The Action Design
Old parts, new momentum
By Simon McCormack
Rising from the ashes of punkers Tsunami Bomb is Petaluma, Calif.'s The Action Design. It's the pet project of ex-Tsunami Bomb members Emily Whitehurst (aka Agent M) and Matt McKenzie, who have emerged from their last experience older and wiser.
"Tsunami was more limited musically and we had to write within certain parameters," McKenzie says. "With this project, we went out of our way to not be pigeonholed, so now we can write any type of music we want."
The Action Design doesn't have the punk speed of Tsunami Bomb, but it has the same pop-based premise—using synth-hooks, clever choruses and studio bells and whistles whenever possible. The bandmates admit they're not afraid of the pop label, but they're also receptive to new ideas, generated from a fresh batch of group chemistry. "The momentum comes from our relationships with each other and our open minds," drummer Jake Krohn says. "It's just about being in a band with people who you like to spend time with, because that's what propells the project forward."
So how will the Tsunami faithful handle the format change? The results have been promising. "It hasn't really been a problem so far," Whitehurst says. "We've had a couple shows where some real punk rockers came by, and they didn't seem angry about what they heard."
When they broke up in 2005, Tsunami Bomb members mentioned frustrations with the business side of the music industry; so, weary of repeating past mistakes, The Action Design teamed up with indie label PopSmear Records to re-release the band's first and only offering to date, the EP Into a Sound. "It's all about who you work with and what business partnerships you decide to go with," McKenzie explains. "There's still no way for us to guarantee we'll avoid those problems again, but this time around we're a little bit smarter in choosing what label we end up with and our management and booking partners because it makes a huge difference."
For a band that's only been going full-throttle for a little more than a year, The Action Design sounds as though it’s been playing for eons. "As far as the rough edges, I think we're just good at hiding them," guitarist Jaycen McKissick says. "The band is definitely at the beginning stages and still on the ground floor, but we're excited to get up as far as we can take this."
Easier Said Than Done
As his list of songs grows, singer James Archuleta finds himself with more and more tangible evidence of a band on the rise. Still, like any band anxious to make a name for itself, Albuquerque's Easier Said Than Done hasn't sat passively by, waiting for its roots to grow. Instead, the band is on the offensive, seeking out nooks and crannies that will let it showcase its distortion-flooded, pubescent pop-punk. "I think it's harder for younger bands to gain a foothold," Archuleta speculates. "Still, we just asked everyone we could to let us play and, because of that, other shows have come around. I know we're getting better with every song and it's just a matter of time. I don't really see it ending anytime soon."
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