Action Item lead singer Brian Cag talks new music, pre-show rituals, One Direction

It seems like the guys from Action Item haven’t had a chance to breathe this year. Lead singer Brian Cag, guitarist Anthony Li, keyboardist Mark Shami, drummer Dan Brozek and bassist David Buckowski toured with Andy Grammer earlier this year. Then during the summer, they released a self-produced documentary, “Until It’s Over,” and they recently joined Owl City on the Midsummer Station tour. But before 2012 comes to an end, the alternative/pop band plans on releasing an EP.

In between live shows and movie premieres, Cag took the time to talk to The Miami Hurricane about the band’s new music, fans and Justin Bieber.

The Miami Hurricane: What can we expect from the upcoming EP?

Brian Cag: It’s a very upbeat album that is honest. We made sure that we were able to relate to every single track on the CD at some point within the last two years. It’s very important for us to believe what we are actually saying in our songs.

TMH: Will the sound be similar to “Last Day of Summer?”

BC: Yes and no. I think we are keeping up with what is happening right now at radio, yet staying true to our love of actual instruments.

TMH: Are you doing anything different with your set while you’re on tour with Owl City? Any new songs?

BC: We have a drumline that ensues right after our song “Marching Band” is played. Also, we will be playing the new single, “Last Day of Summer,” and a new jazzy little number called “Lucky.” I believe it is our most romantic song yet. My personal favorite to sing live.

TMH: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you have to do before going on stage?

BC: All of us try to get as amped as we can. I know some of the guys do energy drinks, but I prefer to keep it simple and stretch out a lot, while also warming up my voice. Lots of water!

TMH: Why did you decide to make “Until It’s Over?”

BC: We wanted our fans to really get to know us, on the most personal level possible. What better way to honestly tell your story than with a movie? I believe it made our old fans even bigger lifelong fans, while making new fans at the same time.

TMH: What made you want to include these red carpet VIP experiences with fans at the screenings of “Until It’s Over?”

BC: Our thought was, “Most people have not been on a red carpet in their entire life, right?” So, why not bring the experience to them? Instead of just recording an album and going on tour … let’s give them something special that not every band tends to do.

TMH: At the University of Miami, there are a lot of aspiring musicians. What advice would you give them?

BC: Work on your craft, the songwriting above all. Worry about touring and every other secondhand opportunity later. All good things come from well-crafted songs.

TMH: You’ve already done so much this year. What has been the highlight of 2012 so far and what can we expect from Action Item in the next few months?

BC: So many great things are happening that I cannot just pick one. We are currently doing a radio run with “Last Day of Summer,” so starting to hear it on some stations has been pretty amazing. In the next few months, you can expect some new songs, new shows, a video game and much more.

TMH: I also have a few questions from fans. What do you think of fans who get tattoos of your lyrics?

BC: It’s the most flattering thing to us.

TMH: If you could perform a duet with anyone, who would it be?
BC: Ellie Goulding has a wonderful voice. Love what she is about.

TMH: Would you rather win the lottery or date your celebrity crush?

BC: I’d rather win the lottery, then use some of the money to get in contact with my celebrity crush. Sneaky, I know.

TMH: Who do you like more: One Direction or Justin Bieber?

BC: You can’t throw me into the pit like that, I’m sorry. Both great artists.

TMH: What’s a guilty pleasure song that’s recently been on replay on your iPod?

BC: Don’t really believe in guilty pleasures, pretty open with everything. I would say, Bridgit Mendler’s new single “Ready or Not.”

September 12, 2012


Nicky Diaz

Copy Chief

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.