ACTION JACKSON Brings Back The Aural Attitude of the 80s with Astounding Accuracy and Pays Homage to His Favorite Film Soundtracks with Some Seriously Amazing Analog Oriented Original Tunes!
German-based synthwave artist Phillip Zocher AKA Action Jackson is one righteous retro dude. AJ draws inspiration for his analog-driven, synth-heavy aural adventures via everything from his family’s home dubbed VHS to the undeniably ubiquitous film classics of the 80s and their soundtracks. The media culture captured within these elements oozes with idiosyncratic sensibilities which emit the aesthetics that play a vital role in his creative cyclone. His music is imbued with that distinct 80s flavor bringing it to a level of uncanny authenticity that’ll have you reachin’ back for your Member’s Only attire, neon wayfarers and taking the Pepsi challenge, man. Read on, my fellow retronauts, and take a ride in this tubular time machine with some most bitchin tunes…
With a logo like this, you're gonna need some shades, man.
How did you get involved with making music? What was the impetus to start Action Jackson?
I come from a musical family. As a little boy I always played with the instruments of my parents but most of all with the Synthesizer. It was a Korg DW-8000. I quickly understood the functions and began to record simple tunes on a tape deck recorder.
When I was 15 years old, I arranged my first pieces on PC. At that time, I had produced a lot of hip-hop beats for local artists. I was excited about it, because every producer at that time was using the same fucking piano and orchestra sounds with boring melodies. And because I was brought up as a child with a lot of 80s music, I already knew the good stuff. I knew right then: I must kick the ass of the music of today! Sorry, but that was really my first motivation to make music.
I produced only for me, really. It was just a hobby between Sport and Girls. In 2008, I went by chance to the Myspace page of the VALERIE COLLECTIVE
. The music was cool, but I was more happy about the fact that people like them exist. They have good taste in music and a philosophy similar to mine. A few months later, I'm on MPM
’s page and on that exact day, I started AJ. I had just seen the movie ACTION JACKSON
and I took the name from that. Pretty uncreative, right?
The KORG DW-8000 in all its analog glory. This thing is BOSSTIMES.
What kind of gear / instruments do you use to create the sound of Action Jackson?
At the moment, I work mostly with Fruity Loops but also use hardware synthesizers in the production.
Hard: DW-8000, DX-7, Oberheim XPander, microKorg,Art Pro VLA II (Compressor)
Soft: OB-X, Jupiter, ARP2600, CS-80, tr-707, some other drums…
The Oberheim Xpander lookin' mean and lean and about to MAKE A SCENE.
Your music is spot on with that distinct 80s era cinema vibe, man. What do you use for inspiration? Any particular composers or films that have an influence on you?
Simply, the 80s shit: Rambo, Rocky, Terminator, Robocop, Miami Vice, Star Wars, Scarface, et al. The films were just better… Motivating, entertaining and more creatively made. Today, I think missing.
It's okay that there are films with a realistic story and orchestral/piano soundtracks , but within that 10 year span from 1998 to 2008, I don’t actually watch those movies. For me, it takes complete boredom to watch current movies.
I have studied the 80s. I have the old VHS tapes taken from my Father’s collection, and I’ve now put them on my PC. I went further and further into the matter after that. I searched a lot of productions by Jan Hammer, Harold Faltermeyer and that kind of stuff. Van Halen’s “Jump" or "Push it to the Limit"... I knew those since I was young boy… but the best is that rare stuff, man.
Bitchin' cover art for some bitchin' music. You know I can dig it. CLICK HERE to experience the insano analog-era authenticity.
You seem to have an affinity for VHS, with VHS logos on your imagery and even a "VHS Version" for the song Synthesized Victory. What is it about VHS that captures your interest?
A VHS movie has something alive about it. For example, you can watch Rocky 4, once on your own copy and then later that same movie on your friend’s copy and you'll find that the experience wasn’t the same. Also, I like the sound of a film gets when it’s recorded on VHS.
Even more analog-retro worship awesomeness from AJ. CLICK and DIG IT.
What are your thoughts about VHS making a comeback? Do you still collect / watch VHS?
I think that, in the future, VHS productions have a chance… like the comeback of Vinyl. But I’m also a Realist and I think that it would be a step backwards in history when people no longer watch Blu-Ray and switch to back to VHS because they now like the retro stuff and the sound of VHS. It's just like wine experts… Some people out there have a special taste. We like that Old-School stuff and when the demand rises, then VHS will be produced again.
For me, as a synthwave artist, VHS is still an element of my music. I experiment a lot with old cassette recorders in the FX Rack. I also had a small VHS collection of some classics, but also I had a big DVD/Blu-Ray Collection. The most interesting VHS in my collection are the . My Father had recorded some talk shows and documentaries…and for me, that’s pure inspiration. You can really go into that time period and understand the 80s in the media.
Will you be releasing a physical album / tape / VHS anytime soon? Where can we keep up with you?
For this year, I’m planning to do some audiotapes. I can tell you no more unfortunately, because I still work independently, and I must calculate things and pay with my own capital. But this year will bring many things for AJ and I’ll post all of the info on my Facebook page.
Anything else you'd like to say to all the 80s obsessed, VHS heads out there?
First, I would like to thank my fanbase for the support over the last year. And it's nice to see how the 80s/VHS/Synthwave scene has grown in that time. At the moment, I’m working on many different projects and I will get everyone more info on that as soon as possible. Cheers.
Well, I’ll chug a brewdoggie to that, indeed, my friend! Man, ACTION JACKSON is just too bitchin. He’s already created quite the assembly of 80s soaked synthwave excellence, and I’m just itchin’ to see what he conjures up next. Be sure to groove on over and check out all of his amazing analog-inspired work, and stay tuned to his Official Facebook and Bandcamp pages to keep your ears filled with amazingly authentic 80s throwback tunes. I’m still listening right now, and it is truly groovy.
Yo, Action! YOU RULE!
Groove and Groove and Bring Back the 80s.