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New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2019
Band Rock Alternative





"As young as they are, Samsara is a band that is musically heavier and overall more challenging than their genre contemporaries." - TunedLoud Magazine (Nov. 24, 2019)

"New Music Discoveries"

Youthful and energetic newcomers Samara. release ferocious new single ‘NEVERMIND’. Based on the outskirts of NYC, the band's sound is full of life and passion. Their sound combines a deadly concoction of grungy undertones and modern contemporary rock sound. The song resonated with me and reminded me of early Wolfmother and more contemporary sounds of The Amazons, the section developments are excellent and grow intensely throughout making it a unique and thrilling listening experience. - ChalkPit Records

"Music Review: “NEVERMIND” SAMSARA."

NEVERMIND is the debut release from New York alt-rock band SAMSARA. Formed in 2018 whilst they were still in high school, the band is made up of Dylan Trif on vocals, Charlie LoMonacoon lead guitar, John Devito on bass, Brendan Sandhovel on guitar and Ben Bustamante on drums.

The single was recorded at both The Creamery Studio in Brooklyn and the lead guitarists bedroom. The mixture of professional and DIY makes for an interesting sound which is rock down to its very core.

The track opens with a build-up of instrumentation which grows to a full explosion. Packed full of fuzz and distorted guitars, you can tell from the get-go that this is a track that means business. Frontman Dylan’s vocals have a wonderful grit to them which is brightened by his spirited delivery.

The unrelenting drums are constant throughout this high energy track. Paired with the thumping bassline they act as an anchor to the swirling chaos produced by the guitars and vocals.

SAMSARA are a band with vivacity. The track gives an impassioned performance from all involved and gives the impression of a band much more senior. Their youthful energy shines through to cast a light of modernisation on classic grunge-rock.

NEVERMIND is a fantastic first release from SAMSARA. The songwriting and composition speak of a band with decades of experience. - Young Creative Press


NEVERMIND is the new single by alt-rock band SAMSARA. It's a high energy grunge mixed with modern rock sounds, influenced by the music of bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin.

Formed in 2018, while still in high school, Samsara was conceived out of friendship and a shared love of creating rock music. Samsara is led by Dylan Trif on vocals, Charlie LoMonaco on guitar, John DeVito on bass, Brendan Sandhovel on guitar, and Ben Bustamante on drums.
In one word : Excellent !!! - Eat This Metal


Despite their youth and inexperience, teenagers Dylan Trif (vocalist), Charlie LoMonaco /lead guitar), Brendan Sandhovel (guitar), John Devito (bass) and Ben Bustamante (drums) are breaking boundaries as the rock group Samsara. Founded in 2018 while the lads were still in high school, the US-based five-piece brings together classic Seattle grunge with contemporary alternative rock. Preceding their debut EP Paralyzed In Paradise, Samsara released their well-received debut single ‘Nevermind’. It is this single that we are reviewing as an introduction to the exciting group.
The first track off their recently released EP, ‘Nevermind’ has featured on Eat This Metal, Under The Radar, Rock On Radio and John’s Basement podcast to name but a few. Fusing the power of Led Zeppelin, the intimacy of Nirvana and insane enthusiasm of Foo Fighters, Samsara is a sonic representation of youthful angst, rage and all those conflicting emotions. As I’ve mentioned before, the lads are mere teenagers but their sound is so sophisticated that it could easily rival established contemporaries.

What I find particularly intriguing is the harmony of gritty vocals, powerful guitars and pounding drums. While the track may have a “heavy rawness” to the melody, the effortless incorporation of Trif’s forceful voice makes ‘Nevermind’ a glowing gold thread in a mire of desperate darkness. Reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age meets Stone Sour, Samsara showcase their innovativeness as a group. I’ve said that some music can be described but to enjoy it is to listen and feel the song – ‘Nevermind’ is a “feel song”. - The Other Side Reviews

"In Conversation With: SAMSARA Presents “NEVERMIND”"

Samsara is a teen alt-rock band based in the suburbs of New York, formed by Dylan Trif, lead singer; Charlie Lomonaco, lead guitar; John Devito, bass; Brendan Sandhovel, second guitar; Ben Bustamante, drums. The band started making music together in 2018 when they were still high school students, and it all started from the stories of love and friendship that you have in those years. Rock is their main genre, but they can also mix it with grunge and modern pop-rock. Their musical influences are artists such as Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Highly Suspected, Stone Age Queens and Foo Fighters. They have recently released their first album titled “Paralyzed in Paradise”, from which is taken the single of which we will talk today, entitled “Nevermind”. Everything has a taste of rock ’90s, but with taste and modern sounds! The band is incredibly young and knows which direction to go in; we’d love to see them and listen to them live, but for the moment let’s enjoy their interview and get to know their music better! - Your Music Experience YMX

"Getting To Know.....SAMSARA."

After releasing their much-loved new EP 'PARALYZED IN PARADISE' at the start of the year, New York-based alt-rockers SAMSARA. are now looking to showcase their latest collection with the lead single 'NEVERMIND'.

Channelling a bold and heady mix of classic and contemporary rock influences, 'NEVERMIND' makes for a blistering introduction to the band's sound. Filled with anthemic riffs, thunderous production, and killer hooks throughout, play this one loud and let the rhythm take you away.

So with the new single out and about, we sat down with them to find out more about their background and what has inspired them most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

Dylan (Lead Singer) : Drums, my dad introduced me to drums when i was around 7 and i loved it ever since.

Charlie (Lead Guitar): For me the first instrument I fell in love with was obviously the guitar.

Brendan (Guitar/Bass): The first instrument I fell in love with was guitar, when I was nine years old. It still remains my favourite instrument.

John (Bass): The first I fell in love with was the bass. I started off playing the upright bass in elementary school in 4th grade, and I picked up the bass guitar a year later.

Ben (Drums): The first instrument i fell in love with was the drums because of my dad showing me Led Zeppelin. First time I heard John play those drums I was like WOAHHH!

What was the first song that inspired you to make your own music?

Ben: I can't remember a particular song but I'm pretty sure I was listening to a lot of Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Foo Fighters.

Brendan: The first song that inspired me to make music of my own is "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica. The guitar riff in that song still remains as one of my favorites to listen to and play.

Dylan: Yellow by Coldplay or Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis both changed my writing experience.

Charlie: The first song that inspired me to make my own music was probably Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana when I was 11 haha. But my family has listened to all genres of music since I was little. I had the Led Zeppelin CD Collection before I hit kindergarten and played it all the time. I had a lot of musical influences.

John: The first song that inspired me to make my own music was probably Paranoid by Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath was one of the bands I really enjoyed when I first picked up the bass and paranoid was one of the first songs I learned.

What kind of music did you love as a teenager?

Brendan: When I was a teenager first getting into music, I loved listening to Nirvana, Metallica, and Green Day. Later on I started listening to bands such as The Velvet Underground, Arctic Monkeys, The Smiths, and The Strokes.

John: Throughout my teenage years, most of everything I listened to was metal. From my early teenage years to now, I have enjoyed listening to all kinds of metal like Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Power metal, etc.

Charlie: As someone who is a teenager I love everything from metal to rap to jazz to things like Radiohead, and I really like Beach House. I do not know I guess I like everything.

Ben: I've always loved classic rock, modern rock, and grunge.

Dylan: Alt rock, like Catfish And The Bottlemen and Inhaler.

What do you find is the best environment to find inspiration for your music?

John: Being with the other members of the band has been a great environment when it comes to writing. A lot of our music was written while we were together.

Ben: The best environment to find inspiration in music is actually when I'm in a barely lit room. When there's no one around to bother me.

Charlie: The best environment for me to find inspiration for my music would probably be my room I would say.

Dylan: In my "studio" i feel like it's the best place to write.

Brendan: The best environment to find inspiration for my music is when I'm out on a walk late at night. I will begin to hum a melody or imagine a guitar riff and then immediately rush home to play it on guitar and record it to show the band.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

Dylan: Nothing but thieves has been on repeat for a minute.

Charlie: It is hard to pinpoint a single favourite. Lately, I have been listening to alot of radiohead, beach house, king krule, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Brendan: At the moment, I find myself frequently listening to bands/artists including My Bloody Valentine, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy, The Clash, and The Smiths.

John: Some of my favorite bands at this time are Darkthrone, Ensiferum, Emperor, and Sabaton. I find myself listening to them all the time.

Ben: I've been listening to bands like, LIILY, Led Zeppelin, Cleopatrick, Nirvana, Wolfmother, Royal Blood, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Greta Van Fleet, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden.

How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?

John: I think only two of our songs are written about specific people in our lives.

Ben: Haven't written any songs about people yet because I've only written the music for songs.

Dylan: Too many to keep count of.

Charlie: I personally have only written one song about someone.

Brendan: A fair amount of the lyrics in our songs are written by our singer.

What has been the most unusual moment in your career so far?

Charlie: The most unusual moment for me honestly is probably when I won this guitar competition at the Tom Morello Guitar Revolution and I got to play on stage with my heroes like Tom Morello, Nuno Bettencourt, Vernon Reid, and John 5, (and other great guitarists) that was crazy.

Ben: I don't know if this counts as being unusual but it's definitely out of the ordinary. I've performed with Robin Wilson, the lead singer of the Gin Blossoms, a few times now… and he's really cool.

Dylan Trif: Our first gig at the knitting factory where we had dancers on the stage with us dancing to our covers.

John: I can’t say I recall any moments being specifically unusual, but COVID’s effect on how we have been working has been unusual.

Brendan: The most unusual moment in my career so far has been the pandemic striking and keeping the whole band separated.

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Charlie: If Samsara could open for anyone I would love to open for Radiohead, but I feel like Thom Yorke would hate us haha. Just kidding.

John: If Samsara could open a show for anyone in the world, I would have to say Black Sabbath would be a band we would all love to open for. Black Sabbath has inspired our music, and they are a band we all mutually love.

Brendan: If I could open a show for anyone in the world, it would be Metallica. They have been and always will be my inspirations for playing music, and they were also my first concert, and it would be a huge honor to open a show for them.

Ben: I would love to open for the band Royal Blood. They have such a cool, and unique modern sound. It would be the coolest thing if we ever opened for them.

Dylan: Paul McCartney for sure, would be awesome to say that i opened up for one of The Beatles.

If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?

Dylan: I love mystery and crime cases so maybe i would be looking into being a detective.

Charlie: If I weren't a musician I would probably do something with physics.

Ben: If I wasn't a musician I honestly don't know what I would be doing. I've never really thought about it. I've wanted to do music my whole life. I can't see myself doing anything else haha.

John: If I weren’t a musician, I would probably try to go into education. I love history, and would probably try to become a teacher.

Brendan: Computer science.

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

Charlie: I do not know what the best piece of advice I have received as a musician would be, but I got great advice when auditioning for Berklee, that was that although you are auditioning for them, they want the best performance out of you so take your time and relax. And also to never stop playing, no matter how small the gig is.

John: The best piece of advice I have been given is to be creative and have your own style. Taking influence from others is fine, but when you have your own style that is different, it is something people will remember.

Ben: Best advice I've heard was to never stop pushing, never stop playing shows and getting yourself out there as much as you can. Play every gig you can even if there's not many people at all because there might be that one person in the crowd who's watching that might be very important in the industry and you wouldn't even know.

Dylan Trif: Never give up and do what you love.

Brendan: The best piece of advice I have received as a musician is to write all of my music from the heart. Just going with what my heart tells me to write has helped me write some of my best songs. - Mystic Sons

"Interview With SAMSARA."

New York-based teenage alt-rock band, SAMSARA, brought out their debut EP, Paralyzed in Paradise, last month, fusing grunge, rock and funk to bring us a fresh, seriously catchy sound. Next up will be their single ‘Fat Cat’, which will be released within the next couple of months.

The band comprises local New Yorkers from Queens and Long Island, Dylan Trif (lead vocals), Charlie LoMonaco (guitar and backing vocals), John Devito (bass), Ben Bustamante (drums and backing vocals) and Brendan Sandhovel (bass and rhythm guitar). Charlie, Ben, and John have been friends for many years since they met at music school in Long Island and together with Dylan, they formed SAMSARA. Brendan joined their first summer when John was headed to university. Their name comes from ‘Saṃsāra’, a Sanskrit word meaning the cyclicality of all life, matter and existence, a fundamental belief of most Indian religions. They’re also fans of Nirvana, both the band and the transcendent state in Buddhism that Charlie describes as ‘an endless repeat, almost like purgatory’.

Paralyzed in Paradise is an exceptionally polished debut considering that Dylan, Ben and Brendan are still at school and Charlie and John have just started university (Charlie mentions that he is studying music production and engineering at Berkeley and Brendan says he’ll be applying to study computer science.) The EP opens with NEVERMIND, a blisteringly energetic track written largely by Ben and Dylan, who writes most of their lyrics. Charlie describes the song as ‘a story of a guy on the hunt for somebody, of somebody chasing someone else’.

As it frenetically kicks off: ‘Run away but you cannot hide, you are in my sites at the perfect time. Well, you seem lost, that’s something I don’t mind. Now I’m with you, there’s no place to hide.’

‘It’s a cool one,’ Dylan said of the track. ‘We wrote a decent amount of it together at Charlie’s house but later Ben was playing it when we were trying to sleep, I was so mad at him!,’ he laughed. ‘A couple of days later, Ben started playing it again and I started going ‘Hey, oh, I can’t let you go’, it’s about losing everything you can’t hide.’

‘I feel we don’t get stuck on one sound’

Interestingly, while there are commonalities running through all the songs on the EP, namely pounding riffs and energetic drums that drive the songs forward, along with Dylan’s powerful vocals, tracks such as ‘NEVERMIND’ have a very different feel to ones like ‘By Your Side’: ‘When we wrote ‘Tell Us Your Name’, we thought that would be our sound but I feel like our sound is constantly changing, I feel we don’t get stuck on one sound,’ Charlie said. Brendan chips in: ‘Our tastes have changed in that time.’ Ben starts to laugh: ‘We used to constantly sound like Nirvana but eventually that started to change!’

The version of ‘By Your Side’ on the album bears little relation to their initial version, according to Charlie: ‘I’d written this weird shoegaze thing on GarageBand but my mom said Dylan wouldn’t be able to sing over it,’ he laughed. ‘That song was soooo much slower!’ Brendan starts laughing: ‘Yeah, now it must be 154 bpm, right?’ Dylan describes it thus: ‘It’s a funny one! I was talking to a friend in high school and I’d started developing feelings for her. I was at her house and just started playing Es on the guitar and it gave me an idea for a song, so when we got to rehearsal, we had lyrics and some Es!’ (On the guitar, not drugs!)

As the song goes: ‘Baby, if the worlds collide, I’ll still be standing by your side, ’cause I’ve been told that we’ll grow old and I’ll see your name in the sky.’

Another track on the EP, ‘Filthy Habit’, was actually inspired by the John Lennon song ‘Cold Turkey’, according to Dylan: ‘Ben wrote the instrumental parts and I wrote the lyrics. The song gave me the idea of addiction and going cold turkey. We changed the lyrics, though! The original chorus went ‘I love you, can’t have you, you are my dirty woman’ but we were worried our moms wouldn’t like it! (They changed it to: ‘I love you, I can’t have you, you are my filthy habit.’) I finished the lyrics at home, I was on a roll! Charlie called A LOT! He wanted to call it ‘Dirty Needle’ (Charlie starts laughing)!’ John looks surprised: ‘Oh, I never knew that before!’

Charlie interjects: ‘In the bridge section, which I wrote, I wanted to change a couple of the lyrics, the ‘I’m living without you’ part, I wanted it to be darker. For my collab on ‘Filthy Habit’, I was going through GarageBand and Ben was doing drums, we improvised the bridge.’ Ben jumps in: ‘I remember writing that song, it was one of the first I’ve written. Some of my demos are sooo bad, I played it for Charlie! Charlie came up with the ‘da da da da’ (on the drums) at the beginning of the song.’

As the track kicks off: ‘Cold turkey is getting close to warm, feel like I’m inching towards a storm, need something to relieve my pain but that’s something that I shouldn’t name.’

‘It’s about a very wealthy person and not fitting in with a wealthy community’

They are all feeling the restrictions of lockdown and Dylan says that they had 20 shows lined up before the pandemic hit. However, new songs are on cards: ‘We have one song almost done,’ said Ben. ‘It’s been done, other than my vocals for about a year, they’re waiting on me!,’ Dylan said. ‘It’s called ‘Fat Cat’ and it’s about a very wealthy person and not fitting in with a wealthy community and also about moving to a new town and not fitting in there.’ It will be the first track they have produced themselves, due to Charlie developing his production skills at university. ‘I was like wooooooah when I heard it!,’ Ben said. ‘The drums are very good!’

Charlie is a big fan of fellow local teenage rock band, Dead End: ‘They’re way cooler than us!,’ he laughed. ‘They’re punk inspired. I also really like Spitfires and Social Creatures (both in New York). John also cites all three as some of his favourite local bands. Dylan is a big fan of local duo Sam and Chloe. Ben jumps in: ‘They’re both prodigies.’ Dylan is also a fan of punk band Zig Mentality. They’re all huge fans of Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age and when I say they remind me a lot of Queens of the Stone Age, they look delighted: ‘That’s the best compliment we could ever get,’ said Charlie happily.

If they could tour with anyone, Brendan picks Arctic Monkeys. Ben goes with Royal Blood: ‘They have this heavy sound that is an alternative kind of pop, they’re very cool.’ John is still thinking: ‘It’s kinda weird, they all like Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age but I’m a diehard metal fan. I’ll say Primus (a Californian funk metal band), we’ve all liked them at some point.’ Dylan interjects: ‘Yeah, we saw them together.’ Dylan decides on Oasis and starts laughing: ‘Everyone will want to see them fight on stage every night! Or The Beatles, to say you’ve toured with them, you’d be just wow.’ - The Bucket Playlist

"Samsara Shares a Young Rocker’s Insights on Rock and Roll"

Through our Future of Rock series, many bands have shared why they think the genre is less popular with younger listeners – but what do the young people have to say about it? We spoke with Samsara, a Gen Z rock band based in NYC to get the young rocker’s insights on rock and roll.

Samsara is composed of Dylan Trif on vocals, Charlie LoMonaco on guitar and backup vocals, John Devito on bass, Ben Bustamante on drums and backup vocals, and Brendan Sandhovel on bass and rhythm guitar. Listening to Samsara, you would think these young men were well into adulthood However, you would also be surprised to learn that every member of this blossoming band is under 20! Though young, Samsara’s musical talent is already leagues beyond their peers, and on par with many musicians their senior. It is surreal to listen to Samsara while also imagining them getting ready for school the next day. They are already writing original singles that will have you on your feet and feeling 18 again.

Samsara just released their debut EP, Paralyzed in Paradise.

This interview is special, not only because we finally get to hear from young rockers, but it is one of the few interviews we have done where every member of the band is present!

About Samsara’s EP Paralyzed in Paradise
Congrats on the EP! Can you guys talk about the name of the EP Paralyzed in Paradise a little bit? Was this name in the works pre-Covid?

It was, like, one in the morning and my sister runs into my room, and she goes, “You should name your EP something paralyzed because it’s said in a lot of your lyrics!” In ‘Addict’ I say paralyzed, in ‘Nevermind’ I say paralyzed; I think also in ‘Filthy Habit’. I just say paralyzed a bunch. I didn’t even realize it until my sister said that.

You could look at the Pandemic lockdown as a form of paradise, as it’s giving artists the opportunity to create new music via the internet. However, being stuck at home can also be paralyzing. Could this have had some influence?

That’s how to kind of write music. ‘Tell Us Your Name’ we wrote all in person, because that was the first song we ever wrote. However, a lot of the time, we’ll just come up with a demo on GarageBand—well, now we upgraded to Logic—and we send it to each other. Then we all take influence and change certain parts. That’s a really good way actually to interpret the EP. I never thought about that.

The recording process took a long time, but it was fun. We learned a lot. We’re trying to record by ourselves just because we can do it for free at home.

Recording by myself is great. In the past, if you want to change something, you would have to text the guy, “Hey, can you do this instead?” Now it’s like, “Okay, I don’t like this and I can change myself.”

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I also feel like it’s never done properly if somebody else does it…It’s just more fun to record from home. We all do for the demos, and the demos are sounding better and better. I’m studying music production at Berkeley right now…Honestly, there’s a new song we’re doing right now, and it sounds great! No vocals on it yet though—Dylan!

I was recording it right before this!

Photo Courtesy of Samsara’s Social Media
Do you guys have a favorite song of the EP? Which one and why?

I like ‘Nevermind’ the most. I think that one’s cool.

I agree; I like playing ‘Nevermind’…

I like ‘Filthy Habit’ the best.

Playing during Covid
You guys were recently part of the virtual version of the Rochester Fringe Festival. Can you talk about what it was like playing a virtual show instead of a live show?

For me, it’s much different. When I’m on stage I like to run around and interact with everyone. Live streaming, I feel like I have to look straight at the camera. It’s obviously great to be playing, you know? I love playing with the band, but it’s so much different. You do sort of get in that mood, but it’s just not the same.

It’s just such an odd feeling when you’re playing just in front of cameras with no audience. It’s so much more stressful. In the second set, my string broke really bad. I was like, “Dang! This isn’t like a live show, and I can’t just have fun.” It’s recorded, so it looks a lot worse. I ended up playing the songs all right, but it was definitely stressful.

A Young Rocker’s World
You guys are all under 20. Please tell us – who is popular in rock and roll for the younger generation?

There’s this group of three bands, and they just recently came together for this thing called New York Mafia. It’s Cleopatrick, Zig Mentality, I forgot the other band – Dylan, do you remember?

Ready The Prince

Ready The Prince – there we go! And yeah, they’re all really cool people. They all have a very similar sound; like a modern rock sound. There are other bands like Royal Blood that are also up and coming. These are some new rock bands that are changing the sound of Rock in general; like more riffs and stuff. You just feel it, and it’s a lot more intense.

A band I think is changing the rock scene is Highly Suspect…They and Royal Blood have really changed everything. They started something, and then that group New Rock Mafia sort of added on to it. They’re building from that and now they’re getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

I think our music definitely sounds a lot like those bands. We actually do communicate with them. We used to actually cover one of Cleopatrick’s songs and we still stay in contact with them. We also listen to a lot of bigger bands. I’m more into old, 80s stuff, which obviously wouldn’t inspire the stuff we play.

I want to shout out to the Queens of the Stone Age. They’re a big influence on me when it comes to creating a modern rock sound.

Also Nirvana and Kanye West. Okay, maybe not Kanye West…I just like Kanye West.

I listen to mostly black metal and death metal…stuff like that.

Is rock and roll very common amongst your peers? Why or why not?

[Old-school rock] is definitely not as popular as it was in the 80s, but a lot of people do like other forms of rock music. Indie rock definitely counts in my opinion as rock, and so does alt-rock. Those genres are very much popular, and we take a lot of influence from indie rock artists like Mack DeMarco and Tame Impala. Rock’s definitely not dead. It’s just different.

I would say rock isn’t as big. Obviously, rap and hip hop are more popular. I wouldn’t say it’s completely out of the picture. I’ll walk in on some people listening to the Arctic Monkeys, or something like that. I wouldn’t say it’s completely gone. Just not as popular.

I love the Arctic Monkeys! I have their album right here.

In my school though, all I hear is rap music. You’ll find those little pockets of people like that end up listening to something like the Arctic Monkeys like Dylan said.

When Samsara Fell in Love With Rock
Do you remember when you fell in love with rock and roll?

In my household, that’s pretty much all we ever listened to. The Beatles was probably the biggest band for me…the first band I can think of that I listened to a lot. Also Led Zeppelin.

I listened to a lot of Led Zeppelin when I was younger. My dad showed me Zeppelin. The drummer John Bonham, is my big inspiration. I get a lot of my playing from him. I also listen to the Beatles.

In my house, we always listen to a lot of alt-rock. Coldplay and the Beatles were two big inspirations for me, and the song ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis. I remember when I heard that song; I was like, “Yeah, I want to be in this world!”

I grew up with a mom who was an ex-punk rocker. My dad is also into 80s metal, and put me on to a lot of Hip Hop. For rock, I was jamming out to The Smashing Pumpkins in particular; Nirvana, The Offspring—I used to LOVE The Offspring when I was young. I saw them live twice. They’re like, really, really, good.

When I started to get into music, the first band I ever fell in love with was Queen. The first riff I wanted to learn was ‘Stone Cold Crazy’. I obviously couldn’t play it at first; that riff was really far away for me. Then when eventually when I got it, I was like, “Oh, wow, the guitar is really fun!” It became less of a chore and more of a fun thing to do. I got into Metallica, and they’re still my favorite band. I also got really into Green Day.

Love Green Day! I met them when I was six, and they signed this poster for me. I brought it to show and tell in first grade, and then the teacher confiscated it at the end and said, “This is inappropriate for school.” I never got it back.

Wait, really!?

It’s probably in her room, like, above her bed.

What’s a Rock Star Anyway?
To you, is rock a genre or a lifestyle?

In all honesty, I would think it’s both. Just because you don’t play rock doesn’t mean you’re not a rock star. If you have ever seen a Kanye West concert – like if you look at him – he’s just as hyper, and moving around on stage as Ozzy Osborne did. He lives that rock star lifestyle. I don’t think particularly you have to be playing rock music to be a rock star.

The craziest crowd I ever wanted was Lil Uzi Vert. I’m not even kidding you. I’ve seen Mayhem live too, and Mayhem was crazy in a different way. Rap has that thing now going for it. Rock music is still there, but it’s transcended; the culture of rock is really influencing a lot of different things.

What is your idea of a rock star, and what does that look like?

I was actually thinking about when you asked the first question. I feel like a rock star is a little bit more raggedy…You just act like you don’t care. It’s not like you don’t care at all…you just sort of give that persona.

I would argue with Dylan about this, and I would say there really is no right answer.

I would say that too. Because you could be raggedy looking, but you can also look like Freddie Mercury or Weezer.

Yeah, like, they’re [Weezer] nerds. Straight up. I love Weezer, but like they’re that’s like their thing. They don’t dress like rock stars.

There’s no set answer because you can’t really pinpoint a day where rock started. I guess even if you just picked the Beatles, it’s changed so much. Your typical rock star in the 80s was like Motley Crue. Your typical rock star in the 90s looked like Kurt Cobain with the ripped-up jeans. In the 2000s it was Fall Out Boy where everyone dressed like how they chose to dress. Now some people call rappers rock stars. I agree like Kanye West can be called a rock star just by the way he performs on stage. It’s just it’s honestly just whatever you make it. If you really believe in what you’re doing then it makes you a rock star. You look at so many people who really devote themselves to music. They just put their all into it, and you can tell they believe in it. That’ll make you a rock star.

I would retract my statement. I agree with them.

Looking to the Future
What do you think emerging young rockers like yourselves must do to keep evolving the genre and keep it fresh?

I think inspiring people to play so that there are more bands. Charlie had this one instance where he met some kid on a cruise. Now he looks up to Charlie and wants to play like him. That is like a big thing. There’s this little kid that comes to every one of our shows. His name is Jack Medallia, he looks up to Ben. Ben inspires him to play drums and now he plays drums every day.

Oh, yeah…Jack! I’ve started to notice [him] over time. He’s watched me play and he’s starting to play like me. I hit the drums really hard when I play because that’s just how I do it. Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters and Nirvana is my inspiration. I look up to him a lot. Now with Jack…He plays the same way I do. It’s really awesome.

I have another buddy named Carson. I met him at this Tom Morello music camp in California. Listening to him play, I was like “Wow, he’s really good!” He was probably about 8 or 9…He’s very, very passionate about it, and he was playing all these cool rock songs. I won a competition there, which is really cool because I got to play with Tom Morello. I remember, from that point on, Carson was like, “I want to play like him!”

It’s, honestly, really inspiring for me also – to just keep working hard. In order to make music that inspires other people, you also have to make music that you like. We make music that we like, and you want to hear. So I guess if people get inspired by that, that’s like a dream come true. Job’s done!

It’s just about doing your own thing. Say, in the 90s; if every band just decided to go with what was popular, music just wouldn’t change. It’s when musicians just did their own thing – like when Kurt Cobain made his guitar sound horrible, and screamed the vocals, and Dave Grohl decided the play really loud – that’s how new genres and sounds start. Do your own thing, and do what feels right. Don’t copy another band, you know? Make what you want to make. Whatever creative ideas you have, just put those into your music. It’ll just evolve naturally.

I have to agree with Brendan there. Music has to evolve. You have to have your own sound so that every band doesn’t sound the same. There should be new things to listen to, so people don’t get bored.

I totally agree with that. I just feel like a lot of rap music sounds the same to me. It gets annoying, and I don’t really want to hear it. I know there’s a lot of music out there that sounds different, obviously. But there’s a certain genre of rap music that kind of sounds the same, and I feel like it’s just gonna fade away because it’s not really evolving.

Artists like Kanye West just continue to break boundaries, and that’s where new genres of rap even evolve.

Yeah, Kanye is the goat to me. My roommate and I talk about him all the time. Rap is going to evolve like rock. Look at Lil Uzi Vert or Cardi B. They are constantly trying something new. Say what you want about it, it’s definitely different. So things are always going to be changing in every genre.

Is there anything in particular that you would like to see change about the music industry?

I think that the music industry right now is super diverse and most people will like anything you throw at them. If somebody knows it has an audience, then they’ll support it. Even if it’s you hitting a pencil on a desk…and that’s your drums. I saw this TikTok the other day, and this guy didn’t have a shaker. So he ripped off a piece of paper and rubbed that against his desk; he used that as a shaker, and the song blew up. It’s wild. People are very accepting of new music, and the music industry is going in the right direction.

The only thing that worries me personally is TikTok. No offense to TikTok or anyone who uses it, but what worries me about it is the potential for one-hit-wonders. That was a thing in the past for a while, and I feel like you’ll see a lot more with TikTok…Which is annoying, because you have a lot of really talented people on there. I would hate to see that happen to them.

Yeah, I didn’t think of that.

But it can also be a stepping stone. The indie artist, Dayglow? One of his songs blew up because it was trending. Now, he’s all over every alternative station.

I mean, anything can happen. That’s the thing, though. You have to have good music.

Charlie has a very good point about the one-hit-wonders, but sometimes TikTok is a blessing. People randomly blow up. That’s how we found our artist that drew the Paralyzed in Paradise cover. We found him on TikTok.

Future Goals
If you could sell out a show at your dream venue, what venue would it be and why?

That’s probably the best question I’ve ever been asked. Wow!

My joke answer would be Jake Ben’s Basement because that’s my favorite show we’ve ever played. But my serious answer would definitely be MSG. I think it’s mostly because I’m a New Yorker.

I feel like I have to go with that too. Because if you get MSG, you’ve pretty much made it. Like Joe Schmoe doesn’t play MSG, you know what I mean?

What are we only considering like venues or can I say something different? I think venue-wise, it would have to be MSG because as they also said, we’re from New York. You grow up seeing it, and imagining selling it out. But for me personally knowing that I’ve made it, I would say playing live on SNL. Just because I feel like if you play live SNL, you made it like. It wouldn’t be the same as everyone shouting your name, but there are millions at home like watching just for you to play…

I like that answer. It’d be insane to play on SNL or Jimmy Fallon…But I’d like to play at Lollapalooza. I want to play at a festival…MSG is like a good seal of approval. If you’ve played MSG, you know you’re good. But at a festival – Imagine how cool that would be. You get so many people and you do your own thing. Playing at MSG, there are strict rules and stuff; you play and you get off. At a festival, everybody’s going crazy in the audience, and then we can just run around on stage and just be honest.

I didn’t even think of that. Doing something like that would be really cool. The Gov Ball would be sick because the sets are always good, and the crowd is great.

What about playing Revolution? I always wanted to play there. We’ve never played as a band…Charlie and I went, and…saw Mayhem there.

That was a crazy, crazy show. We also went to a music school, and the music school would host shows at Revolution all the time. You get to play on the same stage as these legends of black metal. Nothing beats that! That’s sick! I started playing in a band because of this music school and playing at Revolution in front of the parents with their cameras.

Yeah, I played ‘Wrecking Ball’ on the same stage as Mayhem.

Wait, ‘Wrecking Ball’!?

Yeah, we played that in the Pop show…years and years ago.

Coming Full Circle
It is funny that you mention Miley Cyrus. Have you listened to her new album? This new album could be considered a rock album, even though she’s not necessarily a rock artist. However, considering our conversation today, perhaps she could be considered a modern-day rock star.

It definitely is! It’s very rock-oriented. If we’re going back to it – rock isn’t the most alive right now, so I guess she wasn’t thinking like, “Oh, I’m gonna put out a whole rock album.” But a lot of the songs are very rock-oriented, especially her voice and her melodies. You can hear the guitars in the back and the drums especially. Yeah, I’ll consider her a new age rock star in a way.

A lot of artists may not make rock music, but they definitely have an appreciation for it. I feel like now a lot of them are expressing their appreciation by trying to revive it. This is a perfect example…Machine Gun Kelly just put out a full punk album. He’s playing guitar and all that. I know he used to play guitar on some of his albums, but now it’s full-on. Metallica performed with Lady Gaga. I was just like, “Oh my god, it’s gonna be horrible!” Then she went on stage and killed it! It looked like she could be a part of that band. It’s nice to see…In general, there are a lot more artists that are just leaning towards that style of music; just heavier music and trying to show appreciation for the genre.

To add to that, I would say most people are inspired by rock in some way or another. I was just talking earlier about artist Mack DeMarco who isn’t a traditional rock musician that slams on the guitar, but he makes Indie Rock…Like, Rico Nasty’s song ‘Smack a Bi*ch’ – that song is sick as hell! I’m sorry, she slaps. It’s a killer song and it has the same aggression…as good as any rock album I’ve ever heard. It’s just got trap drums on it.

I would say the same with Tyler the Creator actually. A lot of his songs are very metal-oriented…He’s like rapping and screaming, but like very rock-oriented with everything. It’s very cool!

Any last words for the world?
What I’d like to say – final statement, for me at least – is thank you for who’s reading this now. You guys are the OG fans because you’re going to be amongst the elite of a small group when we’re big. I’m calling it! - Live Music Favorites



Comprised of local New Yorkers from Queens and Long Island:

Dylan Trif (Lead Vocals), Charlie LoMonaco (Guitar and BackGround Vocals), John Devito ( Bass), Ben Bustamante (Drums and Background Vocals), Brendan Sandhovel ( Bass, Rhythm Guitar)   

Charlie, Ben and John began playing music together at an early age through a local music school.  Years later they connected with Dylan and Brendan and formed what is now SAMSARA.  

Growing up on all things music, SAMSARA. draws influence from several styles including, grunge, funk, metal and alternative. 

Having years of experience in performance and training, the teens of SAMSARA. write their own music.  They impress both the young and older crowds and have gained respect from the music community.  Their songs are current and fresh, but you can hear their influences woven in their songs. 

You can find their music on all streaming sites.  

Stay tuned.  

Follow them on their social media for the latest news and events.  

Band Members