Interviews

“80% Oi!” – an interview with Street Punk Rock act LAZY CLASS!

To coincide with the recent announcement of the upcoming 3-year anniversary record from Warsaw oi! street punk rockers LAZY CLASS (est. 2013), we’re thrilled to give you a full interview with the band, taking on various different issues, including their inspirations, other projects, skinhead culture, and more! LAZY CLASS instantly stands out because of their notability with creating their own interpretation of the style and it was a great pleasure to find out where they’re coming from and what their intentions are with this constantly developed and heavy touring project!

“First 3 Years” by LAZY CLAZZ comes out this Winter on Oldschool Records. The release extends the band’s discography featuring debut EP “Better Life”, 2015’s follow up “Hell of San Domingo”, the recent split with MAX CADY, as well as their contributions to “Warsaw Punk Attack Vol. 3” and “Cashing In On Christmas Vol. 7”, and gathers all the previously tracks, as well as 2 additional unreleased jams.

Oi Oi! Welcome to our pages! How are you? Please introduce the band to our readers and tell us a bit about your background, previous bands and what has led you to form LAZY CLASS.

Wiktor: Hi there! I’m good thanks, for sure better than Legia after the match with Borussia Dortmund :). We are LAZY CLASS from Warsaw, Poland and we’re playing street punk. We started the band three years ago and still carry on. Before LC we were a part of few hardcore and punk groups like WARSAW DOLLS, THE LUNATICS, GOOD OLD DAYS, CORE BALL, WOUNDED KNEE and DISPEL THE CROWD. Besides CORE BALL all those bands are history right now. Few months ago our singing guitarist Eryk started a new band with his two mates from THE LUNATICS called PLEASURE TRAP. Somehow they believed they’re part of mod revival and play pretty catchy power pop. Gotta check them out!

Band like LAZY CLASS was in my mind since I was 18 and my first ever shitty punk band broke up and I moved out of my home town. I was a huge fan of the second wave of UK punk and Oi! as well as then-current street punk bands like OXYMORON, DKM, DISCIPLINE, VOICE OF A GENERATION, ANTI-HEROS etc. This was the music I wanted to play, unfortunately it took me twelve years to find right people to do it. I had few attempts during that time but none of it ever came out of rehearsal room. Back in 2013 I met Eryk, a young dude who has already joined my friends’ band WARSAW DOLLS, and he asked me if I want to start an Oi! punk band with him. I was a bit sceptical about it but he already recruited my mates Nowyk and Wróbel for this project so I’ve decided to give it a try. And it worked!

Where does the band’s name come from?

Wiktor: The band’s name is an effect of a brainstorm we’ve had after one of the first ever rehearsal. We have considered dozens of names, some were really absurd, some were more serious like CAGE MADNESS. Eventually, we’ve chosen LAZY CLASS. It sounds catchy for us and it’s pretty funny antonym of ‘working class’. Unfortunately it turns out that most of our songs are serious so “funny” band name doesn’t fit to them, but we got used to it and we’ve decided not to change it.

Ok, so let’s get some more details on how you got into oi! and street punk in the first place. Tell us about your inspirations and how you balance between this particular style and your interest in different genres.

Eryk: I think it’s difficult to explain how we got there, I suppose all of us had somehow the same road into Oi! as me – being a young kid around 10 years old and discovering something that hits you, knowing it was for you. The first bands I’ve heard were of course classics like RAMONES, THE CLASH… But I remember RANCID was the band that brought me in, for life. They were the reason I knew who I’ll become, the reason I grabbed the guitar and started writing my own songs. From RANCID came all the different genres I listen to now, I discovered both Oi! and ska, hardcore and soul… It may seem weird to older punx, but, well I was born in the early 90’s. When it comes to inspirations there is just too much great music to name it all. I take inspirations both from Martha Reeves and MADBALL and I think if one wants to make music, he should be open to different styles. Mixing inspirations is what always made punk rock music interesting. Look at THE CLASH for example and their Sandinista double album, it’s amazing what some punks ended up recording. I think LAZY CLASS is like mixing my, let’s say, romantic attitude to music, with Wiktor’s pure and aggressive style. I think that’s what Oi! and in general punk rock is about, saying what you wanna say in the way you wanna say. We play street punk, because we feel it and that’s what we wanna do.

Wiktor: I got into punk rock like Eryk, when I was about 10. But I’m 10 years older than him so it was at first half of the 90’s. At the beginning I was more into mainstream Polish punk bands like PSY WOJNY, DEFEKT MÓZGU, GA-GA and some obvious bands like SEX PISTOLS and EXPLOITED – stuff like this – half of my primary school were listening to those bands, they were really popular back then! Thanks to my classmate’s older brother pretty fast I got into DIY scene. I started traveling to Katowice to visit monthly independent punk market called Czad Giełda where I was buying tapes filled with punk, hardcore, crust, reggae and everything that scene was offering. Among them were some pirate tapes of 80′ oi! bands but I think milestone for me were the first tapes of ANALOGS and HORRORSHOW, two Poland’s best street punk bands ever. After that I was totally into it. I was digin more and more new and old street music from all around the world, there was label called Carry on Oi! (they released lot of licensed tapes of COCK SPARRER, OXYMORON, VANILLA MUFFINS, KLASSE KRIMINALE, TEMPLARS and more) which was very helpful as well as Rock’n’Roller records. I also started buying original CDs, reading zines (Garaż, Skinhead Sosnowiec, Riot! Riot! etc.) and going gigs. I loved the US scene which mixed oi! with hardcore like AGNOSTIC FRONT, WARZONE but also ANTI-HEROS, DROPKICK MURPHYS, THE BRUISERS etc.

So this is how I got to oi! street punk. After the years I’m still totally into this sound but not only. I was always pretty open minded when it goes bout the music. World of music is too great to listen just one genre all the time. It’s like eating same thing for breakfast every day. It might be cool but you missing some other great meals. So on my daily playlists you can find all kind of broadly defined punk and hardcore, new wave, post punk, metal (thrash, black, death), rockabilly, psychobilly, ska & reggae, some classic rock or even rap & hip hop.

As it goes about inspirations for LAZY CLASS, this band was supposed to play oi! street punk from the beginning, so we’re mostly inspired by this genre with some small deviations into hardcore or rock’n’roll. Let’s say it’s 80% oi! punk and 20% of other genres.

LAZY CLASS live oi!

Photo by GoldMoon.pl

Lyrics wise, was there a core concept behind your latest EP “Hell Of San Domingo”?

Eryk: Thanks! But to be honest, there wasn’t really much of a concept behind this 10”. We wrote some songs and wanted to put it out. Wiktor brought the San Domingo story and he came up with the idea that it is worth to make it like a theme of the album.

How did you decide to incorporate English in your tracks?

Wiktor: We decided to sing mostly in English at the beginning of the band. Eryk brought some of his Polish lyrics and they were just bad in my opinion. He translated some of them to English, worked a bit on them and they paradoxical become more understandable for me. So we decided to write songs in English – to be honest for me is also easier to write something decent in English than in Polish. English is the original language of rock’n’roll so I guess there is no better one to use it when it comes to this kind of music. It also helps us to get with our lyrics to people all around the world which would be impossible if all our songs would be in Polish. Right now we have two songs written in our native language and there gonna be probably some more but this is just an unusual addition not a rule.

Eryk: Yeah, my Polish usually sucks, not only when writing but also when it comes to talking, haha. But “Kiedyś” endured the first rehearsals and we still play it sometimes.

Do you plan on releasing a full length sometime soon?

Eryk: Actually, we do – I’ve written many songs recently and as far as I know so did Wiktor, so we just have to spend some time together playing these tunes and deciding what we wanna record. Our situation ain’t helping us with this task – work, families. But we just have to meet and do it, so let’s hope we’ll visit the studio next year.

Wiktor: Recording full LP is the main goal for our band right now. We have to overcome some difficulties but I hope we will manage it and our first full length will be out next year. But before it happens we’re gonna record two new songs next month. We’ve been offered a free recording session and we will take advantage from it. We will release these songs as split 7” with someone or just as a single . We haven’t decided yet.

LAZY CLASS promo

How about touring? Would you like to play as many shows as possible? What does touring mean to you guys?

Wiktor: Touring and playing gigs is essential. This is why we spend hours in rehearsal room – to play best we can live. We’re playing pretty lot of gigs comparing to other hc/punk bands from Poland but frankly speaking I believe we could do more. Unfortunately due to our jobs and families we can’t do it. For me it’s really frustrating – I personally love to travel with band, visiting new places, meeting new and old friends and everything that is related with touring. Touring is also kind of test for personality. Closing four individuals in a metal can for few hours day by day might have be problematic. In our case it works, sometimes it’s a bit harsh but we haven’t killed each other yet so I guess it’s not so bad.

Perfect situation for me will be playing weekend gigs twice a month and make two about two weeks long tours a year. It’s impossible for now but dreaming is free, huh?

Ha! Sure thing, but converting dreams into reality is what it is all about. Do not lose hold of your dreams :)

Ok guys, so after so many years of negative connotations of the skinhead culture, what do you believe it means to be a skinhead? What does Oi! mean to you?

Eryk: For me it’s about not giving a fuck and not letting others tell you what you should so. On the other hand I think we should know the roots of the music we love, which leads us to the statement that being a skinhead also means being against all this shit like racism or nationalism. If someone disagrees, he should learn some history. Right wing boneheads ain’t the real skins, they’re a bunch of idiots because of which most people see skinheads as fascists. That’s what the TV is telling and the blinded society isn’t really interested in the difference. As we know, it’s not the only case of such media manipulations.

Wiktor: Hard question because I’ve never considered myself as a skinhead even if I’ve been looking like that for a huge part of my life. I was thinking about myself rather as a shaved punk. I guess I believed in words Micky Fitz from THE BUSINESS once said in some interview that not every punk is a skinhead but every skinhead is a punk. Frankly speaking being a punk rocker or skinhead was always same shit for me.

What does it mean to be a skinhead? Guess it means something totally different for various individuals. For some it’s fighting for white race supremacy, for others it’s a class war and for others it’s just about having a good time, dressing smart and getting drunk every weekend. For me personally being a skinhead, or a shaved punk, is about being outside oppressive society, not caring what others say or think about you and just doing what I believe is good for me. I’m also totally anti racist and I despise all those nazi/white power cunts but this attitude doesn’t come from a skinhead culture for me. It comes from my sense of humanitarianism which has to fight a battle inside me with being antisocial misanthrope.

This ‘spirit of 69 – anti racist roots’ may sound nice but I don’t believe it. Yeah, those guys listened to reggae and soul back then and some of them were black but one of their favorite activities were ‘paki bashing’ which is pretty racist, isn’t it? But to be honest I was never much into this ‘Spirit of 69’ stuff. For me the real deal starts in the 80’s when skinhead culture mixed with punk rock in UK and hardcore in States. Music from those violent but very creative times among with some 90’s polish bands made me shave my head one day. Of course this violent and antisocial image of subculture was very attractive for me and my mates when we were 15.

Oi! music was and still is for me the sound of real kids who were not sophisticated enough to become artists or rock stars but were smart enough to not follow false idols and bullshit politicians. Sound full of anger and hatred to society but honest and pure on the other side.

Eryk: Well, in some cases, like the ’69 roots and the approach towards what the ‘real deal’ is, we disagree, but I guess in others it would be now like arguing about the naming: I just don’t consider right-wing cunts as the ‘real’ skinheads. Anyway, I think that, despite the differences, the attitude is actually more or less the same. Doing what you want, not giving a fuck and no tolerance for far-right cunts.

Ha! Fair enough :)

LAZY CLASS with Iglak of BULBULATORS
Photo & video: LAZY CLASS with Iglak of BULBULATORS.

Ok guys, so before we say goodbye, are there any current Polish bands you guys really dig and would like to recommend for the readers?

Wiktor: Yeah sure. In my opinion Poland has some really good bands. Starting from Capital City: GLORY DAYS – our brothers from different mothers, really great oi/street punk, THE STUBS – rock’n’roll for real hipsters, POISON HEART – local punk’n’roll heroes, they put two records in US, STREET LIGHTS – one of the last Warsaw’s HC bands that’s still in the game, HEATSEEKER – same, GOVERNMENT FLU – guess no need to introduce, BOMBAT BELUS – cool punkabilly, GLAMOUR – young & angry punx, PLEASURE TRAP – Eryk’s side project – catchy mod revival/ power pop for old people. From Lublin you should check MAX CADY – we did a split LP with those thugs, PRISONERS BY CHOICE – there’s gonna by hipe on this band, you’ll see, OCHYDA – dirty, chaotic, distorted & really cool noise. From gingerbread city of Toruń: TRÜD – dirty d-beat & SUICIDEBYCOP – spoiled brats playing good 80′ hardcore. Other bands worth to mention are: MENTALLY ILL from Silesia, VICIOUS REALITY, THE DOG, Old Fashioned and plenty of old and not so old bands. I could talk for hours about good and worth checking bands.

Eryk: I agree on the Wiktor’s list, but I’d also like to recommend ODC – melodic hardcore mixed with pop punk from Szczecin, FERTILE HUMP from Warsaw – the acoustic project from our friends (THE STUBS, HARD TO BREATHE) and ANSA – pretty good emo hardcore from Ciechanów.

Great, thanks so much for your time! Feel free to leave your final thoughts or comments and take care! Oi!

Wiktor: Huge thanks for the interest in our band. We really appreciate it! Take care, support the scene & keep the fire burning!

Eryk: Oi!

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