Raw Justice is a Hardcore band from Nantes,Western France and is Fronted by Alexis Gautier who also owns And Runs Euro indie Label Straight And Alert.
DR: Hey Alexis,tell us a little bit about Raw justice?
Hello Edward !
Raw Justice is a band we started with a couple friends around late 2012. Everyone already played in other bands before. I used to play the guitar in No Solution !, a Youth Crew band, with our bass player Batal and our drummer Regis. This same Batal was doing vocals in a band called Black Page (Terror meets Down To Nohting meets No Warning) with our two guitar players Antoine M. and Alexis M. (they are brothers).
So when both bands broke up, around the same time, we decided to start a new one all together.
We recorded a first EP “We Don’t Need Your Friends” in february 2013, released by my own label STRAIGHT & ALERT recs (France), Nikolay’s label UGLY & PROUD recs (Bulgaria) and Dan’s (from Truth Inside) label LIFE TO LIVE recs (USA).
Then we played a couple shows here in there in France and did a two weeks tour in july. We’ve been to France / Belgium and Spain.
For those who don’t know our sound let’s say our main influences are No Tolerance, Floorpunch, The Rival Mob and some mid 80’s NYHC.
DR: You also run Straight and alert records give us a bit of history on that a who’s on S&A at present?
I STRAIGHT & ALERT started almost 5 years ago, as a mailorder / distro. My friend Simon with whom I used to play in Money Time (he plays now in Jack Move) had a small distro in 2009 but he had to stop doing it because he was leaving to the UK to finish his studies. So I though “let’s get his records and start my own distro”, and everything started from there.
I started the label in 2013 with the Raw Justice 7″ as a first release. I wanted to do a label too since a long time but didn’t find the right band to start with. And I think releasing your own band is a good way to beging, if mistakes are done it’s less big of a deal than if you’re doing it for another band.
At the moment of writtng these lines I’ve released two 7″s (Raw Justice / Clean Break), 1 tape (Cut Lose), an LP (Lodges) and i’m working on a new 7″ (Dogchains) and a tape (Jack move). I have many plans for 2014, and hopefully some other cool releases to come !
Here are the bands on S&A records so far :
Clean x Break : Portuguese straight edge youth crew band featuring guys of Pointing Finger, Broken Distance, Pressure and Critical Point. Somewhere between Righteous Jams, Mental or DYS.
Cut Loose : Youth Crew band from Paris somewhere between Step Forward, Youth Of Today and Minority Unit.
Dogchains : Dogchains are german and got a lot of attention lately. They are straight edge, they love sports and they deliver fresh boston 2k influenced hardcore that could be described as a mix between Mental, Iron Boots and (early) Justice.
Jack Move : Another young parisian band featuring my old bandmates Simon and Guigui, and also Cut Loose’s bass player. They are playing some kind of Boston 2K / Stop & Think / The Rival Mob influenced hardcore.
Lodges : Here we’re dealing with some “chaotic” / heavy hardcore music. They started under the name “Donkey Punch” but then switched for Lodges around late 2013. If you are into Converge, Trap Them, Kickback, Catharsis or Trap Them you should love them. Oh and they are from Paris as well.
Raw Justice : I already talked about it, it’s the band I sing in.
DR: how does the Hardcore Scene Differ in France in your opinion like to the rest of the world is there a unique style or trend there?
Unfortunately the way it differs is not in the “good way” (well, in my opinion). We don’t have a huge / strong scene, it’s more a bunch of people here and there in “big cities”. At the moment the biggest scene is probably located in Paris, but yet not the best one. Since a couple years it seems most of the kids only focus on beatdown / metalcore bands and shows. Unfortunately Youth Crew / Boston hardcore influence hardcore and that kind of stuff isn’t popular in our country (and I don’t know if it has ever been).
You can have Sectarian Violence or No Tolerance playing in front of 30 kids and the week after Death Before Dishonor, Walls Of Jericho or even shitty beatdown bands will play and 150 kids will show up. I know i’m talking about two different kinds of bands and they don’t have the same fame but still. It’s sad to see kids around are just into who’s gonna be the strongest in the pit or who’s gonna be the drunkest after the show.
At the moment I don’t have a big “faith” in the french hardcore scene, I hope it’ll change but I have serious doubts.
DR: is there a lot of Straight edge Bands/Scene there?
Unfortunately not either. I’m not even sure there is only one full straight edge band left in France.
Around early 2000’s there was a few ( Get Lost, 21xEnemy, Last Quiet Time, Value Driven(?) …).
People get older, drop straight edge but it seems there no new straight edge kids to balance.
I don’t know if it’s because our whole “french culture and traditions” about wine and stuff. It’s the same about veganism. There is such a few vegan / vegetarian people here compared to other countries around us (Belgium, Germany, UK).
DR: What are your music tastes apart from hardcore?
Four or five years ago I would say “none” ahha . But now I really love a lot of other music genres.
I really dig old school hip hop, but I only know the classics ( Dre / Snoop / NWA / Wu Tang / Nas..). I love some good Soul records too. Some old metal / thrash / death and also some punk rock classics.
Thanks to my dad I’m into 70’s rock too like Deep Purple, Pink Floyd , Black Sabbath… which led me to some current bands playing that kind of music like Graveyard from Sweden or Magic Circle ( featuring The Rival Mob singer ! ) that released one of my favorite record of 2013.
I really enjoy what I call “acoustic” music with a sad / dark vibe (or however you call it), like Eddie Vedder, Agnes Obel, Timber Timbre, City & Color, Leonard Cohen and tons of other artists.
Post Hardcore / Sludge and Doom as well ( I never know which style is which) with bands like Pallbearer, Cult Of Luna and stuff like this.
Oh and last but not least, thanks to my two guitar players i’m starting to be into Depressive Black Metal like Drudkh, Watain or Forgotten Tomb. Perfect soundtrack for rainy sundays.
There is just so many good stuff ! And to be honnest, my latest favorite records are not hardcore ones.
DR: is Raw Justice a touring band, what plans do you have for RJ?
I wish ! Actually we all wanted to start touring as much as we could. But things have moved a lot around fall of 2013 for some of us. In fact our two guitar players had to move to Paris in a rush because of their work, so since that time we probably didn’t practice more than twice and played only one or two shows.
We are trying to keep going with the band but it’s harder when you can’t see each others everyday and practice once a week. Our drummer lives far away too, so it makes the things even more difficult.
We have new songs though, we want to record a new 7″, tour Europe and do some weekenders here and there. It will just take more time than we wish.
Also Antoine M. and Batal are playing in a Metal / Sludge band called Regarde Les Hommes Tomber that got A LOT of attention last year. They played at the Hellfest in France, will play at the famous Roadburn festival in Holland next summer and have tons of cool shows coming soon, sometime to open for big bands like Kylesa and stuff like that. They are now writting a new LP so they are pretty busy with that band too.
DR: what other interests do you have do you Skateboard or anything?
I used to skate A LOT when I was younger, since I was 12 to 18 / 19 years old, then I stopped for a while and now I start again around springtime every year, I really miss these big skateboard sessions with my old buddies.
Then nothing special, I like to cook (vegan) meals, go to the cinema, chill with my friends and talk stupid shit, I really enjoy going to see street art stuff / exhibitions. I’m also starting to learn the drums but I struggle to find time to practice.
Oh yeah, I LOVE running. I try to run at least 3 times a week, there is nothing better to clear your head… or just maybe beeing on stage.
DR: what else do you do you guys do for work,or is anybody studying?
None of us is studying anymore. Our drummer Regis is a French teacher, Batal is working in accounting stuff, Antoine M. is working in marketing, his brother Alexis M. is half time being a model half time chilling and I’m running STRAIGHT & ALERT full time. I also used to rent my van to touring bands and drive them across Europe (I did that for a year in 2013) but I quit. I had great times on the road but it was getting too hard to deal with the label / mail order work when I was away from home.
DR: where have you enjoyed Traveling to with or without bands and where do you like spending time other than home?
During the last two years I’ve had the luck to see so many great places. I’ve traveled to Central America (El Salvador) in 2012 and had a great time there, I really wish to go back to Latin America. People are so welcoming there.
And as I said before i’ve been touring a lot last year through France / Belgium / Spain / Switzerland / The Netherlands / Poland / Czech Republic.
Warsaw and Krakow in Poland are beautiful cities. Berlin is a city I want to go back to and discover again.
But the best was definitely Spain. Not just because I was with my best friends (Raw Justice) but it was just so much fun, so many cool places and people, the beach… it was great !
Apart from being in other countries I really love to go to the seaside. I’ve spent my entire childhood living some kilometers away from the sea, so I like to go around the beach from time to time, no matter if it’s summer or winter. Another great way to clear your head and recharge your batteries.
DR: Who should we be listening to in the hardcore world?
[Self Promotion] First of all, you should check out all the STRAIGHT & ALERT bands, especially Dogchains and Clean Break, these bands are gonna blow I’m sure.[/Self Promotion]
To be more serious here is a short list of bands you should check out if it’s not done yet (but i’m sure most of you did already ) : Turnstile, Twitching Tongues, The Rival Mob, No Tolerance, World War 4, Boston Strangler, Caught In A Crowd, The Flex, Obstruct, Free Spirit, Nails, Not Afraid, Sex Prisonner, Short Days, Youth Avoiders, Black Mask … there is too many !
DR: Top 5 in your opinion haha
Youth of Today,Judge,Chain of strength,Bold,Gorilla Biscuits?
You wrote it good in my opinion haha !
1 – Youth Of Today ( my favorite band ever with True Colors, they mean A LOT to me, not just about music but on a personal level too)
2 – Judge
3 – Chain Of Strength
4 – Bold ( or maybe I would switch with Chain…)
5 – Gorilla Biscuits ( I would put Side By Side or Turning Point instead ! )
Thanks for taking the time out for a couple of questions bro, anything you want to add personally?
Thanks to you for offering me an opportunity to express myself and introduce Raw Justice and Straight & Alert records to all your readers.
As usual I will end with the classic / cliché talk I always have when I’m interviewed, even if it sounds cheesy or too posi but :
Kids, do something to keep hardcore alive. Start a band, write a fanzine, put out records, book shows, support bands, do whatever you want / can to stay active.
We are lucky enough to be in a scene that isn’t ran by big companies / labels / whatever. It belongs to us/ you so make it they way you want it to be.
And start running !
Alexis / Straight & Alert