So, what were you doing at age 13? For most people the answer was probably pretty similar: music, movies, hanging out with friends, and beginning to get interested in the dynamics of dating in the high school halls.
For Minneapolis-based rapper/vocalist Buggy, he released his debut EP, Enemies of the State, as part of the band Alarm For War on July 28, which is beginning to create a bit of a buzz in the industry, not just for the precociousness of his age, but for the talent he has demonstrated as a performer.
Originally meant to be a project concocted by his parents, who are professional musicians/singers, and a group of musical pals, a chance opportunity in the recording studio led to the project Alarm for War being created to harness Buggy’s talents as a frontman.
“I had been around music, mainly rap and metal, my whole life. My parents are recording artists and musicians, so one day there was a seasoned singer they were working with and I was just hanging around the studio and I was singing along and he noticed that I was singing on key. I was only 12 at the time and he said, ‘you’ve got to get this kid in here to do the backing vocals with me.’ I thought it was a really cool experience,” he said.
“After doing those sessions my dad was like ‘hey Buggy, can you rap these songs?’ So after taking a trip to the studio again to try some rapping, everybody liked it and everything was cool, so that’s how the project and the EP came about. So in a way I kind of got pulled into it, but it’s something I always wanted to do because I have been around music my whole life.”
Described as ‘rapcore’ or rap meets fusion, Alarm for War combines elements of Christian nu-metal band P.O.D. (Payable on Death), Rage Against the Machine and Alice in Chains. Enemies of the State was produced by Alarm for Way, engineered by Brian Bart of Logic Recordings, and mixed by Grammy-winner J.R. McNeely (2000 Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album for Petra’s Double Take).
More than just a rapper, Buggy is also an accomplished singer and it’s the dynamics of adding his singing voice to his rapping that makes for a unique and crowd-pleasing combination.
“I sang around the house a lot when I was little and my mom helped me a lot with it too. I have been singing pretty much all my life and I like doing both singing and rapping. It’s a way to capture a bigger fan base. For people who don’t like singing you can capture them on the rap and then if people don’t like rap as much you can capture them with the singing. I think it makes for a good change of pace and a way of getting a bigger audience,” he said, adding that he likes the concept of rap because it’s a way of using the voice almost like another rhythmic instrument as well as conveying meaning through the lyrics in a powerful way.
“It’s a great way to express yourself in a very unique way. I have been around rap my whole life, I grew up around it and it’s pretty much been my main thing.”
Buggy said that there is a bigger vision and mission to the music and band Alarm for War than just releasing compelling, entertaining tunes. As an avowed Christian, he believes in using music and all forms of creative expression to try and reach out to young people who may be encountering struggles and challenges in their lives.
“We’re a youth-oriented band and reaching out to the youth of the nation. In a lot of ways the youth have been subjected to everything and protected from nothing. On the music video Day Turned to Night, it’s about a kid named Zach and he was hooked on drugs and he was told by people around him to stop because one night it might just cost him his life,” he explained.
“But after he was doing drugs in a bathroom, he was found dead on the floor. And then standing around his dead body, someone in the crowd shouted out, ‘well, where’s your God now?’ Someone else in the crowd replies, ‘the same place he was when he was warning him.’ In other words, don’t blame God for the choices you make. So as musicians, we feel it’s our job in every song to give to the young people a message of hope and truth. Our whole aim is to reach out to the lost and reach out to the young people.”
Another song that is emblematic of Alarm for War and Buggy’s philosophy and approach is the EP’s title track, Enemies of the State.
“We’re saying here that sometimes if you try to tell some people the truth, it’s kind of like they say you’re bring hateful. Well, we’re not, we’re preaching love and not hate. It’s like if there was someone standing in the middle of the road, would it be love for me to just look at them and not say anything and let them get hit by a car? Or would it be love to tell them to get out of the street. So that’s kind of what that one is about,” Buggy said.
Alarm for War has a few tour dates set for the fall and Buggy said that he hopes to get up to Canada at some point in the near future.
“I think that would be cool, because we’re looking to go all over the place,” he said.
For more information, visit www.alarmforwar.com.
- Jim Barber is a veteran award-winning journalist and author based in Napanee, ON, who has been writing about music and musicians for a quarter of a century. Besides his journalistic endeavours, he now works as a communications and marketing specialist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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