"Where you are right now is probably not where you want to be, but it’s probably where you need to be" - Brompton Jackson
Action/Adventure recently revealed that they had signed to Pure Noise Records, an achievement that has been nearly seven years in the making.
The band may have popped up on many a radar in the last few months, but they have been grinding and grafting for over half a decade to reach this point and are now reaping the reward for their work. Now with the release of their fantastic new EP 'Pulling Focus', a mesh of spine-tinglingly passionate refrains, mountain-high singalongs and technically bludgeoning instrumentals, they are ready to take on the whole world.
To get their story so far, we jumped on the phone with guitarists Brompton Jackson and Oren Trace to find out how hard work and heart have helped them to become one of pop-punk's most exciting prospects...
So let’s go right back to the start. Where do the roots of Action/Adventure lie?
Brompton: “So, me, Oren and Adrian [Brown, Drums] have been playing music together since we were in High School together. It’s been about 16 years, and we just started just by hanging out and wanting to play music. That was it. Eight hours a day in Oren’s basement playing Senses Fail covers. ‘Let It Enfold You’ and ‘Still Searching’ came out around that time, and we were trying to learn those records cover to cover. So everything was for fun.
“After we graduated was the moment where we thought it might be pretty cool to do this all the time. We set out from there on a path. There have been many detours along the way, and it’s never been a very straight route. There were times when we weren’t all playing in the same band either, but we would always converge and try again. So Action/Adventure starting around seven years ago felt like the turning point, though. This band was us giving it one really big hard push one more time. When we were able to find Blake [Evaristo, Vocals] and Manny [Avila, Bass], we had the right line-up and the right people to make it happen. So from there, this band became the process of us all working towards a tangible goal."
When you know that a band will be your ‘Forever’ band, especially after you have been trying for so long, the universe always shows you. And when you have that backing, you’re going to push as hard as you can because of that…
Brompton: "It's hard to find a group of people that are all going to put up with your shit for as long as we have put up with each other. It’s a strange thing to find, but that chemistry plays such a huge part in it all. You’ve just got to work it all out."
In your time as a band, you’ve released four EPs, including this brand new one. How has what you want the Action/Adventure sound shifted over those releases?
Oren: "It’s funny because, for all the EPs, there has been this overarching theme of positivity and trying to make your situation better. If you listen to our earlier stuff, like [2015 EP] ‘Rumble Pak’, it’s hyper-focused on the easycore side of things sonically."
Brompton: "I would say that over the years, we have honed our craft a little bit more. I think that being able to grow up together and play music together helped us push each other. As we were getting older and the band was getting older, we continued to try and do different things that we did before. We’re constantly trying to do things that keep us interested, and we’re going to be excited to play live forever. So we’re going to keep on pushing the envelope for ourselves."
Being able to bring in five different heads to create one thing that you’re all happy playing isn’t the easiest thing, but it must be something that, over the years, you’ve learned to control and create something that’s then bigger than the five of you…
Oren: "Yeah, our creative process is very different from the ones that bands we have spoken to have. It’s something that comes up a lot. For them, maybe one or two members are principal songwriters. All five of us are principal songwriters. It’s a huge collaboration.”
How does it feel for 'Pulling Focus' to be the thing that has caught the most attention?
Brompton: “It's validating more than anything. Validation is the name of the game right now for me. It’s almost cathartic too. It’s so crazy to think about. It’s a real, ‘It worked’ moment for us. I got the Pure Noise email, mainly because I was signed up for their newsletter. Organically, I got the email about our signing and damn near cried.
“These songs have been written for two and a half years now, from way before we were even on Pure Noise’s radar. They were recorded and ready to go. And it’s all about how long can you do this for? What do you do if what you’re doing isn’t working? You try over and over again. How do you justify continuing down the same path? There have been times where we have had difficult conversations about whether we can do this at the same capacity that we’ve done it for the last five or six years. Oren just had a child. We all have full time and regular jobs. Balancing work, band, and personal time, we’re balancing three different lives at once. So the fact that this was the record that was able to do it was huge for us.
“Who knows what would have happened if Barricades didn’t take off? What if we didn’t have that extra attention to get the extra support we have now. Touring is hard. Making records costs so much to produce. This may be what you want to do, but it’s one of your largest bills. My rent is second to the band. To have such a large financial burden to bear without any support is a lot. Finding an extra $5000 from each of us every year to go and record, then designing and printing merch, then everything else, it’s a lot. But we’ve done it, and it’s worth it, but how long is that truly sustainable for on your own?”
Oren: “It would have had to have been a weekend warriors situation for sure.”
You mentioned ‘Barricades’. What was it like when you realised what that song was doing and what it represents was being absorbed on this colossal level?
Oren: "Brompton put the song on TikTok and then just left it. He didn’t check for a few hours, and then when he did, that was the moment we realised it was getting huge. None of us were paying attention because we didn’t know that it was up there."
Brompton: "I didn’t know how TikTok worked. I didn’t even have the app downloaded. I wasn’t even a casual user. I got the app specifically to post the track because our friend and photographer Chris told us to. He said it was perfect, what with it being under a minute. So I went with it, and I didn’t even put a good caption on there. We didn’t link people to the band at all. Our Bandcamp was nowhere to be seen. There are comments on the video to this day of people saying, ‘Is this on Spotify? Who is this band? Does anyone know?’
“I didn’t tell anyone I posted it, but then it came across my girlfriend’s For You Page. She was like, ‘Have you been paying attention to it? Do you know how many views you have right now?’ I thought it had 7000 or something, pushing it, but it had 28,000 views in two hours. I started freaking out and texting the group chat, and as I was typing the message, it just kept on skyrocketing before my eyes. Within three hours, it did something like 90,000 views. When we went to sleep, it was 140,000. By the time we woke up, it was 287,000 views.”
What do you feel as though this batch of songs represents now you’re in a completely different place to where they were written?
Brompton: “There’s a lot of us on this record. There are a lot of different experiences that we have all experienced, a lot of good and a lot of shit. I think as a whole, listening to this EP back to back makes me think, ‘Well, life chewed us up and spat us out, but we made it through the other end. I hope that people can take away that sentiment when they listen. It might suck right now, but it’s not always going to suck. I feel as though Blake really nailed a lot of the grass is always greener feeling, and that’s a really good perspective always to keep. Where you are right now is probably not where you want to be, but it’s probably where you need to be. You have to keep moving forward and keep on growing.”
And what is it that makes you feel excited as you look forwards from here?
Brompton: “I feel like we have a renewed faith in ourselves. We’re all excited and ready to do what we need to do to make this work from here. So getting on the road again, we’ve just bought a new van, which is cool. We also haven’t stopped writing at all. We’ve just had to pivot and change how we have done it over the year because of lockdown. We’ve booked studio time for October, too, so we’re super stoked to move forwards and create new stuff again. It’s time to hit the ground running.”