Powerline, a Los Angeles based hardcore zine, Interview with Sammy Siegler of World Be Free Judge etc. for Powerline Issue 6 (Available at RevHQ.com, Powerline webstore, and check out their Instagram @powerlineusa)
Hey man how’s it going? How have you been as of late?
I’ve been good. I grew up in New York, and have been in LA for awhile, but around here in Venice, it’s a lot quieter than what I was used to growing up. So as far as laying low it’s not too hard. Spending time with the family. Making the most of it. I had some releases coming out like Constant Elevation, World Be Free, so it felt cool to have this new stuff coming out that I’ve been working on for awhile.
World Be Free just dropped a couple singles off the upcoming new EP ‘One Time For Unity’. Great tracks there. How does this new EP differ from the last release? What are you excited about?
I think I’m really excited for- we changed bass players, because Arthur(Quicksand/Gorilla Biscuits) was in New York and it was just getting too hard, so we got Alex from Chain Of Strength. Alex has a dirtier sound and different approach, and by changing that one element, I think it influenced the music a little bit. I think this release is a little grittier and has more of a bite to it. We worked really hard on it.
Where did you guys record the new record?
We went to this guy Davey Warsaw, who plays in this band called Sharp Shock and he had access to a studio at Hurley Studios. Then we went to Nick Jet, drummer for Terror, and did some vocals and overdubs, then my friend John Markson mixed it in New York.
Where are you from?
I grew up on West 15th Street in New York City. In Greenwich Village.
How did you initially get into hardcore?
My older sister, she introduced me to these two older guys in this band called ‘Noize Police’, they were older than me, they went to high school, they smoked weed, I was like 11 years old, and they were like reggae-ska-punk and they played like Fuck Ronald Regan songs, but they also covered ‘Power’ by Agnostic Front, and I think that was my real introduction to NYHC and hardcore. At the time I was listening to The Clash and Sex Pistols, Devo, Blondie, but then after Noize Police I met through a friend of mine the guys in Gorilla Biscuits, and they needed a drummer. Then we started jamming, I was like 12 or 13. Played a couple shows with them until they kicked me out because I wasn’t that good. Then shortly after the same kind of thing happened and I met Jules from Side By Side through a friend of mine and they needed a drummer. Then started opening for Youth of Today, met them, joined them, Judge, Project X, just went from there. Looking back it happened so gradually.
What was your first hardcore show?
I used to go to the old Ritz with my sister and see big shows like the Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks and those kind of bands, maybe Cro Mags or Bad Brains, so that was kind of my intro. Then the first show I played with Gorilla Biscuits in 85’ which was the ‘Birth Of Unity’ show at the Right Track Inn in Long Island, NY and like every band is on it. Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Warzone, Underdog, Token Entry, and that was like my birth into the scene.
To those who don’t know, you’ve been in quite a few bands, Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Youth Of Today, to name a few.. When you look back at these chapters of your hardcore journey, what do you think of? And up to your most recent chapter with World Be Free, how does this project feel or differ? Any different perspectives?
The thing I’m appreciating a lot right now is the creative process. The creativity that went into it all. The fact that we can all collaborate and create these things, like Youth of Today, the amount of music, and visuals, and t-shirts, and things, and feeling around Youth of Today, like what you think of when you see Youth of Today, or Side by Side, or World Be Free, or Rival Schools, any of these bands, the fact that I can be part of these. Just impressed or proud of the process. That, and the family and friends I’ve made through it all.
Photo: Corey Howard
When did World Be Free form?
When I moved to California about 5 or 6 years ago. Scott and Joe were talking about doing some music with Andrew and I just got involved. Me, Joe, and Andrew would jam together and write and we just wrote, 3 songs, 6 songs, 9 songs, next thing it was 15 to 20 songs.
You now live in California, have for some time now. What things do you love about Los Angeles and greater California?
I kinda appreciate with LA how it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt out here. Like you gotta figure out that, in this strip mall, behind this dry cleaner, is this awesome donut place, or like, “Hey you’re gonna drive an hour, but find this great Chinese spot”. It can take years to find all these things. I appreciate the history. I live in Venice, you know, so much history. I don’t know if I could live in a city that didn’t have a tale to tell.
Any advice to up and coming artists, bands, and/or creatives?
To just do it you know, just fuckin’ do it. Don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate, but also do it and really push yourself to push the envelope. Just try and push the envelope. I like in the context of hardcore, throwing some fuckin’ curveballs. We all know what the obvious thing would be. I would say if anyone is trying to do anything, make a band, write a song, starting a zine, booking a show, just push it a little bit, like what is going to make it unique, and memorable.
Almost forgot, five albums you are bringing on a deserted island?
The Clash ‘Sandinista’
Bob Marley ‘Catch A Fire’
A Tribe Called Quest ‘The Low End Theory’
Steel Pulse ’True Democracy’
Leeway ‘Born To Expire’