While most fresh-out-of-eighth-grade youngsters have spent their summers playing X-Box, chatting on their cellphones and planning for high school, Samuel Judah has been busy crafting a plan of his own.
But Judah’s ideas and visions extend far beyond a simple, short-term plan. For him, it’s about seeing the future and helping others successfully navigate to it themselves. Call him a young man with a mission.
Judah, a.k.a. “Buggy,” is a fresh-faced 13-year-old with an adult-sized amount of talent as a rap/hardcore artist as the vocalist for his band, Alarm For War. In a genre that can be difficult to break into successfully no matter what the age, Buggy is proving the naysayers wrong with the release of his group’s debut album, “Enemies of the State.”
One part Rage Against the Machine, one part P.O.D., the album features six tracks showcasing the skills of Buggy and his band, which includes Fletcher (bass), Smitty (drums) and KISA (guitar). Engineer Brian Bart (Logic Recordings), Grammy Award winner J.R. McNeely (editing and mixing) and Brad Blackwood (mastering) did the heavy lifting behind the scenes.
Buggy took some time out in preparation for Alarm For War’s first-ever tour to talk with ListenIowa on what got him to this point, his influences, and his mission for the future.
How did this venture into the music industry and studio come about?
We (his family) were on a trip to a studio once, and a singer noticed that I was singing on key with what he was doing. After that, I was asked to do backups in the studio. I thought that was pretty cool. Then I was asked if I could do these songs. Everything went great in the studio, and everybody really liked it.
Are you pleased with how the new album turned out?
I think “Love and Not Hate” was my favorite one (song) to do in the studio. Brian (Bart, producer) is really fun to work with. My mom helped me out a lot. All things came together really nice, and I’m very happy with how things came out. I love “Control of My Mind.” There’s the singing in the beginning, then the hardcore rapping in the middle. I like “Enemies of the State.” I like the aggression of it.
Who do you look to as your musical influences? You’re young, but are there any artists you particularly like?
I listen to P.O.D, but after I recorded the album, people started saying it sounds like Alice In Chains. I didn’t even know who they were until I checked them out online.
P.O.D. is a Christian band. You obviously aren’t afraid of being labeled as such.
We’re a Christian band, and we’re the real deal.
I ask because some Christian artists want to delineate between being a Christian band as opposed to being a band with Christians in it.
Here’s the thing: We’re not going to Mexico to teach them Spanish. We’re not a Christian band going out to play for Christians. We’re a Christian band going out to play for the world.
Lyrically, what’s the story behind “Day Turned To Night”?
It’s about young people who have been subjected to everything and not protected from anything. Zach was a kid who was on drugs who was told to stop or one day it might cost him his life. After doing drugs in a bathroom, he was found dead on the floor. While they were standing around his dead body, somebody in the crowd yelled, “So where is your God now?” And someone else in the crowd replied, “The same place He was when He was warning him.” We’re a youth band, reaching out to the youth of the nation to give hope and truth.
This will be your first official tour. What are you expecting?
We’re expecting to have a lot of fun with the show and the acoustic sessions. I’m really happy to get out there with the people. Me and the guitar player are going into the studio to record acoustic versions of “Control of My Mind” and “Love and Not Hate.”
You’ve got some really good-looking videos for “Day Turned To Night” and “Control of My Mind.” Talk to me about your first foray into making videos.
I gotta admit I was a little nervous at first, but after doing the first song, I was like, “Hey, when are we doing then next one?” It was a really fun day. I was nervous, but after that, I was on and ready to do another one. That was a really fun experience.
What is your mission or long-term goal with this band, Buggy?
The goal is to get out there and reach the young people and hopefully one day reaching the big masses.
Are you the “rockstar” at school now, then?
(Laughs) The proof is in the pudding, I suppose, so we’re just going to go up there and bring what’s on the CD to life.