Behind 'Almost Free' with FIDLAR

This feature was originally in Discovered Magazine’s issue #59.

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Indulging in creative exploration and genre-bending experimentation, California punk band FILDAR have redefined themselves with the release of their third studio album, ‘Almost Free’. Throwing out their ‘party band’ persona, FIDLAR’s evolved sound represents a band not afraid to take risks while also refusing to identify with any specific genre.

“It’s nice to not feel like you’re stuck in a world or a scene or a sound or whatever. I think that’s something that we’ve always tried to do. We’re just making music we like, you know?”

Spending a total of four weeks recording ‘Almost Free’, FIDLAR spent two weeks in the studio with ‘Producer to the Stars’ Ricky Reed and two weeks at the legendary Sunset Sounds, the Californian recording studio that has been home to any artists since the 1960s including The Doors, Prince, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys. The influence that both Ricky Reed and Sunset Sounds had on FIDLAR during the recording process brought out a lot of different inspirations.

“We were influenced by a lot of the percussion stuff in War songs. ‘Can’t Be Seen’ is one of the songs off of the record that Ricky Reed was feeling the War vibe on, ‘Alcohol’ as well. Justing adding more percussion got it a little groovier than we’ve ever gotten before.”

Taking other elements of inspiration from bands like The Clash, Beastie Boys, Tom Waits and Funkadelic, FIDLAR approached ‘Almost Free’ in a way they never had before with an album, taking more time on its creation and experimenting in all ways possible.

“It’s definitely different to the last two records. We like to try a lot of new stuff, we took a little more time on it and just tried to experiment. Like on ‘Almost Free’, we’ve never had an instrumental song so it’s kind of cool that exists now. It’s like another thing we hadn’t done that [we] now have.”

With ‘Almost Free’, FIDLAR managed to find the perfect balance in their sound that pleases old fans who have listened since the band’s formation in 2009 while also allowing them to evolve, helping to gain new fans with this new set of songs.

In terms of the creative direction FIDLAR decided to take with ‘Almost Free’, it wasn’t something taken lightly, working to make sure that the different ideas each member brought to the table didn’t result in an unclear album with too many ideas weaved throughout.

“We are all into a load of different things so Ricky Reed kind of helped all of those ideas come together to make it cohesive in a way. It can be dangerous trying to do all of those different genres, it can come off kind of cheesy and contrived. It’s a matter of putting all of those things together and having it make sense and not be a total mess.”

Although FIDLAR admits that they don’t go too deep into looking at the reviews surrounding their albums, the risks, time and effort they put into ‘Almost Free’ have already proven to be well worth it. Since its release in January, they appeared on The Annie Mac Show, did a coveted Maida Vale session and played an intimate gig at London’s House of Vans to a couple hundred of their most passionate fans.

With tour dates already booked in the states as well as a slot at this summer’s Reading and Leeds Festival, FIDLAR’s continuing to ride the wave' ‘Almost Free’ has brought them, the California band looking forward to playing their new material for anyone within an ear’s reach.

“We’ve toured so much and played so many shows [so] it’s always nice to have new songs to bust out live. It’s nice to have a lot to choose from now that we have ‘Almost Free’.