Thursday, August 29, 2013

Staten Island Hardcore Documentary Showcases Music History (Interview with City Lights Films)

Why do you guys feel this was a movie that had to be made?
Sam and myself grew up in Staten Island, went to Staten Island shows, and  played in Staten Island bands. It is something that played a huge part  in our lives and continues to do so today. Memories fade, and we wanted to preserve the history and let people know what went on here, especially in the 1980s and 1990s.

How big would you say the punk scene was on the Island, and what was different for local music in it's heyday?
The hardcore punk scene "back in the day" was huge.  It was something to look forward to on your weekends after a long week of school. Flyers were passed around in school during the week, and on the weekends at the Staten Island Mall. Bands promoted, it wasn't just a social media Facebook event invite. You were almost certain you would have a decent crowd at a show where the crowd would stay for all of the bands playing, regardless of who was in the band or what type of musical genre they fell under, whether it be rock, metal, hardcore or punk.

What's something everyone will learn from watching the film?
Hopefully people get a good history lesson. We have learned, from filming this documentary that a large chunk of the current show goers and bands do not have an idea about any history or where their roots came from. They learned about their music from Facebook and Myspace. They found an underground mainstream band that their friend hit the like button on, and they decided to emulate it.

What surprised you the most about making this film?
We were surprised to get contacted from people out of the wood work. We have received our own history lesson just from digging up information on Staten Island and the music that was played out here, the beginning of punk and hardcore in this area. Little stories and urban legends, that made us realize we were dealing with something that was huge. For example, we had no idea that Metallica actually hung out on Staten Island for a few days, and that Kirk Hammet dated someone from here who went to shows and local concerts in the 80s. We didn't believe it until we received a photo showing the band with local Staten Islanders.

What are the pros and cons of making an indie film?
The pros of making a film is the rewarding experience, knowing you accomplished something great, and the excitement of knowing people will be watching something you created. The cons on the other hand, is the high cost of equipment, the time you put into the film and the lack of support because you aren't a "big time film maker."

Do you guys have a background in music yourselves, and tell me about it?
We have both played in many bands growing up, Sam since the age of 12, and myself since the age of 16 – some local bands, some non local bands. Sam has played in some well known S.I. bands such as Big Wheel, Indifference and Murdock, and I played in some local bands, my favorites being Dreams Forever Drowning, and my current band, Ruthless Dudes.

What's the difference between yesterday's punk and today's punk?
Yesterday's punk was all about hating authority, and doing things yourself. Today's punk is about going to Hot Topic, social media and how many Facebook friends you have.

Do you feel the music scene is lacking unity, or is it in a good place as far as people working together?
I try to get to as many shows as I can, but due to work, school and film projects, I really only get to go when my band is playing, or if I am on a special project related to a Staten Island band. I don't see the unity like I did when I was much younger, it seems like more of a popularity contest or who wants to fight who.  It is sad. Not saying that all is lost, I still see many young people that remind me of myself when I was going to shows as a teenager.

What other projects have you guys worked on, and/or hope to make?
We have done music videos for the Staten Island band's A Wake In Providence and Deception Theory, and we have some more music videos in the future that we are working on. We also will be starting another film when we complete this one, to which the script is in the works.

Anything else to add?
We just want people to take the time out to check out our trailer, pass it along and tell a friend. Making a film is hard work and a lot of time and effort goes into it. Our goal is to get our film to blu-ray or DVD, get it into film festivals and have a following.

Support City Lights Films in their quest to bring notice to hardcore!


  1. Your post is extremely helpful. I will keep following. Thank you for sharing this information.
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  2. Thanks for posting, and it was fun answering these questions!

    City Lights Films


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