm elections, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, Kanye West visiting the White House, the #MeToo movement a year later, mental health conditions in the music industry, whether or not they have Flossed, childhood birthday parties and vacations, which Muppets character they are most like, whether or not they are going to The Good Place after death, and much more. 

Top 10 Albums of 2018 

1. Skegss: My Own Mess-Amazing songs. Australian rock band that is leading the charge with catchy fuckin' tunes and good vibes.

2. Post Malone: Beerbongs and Bentleys-Undeniably great songwriting and production. A mix between all kinds of genres.

3. Culture Abuse: Bay Dream-Super rad and great live show experience. These guys can jam and this record shows so much awesome growth with these crusty ass punks.

4. Mac Miller: Swimming-Amazing lyrics and incredible imagery. So bummed on his passing. Wish I could've seen him live.

5. PRXJEK: WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?-This dude is fuckin' AMAZING. The future. A mix between hip-hop/metal/mellow... such an amazing visionary.

6. Lil Peep: Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2-Posthumous record that is definitely a heartbreak. Can't listen to this without bawling.

7. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!-This record screams NYC.

8.  Mitski: Be the Cowboy-Heaviness and super awesome writing. Love the sound and the songs.

9. Tropa Magica: Tropa Magica-Homeys from East L.A. made an amazing record. Can't wait to see them blow up.

10. JPEGMAFIA: Veteran-Hip-hop getting weird. And heavy. And gnarly. I love it.

What was the highlight of 2018 for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

I think the highlight of 2018 was getting to work with Ricky Reed and recording our third record.  It was such a fun and growing experience and it brought us all together in an amazing way

A year after the #MeToo movement, do you feel things have gotten better or worse in terms of issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and misogyny in the music industry? 

I feel like it has gotten better. Awareness is the first step and the Internet has done its job in uniting people together to stand up against this.

Be honest, did you Floss in 2018? (Meaning the dance craze, not the dental care.)

Fuck No (totally did).

Are you less of a fan of Kanye West now that he's visited the White House and has in other ways supported President Trump?

I've been less of a Kanye West fan ever since he became a millionaire.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit tragically took his own life this year. What should be done to improve mental health conditions for musicians?

Being a musician is such a strange job. I don't know any other job that gives you a bunch of alcohol before you "clock in." It's easy to get wrapped up in the craziness and the whirlwind of touring. There's an organization called MusiCares that helps out musicians in need. They helped me check into rehab when I was struggling with heroin addiction. They also help with therapy and other stuff. I think more of the problem is the stigma of therapy. I've noticed that older musicians (and people) tend to not want to try therapy. Everybody needs someone to talk to. Maybe it's having a good friend group. But I do know that everyone needs someone to lean on. And it doesn't mean you are "weak" if you ask for help.

Are you ready for artificial intelligence and a more automated future? Some predict that it may come sooner than we think and will lead to massive job losses.

Oh yeah, we're fucked. Better start learning how to code or make some EDM or something.

What's your favorite birthday party memory from childhood?

Oh! One time, my dog went missing on my birthday. Her name was Lucy. My dad told me that she probably got eaten by our neighbors. Then I went to my neighbors (a couple houses down) and they were barbecuing. I was so bummed because I seriously thought they ate my dog. So I ran home but on the way I kept hearing music playing. Like tambourines and chanting. I went to go check it out and it was a Hare Krishna gathering and they were dancing in a circle chanting, and in the middle of the circle was Lucy! She had a flower crown and I ran up to her and hugged her while these Hare Krishna people were dancing and celebrating. Fuck... I grew up in a weird town.

What was your favorite family vacation as a kid? What was your least favorite? 

My dad used to do these tours around the world. He's a surfboard shaper and back then, that job was a weird/rare job. He'd get flown out to different countries and shape like one hundred boards in like two weeks. One time, we went to France. I was like eight or nine. I remember it was my birthday and he bought me a cassette player with Ray Charles' "Hit the Road Jack" single in it. I walked around France and played that thing over and over again. I think that's when I really fell in love with music.

What's been your most surreal experience in the music industry?

I think being able to do what we do is an experience in itself. A lot of people in the industry don't take us seriously. We get characterized as a joke. So, any success we have is an experience in itself. And it feels good to prove them wrong. Ain't no rules bra. 

Tell us about your first job. Also, what's been your most disastrous job interview or business meeting?

My first ever job was making sure chickens don't run into Matsumoto Shave Ice. Stan Matsumoto (the owner) gave me a hose and said, "Keep the chickens out of the store and I'll give you 20 bucks." My car broke down so I used to have to take the bus to find work. And it usually took about two hours to get to the part of town that had work. The bus ride was sooooo boring. So, I thought it was a genius plan to drop acid before getting on the bus. By the time I got to the job interview, I was frying balls. All I really remember is looking at the person interviewing and saying, "dude, I can't do this right now" and I walked out.

Beloved chef, travel TV host, and music fan Anthony Bourdain died this year. If you could have appeared on his Parts Unknown show, which city or country would you most have wanted to travel to with him?

I actually would've LOVED to take him to where I grew up (Waialua, Oahu). He would've loved the food that all the aunties and uncles make. Hawaiian style food.

Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee also passed away this year. Which of his characters (Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Men, etc.) meant the most to you/did you most identify with?

Hmm... Magneto cuz FUCK EVERYBODY.

Where do you stand on social media in 2018, is it uniting humanity or ruining the world? And which platform do you find most useful and which one do you think is doing the most harm?

Ooooosh. Well, it's a little of both. I do think there is an overuse of it. Especially platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. People live on it. And it seems like it's created a "compare" culture. "Look at all this cool shit I'm doing..." And sometimes, that can bum people out because they feel like they are missing out. FOMO? Fear of Missing Out? I'm more on the JOMO spectrum. Joy Of Missing Out. :D

Which musician would you most like to write a diss track about you?

The kings of diss tracks-South Park's Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

2018 saw the release of the music films A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Blaze, which film (of any era) do you think best represents what it's really like to be a working musician?

I haven't seen those movies yet. Any movie that involves washing dishes, shitty jobs, horrible break ups, bipolar freak-outs, heavy drug use, dreams being broken, grandiose delusions.

How do you think you've most disappointed your parents? How have you most made them proud?

By naming our band FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog Life's A Risk). I told my mom it meant Forget It Dad Life's All Right. But she figured out that was a flat out lie.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up and if it's not what you're doing now do you sometimes wish you had achieved that dream?

I wanted to be Neo from The Matrix. Still trying to achieve that dream.

www.fidlarmusic.com

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