AFL: Hey guys! Thank you for the interview. Please introduce short yourself. Since when do you make music together? How many members you are and so on?
Hey there! Here is Alexis, singer of Raw Justice. We are a Hardcore Band from Nantes, France. Antoine B. is playing the Bass, he also plays in a metallic Hardcore / Powerviolence band called HARM DONE with me. He is furthermore in a Black Metal / Sludge band called REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER with Antoine M., one of our guitar players. The second guitar plays his brother, Alexis. M., a metalhead with long hairs and a lot tattoo. He’s also playing bass in a new Parisian band called WORST DAUBT. Then we’ve got Jacky who fills in when one of the two brothers can’t play and he has been in many bands such as Thrashington DC or Black Spirals. Eventually we have Regis on the drums. Regis is a huge punk rock fan and also a French teacher.
AFL: Ok cool…a lot of different music preferences. How came it to the foundation of RAW JUSITCE and did you play in other bands before?
Before we started RJ Antoine .M, Antoine B. and Alexis M. had a band called Black Page (Terror / Down To Nothing-like) and I was in No Solution with Regis (and Antoine B. actually), a youth crew band.
Both bands broke up around the same time because we were done playing the kind of hardcore we were doing with our bands at this time. We hang out together and all from us was without band at this time. So we decided to start a new one and RAW JUSTICE was born. We began in fall 2012.
AFL: I’ve seen on your Facebook-page that you have three guitars. Do you really play shows with three guitars or is there one temporary guitarist for tours/shows?
Ahah…no we don’t. We always have 2 guitar players but since Jacky had helped us a lot we thought it would be fair to include him to our line up. He recently recorded and mixed the new ‘Artificial Peace’ 7″ and played the tour with us because Antoine M. couldn’t do it. So yeah Jacky is part of the band and not just a temp!
AFL: Haha ok…my band have also 3 guitarists, virtually of the same reasons. Your music much reminds me much of old US-Hardcore bands how BREAKWODN and WARZONE. Count you such bands as your influence? Or from which bands exactly do you feel inspired?
At the very beginning we were really influenced by the current Boston Hardcore scene with bands like The Rival Mob, Boston STRANGLER, No Torelance. Also the 90’s youth crew (Floorpunch) and a little bit of 80’s NYHC, so yeah Breakdown could be listed as one of our influences!
For the second 7″, believe me or not, I’d say there was a big Black Metal influence. Both brothers (Alexis M. and Antoine M.) are huge metal fans. Since they are writing all Raw Justice songs, I think it’s not surprising, they added their metal influences. That’s why I’ve always loved their riffs / songs, because they don’t sound like the classic hardcore riffs. I hope this doesn’t sound too cocky haha.
But clearly, our biggest influence is the current Boston scene.
AFL: That you’re influenced by the current Boston scene is unmistakable. I really like it! You’ve released recently a new 7″ called ARTIFICIAL PEACE. What’s the difference between ARTIFICIAL PEACE and your first EP WE DON’T NEED YOUR FRIENDS besides the metal influences? What the listener expects?
Yes, we released a new 8 track 7″ in October. First of all the sound is different. It’s way more rough and aggressive than our first 7″, even if we would have liked the new 7″ to be even dirtier! But Jacky did an incredible work and we’re really stoked how everything came out.
In my opinion our new songs are better, even if I love our old songs! But the new songs are wilder and with a Black Metal influence as I said before, which is cool. I also think my voice evolved, probably because I’ve started that Metallic Hardcore / Powerviolence band between the two 7″s. There I’m screaming louder and harder than I used to in RJ.
AFL: You also will be part of the first AFL-Sampler with the title song Artificial Peace. Can you say short something about the song? How did the song come about?
That’s more or less the „straight edge song“ of this record. Even if we are not a straight edge band (I’m the only Straight Edge) I can’t help myself not to write some alcohol / drugs related lyrics since it’s something I’m confronted to every single day (friends, family and so on).
This song came out after a friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend. His solution to get through the separation was to get drunk every single night. It really pissed me of! So that’s what the song ‘Artificial Peace’ is about: trying to face problems and get through them without taking drugs and boozing just to escape from reality, even if it’s hard. Only the time can help and not a fucking joint. I know it sounds pretty cliché but oh well.
AFL: Where else does the band usually get its inspiration from? Which themes you’re treaded? Do you write the lyrics together or is there only one responsible?
Since I write all the lyrics my inspiration comes from nothing except the daily life. Each time something pisses me off, I write a text about it, and believe me I could write thousands of songs!
To name a few topics of RJ-songs: The fear of getting old and not fitting in the „go to college / get a job / marry“mold, The Lobbying system, the straight edge (more or less, since I’m the only one who’s Straight Edge) and to make a long story short: the fucked up world we’re living in.
Actually our song ‘WEAK MINDED’ has been written by Antoine M. It talks about dumb people who believes the TRUTH is told by some fake internet prophets and about conspiracy theories. Like what’s happening right now with so many kids / people going to Syria to join the Jihad and stuff.
AFL: How is the Hardcore and Punk scene in France? You get here in Germany even hardly notices and read not much about it.
In Nantes, where we live, it’s mostly focused on Beatdown / Metalcore. So I’m not enthusiastic about what’s going on here. It is unfortunately the case that here playing always the same Beatdown bands every half year. Anyway there are always hundreds of kids who want to see the show. But you can be sure if you have a show from a band how the BOSTON STRANGLERS there are hardly 40 visitors.
On the other hand the cool thing is that the kids here are not just waiting for gigs to happen, they are booking shows, supporting local bands and all. Even if I mostly don’t like the bands which are playing, the kids wake up a dying scene a new birth, which is a great thing!
The best place currently is probably Paris. That’s where they get all the big American bands such as Turnstile, Cold World, Fire & Ice and so on. Then we have some small scenes here and there in France but we don’t have a huge strong scene like Belgium, Germany or England seems to have.
AFL: Are there often shows and good venues, or are it more rehearsal room or garage concerts?
That’s one of the good thing, we have pretty cool venues. From the quite big venue where you’ll have bands like Sick Of It All to the basement / cave where you can’t have more than 30 people.
AFL: Alexis you also run the label „STRAIGHT & ALERT“, right? Can you say something about the Label?
That’s true, I run STRAIGHT & ALERT since 2009. It actually only started as a small distro and got bigger along the years. I’ve also decided 2013 to turn S&A into a label because we want to release our 1st EP with Raw Justice. I was into the idea of doing a label since a while and so I thought the best way to start was to release their own band record. Now, almost 2 years, later I’ve released 13 records ( working on 14th and 15th already) and worked with bands from Europe and USA, and it’s going pretty well ! Now S&A is my main activity and I can finally start to see the results of countless hours of work and sacrifices along the years. So it feels great!
AFL: Very cool thing! DOGCHAINS released their EP ‘GIVE/TAKE’ no long ago on STRAIGHT & ALERT. How did it happen and do you know the guys personally? They come from also from the area where I live (Wurzburg / Schweinfurt).
Well to make it simple… I know Dan from Life To LiVe records since 2 or 3 years. We toured through Europe together. Dan toured with his band TRUTH INSIDE and I with NO SOLUTION. Then we released the RAW JUSTICE debut 7″ together (along with a 3rd label) and when he was working on the DOGCHAINS 7″ he just asked me if I would be into it, since it’s cool to have a split release between a European and American label. So I didn’t know anyone from the band before we started to talk about the upcoming release!
AFL: How did it come to the label contact to the USA (“LIFE-TO-LIFE”) and Bulgaria (“UGLY & PROUD”)?
As I just said I’ve got to know Dan for a short while. Concerning UGLY & PROUD from Bulgaria I’ve actually met Nikolay when he was studying in France for 5 or 6 years ago. We were living in the same city at that time and get common friends. I asked him later if he would be interested in releasing the RJ debut 7″ with me since I knew he already ran a label. So he could help me to get through the hard times you can have when you are doing a first release!
AFL: Last year you placed some shows in Germany while your Europe tour. How was the tour in hindsight and what your personally favorite show on tour?
Yeah actually most of our shows where in Germany (that’s how every Euro tour is supposed to be, isn’t it? ha!) . We toured with SOCIAL DAMAGE from Indianapolis who is also on Straight & Alert records (check their new 7″ out, ‘Eye For An Eye’, it’s a banger!).Touring together with them was super cool and Germany was tight! We actually played some of our best shows ever as a band in Eastern Germany. We ended the tour with 3 shows in Plauen, Leipzig and Berlin and it felt unreal. People were going nuts and singing our songs. That was something we were not used to except even when we play in our hometown or with friends in the audience! This tour was a blast even if I’ve been super grumpy, probably because a lack of sleep during weeks. Because before the tour started I got everything ready (book shows, get merch and records in time) and almost broke my hand. Shit happens!
AFL: East Germany is worth a visit…haha. What music runs on your turntable at the moment? Please everybody tell me your favorite record at the moment and also your all-time-favorites!
Here’s a short list with our favorites!
At the moment: Death – Leprosy
All-time favorites: Trapped Under Ice – Secrets of the World, Slayer – South of Heaven
At The Moment: Nokturnal Mortum – Voice of Steel
All-time favorites: Opeth – Ghost Reveries, Ulver – Bergtatt
At The Moment: The Drums Summertime, Borncho «-Just Enough Hip To Be A Woman, Boston Strangler – Fire, Bishop Green- S/T, Bass Drum of Death – Rip This, Dune Rats – S/T
All-time favorites: Offspring – Smash
At The Moment: London Grammar / Muse / Shrapnel – Frendzeid State
All-time favorites: Much the Same – Survive and No Use for a Name – Making Friends
At The Moment: Archgoat – Devouring Darkness, Bölzer – Aura, Darkthrone – The Underground Existence, Lvcifyre – The Svn Eater, Beastmilk – Lp
All-time favorites: Slayer – South of Heaven, Scerets of the Moon – Antithesis
At The Moment: Drudkh / Agalloch / Pallbearer / Twitching Tongues / Ancient Wisdom / Harm’s Way
All-time favorites: True Colors – Focus on the Light, Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone, Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
AFL: Which show was your favorite show as visitor and where you visit shows at best?
That’s a tough one but I will probably say the last show of TRUE COLORS in Belgium. It’s been a special show for me since it’s my favorite hardcore band. I had the luck to see them during their first European tour with Justice (2004 I think) in front of 30 kids only one hour away from my hometown. Later to see them again on their final show in front of a crazy crowd was a blast! Also most of the big Belgian shows we go to from time to time are always sick: The Rival Mob, Floorpunch, the last JUSTICE show…
AFL: What are you doing otherwise besides music? Work? Hobbies?
As I said it before working for Straight & Alert is my main activity, besides I’m chilling with my girlfriend, singing in Harm Done, trying to ride my skateboard when I have time and a lot of running. Oh and vegan food, I love to eat / cook vegan food.
As for the others , Regis is a French teacher in High school, Jacky a Science teacher, Antoine B. is some kind of accountant, Antoine M. works in Marketing and lifts weights, eventually Alexis M. is doing small jobs here and there and works as a model from time to time. We are also all in other bands how I’ve said before!
AFL: Is there the opportunity to see RAW JUSTICE live the next time?
I hope we’ll be able to travel and tour again but it’s hard since we are all having tight schedules with work and our other bands. Furthermore Alexis M. and Antoine. M. lives in Paris (4 hours away from our hometown)now. So we can’t really practice and write new stuff. But I’m sure we’ll play some gig here and there from time to time! We’d love to tour in the UK; they have a sick scene there!
AFL: What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years?
As far as I’m concerned, keep going with Straight & Alert and Harm Done, try to tour the USA with Harm DonE or Raw Justice and spend some time with my girlfriend. In 10 years? I really can’t say, I doubt I’ll be living in the same city, maybe England or Germany? Who knows!
AFL: Final words and greetings?
First of all thanks to you for the interview and then a really big thanks to everyone who helped us during the last tour especially the people in Plauen, Leipzig and Berlin who made these shows incredible!
Thanks to our homies in Jack Move / Hard To Handle and Social Damage!
And last but not least thanks to everyone who supports Straight & Alert and sends me kind words. It’s the best reward for the „work“ I’m trying to do.