“All of our favourite bands from back in the day weren’t trying to sound like other existing oi bands, they were just making oi music that was influenced by things around them and the time period they lived in, and they sounded unique because of that.”
The Royal Hounds are a skinhead rock n roll outfit based in New York City. Brewing up a storm with their debut release God Bless The Royal Hounds last year, a 7 track rough cut EP recorded in classic Oi! fashion that could give even Blitz a run for their money. Resident nosey bastard Gareth sent them some questions to get the low down on one of the latest sets of upstarts setting the US ablaze.
How did you guys form? I’ve heard lots of hype about you so what’s the story?
We’ve gone through a lot of different lineup changes since we started playing music together about two years ago. At one point Fizzy (vocals) was playing guitar in the band, and there were a couple of different singers who came and went but eventually we realized he was far better as a frontman than on guitar. The Hounds started after Fizz moved back from LA and no longer had Criminal to keep him busy, and it was him, myself (Alex), and our original lead guitarist, Noah, just fucking around. Within the first few practices, we brought in our good friend Simón from The Brass on bass. Now Max who runs Oi! The Boat Records is on lead guitar and JR is on rhythm.
After hearing your stuff on Spotify I was blown away. Rough as fuck with excellent glam/pub rock guitar licks. You’ve been compared to such Oi! heavyweights as Niblick Henbane, The Templars and Camera Silens. Is that fair or are you only into Alvin Stardust and Adam Ant? What influences go into your music?
Thanks. We love all those bands and are definitely influenced by them, but all of us have pretty diverse tastes in music and I think we get inspiration from whatever sounds good to us, whether it’s oi, glam, pop, soul, or anything else. We love ripping off the classic riffs and sounds of our favourite oi bands but I think a lot of bands just try to do that instead of finding wider ranges of influence. All of our favourite bands from back in the day weren’t trying to sound like other existing Oi bands, they were just making oi music that was influenced by things around them and the time period they lived in, and they sounded unique because of that.
I saw you played live in New York and also at someone’s wedding. What was the story behind this wedding gig? Did you come out of the cake at the end – Under Siege style?
Haha, I’m not sure what wedding gig you’re referring to? We were supposed to play at our friend’s wedding but it never ended up happening. It always has been a goal of the Hounds to play a wedding though or to be hired as birthday party entertainment.
You’ve signed to Oi! The Boat Records – how did this come out? Are they distributing your music not only in the US but also across Europe etc?
Our lead guitarist, Max, runs Oi! The Boat, so it kind of just made sense to release it on his label. He is doing our US distribution and Contra Records is releasing our copies in Europe.
Your song ‘I live for you’ – is that about living this music and lifestyle or are you looking to get signed big like Bon Jovi? How do you feel this scene differs to say Metal, Hardcore, Jazz and Rave?
A bit of both I guess. I’m not sure you can compare the skinhead scene to the jazz scene but to me, the idea of a scene in this day and age seems redundant. As much as I would like it to not be so, the skinhead scene is spread pretty thin. There are pockets in places where there are more skinheads and more stuff is happening which is great, but nobody is seeing gangs of 200 skinheads roaming the streets anymore like it was in the
How important is clobber in The Royal Hounds ethos? Do you only buy Ben Sherman shirts from 1969 and spend half your week polishing your boots at the Fred Perry factory?
I don’t think any of us agree with the idea that being a skinhead means you have to dress like you were alive half a century ago. We all have pretty different senses of style. That being said, we can appreciate a good Ben Sherman and we don’t wear shorts on stage. If you’re a skinhead and you dress like shit aren’t you just doing it wrong?
“We don’t like racists just as much as anyone else, but we aren’t political and it doesn’t seem to be our place to tell people of colour that they can’t have right-wing views, whether we agree with them or not. “
What’s the New York scene like these days? Bands like you, The Brass and The Take seem to be running the show. How is it for gigs and is there much clashing between different groups?
Our bassist Simón used to play
What are your thoughts of the current ‘
Not really sure if I have an opinion on that, or if my opinion would be relevant. We don’t like racists just as much as anyone else, but we aren’t political and it doesn’t seem to be our place to tell people of colour that they can’t have right-wing views, whether we agree with them or not. We care about our friends and family and until someone threatens that its not our problem.
As the current top boys – what is your definition of being a ‘skinhead’ these days?
Boots and braces?
Any other words of wisdom please chaps?
Thanks for interviewing us. We are going on tour for two weeks in January with Chubby and the Gang from London [Ed. This happened before we got the interview to go out so that’s been and gone!]. If you haven’t heard them yet you should check them out, they’re gonna be releasing a full length pretty soon. Also, keep an eye out for our splits coming up next year
[Ed. This year, 2020!] with them and The Stance. Oi!
Check out The Royal Hounds now over on