(Interview by Gareth Postans aka Girth, introduction by Mano)
Now this isn't the first time we published an interview with Karl (ex-Last Crusade, Hard Pressed etc...) and quite frankly, I don't think it will be the last either! But with that being said, it is the best interview with Karl so far, thanks to Gareth! Enjoy!
First of all, who the hell are you? Who are Force Majeure?
Currently, Force Majeure is Scott on drums, Marty on bass and myself on vocals and guitar. This is the third and longest lasting lineup we’ve had. We started in late 2017 and have put out a demo, a split LP and a 7” so far. We have some more releases in the pipeline too. In my spare time I also do a paper fanzine called Millions Like Us, I occasionally DJ and do a night called Heart of Montreal Soul Club and I ride old scooters and bicycles. Scott and I also just started our little label called Double Turn Records. Keeping busy aren’t I…
You've been in about 500 bands - which bands are you currently in?
Hahaha, yes there was a time where I was a little hyperactive to say the least, at one point I was in five bands at one time... a bit much! I’ve downsized though. At the minute, other than Force Majeure I also play bass in La Gachette since late last year, and I play guitar and sing in a “solo project that became a band” called Private Hell which has nothing to do with Oi! at all… though I get to practice my Frank Black impersonation, just with more bucket hats. At the minute Marty is also in Ultra Razzia & The Prowlers and Scott is in Offside & La Gachette.
There's an 80's English new wave band that share your name. Any legal disputes on the cards?
Is there? Are they any good? I heard there was also some power metal band with that name from Finland or some shit. Tell you what, we can have a gang brawl and whoever wins gets the rights to the name. You can get in touch with our legal department to sort out the details.
People think Canada is all bears, hockey and moose but there's loads of Oi! about! How good is the scene there? Any recommendations?
It’s been consistently pretty good yes. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are the three biggest scenes in the country. Everyone knows the MTL bands worth knowing already, so I’ll shout out some of my favourites from what we call the Rest Of Canada: Ironside, Rough Cuts, Reckless Upstarts & Alternate Action. No Heart were great too, but have since split up. And while they’re not an Oi! band, another band I can shout out is Sister Suzie from Edmonton, great rock’n’roll with strong 70’s glam tinges. Also, two of them played in Hard Pressed with me when I was over there. They’re great people and their guitar player (and dear friend of mine) James is subject to my ball breaking on a near daily basis so it’s only right that I give them a hello.
Your sound is rougher than a pair of gorilla bollocks. However, I also hear some indie/Britpop influences in there. Was this intentional?
Well I have a strong affinity for this stuff so it may have bled through unconsciously, but no I wouldn’t say it was intentional. I don’t really think that hard into it when I write a riff to be honest, I just pick up my guitar and fuck around until I find something half decent and then we streamline it in practice. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I guess we’re trying to do something else than meat n potatoes Oi so our influences are quite wide and most bands in our “genre” that stood out over the years have experimented one way or another. We’ll always be an Oi! band though, no question.
Do you think the shitty cold weather in Canada feeds into your music? Creating that harsh and aggressive sound? I mean, I doubt you could sound all sunny and Socal.
Undoubtedly. It takes a certain character to be able to grow up and live in a place where it’s freezing for half the year and I think it translates in our approach to music. One thing I’ve definitely tried to do lyrically, is to paint a picture of what it’s like here and what my surroundings are. Hence the songs about riding the night bus home in the winter and living in a boring neighbourhood next to oil refineries. A side note about “sunny and SoCal” though, 90’s Fat Wreck Chords style skate punk was and remains hugely popular here in Quebec… go figure!
Montreal is a city that looks amazing and I need to visit! What's the scene like there? I understand there's beef between different groups?
It’s a great city and the best current Oi! scene in Canada. Please do come visit, we will get shithoused and eat our weight in poutine and smoked meat. As far as beef between different groups… tell me where there isn’t? Skinheads have been fighting each other for over 50 years, what else is new. For the most part everyone here gets along though, or at least can tolerate being in the same room. These days most conflicts within our scene are personal with a veneer of “politics” rather than truly political in nature. Admittedly, Montreal is known for being a bit of a hard left/“red” city skinhead wise with very little tolerance for fence walking bullshit and that has been the case for a while now. Some of the rumours I’ve heard are hilarious though, people have a wild imagination! Just don’t act like a knobhead and you’ll be fine.
How come they speak Franglais in Quebec City? Also, what's the deal with Mounties?
Franglais is more commonly spoken in Montreal and Gatineau than Quebec City… the hilarious thing is that the French from France use way more English words than we do and most of the time it makes zero grammatical sense and just sounds dumb… As far as Mounties go, it’s one of many embarrassing remnants of the British colonial period, so thanks to you lot for that I guess? FACKING CAAAAANTS!
I actually think Oi! is a type of music suited to the French language. Who are your favourite French Oi! artists or just French speaking artists in general?
I agree. Historically my favourite French Oi! bands are L’Infanterie Sauvage, Snix and Camera Silens to name a few, all three have had a massive influence on me musically as well. For current day bands I would have to say Squelette, Bromure and a newer band called Récidive who you should keep an eye out for. I’m missing a lot, there’s a lot of cool things happening right now and it’s nice to see. I listen to a fair bit of rap and old rock in French but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this interview.
How has covid and lockdown been for you and the band? Are you starting to play gigs again?
Fucking dogshit, just like for everyone else! But at least between lockdowns we were able to record some stuff for future releases and we started working on new stuff too. We actually just played our first show in a little over two years, it was also the first big gig since Covid and it was fucking mad hahaha, the whole place was like a kettle boiling over. We may not play again this year because we’re trying to get our record written and recorded for next year but more gigs will come down the road.
You did a split with 'King Cans' who are awesome. How did this come about? Who are they?
I used to also play bass in King Cans at the time and the idea was to combine forces and put a split LP out. The final product turned out good I think.
What merch do you have for sale? How can people give you loads of money?
At the minute we still have copies of our latest EP “Encore Debout”. We also are part of a 7” compilation called “MONTRÉAL TOMBE” along with Béton Armé, Ad Vitam and Ultra Razzia which is coming out on September 12. We’re going to be putting up some t-shirts at the same time too. You can hit up forcemajeuremtl.bandcamp.com or doubleturnrecords.bandcamp.com for those, if you’re in Europe and want the comp you can go through Primator Crew who put it out with Double Turn.
If you could have been in any band ever, who would it be and why?
Couldn’t tell you. I’ve done enough of my own shit to be happy, I’ll stick with being a fan of the rest.
What does the future hold for FM?
More gigs (fingers crossed for BBC 2022), more releases & more good times hopefully… “Bye Bye Bad Days”
Any final words?
I hope you found that this interview was a cracking read. SEE YA!