WORDS : LUCA CESCON
What happens when some friends come together to play and then record music? It’s all about having the right idea in the right moment, with riffs, lyrics and drums parts being saved and rejected at the same time. Music is for everyone, but being able to come out with something really good and impressive is not that easy. Luckily, the last few years have taught us that lots of music genres still have something to say both to mass audiences and to the underground one, with amazing records released into both market realities. That being said – and talking about friends playing together -, we’ve reached out to Sammy Siegler for an interview about his new band, Constant Elevation.
we wanted to make something melodic and positive, wasn’t much of that at the time in the hardcore scene, so I think it was refreshing
For those who are not familiar with this band, let’s start with a brief introduction of its members: singer-songwriter Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife, I Am The Avalanche, Peace’d Out) and drummer Sammy (Youth Of Today, Rival Schools) started this project in 2018, before bringing bassist Jani Zubkovs (Caspian) and guitarist Mike Ireland (Pass Away, I Am The Avalanche) on board one year later. About the band’s name, Sammy explains to us that “Vinnie came up with it, inspired by the hip-hop group Gravediggaz; it made me think of the Eric B & Rakim lyric from “I Know You Got Soul”– Constant elevation causes expansion”. The band released its first self-titled EP via Revelation Records in 2019 before entering the recording studios for the production of their new record called Freedom Beach. The title itself is linked to the place where the band belongs: “damn, I forgot how we stumbled upon it, but we were rehearsing in Brooklyn, fucking around and came up with it. It seems so obvious, like duh, Freedom Beach. It became the name of a song, then the EP. The cover photo is by our friend Jammi York and it was taken in Rockaway, Queens NY.”, tells us Sammy.
But the idea of team and friendship is even deeper behind the Freedom Beach’s artwork, as Sammy highlights during our chat: “Jammi York is an old friend and talented photographer, he shot our first EP, he and Vinnie and I ran around NYC one night taking a bunch of flix for that one, it was fun. I reached out to him for this, the picture was on his website, I knew that was it, he couldn’t find it and kept sending me other ones (all good options), but I really wanted this one. Anthony Pappalardo did the layout, he also worked on our first EP. It’s nice having other creatives around contributing to the process, it feels like a team. Constant Elevation play a fast and relentless mix of hardcore and punk with amazing melodic parts, with Caruana’s vocals features pushed well beyond his “duties” with rockers I Am The Avalanche. But how’s been the response to this superband so far, particularly after the release of Constant Elevation’s first EP? “That was fun because we kept it hush hush, so I think it took some people by surprise. But the response was good, we wanted to make something melodic and positive, wasn’t much of that at the time in the hardcore scene, so I think it was refreshing”, reveals us Sammy.
I like that Americans are being forced to have some tough conversations, addressing things that have been ignored and kicked down the road like racism, immigration, and the way women are treated. I’m optimistic that the US and The World will be a better place when we eventually come out the other side. There’s a lot of work to be done, growth and change needed
Friendship is at the forefront in this project; the band itself was started by Vinnie and Sammy who are long-time friends. “I started writing a few hardcore songs, initially for my other band World Be Free. Alex, Joe and Andrew from that band recorded them with me, they ended up not making sense for World Be Free, but I worked hard on them and really wanted to get them out. I reached out to Vinnie, he was down and that was that. I initially liked the idea of it just being he and I, then having various friends play in the band, really whoever was free and down, thought it would make it easier to exist, but we ended up becoming a band which I’m really happy about”, explains Sammy.
Constant Elevation might sound a little bit different from modern hardcore records with lots of mosh parts and heavy riffs, but as Sammy explains “we played three or four shows in the NY area and went right into the studio: my goal was to keep it as live as possible. Coming off of those shows we were tight, just did a few takes of each song, a few over dubs and we were good. We tracked two other songs that we never finished, we focused on these four. Wanted to keep it raw, as live and dangerous as possible”. With lots of bands coming together to sing and write lyrics against State’s brutality, we asked Sammy to highlight his point of view about it: “I think we’re in a dark time, but I like that Americans are being forced to have some tough conversations, addressing things that have been ignored and kicked down the road like racism, immigration, and the way women are treated. I’m optimistic that the US and The World will be a better place when we eventually come out the other side. There’s a lot of work to be done, growth and change needed”. Constant Elevation’s second release Freedom Beach (four tracks and six minutes of pure punk attitude) is out now via the almighty label Revelation Records.