Stars of the new "lo-fi" breed of American artists, a pop format that accentuates the quality of songs above any production expertise, and partly coined in answer to Beck's phenomenal rise, Sammy are a duo of Luke Wood (guitar, bass) and Jesse Hartman (vocals, guitar) who rose to prominence when supporting that artist in the USA and UK. The pair met when Hartman noted Wood's Velvet Underground T-shirt in the late 80s, discovering a musical kindred spirit. Jesse had played with Girls against Boys in a previous incarnation.
Together they recorded a debut album, titled simply Debut Album, in their occasional drummer Corn's Long Island, New York basement. Later, when Luke relocated to L.A, the group became bi-coastal, sending tapes to each other in order to write songs. This approach, however, did not damage the quality of compositions on the album, and both have brought their individual experiences to bear on their songs. "Rudy", for instance, concerns a "crack smoking Rastafarian dishwasher." Hartman's writing is primarily influenced by his abiding interest in film. The Long Island lifestyle certainly seemed to offer ample inspirational scope: "My piano teacher was a child molester, my high-school teacher was murdered by a gay prostitute and sometimes these characters find their way into my songs".