Music had always been a friend to Sam (vocals/guitar) and his older brother Casey Harris (keyboards.) The brothers grew up with instruments and lessons and hand-me-down Beatles, Stones, Billy Joel, and Joni Mitchell records. These instilled a strong sense of melody and composition, as well as great hooks. The Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie albums that their film-maker father favored gave Sam a sense of storytelling and narrative. Hip-hop gave Sam his voice without sacrificing his love for massive, arena-ready rock. Sam met his future guitarist Noah Feldshuh on the first day of kindergarten. By the time Sam and Noah enrolled at New York City's The New School in 2006, they needed all the creative strength they could muster. They met drummer Adam Levin in the dorms and soon the Los Angeles native joined, but fans were in short supply, and the Harris brothers felt like Ithaca was never far behind. "We never felt like a New York band," Sam says.
Between classes and menial work to pay the bills, there was every reason to give up, but doing so would mean facing a return to their roots before they were ready. For Sam, songwriting became not only a way out of small-town life, but also a way for him to explore fertile themes of longing, jealousy, and personal pain. Music was a healer and others began to notice. Enter an impressed Alex Da Kid, who was working with Imagine Dragons. Alex, Imagine Dragons' frontman Dan Reynolds, and band friend Dan Stringer co-produced X Ambassadors 2013 EP, Love Songs Drug Songs. The debut full-length album VHS brings X Ambassadors full circle. And as they prepare to strike out on their own again, they finally have the self-awareness to guide them through their next chapter. "This album is the culmination of all the work we've put in since seventh grade," Sam says. "I wanted to show people who we are - a group of brothers, best friends, and family who've been through so much together."