G: How did you first get into Oi/punk?
W: I first got into it when I was about 12. I had a tape player and used to listen to punk/oi music secretly. My older brother would lend me his tapes. The first tape I had was by NOFX and it went from there. This was the time of soulseek when music sharing had just started. I started listening to French Oi! around aged 13. By 15 I’d shaved my head and never looked back. At school there were a few punks and skinheads and we would also share music.
G: When did you first start playing music?
W:I was living in Lille when I was 18 and I got my first guitar then. The first band I was in essentially a Survet Skins cover band which was strange as they were a very obscure band back then!
G: Out of all the bands you’re in, which was the first?
W:Maraboots. Maraboots were the start of something special. All the Paris Skinhead Crew were involved with Maraboots. All 5 members lived and breathed the Paris Oi! scene. We were playing the old French style Oi! with the saxophone which was loved not only in France but also Spain, Italy and Germany. We played some gigs there and they were phenomenal. We built a network with Maraboots across Europe and we still use that same network for Lions Law. These people support not just the music but also the scene.
G: Are Maraboots more popular now than when they were originally?
W: A few years later Rixe came along and the trend of liking French Oi! really got big. Perhaps they were!? Although, if you look at footage of our last ever gig in Nantes – it was insane. You have to remember there weren’t many young bands around back then. Also, with the labels now old French Oi! is more accessible. Our 10″ has been reissued.
G: Slight change in subject – but what’s your interest in football?
W: We have a lot of football fans around us. Although, none of the band members now really follow football anymore. I, for instance, used to follow Creteil (a fourth division French team just outside Paris). They played on Fridays and had a lot of ultras. At some point the ultras/skins would meet singing songs at the football. Although, now I don’t watch them anymore.
G: What do you think of every punk/oi! band supporting West Ham?
W: Some French guys like West Ham but support their French team first. All this West Ham stuff is outdated nowadays. In Paris we have one of the biggest and best teams around – why would anyone want to support West Ham!? They’re shit!Support your city and wear your colours. Don’t support West Ham because it’s fashionable. Same thing is happening with St Pauli. It’s become a bullshit moneymaker. People buy their stuff at airports because they’re an Anti Fascist team but can’t name any players!
G: What do you think about football and politics mixing?
W: In France and Europe it’s pretty much, left or right. Chose one or the other. The ultras were generally apolitical. Paris used to have one side who were on the left and one on the right.
G: Do you know Oxbloodoi?
W: That guy buys old boots. He saw an old picture of me wearing some really worn out boots. I emailed him and he said he would buy them! In exchange he sent me a completely new pair! What does he do with them!?
G: What are thoughts on right and left wing bands in France?
W: Only 2 or 3 of the bands in the eighties were not right wing. The rest of the bands were right wing but generally not Nazis. These days the Nazis are very secretive. They are never seen in Paris. They moved up to Northern France and have concerts in the woods. There are probably a maximum of 10 RAC bands in Paris. The scene is dwindling out. Ten years ago both the Nazi bands and RASH bands completely disappeared. Essentially, a Nazi killed a Redskin and their venue was closed down and they fucked off to a biker club in Northern France.
G: Speaking of RASH bands – what do you think of Brigada Flores Magon?
W: They reformed last year. Played 3 or 4 gigs then stopped. They were the leaders of RASH. I loved their early albums. They first got me into Oi!
G: Bromure/Rixe/Lions Law – what’s happening?
W: Rixe – still active – taking a break. Bromure – New album coming. The drummer will be a Dad in a few weeks so we’re not doing any shows for a bit. I have a new project called Faction S so keep an eye out for them. First show in a few weeks. We have no records yet but a demo is out soon. It’s very rough 80’s hardcore/Oi! crossover style. Lions Law – Super busy. Lots of shows and tours coming. Atlantes – Played in Barcelona and in Paris this April. However, we’re mainly a studio band.
G: What about Digital Octopus?
W: Still going. Seen them a few times but no more shows. He just plugs his Ipod in and sings over it!
G: Know anything about Ludwig Van Oi!?
W: Apparently it’s a Spanish guy.
G: How about Pink Panzer – thoughts?
W: Beltones played in Sweden and they did some Pink Panzer songs. I saw a full Pink Panzer set in the US. Crazy to see these huge American skinheads singing those lyrics. It was like a gay nightclub!
G: What are your thoughts on Hard Skin?
W: I love them. They are very funny. I’m here for fun. It’s great they use Oi! as a joke. All that boots and braces shit is crap. Hard Skin turned it into something funny. They listen to good music too. They’re loved in France even if some people don’t get all the lyrics!
G: What’s lined up for 2019?
W: Wanking loads. Lions Law – South American tour, USA, South East Asia and Europe too. Rixe – Playing Korea and Japan. I’ll personally be setting up one Oi! show per month in Paris. April is Battle Ruins/Nabat/Rixe which will be very good. Bromure record has just come out. Rixe – new 7″ and new full length this year. Atlantes – new 7″ coming soon. Faction S – Demo tape coming out (tape is cheaper and can be released quicker).
G: Anything else you’d like to say?
The first interview of 2014 is here and it’s with the fantastic French band Lion’s Law from Paris! Altough it’s the first interview of 2014 the questions were already mailed out in november 2013 right after the bands debut album “A Day Will Come” came out. So I didn’t had the chance to ask the guys about Beyonce, but I did had the chance to ask them about way more import things like the new album, the lyrics, a bit about the history of both Lion’s Law and French Oi! and punk music and about the future of the band. So enjoy!
Thanks for your time to do this interview! How are you guys doing?
Thanks to you for the interest ! We’re good, hope you’re too haha…
First of all I’d like to start off with some basic questions since Lion’s Law is still kind of new to the scene. Could you first introduce the band’s members and their history prior to the band?
Of course, so in the actual formation there is Wattie, as a singer (you may already know him as he is singing in maraboots too), Daick as the second guitarist (he is playing in french hardcore bands like MOWOL and DIG), Swan the bassist (playing punk rock and kicking asses in Street poison), Thomas the drummer, from the legendary french punk/oi! band Komintern Sect (and a kinda big punk/hardcore band called Burning Heads) and me, Louis, guitar solo, i used to play in Street Kids and i’m playing in HardxTimes too. And don’t forget our first Bassist Pipa, who used to play guitar in Maraboots as well. So we’re all pretty busy in the music thing !
Also can you give us a brief history of Lion’s Law?
Lion’s Law started in April/May 2012, my first young band, street kids, was finished, HardxTimes was doing a break so I had no music projects, but i was still composing, writting some songs, as Wattie Pipa and i were always hanging around together i showed them the songs i had and asked them if they were okay to do another band, they said yes, and that’s how Lion’s Law is born.
A few weeks ago your new album “A Day Will Come” came out, congratulations, I think it’s fan-fuckin’-tastic!!! How are the responses to the album so far?
First, thanks a lot for the compliment ! For now the responses are really really good, Contra records and UVPR (our labels) are already doing a repress of the vynil so that’s a good news, we hope people will keep on like it and that we won’t disapoint them.
Pretty much all reviews about your debut EP “Watch ‘Em Die” were great as well. Did you feel any kind of pressure while writing and recording the new record?
To be honest, i’m the kind of guys who’s really hard with himself when i’m doing music, so the answer is YES, our first 7” has been more or less good received so we had to confirm our sound but i’m lucky to do music with such great musicians and good friends, so everything was going well. And you know, it’s a music we all love, i think that when you do something you truly love it can’t be wrong, well, i guess.
Maybe it’s a silly question, but all lyrics are in English and I was wondering how the writing proces goes of your songs since Lion’s Law is a French band. Do you work ideas and lyrics out in your own language first and then translate those ideas and lyrics into English songs or is it directly in English?
No, in fact, i play guitar and sing some “yogurt” things, once i found a good melody, i start to write the lyrics, we wanted to do it in english, it was a choice.
Do you have any songs in French? If not why and is it something that in the future possibly will be done or do you want to keep Lion’s Law strictly as a English band?
i’m thinking more and more about doing a 7” in french, maybe one day, and the thing is that our singer already sing in a band in french so if we do that it would have to be different than maraboots. But we’ll see.
I received the cd version of your album from Ben at Une Vie Pour Rien? (thanks!) so unfortunately I don’t have the lyrics to your songs. Can you explain what my two favorite songs of the album, “Lafayette” and “1789”, are about?
Haha as you might have guessed they are historic songs, Lafayette was an important figure for the French history, but the thing is that he is an important figure for the American history too, that’s what the first verse is about, it’s about his role during the independance war. Then he came back to France and for some he was considered as a man close from the people, and for others he was considered as a king’s servant, he was the first to write a version of the humans right and he was the first who wanted to stop the slavery.
1789 is about the french revolution, the death of the monarchy and the bravery of the people.
France is the home of some of the greatest Oi! and punk bands of all time like Komintern Sect, Snix, Warrior Kids, Bleach Boys, Camera Silens, Taxi Driver etc…, what are your favorite French bands from “back in the day”?
We all have kind of different tast but we all love our classics, i know that Wattie’s favorite are Snix, L’infanterie sauvage and Camera silens, for me it’s Komintern sect, Camera silens and Warrior kids or Snix maybe.
Is the scene in France now very different of how it was like back in the 80’s and 90’s?
The majority of us was not born at this time haha, but it depends of people i guess, i know that Thomas would say the Oi! Scene is a way better than before, some says it has no interests nowadays, it’s a matter of taste i suppose.
And how do you see the future of the French scene with all these great new bands out there like Maraboots, The Headliners, The Janitors and yourself?
I hope we’re all gonna keep on rockin’, French Oi! represent !
Okay I’m rounding this interview up. What are your plans now that the LP is released?
We’ve got some plans yes, we will have 2 songs in an Oi! Ain’t dead compilation on rebellion records, then we’ll do a split with Old Firm Casuals on Pretty shitty town records and surely a new 7” on Contra records and UVPR !
That’s it. Thanks again for your time! If there’s anything you’d like to add tot his interview, feel free to do so! Cheers!
As i already said, thanks to you and thanks to all the guys who are listenning to us, we will keep doing our best to make good music, cheers from Paris !
Earlier this month I picked up the debute EP by the new French Oi! sensation Lion’s Law and I was totally excited by this release. Apart from the music where I was thrilled about, I was happy to hear them sing in English, which makes them one of the few French bands where I can actually understand what they sing about. Soon the guys will release their first full-length. All questions were answered by Wattie (vocals).
Can you please introduce the members and the band to us?
Lion’s Law is now a band by five guys, younger and older ones. It are Thomas on the drums, Pipa on the Bass, Louis and Daick for the guitars and me (Wattie) on the vocals. We’re all coming from Paris except Thomas who’s living in the suburbs close to Paris.
How did you guys meet and how did you came up with the idea of starting a band together?
Louis, Pipa and i are hanging together for a long time, we always made music together in real bands such as Maraboots and also in other Little projects.
We used to know Thomas as the legendary drummer from Komintern Sect so we asked if he wanted to got back in the Oi! Oi! Music and he said yes! We were really pleased! Recently we felt that we needed a second guitar player so we asked the best one we knew around, that’s how Daick joined us… He’s more into the hardcore scene but he also loves Oi!
Within a short period of time you recorded songs for a compilation and a full EP. Compared to your other band – Maraboots – Lion’s Law is much more productive. What’s the current status for Maraboots? Are you still alive as band?
Ahem… Yes Maraboots IS ALIVE! Our second guitarist Bobby is now fighting a war in Mali so we can’t play or record songs for the moment, but when he’s back, and i hope it will be soon, we will release new songs! We already got the songs! We just need our little Bobby…
And maybe i’m less productive now in writing songs, that’s right. But the truth is that Louis is writing the songs for Lion’s Law and he is a Real machine!!!
Most French bands also sing in French and i know the knowledge of English isn’t very common in France. Why do sing in english and do you find difficulties in expressing yourself in a different language?
Lion’s Law was Louis’ idea, he really wanted to bring our music outside of the French borders and for that we needed to sing in English. I don’t write the songs but i know that it’s easier to write in English than in French, even for us. Cause French is really hard to use without sounding like an idiot… In English you can say many things that you couldnt say in French.
I think your band name and also the cover artwork on your EP reffers to the Lion Of Belfort, am i correct?
Our band name only refers to something strong and something true. If you wanna be respected in the streets, you must show your strength, like a Lion applies his Law. The lion is also a symbol of pride and is of course an awesome animal. Concerning the lion on the cover, it’s just a statue at the end of my street, just a tough Lion!
Throughout the years France delived some high quality Oi! bands. Can you mention any new bands we should check out?
There Where so much good bands but now there is really a lack of bands. I hope you already know all these bands : The Janitors (who got back together lately), Bombardiers, The Daltonz, Gonna Get Yours, Salvation City Rockers, Youth Avoiders, Hardtimes (who will get back together soon) , Breakout, The Headliners and RU 486 are a new punk band from Paris with members of Maraboots and other close friends. That’ll make you a perfect playlist!
I heard you also recorded a full-length…
So, as Louis is a real songwriting machine, we often need to record the songs. On the first recording session we recorded 12 songs and we recorded another 12 Last month. Some were already on the first session but now we really have a bigger sound. The recording went really well, i can tell you That we had some popular guests on some songs and that the record will be out soon on UVPR in France and Contra Records in Germany!
Do you have any closing comments?
Thanks for your support Paul, hope to see you soon! Keep the Oi! Oi! Spirit!