If you’re a fan of Don Broco then you’re probably well aware that the emerging UK rock act releases some of the greatest music videos around.
So when it came time for their star-studded track “Action” featuring Dance Gavin Dance’s Tilian Pearson, Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo, Issues’ Tyler Carter, and One OK Rock’s Taka Moriuchi, you can bet the band was going to do something you’ve never seen before.
Taking inspiration from the song’s title and creating a G.I. Joe meets Team America-like video, “Action” is by far the funniest, most creative and probably the best music video we’ve seen all year.
Diving a little further into Don Broco’s hilarious new clip, we chatted with frontman Rob Damiani to find out just how it all came together. To check out our discussion with Damiani plus a bonus behind-the-scenes clip featuring Tilian “Killian” Pearson, be sure to look below. Afterward, make sure to grab tickets to see Don Broco out on their first-ever US headlining tour here.
So where did the idea for the “Action” music video come from?
Rob Damiani: It really just came from the word “action" as cheesy as it sounds [laughs]. We were working on the song and we had this idea of getting a load of our friends involved and just writing this hype-tune basically. Like, this song is a song to be played live. We just wanted a fun song that was just bonkers crazy and it’d be something that we’d enjoy to play and our fans would love to be a part of at a show. Then once we had the idea of getting all these features and calling up a few guys that we’ve been on tour with before and people who we were on tour with at the time, it kind of all just came together and we were like, “Okay, getting everyone in one place is basically going to be impossible because everyone was on their own tour schedules, in different parts of the world. So how are we going to do this and not make a crappy video where the featured artist is just filmed on a green screen?” And the song’s called "Action” and we collaborated with our longtime team who we’ve been making all our music videos with on the last record, Dominar films. We were like, “The song’s called ‘Action.’ Let’s get some action figures involved and every singer has their own action figure that can represent them and represent that part of the tune. And from that, you can create something a little bit different with enough twists and turns that tie into all our previous music videos as well.”
Speaking of those action figures, which one do you think you’d be the most excited to play with as a kid?
I think I like Caleb’s – Caleb from Beartooth – because he’s got the jetpack and he’s got the dynamite sticks as well. So I think for me, that would be pretty [fun]. Then again, I like mine. Mine, the Rob Damiani figure, he’s got the laser eye. So you can’t really go wrong with laser eyes. They all got their thing though, they’re all pretty sick. I mean, Tyler’s got the buzzsaw hands and then Taka’s got this kind of weird magical thing. He’s like the most powerful one of them all in the video because somehow he re-animates everyone and actually brings them to life which is pretty dope. So yeah, they’re all sick. I wish we could actually make them and have them all but we looked into it and they would cost so much money to make. It’s kind of impossible if you do it on this like this huge, G.I. Joe level where they’re making thousands and thousands of pressings a day. But yeah, they’re sick action figures and we’re waiting to get them sent out to us, like our individual ones, so we can put them in our bedrooms or we’ll put them on the mantelpiece and give them their private place in the house.
Who came up with the superpowers for each artist? Did everyone get to chime in on what they wanted their superpower to be?
Not really, no. We just kind of thought what would be funny, what would work, what kind of suits suit each person’s part they recorded. I mean, for me, the laser eye was a given because in our previous video for "Come Out to LA” I kind of become a cyborg and for the first time we mess around this concept of me coming back from the dead and becoming a cyborg character. And I had a red eye in that, like a Terminator-style glowing red eye, which was also in our other video for “Greatness.” So I’m still kind of, I guess, part-robot in that one. So it was nice to actually finally realize that and give me a laser eye that shot something.
Caleb’s was kind of through his line in the track where he’s like, “I just lit the fuse so get out the way” and we were like, “Hey, well if you’re lighting a fuse or something, it’s going to be something you want to explode something with so let’s give him some dynamite. Why the hell not!?” And yeah, we just thought the buzzsaw hands would be funny for Tyler. For Tilian, we were like, “Okay, we need a cool name for the Tilian Cyborg.” And we were like, “Well, he’s got to be called Killian.” Nothing shouts more firepower and Killian then like an automatic rifle for a hand. So both of his hands are guns which we just thought was really funny.
What was your initial reaction when you saw Tilian come out of the dressing room with his machine guns for hands?
It was so funny. Like, honestly, it was just one of those really funny days where, as you see in the behind-the-scenes [video], he just couldn’t do anything. Like, he looked the part. He looked so good. Honestly, as soon as he got the trench coat on, the little eyepiece and he slicked back his hair, he just looked like this evil villain from literally the moment he put this costume on. What was so funny is he really got into character as well. Usually, Tilian is a pretty laid back dude. He likes to hang around. But like, [during the shoot] he was just stone-faced walking around. He didn’t talk to anyone. He’d just be marching around the place fully committed to the character which was amusing, especially when he couldn’t actually do anything for himself. As you’ll see in the video, we made that behind-the-scenes clip literally because that was happening on the set. Like, he couldn’t drink any water. He couldn’t reply to anyone on his phone. We were playing a show that night and I’m sure people were trying to get ahold of him and he couldn’t reply to anyone. So he was completely at the mercy of us if he needed to drink or eat anything [laughs].
Clearly, from watching your previous music videos, they are a big part of what you guys do. Did you know early on you wanted to make these larger than life music videos?
I think it’s one of the things that gets us super excited in regards to just being in a band. You know, getting to do stuff that’s slightly outside your realm and getting the opportunity to kind of push yourself creatively in these kinds of ways. It’s just something that really gets us going, which we haven’t always managed to do. Videos are a real tough thing to make. A lot of the time, they’re very much out of your control. In the sense, you’ll make a video and [beforehand] you’ll meet a director more often than not for the first time and they’ll kind of paint a picture of what they’re going try and achieve with you and you’ll collaborate and come up with ideas. More often than not, it’s nothing like you envisioned it when you get it back [laughs]. So yeah, to kind of go for these slightly more ambitious videos and trying something a little weirder out was really exciting for us but also really scary. But once we got the first few under our belts for this album – it started off with “Everybody,” after that we did one called “Pretty” and then “Technology – we were like, “Oh yeah, we’ve kind of hit our groove now and we’re just going to have fun with this for the rest of the album campaign.” These, by far, are the most enjoyable videos we’ve ever done and then getting to watch them back as well is just super fun.
You guys also do a pretty large amount of acting in these videos. How would you rate your guys’ overall acting skills as a band?
Oh, we have very low opinions of ourselves when it comes to our own acting. So our first video, it actually came about in a weird way. The video for "Everybody,” which is the first appearance of this cowboy character. That actually came about through us not wanting to be in the video at all. We were like, “We hate ourselves acting. We’re terrible. We watch it back and we just cringe so hard.” We’ve got a few other videos of ours that we’ve done over the years where we have tried our hand at acting and you just watch it back and for us, it’s like the worst part of the video. When we first started working on these videos, the brief was we cannot be in the video. Like, we can be in the video, we can hint that we’re there but only in a small way. We really didn’t want to act in them because we just felt like we’re not actors and we don’t know what we’re doing. We kind of felt self-conscious. And you don’t want to make something awesome but then think you’ve ruined it yourself. But after that first one where we kind of did a little bit and then we got to know the director Ben more and more and we talked about and he was like, "Come on, I think I can I can get something out of you.” And we were like, “Okay, we trust you. We’ll do a little bit here and there.” Before long, we would even have lines we had to learn [laughs]. But the nature of the videos, because they’re so fun and slightly tongue-in-cheek and pretty batshit crazy, you can get away with some very terrible acting. You know, watching the first edit back for “Action” that we got, we were like, “Oh man, this is bad. But like, it’s so bad, it’s good.” You know, you can get away with it when you’re not taking yourselves too seriously.
Would you say you get more nervous about your speaking roles in music videos rather than actually performing on stage in front of thousands of people?
Yeah, definitely – especially when you’ve got like this whole crew around you. You’ve got a camera crew, sometimes like 10-20 people and just random people in the room. And you know, that’s not what we do, you know? We’re not used to that. We never really have time or never think about practicing for a video. It’s not like you’re rehearsing anything. So a lot of the times, we just completely get the lines wrong and just fluff them and say random things and have to re-do them time and time again. But I guess that’s the beauty of not doing a live performance, you can re-take it and get it right. You don’t want to see some of the other footage where we’ve just completely messed up.
If you had an unlimited budget to make the next Don Broco music video, what are some things you would want to incorporate?
Oh, wow. Um, unlimited budget? I think I’d love to see a Don Broco video in space. I think that’d be cool. We kind of take elements from some of our favorite movies and genres and kind of borrow ideas and kind of re-develop things we’ve seen and we love. And I’m a huge sci-fi fan, well we’re all pretty much big sci-fi fans, so it would be amazing to make this, like, space epic [laughs]. You know, we’d have the spaceships, we’d have aliens, add in some lightsabers, some phaser guns. Anything in space would be dope. We could go through a few black holes. It could get kind of Event Horizon-y. It could get creepy that way. Yeah, unlimited budget, we’d probably go mad.