Alice Baxley

FIDLAR Has Mastered Writing The 'Sad Song That Sounds Happy'

Plus, we've got some exclusive photos from the set of their latest video.

FIDLAR gave us some serious throwback vibes in their "TRL"-themed video for "40oz. On Repeat." Tearing through and tearing up scores of iconic music videos, the L.A. band made us feel like antsy teens once more -- perched on the couch, waiting to see what amazingness Carson Daly served up next (please, God, play Incubus' "Pardon Me").

The nostalgia inherent in the manic, upbeat video isn't the only throwback vibe FIDLAR has going on in "40oz." The song also gives us flashbacks to the days when bands like Green Day and the rest dominated the charts -- bands that hid angst, pain and, well, sh-ttiness, behind sing-song, moshable beats and guitar lines to make out to.

That's been the running theme in FIDLAR's music thus far -- in their self-titled 2013 debut, handful of EPs and their upcoming sophomore record, Too, which drops September 4. Party music with less-than-party feels, that is. Too takes that vibe to a new level, however, seeing the band getting darker than before with songs about overdosing and fighting with your girlfriend and being utterly alone -- songs that, nevertheless, make you want to grin and sing in the pit until you collapse.

MTV got the chance to talk with frontman Zac Carper after the release of the "40oz." video -- as well as a look at some exclusive, behind-the-scenes shots from the shoot. Check it all out below and make sure to cop the record from Mom+Pop come Fall.

MTV: So why did you decide to go full 'TRL' throwback in your video?

Zac Carper: It’s hard, because the last video we did was the Nick Offerman video [for 'Cocaine'], right? And it was just f--king gold. You know and we were just like, 'F--k, how are we going to do this? How’re we gonna top that, man?’

Then we finally realized it’s not about topping the idea; we’ve just got to do something different. We were just watching all of these like '90s music videos -- all these music videos that I remembered from growing up. [Then one came on] -- I think it was 'Wonderwall.' And we were watching it and I was like, 'They probably spent $300,000 to make this video.' And it’s just them, sitting down, playing music.

We’re like ‘Let’s see how much money we’ll get from the label and try to do as many music videos as possible.’ We’ve always had this weird idea of, instead of doing a music video, we just do a 'TRL' kind of clip where we do like eight music videos and only do like eight seconds or 20 seconds of them. So instead of doing that, we’re just like, 'F--k it, let’s just make 15 music videos, copy all of these ones we grew up watching and make it into one music video.'

Alice Baxley

Zac channeling Jamiroquai.

MTV: Do you ever wonder what the dudes of Oasis would say about you if they heard about this?

Carper: This is funny because we were in a festival in Europe and we were talking about the video... and then I realized I said 'Oasis' and Noel Gallagher was standing right next to me because his band was playing. And he looked at me and I was like, ‘Sh-t’. He didn’t say anything. I don’t know. I would love for him to say something even if it’s something bad. I almost want him to say something bad even more because the sh-t that he says is bad about a band is f--king so funny.

Alice Baxley

Making like the Hives.

MTV: So did you watch TRL growing up?

Carper: I grew up in f--king bum-f--k Hawaii, so all my music -- everything I learned about music -- was through the radio and through MTV. My closest record store was Walmart. There was just nothing. That’s just the way it is though.

MTV: So the song, I’m obviously listening to on repeat because it says to in the title. It seems kind of continuation of the last record -- the slacker ethos and the preoccupation with substances...

Carper: Well, it’s weird -- it’s kind of like the next phase, the next chapter. Even the first record, a lot of people were like, 'Oh yeah, you made a party album.’ But if you look at those lyrics and read those lyrics they’re pretty f--king dark -- they were just set to fast-paced music.

Alice Baxley

The perfect Missy Elliot.

And this time around, even with '40oz.,' it’s just about trying to deal with life -- pretty much. And what’s funny is it’s not really about drinking, that song, it’s about -- you’re going to actually crack up at this -- it’s about locking yourself in your room and listening to Sublime. It’s '40oz. To Freedom,' that song.

So it’s more about trying to figure out how to deal with life without the booze and the drinking and the partying and going to a party and being like, ‘What the f--k? I don’t know how to do this.’

MTV: Because previously drinking made you...

Carper: Whenever I drank I was f--king passed out for like three hours, you know?... FIDLAR happened, we went on tour for three years straight pretty much and after a while you start to realize that partying and doing a lot of drugs and going crazy every night starts to get boring. If you do drugs every night it just starts to get boring. So this record is more trying to figure it out without that life.

Alice Baxley

Britney Spears meets George Michael.

MTV: So are you completely sober now? You used to talk a lot about going to rehab on stage.

Carper: I’m pretty much, yeah. I don’t know how long it’s going to stick. It was more of like a challenge for me. I just started noticing weird little things about me: 'Well if I smoke pot, I end up smoking pot for like 20 days straight in a row, and get weird and start being anti.' I just like noticed these things. Like when I was doing coke, when I was coming down, I would automatically do heroin. It was these weird sort of nuances and I just decided like, 'OK what if I just stopped and I just challenged myself, you know?'

MTV: Is it easier to write now that you're clear-headed?

Carper: It’s just been different and actually it’s been really therapeutic. I’ve had to learn how to tap into something that I couldn’t tap into before -- or I was scared of tapping into, you know? It’s really weird because this new record is very emotional and it was a weird thing to put that to audio because I didn’t want to seem vulnerable.

That’s actually part of the therapy for me, because I would write a sad song, and in order to make me feel happier, I will make it sound happy. So it’s kind of like a reverse psychology thing on me for some reason. I don’t know how that happened. Ever since I was a kid, I always wrote the sad song that sounded happy.

Alice Baxley

MTV: So did you feel a lot of pressure to write this record? It's been a while since the last one.

Carper: It felt natural. Well, it was a weird process because I wrote about like 30 songs, 35 songs, and the first 25 were terrible. It wasn’t clicking and I started realizing it’s because I’m writing songs for FIDLAR, that’s why it sounded sh-tty. It just sounded so stagnant. And I went on a little road trip with my surfboard and my guitar and kind of just wrote and played songs for myself and that’s when the good material started coming out. ... This [record] was written on a sh-tty acoustic guitar with three of the strings broken. So it was very basic and very easy. It kind of went backwards you know?