So word is you have an Aussie tour in the works… Are there are there any surf or skate haunts you’re looking forward to hitting up while you’re down here?
I just want to surf! I don’t know where. I didn’t get much chance last time we were here. I mean I got out in the water at Bells Beach last time, but it was cold and the surf was pretty blown-out. Pretty much anywhere I can get some waves.
Going from D.I.Y. gigs to headlining your own international tours and playing with acts like The Pixies in just a few years is a pretty big jump. Has there been any surreal ‘woah we made it’ moments?
Actually I think Australia was the first big time this happened. We had done Europe before, but we were doing really well in Australia. We were playing Splendour in the Grass and afterwards we went back to a hotel in Byron Bay. We were used to sleeping together, sharing a room, but this was a luxury hotel. So we get into our separate rooms and then a few seconds later we all come running out screaming ‘these things are bigger than our apartments!’
Five-to-ten minutes before you guys go on stage, what are you typically doing?
I’m usually stretching… I stretch a lot, an ungodly amount. It’s a nervous thing. Otherwise we’re usually just hanging out and listening to music, nothing crazy.
What was it like working with Nashville producer Jay Joyce for the new record? Do think you will ever go back to a D.I.Y. approach?
Jay was amazing. Extremely eccentric, I think we needed that! We learned a lot from having a producer; I think it is the only way to grow as a band.
We did a bit of work on our songs pre-production, but once we were in the studio a lot of the time Jay would be like ‘what if we do this?’ and we would be like ‘okay let’s try it.’ So we tried a lot of different things. I don’t think there has ever been a successful band that has gone into the studio and just performed the songs. Think about the creative processes of acts like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, they all worked with a producers.
Do think you will ever go back to a D.I.Y. approach?
Maybe in the future? The whole point of us doing D.I.Y. the first time was that it was all that was available to us at the time. We didn’t have a lot of gear, just what was in our bedrooms. The shitty part of D.I.Y is that you have to do it yourself! A lot of the time we didn’t know what we were doing.
So Elvis and Max Kuehn (sons of Greg Kuehn from legendary Californian punk outfit T.S.O.L.) have probably been listening to punk music since before they could walk and playing in punk bands for the better part of their lives, how did you first get involved with punk music?
I never really got into punk, what I really like is catchy music. Where I grew up there was a huge pop-punk scene. I grew up with bands like Blink 182, The Offspring and Green Day because that was what was around. There was one radio station and one record store and that was what was around!
For us we were always too punk for the indie crowd and too indie for the punks. We just be ourselves. I mean I get and respect the punk attitude of ‘do what you like’, FILDAR’s attitude is ‘do whatever the fuck you like.’ I also like how punk is kind of stupid in a good way. But what I don’t like is how the punk scene it can limit the way people dress or the music they make.
There’s little question you’ve been pushing your sound into some new musical territory on the latest album. Are there any other influences that might come as a surprise to fans?
Eminem. Sober was inspired by Eminem in the use of multiple characters and the way it’s like a 14-year-old having a temper tantrum. There’s influences all over the place, even the album title 40oz is an ode to a sublime song. There’s lots of different rock influences throughout the album. The first record was really influenced by garage rock, but as the band has grown the influences have spread out.
The new track ‘Stupid Decision’ seems like this grandiose, waving cigarette lighters in a stadium song. What are the influences there?
Oasis, Oasis and Elliot Smith. The chord progression is inspired by Elliott Smith’s ‘Say Yes’.
Riley Fitzgerald is a Brisbane-based writer and wine drinker generally found shuffling around DIY gigs or music festivals. He collects synths and music books. Favourite labels include Ghostly Int., Warp, Flying Nun, 4AD, Future Classic, & Bedrooms Suck. Follow him on Twitter @RileynfView all posts by Riley Fitzgerald