The old band became something I felt I wasn’t close to anymore. It was like…I was playing these songs I had no love for…just going up on stage every night and faking it. At that point you’re more or less an entertainer and the music becomes secondary. With this album I wanted to be more true to myself.
story by Mike Al Karaki
photo by L. Van Stelten
Out of the ashes of two of the Long Island underground music scene’s most significant bands rises Action Action. The newly formed synth-rock quartet combines ex-members of The Reunion Show and Diffuser with the re-energized songwriting of Mark Thomas Kluepful to produce a dark and menacing sound reminiscent of everything from Depeche Mode to The Foo Fighters. After a decade of gigging around locally in different bands, Kluepful (vocals/guitar), Adam Manning (synthesizer), Clark Foley (bass) and Dan Leo (drums), released Action’s debut album, Don’t Cut Your Fabric to this Year’s Fashion, in September, and are currently on a 3-week U.S. mini-tour.
Chicago Innerview had the opportunity to speak with the frontman about taking Action in a new direction. “Much of the album was written over the last six years,” says Kluepful. “It’s just compiled from old demos I had that were kind of oddballs that didn’t quite fit with what we were doing in TRS. I always liked them, and felt that they all kind of connected one way or another. So I wrote a few other songs in the same vein to round off the album and it just kind of came together.”
Don’t Cut Your Fabric captures a critical turning point in the attitude Kluepful takes to songwriting. “The whole tone of the album,” he says, “is a little somber, and it’s…I don’t know, kind of a downer. My last record was so optimistic and happy…probably artificially so. The old band became something I felt I wasn’t close to anymore. It was like…I was playing these songs I had no love for…just going up on stage every night and faking it. At that point you’re more or less an entertainer and the music becomes secondary. With this album I wanted to be more true to myself.”
Adding a classic rock-era feel to the album is producer William Wittman, a 25-year industry veteran who served as Cyndi Lauper’s exclusive producer since the late ’80s. “It’s funny,” says Kluepful, “because he’s used to old-school stereo. That’s how he learned how to mix and how to record. When he got into the game, panning was all hard left, hard right, or center. You know, there wasn’t anything in between that, so he’s like, ‘that’s how I learned and that’s how I like to mix.’ And I said, ‘hey, I can’t argue there,’ because I obviously love the Beatles, which is where his technique basically comes from. So he pretty much had free reign in that sense.”
The result is a debut album that defies conventional standards of classification while maintaining crucial ties to psychedelic-punk tradition. “It’s certainly not an all-synth album. It’s, dare I say, eclectic,” Kluepful laughs. “As far as where we fit in, uh, genre-wise, you know…where do put the Flaming Lips, Wilco, Soup for Animals, or Modest Mouse…who knows? But I’d rather be associated with those bands, as opposed to being called an emo, punk, or an ’80s retro thing. You know, it’s rock music.”
Action Action :: with Burning Bright, The Junior Varsity, and Lovedrug :: Bottom Lounge :: February 5 (early show).