Above the Fold

A digital 'zine by Original Fuzz about creativity and making stuff.

★  Jun 15, 2024  ★

5 Minutes with Sam James Vel

Featured photo for 5 Minutes with Sam James Vel

I've known Sam Velde for thirteen years. He's a staple in the LA music scene, and I've always been interested in his trajectory as an artist. I've seen him play live fronting Bluebird and Nighthorse. In December 2012 he joined Obliterations. Obliterations is your classic punk-meets-hardcore, akin to acts like Black Flag, Born Against, Die Kruezen, etc.

The band has an all star line-up including Stephen McBean (Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops), bassist Austin Barber (Saviours), German-import drummer Flo Schanze, and of course singer Sam James Velde (Night Horse/Bluebird). Velde has too many writing and producing credits to mention so we simply chatted gear.

How and why did you first pick up the guitar?

I originally picked up the guitar so I could stop playing air guitar.

Who were your main early influences?

Pete Townsend of The Who. He still is my major influence.

What was your first guitar or bass?

A friend gave me a '68 Telecaster when I was 13. Then took it back because it was his father's. Ha. I bet that thing is worth so much money these days.

What other instruments do you play?

To be honest I'm a total hack at guitar, but a much better hack at playing drums. It comes way more naturally.

Tone-wise, what is your favorite recording setup like? Amps, pedals, guitars, mics, etc.?

I really like the tone Nick McCabe from The Verve achieved on Urban Hymns. He was using a Fernandes Native Pro through a Mesa/Boogie Tremoverb with a bunch of great pedals including Eventide Eclipse, Electro-Harmonix Poly Chorus and Small Clone pedals.

If you had to pick one pedal you could not live without which would that be?

RAT distortion pedal.

Which players should guitarists/bassists study and learn from?

Pete Townsend and John Entwhistle.

Where do you find your inspiration for song ideas?

Primarily relationships. Typically it's the ones that have gone wrong, but I've been trying really hard to tap into the moments that were great within those relationships, and try to write about it. Turning over a new leaf so to speak.

What are you currently working on / any new releases in the works?

I have a new band with Scott Winegard (Formerly of Texas Is The Reason) that I'm slowly working on. We have a few songs written. I'm really excited about it. No name yet, but VASTLY different than Obliterations. It lends itself much more to the early 90s sound of Brit rock like Ride or Swervedriver.

Where's the best place people can find more information about you / your band?

facebook.com/Obliterations  obliterations.bandcamp.com


Stephanie Nicole Smith is a visual artist and make up artist in Los Angeles, CA. You can find her work at stephanienicolesmith.com and follow her @stephanienicolesmith