A Conversation with Sam Quartin

I had the pleasure of speaking to Sam Quartin about her role in Tyger Tyger, available NOW in select theaters and on Demand.

We also discuss her role in Body Brokers, available NOW in select theaters and on digital/On Demand.

We also discuss her journey with sobriety and her promising band, The Bobby Lees.

Sam Quartin

Yanis: Tell me about your character Tina in Body Brokers

Sam: Tina’s a young mom who’s trying to get sober. She’s been a part of the rehab racket before- getting paid to go; but when we meet her in Body Brokers, she’s not taking a cut anymore. She’s earnestly trying to get clean and stay sober for her daughters.

Y: Tell me about Blake in Tyger Tyger, how does she contrast Tina?

S: Blake’s a different kind of addict. I guess her drug of choice would be love. In the film, she locks eyes with someone and then is ready to run away with them and abandon life as she knows it.

I liked that about her. She’s also honest and believes in seeking justice and helping others, even if it might have serious consequences.

Y: The title Tyger Tyger is a reference to a famous William Blake poem. Why this title for a movie about drugs?

S: I think the poem is really romantic and heartbreaking at the same time, kind of similar to the film. The story and script were partly inspired by that poem, so I think Kerry thought the title was fitting.

The opening line of the poem “Tyger Tyger burning bright, in the forest of the night” reminds me of a great speech the Emerald character gives- about certain people being too bright for this world — stars who are too magnificent and destined to burn up and destroy themselves really quickly.

Y: Did you shoot during the pandemic?

S: We actually shot before the pandemic. It was an eerie coincidence when the real pandemic started.

Y: Indeed! I love your band The Bobby Lees. I am fascinated with the song Guttermilk. Is it a song about leaving someone for dead in the desert? What exactly is “guttermilk?”

S: Thanks so much! I wrote that while we were shooting Tyger Tyger. Not to spoil the ending of the film… but yeah, the song’s about leaving someone dead in the desert.

It was pretty surreal shooting where we did, because a few years before, I had an alcohol induced psychotic break while I was in that same area and thought I died. I saw my face and entire body disappear…it was pretty nuts.

That whole experience/episode definitely influenced the lyrics to that song. I’m not really sure what guttermilk is.

Y: What was it like working with Jon Spencer on your album Skin Suit? Was there anything you and your bandmates learned during the experience?

S: Jon loves to try things I just never would think to try. We were really lucky to have him helping us. We recorded on 16 track tape, and Jon showed us these cool tricks and sounds you can make with the tape itself.

We only had a couple days to mix the record, so that’s one thing I’d do differently next time — set aside more time for that.

Y: Tell me about your journey with sobriety. Many addicts find themselves locked in a loop of self-denial where they tell themselves “tomorrow,” but “tomorrow” becomes an unreachable horizon line. How did you break that cycle?

S: I had many “tomorrows” for sure. I’m honestly not sure how I stopped. I guess I thought I was gonna die, and ultimately something in me wanted to live.

A family member suggested I try a 12-step program, which I really wasn’t into for awhile. And then I said, ‘fuck it, I’ll give it a try…’ and I’ve been sober since. I’m really grateful I had enough willingness to try.

Y: Tell me about the charities you support. There’s an interesting parallel between your preoccupation with feeding the hungry and your character in Tyger Tyger providing life-saving medicine to those in need.

S: Whenever I’m home and have free time I like to volunteer. I’m on an email chain with FAMILY of Woodstock where I live, and they let me know when they need volunteers.

We go to local farms and pick fresh produce which then gets delivered to the food banks. You get to meet some interesting people.

Y: What are you reading these days?

S: I recently got turned on to this guy Haruki Murakami- just finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle which was pretty amazing. Right now I’m going between two books — The I Ching/Book of Changes and this other book called Answer to Job by Carl Jung.

Y: I love those books! I could go on for hours about Jung or The I Ching, but I will spare you.

What’s next for you and for the Bobby Lees? Where can everyone follow you on social media?

S: I have a new movie I’m excited about that starts shooting in May, but I’m not allowed to say what it is yet. The band’s finishing up recording a new album right now with this amazing producer Vance Powell. We’ll be releasing it whenever this shit passes.

You can follow the band @thebobbylees



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