It’s been 5 years since we seen a new release under the flag of LAW Records. That all changes as LAW returns with 3 separate releases slated for 2016, starting off with Pepper’s OHANA that dropped on April 29th.
Who & What Is Law Records?
LAW Records is the home label to Kona’s Pepper. It was initially started by drummer Yesod Williams’s Dad back in 1983. 20 years later and the group took it upon themselves to reignite the label when Pepper partnered LAW Records with Cornerstone RAS to re-release their first album Give N’ It back in 2003.
“For us, it was growing up listening to the second wave of punk rock with bands like Pennywise, Bad Religion, NOFX, etc. and realizing they were being released on these indie labels with Epitaph & Fat Wreck Chords,” Williams shares. “I subconsciously grew a trust for the labels and the music they put out. I think when I consciously realized that, it was one of the reasons we took the label upon ourselves.”
The first group to sign with LAW Records was Florida’s The Supervillains for the 2006 release of their record, Grow Yer Own. The most notable release came in 2010 when Iration signed on to LAW Records to release what is now, arguably, their best album to date with Time Bomb. It wasn’t until Passafire released their album Submersible with LAW Records back in 2007 and again in 2009 with Everyone On Everynight, that Passafire started to gain traction with fans.
From 2006-2011, LAW was releasing, at least, one album a year. Until this April, when Pepper released their new album OHANA, it had been 5 years since LAW put out an album with Ballyhoo!‘s Daydreams.
“The first chapter for us with the label was amazing,” Yesod shares regarding the first 8 years of Law Records. “I think we really put out some music that will be enjoyed forever. But as far as the (5-year) hiatus, I think our whole camp took a bit of a creative hiatus. We’d been burning the candle at both ends between the band and the label so that too, I think, was just an organic rest that was needed.”
The Return of Law Records:
Pepper – OHANA (4/29/16)
It was when we were planning for our 2016 Most Anticipated Albums feature that we were told Law Records would be returning with 3 separate releases for the year. The first of those releases came in the form of Pepper’s OHANA that dropped on April 29th, 2016. The 10-track album was recorded to mirror their live presence of 3 guys on stage playing live songs. The group self-produced the record and it was during production that they decided to bring back Law Records.
“I think the initial spark was when we committed to making our new album all by ourselves in our own newly established headquarters/studio, Kona Inn Recording,” says Williams. “Once we started heading down that road it just seemed to make perfect sense to control this destiny ourselves — To make it as pure as possible from head to toe; just like OHANA should be!”
While Pepper has a history of releasing their own albums under their own label (Give n’ It in 2003, Pink Crustaceans… in 2008, Stitches EP in 2010 & OHANA in 2016), they’re also known for introducing us fans to some great music as previously mentioned with Passafire, Iration, The Supervillians and Ballyhoo!
Darenots – The Now Is Truth EP (5/27/16)
In addition to Pepper’s OHANA release in April, Law Records will introduce us to another new group with Canada’s Darenots. They will release their debut 7-track EP The Now Is Truth on May 27th, 2016. “The Darenots were started by a good friend, Swav Pior that is also the drummer for illScarlet whom we’ve known for years,” explains Williams. “So once Swav showed us his new project it was obvious that the next coming of LAW records was upon us.”
Darenots are a 4-piece group that uniquely blend electro-Hip Hop with shades of Reggae, Trap & Pop. It’s hard to say if there’s another band out there they’re similar to, but my best comparison would be to describe them as a (loose) cross between Aer and the earlier sounds of The Movement. Pepper’s guitarist/vocalist Kaleo Wassman is also featured on the EP. Tell me what you think as you can pick up their EP on iTunes right now by clicking HERE!
Katastro – Strange Nights (Release TBD)
In addition to Darenots, Law Records has also come to terms in an agreement to release the debut album put out by Tempe, Arizona’s Katastro. The release date for that record has yet to be determined but the album is expected to be called Strange Nights. “Those legends ended up being the opener on our 2014 summer tour with the Dirty Heads and I was instantly a fan,” says Williams. “They were different and fresh, then right after the tour they dropped ‘No Mud No Lotus’ and I fell in love!”
Pepper’s Kaleo Wassman and Mitch Sutherland produced Katastro’s new record. Since 2007, Katastro has released 5 EP’s with their last one being No Mud No Lotus in 2014. This upcoming record will mark the groups first full length album for the 4-piece. Katastro is known more for their alternative rock approach and in 2014, we interviewed them for our Artist Radar feature that you can read by clicking HERE!
With a history of releasing some fantastic music and introducing us to new artists who have now become modern day staples, we can’t help but to be excited for what the future holds for Law Records. In closing, Yesod gives us some perspective on what we can see from the label moving forward: “We want to do some heavy collaborations, kind of in the old vein of compilations, but more of a kanikapila-style, with everyone jamming together! And we’re always looking for epic music that we love and want to share with the OHANA! Send us your demos!”
LAW Records Discography:
Law Records Website
Article By: Mike Patti
Watch: Pepper – “Start You Up”
Watch: Darenots – “Heavyweight”
Watch: Katastro – “Runaway”