Straight & Alert Records Interview


unnamedI am always interested in what is going on with hardcore around the state/country/world. I had the chance to interview Alexis of the French based record label Straight & Alert.

How did Straight & Alert start?

Straight & Alert started during summer 2009 as a mail-order-only. I was thinking about starting my own distro for awhile when my friend Simon, who was running his own distro, told me he had to stop because he had to leave for the UK to study. So I grabbed the few records he had left and I started Straight & Alert with a small box of seven-inches.

I also wanted to do a label for quite a long time but never found a good “opportunity” (read: the right band to work with) until one of my bands (Raw Justice) released our first seven-inch in 2013. We needed someone to put it out and I thought it would be the best way to start the label.


What is your music scene like?

If we are talking about the French scene, it’s far from being ideal at the moment. Most of the kids are only into beatdown/metalcore bands, and they’re more interested in boozing/partying at shows than really enjoying the gig.

There are some cool gigs from time to time, but first of all, it’s not as good as it was when I started to be into that scene (yeah, we all say “it was better before,” but in this case it was), and second, the French scene is really weak compared to Germany, Belgium or UK where they have many kids at shows and a bunch of awesome bands.

I never understood why Frenchies have to struggle to play good music or form good bands or have a strong scene.

Paris has probably the biggest scene nowadays. There are a bunch of cool bands, such as Jack Move, Cut Loose, Youth Avoiders, Lodges, xDIGx (R.I.P) and a couple more.


Do you think the EU hardcore scene differs from the US?

I don’t really know how the scene in the US is, but it I’m pretty sure the German/Belgian/UK scenes are not that different from the US one. There is maybe more fun in the US, though, but that’s only a feeling I get, maybe I’m wrong! I hope I’ll be able to see how the US scene is like someday.

The main difference is probably the amount of crazy good bands you have overseas, there is like a new, killer band popping up everyday!


What is the first record you ever bought?

The first CD I ever bought was “Americana” by The Offspring, which is still one of my favorite records of all time! I can’t spend a week without listening to those tunes.

The first time I ever bought vinyl was at the local metal record shop here in my hometown called Ifern An Naoned, when I was 16. I was so excited to go back home and put them on the turntable. If my memory is good, there was “Hold It Down” by Madball, “Tied Down” by Negative Approach and maybe a Minor Threat record, too. Not so bad!


What is your favorite record in your collection?

This is a hard one! I don’t have CRAZY stuff in my collection but if I have to choose one . . . well, I will choose two, I would say “We’re Not In This Alone” by Youth Of Today on Caroline Records and “Focus On The Light” by True Colors on Six Feet Under Records/Powered Records. These two bands are the only ones whose records I collect. I’m not much into having tons of different pressings of the same record (I’m not saying it’s stupid of something! I just don’t have money or room) but these two bands are special to me.


What do you look for when you sign bands?

First of all, the music. I have to dig the songs and think “I’d love to put this out.” Then I’ll try to talk with the band and know quite a lot of things about them, like their plans for the future of the band, their goals and wishes and if there is a good feeling.

I would be bummed to release the record of a band who doesn’t really care about playing and promoting it, or if they end up being douchebags.

I try to get involved as much as I can in the bands I work with (even if it’s getting harder and harder because there are more bands in the S&A roster now), so I need to be on good terms with them. I really don’t like these labels who take part in TONS of split releases all the time and don’t really have a link with the band. In my opinion releasing a record is not just putting a couple euro on the table and getting your copies to sell and that’s all.

I’m not especially looking for straight edge bands, even though some people think STRAIGHT & ALERT only put sxe bands out.


What band do you think sums up what your label is about?

That’s not an easy one either! I assume you are talking about a STRAIGHT & ALERT band?

Then I would probably say SOCIAL DAMAGE. Even though I don’t know them in person yet (looking forward to be touring with them in October!), they play the kind of hardcore I love the most (Straight Ahead fans, watch out), they are touring and playing a lot of gigs, they are straight edge and they seem to be funny dudes.

It’s hard to sum up my label with a band, but my point is that what I try to achieve with STRAIGHT & ALERT is to put out good records, to work as hard as I can to promote them and the bands, but to still have fun doing it.


What is in store for the future of Straight & Alert? What releases do you have planned or bands you plan on signing?

The next ones in line are HARM DONE debut seven-inch and the RAW JUSTICE new seven-inch that we recorded a few weeks ago. I should be handling the European pressing of the new SOCIAL DAMAGE seven-inch, to get it ready for their EURO TOUR.

Then, I have some plans, but nothing is set in stone yet! I might do a split release for the LSNS LRND debut seven-inch, a new killer band from Florida featuring members of Truth Inside, probably JACK MOVE debut seven-inch and maybe work with DRUG CONTROL (San Diego Straight Edge) on a record as well.


Shout outs?

First position : My parents. They are being really supportive since the very first day I decided to start STRAIGHT & ALERT, and then turn it into a full time activity. Then my friends and all the people who support the label and mailorder. I noticed since the beginning of this year there are more and more people getting all S&A new releases consistently and it’s great to feel people are getting interested in what you are doing.

Eventually, all the bands who trusted me and worked with Straight & Alert: CLEAN BREAK, CUT LOOSE, DOGCHAINS, HARM DONE, JACK MOVE, LODGES, RAW JUSTICE, SAID AND DONE and SOCIAL DAMAGE.

Thanks to you as well for your interest in STRAIGHT & ALERT!


Straight & Alert Records Website

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