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“I’m in Oakland at the moment with this band who SHOULD BE PRACTICING RIGHT NOW. JUST FUCKING RUN THROUGH IT AGAIN!” Carper screams down the phone line. He chuckles. “Sorry. A day in the life of Zac Carper is trying to get some FUCKING BAND TO PRACTICE. One thing that a lot of bands don’t understand is that they have to do a lot of PREPRODUCTION. Sorry, they’re standing in front of me right now so I’m trying to tell them what they need to do.”


He doesn’t need to apologise at all, since the sounds of him corralling musicians into some semblance of order is pretty entertaining. Plus, it helps to demonstrate just how adept he has become at multitasking. Since 2009, Carper and the band have bent all of their energies into developing FIDLAR into a sustainable act, and between writing, touring, recording, publicity and rehearsals they have become adept at juggling many balls at once. That time has also seen both the band and its members grow quite substantially.


“We’re totally, totally different people now. We were, like, twenty when the band started. Max [Kuehn, drums] was still in High School when I met him! It was such a different thing then. A lot of my love for music started in the recording studio then. I’d write something and I want to learn how to use the recording gear so I could actually get to recording songs for FIDLAR. I don’t want to say it’s been us all growing up since then, but that’s kind of how it is. When you’re a teenager, you just want to write songs. For me it was always kind of a therapy thing, to be honest. I had some problems with the world, especially being out in public. I love just locking myself in my room and writing songs, recording it all.”


Carper’s understatement here is pretty impressive. He is legitimately lucky to be alive, after several brushes with mortality that ring all too familiar in the annals of music history. Innumerable people suffer various forms of addiction, and for all of the hard work and dedication that goes into sustaining a career in entertainment, it is also one of the few areas that rewards and romanticises debilitating habits.


“You know … touring and being in a band is the only job where you get a bottle of whiskey before you play. You’re in fact encouraged to drink before going up on stage and doing your job. It’s such a weird fucking thing. And being on tour for three years and struggling with addiction, of course I’m gonna get addicted to alcohol. It was a dark …” Carper trails off.  Not wanting to seem ghoulish by pressing any further I start to move on, when he suddenly continues. “It was one of those things that started out so fun, but you just don’t know how to control yourself. In a song like ‘Overdose’, well the song is just straight about me overdosing three times in one month. I overdosed twice in a week. After that, I kind of realised ‘shit, something is really wrong with me’. Now the hard part is going on the road and coming home, and everybody else has a girlfriend and I don’t have anybody. It was a weird, dark road for a while, weird because the media really portrayed us as happy skater, slacker punks who don’t give a fuck. In reality, we were just kids who were just as self-conscious as any other person in their twenties. In general though, I had the power of alcohol to help me through this stuff, but by the time we got off the tour I just didn’t know how to deal with life any more. I just wanted to keep going on tour, keep the party going. Eventually you upgrade to different drugs, and I got really hooked on heroin and meth. It was fucking dark.”


Having survived his demons, Carper and the band are standing stronger than ever. Too brims with some damned catchy tracks, and it’s arguably a much stronger record than their self-titled debut. Of course, there are always going to be fi ckle fans, endlessly bitching that they didn’t stay in one place, producing the same kind of music again and again.


“We wanted to try something new. That’s the fucking shitty part about that garage punk scene in general. They want you to still be broke, they want you to just stay wasted and stay in this little box because you’re their band, you know? But that’s where the reality comes in. I want to make a living; I want to keep making music. I don’t believe in selling out. That’s such bullshit to me.”




Too is out now through Warner Music.