On The Road with Action Item

Action Item recently completed a tour doing direct support for Drive Thru Records’ recording artist Secret Secret Dino Club.  Playing at the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park, Action Item won over the crowd with the highly infectious pop tunes.  While not on the road making new friends and performing shows, the band has been recording brand new tracks. Working with some of most notable producers on the market today, the result will be a EP entitled The Stronger The Love, due out sometime this summer.  Here is an interview we conducted with one of the AI guys after a long night at the Cobalt…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Action Item, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Mark Shami, I’m the piano player for the band Action Item, and we’ve been together for two years.

Where are you guys based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. It’s about 10-15 minutes outside of New York City. And the local scene around there is cool – you could definitely develop yourself and grow a fan base on your own where kids will still come out. The New Jersey scene has kind of died down, but you could still keep it together.

How has this current tour with Secret Secret Dino Club been going and what have been some of the highlights?
The tour’s been cool. We all did South By Southwest in Texas, which was really fun. It was lot of industry there and a lot of cool people – it was a lot of fun. And the tour’s been great! We’re friends with Secret Secret Dino Club and just having a good time.

You have a new EP coming out this summer called The Stronger The Love. Is there any story or concept behind the title?
The Stronger The Love comes from one of the songs that’s going to be on the record called The Farther The Distance. It’s the first track we wrote for the record, and it’s kind of like a long journey. We’ve been writing and recording this CD for a little over a year now. We’ve written so many songs for it, and some songs didn’t make the record. We’re still kind of finishing it up. We traveled to California in a little mini-van with all of our stuff – we went out there and started recording the record – and it’s been a long journey. We all grew with each other as musicians and friends – and it’s been a really, really long journey. And I think when the record comes out, it will reflect off of us. It will be seven songs.

What is the best advice one of the producers gave you while recording?
I guess not so much advice, but more just pushing us to that limit – we’re been playing our instruments for a little while and everyone is just so good at something – and they just push it to that next level to bring that out on the record. And it really shows.

You’ve worked with quite a few people on that record…
Yeah, four producers! Bryan Todd – he did like Mitchel Musso and Miley Cyrus. We worked with Kyle Kelso who did Jimmy Robbins and that band Parachute. Paul Barber who did My Favorite Highway and The Bigger Lights, and Jeff Schweenies who did Hawthorne Heights and Brighten. So a lot of producers – a lot of different sounds – it’s all getting mixed and mastered by one person, so it’ll sound pretty cool and similar. I think that every song has a different story and every song has it’s own purpose on the record.

Would you ever want to go on tour and play an acoustic show since you guys did an acoustic EP?
It’s a lot more fun playing as a full band, but acoustic shows are fun sometimes too. We played a bunch of acoustic shows on tour, and they’re usually pretty fun if the kids know the words – but I’d rather play as a full band.

So for the people that weren’t here tonight, what could one expect from a live Action Item show?
A lot of participation – some fun. We like to get everyone in on the show. Just a lot of fun and a good time.

Any strange or unusual Myspace stories you could share?
When our band first started, we needed some place to stay on tour. And one time we posted a bulletin on Myspace like, “Can we stay at your house? Let us know.” And it’s not a really good idea, because we’ve stayed with some really weird people sometimes doing that – so never do that. And I guess that’s pretty much it.

Who are some of the bigger bands you’ve opened for and what was the experience like?
We recently opened a show for Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber in New York City – it was like 18,000 people in Nassau Coliseum – so that was definitely our biggest show. We got thrown on to that and it was a great experience – a lot of exposure.

What advice would you give an unsigned band like yourselves about to go on the road for the very first time?
The first tour we ever did we did without a booking agent – and it was very rough. Shows get canceled and sometimes they’ll be like two people there. We played small shows all the time. Just keep your head up – just keep going. Some people get down about things and we just take that as a drive to keep doing it more. It will pay off.

Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check you guys out?
We have a record coming out this summer called The Stronger The Love – everyone should check it out. And hopefully we’ll see those people soon!

(Interview and Pix from the Cobalt Cafe by Kenneth Morton)

Action Item on Myspace

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