While recently attending the Vans Warped Tour I was able to sit down with lead singer Alex Bigman of the California based band Fight Fair. The band has just released their latest effort, California Kicks and I feel it is nothing less than a stunning summer masterpiece. To me this disc is a breath of fresh air on the music scene and it is really unlike anything else out there at the moment. I know I have been listening to it regularly now for the last few weeks and I feel it is really the perfect summer soundtrack. Here is what Bigman had to say.

So how is the Warped Tour going so far?
Alex: It is good man. We are about a month in right now… about half way through and it is going well.

Are you guys on the whole tour?
Alex: Yeah, we are playing the whole thing.

What has the crowd response been like?
Alex: It’s been good. We are a new band and we haven’t really played much on the East Coast. But there are more and more people everyday. We played Canada for the first time and we had no idea what to expect but there were tons of kids singing along.

Now that your brand new CD, California Kicks is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Alex: We absolutely love the outcome. We spent over a year writing these songs and the recording process took over 5 weeks. We set off to do a record that had a different sound then anything out there and what we had previously done, I think we accomplished that.

I know it has only been out for a few weeks but what has been the response so far?
Alex: It is a lot different than our previous release and a lot of the kids weren’t expecting what we were going for on the new stuff. But once they sit down and listen to it and give it a chance they seem to like it.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Alex: It’s a collective effort. We decide what kind of style or direction we want to have on the song. We then work around a riff and a tempo and build the song from there, working on the chorus, verse and bridge. After we have the instrumental down, I will write and arrange the vocal arrangement and lyrics.

What benchmarks do you use to determine when a song is finished?
Alex: Benchmarks are definitely good song structure, perfect chorus and verse melodies and a memorable bridge.

What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of California Kicks?
Alex: Fans can expect a record that picks up after our EP Settle the Score, but also a completely original new sound. We wanted to write a perfect summery beach record that is full of ear candy and awesome production. It’s not a record that will change your life but the songs will be stuck in your head all summer.

Do you think it was a gamble releasing a record like this when the industry is really geared towards the heavier screamo, metalcore stuff at the moment?
Alex: Oh yeah! It was a very very big gamble. When we did this record we decided to just do it with no limits and go all the way. We decided that if we were going to do this we were going to go all in… no crap.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the artists or bands which have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Alex: On our new record we drew from many different influences. Our biggest influence was definitely classic rock from the 50’s and 60s. We really drew influence from late 50’s rock like Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Elvis to early 60s Surf rock like Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Our punk influence comes from 70’s punk like the Ramones, The Boys and The Undertones… Classic Power Pop. Current influences are definitely Blink 182 and Weezer.

Are there any tracks on California Kicks that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Alex: My personal favorite is “Backseat Bingo”. It is a tribute song to JR Richard AKA The Big Bopper. It’s a nod to the song “Chantilly Lace” and I really wanted to do a song that showed respect to 1950’s rock culture. I felt the spirit of The Big Bopper while recording the intro, no joke.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Alex: Playing this summer’s entire Vans Warped Tour is definitely the most memorable moment of our career so far. We all grew up going to the Warped Tour every summer with our friends and seeing our favorite bands, it’s awesome to be on the other side now. It was also very cool to be able to play two dates in Canada on the tour so far, it was our first out of the country shows!

How do you feel your live shows differ from your CDs?
Alex: Our live shows are definitely more energetic and edgier then our CDs. We get really crazy on stage and jump around a lot. We also have a lot of crowd interaction and singalongs. It’s like a beach party and everyone always has a great time.

After the Warped Tour do you have any touring plans scheduled in support of California Kicks?
Alex: We’re gonna finish up this year’s Warped Tour then we will be touring full time after that, keep your eyes peeled!

Any closing words?
Alex: Make sure to check us out on Warped Tour this summer and take a listen to our new record California Kicks. If you’re looking to have fun in the sun this summer, then this album is for you.  [ END ]