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Monday, September 26, 2022

Couch Concert: Decent Action is far from just decent

The recently-assembled local student band is getting their spotlight in the hot Davis music scene

By SIERRA JIMENEZ — arts@theaggie.org

When asked about the meaning behind the band’s name, Decent Action band members chuckled to themselves, saying they usually ambiguously respond with “it what you think it is.” While this answer intentionally leaves questions unanswered, the band decided to reveal to The California Aggie the true story behind this unorthodox name. The “big reveal,” as they called it, was simply a typo. 

Yes, a mistake. While brainstorming names for their band in a group note, Siri autocorrected “Deceptacon” — a reference to the hit Le Tigre song — to, you guessed it, Decent Action. 

“And then I went, okay, I think that’s it,” said Cassie Eng, a third-year managerial economics major. 

The group comprises Eng, who is the lead guitarist, Kinu Koide on keys and bass, drummer Molly Sadler and Candice Mitra, the lead singer. Funnily enough, the band’s name perfectly embodies the dynamic of this group that “all kind of fell into place unintentionally,” Eng said. 

At a Halloween party this past fall, Eng picked up a guitar and started to play. Drawn in by the magic of music, they all chimed in with their musical talents, and joked around that right then and there they could make a band with all their various instrument strengths. Little did they know that this would be the beginning of a friendship, let alone a prominent name in the Davis music scene. 

Soon enough, the band was offered their first gig at an Eclectic Collective, a “community space for the artists and musicians and tree climbers/huggers and silly little people everywhere,” as stated in their Instagram (@eclecticcollective_) bio, during Winter quarter in Davis. They had two weeks to figure out their band dynamic, songs to play, and of course, a band name. The genesis of the band, like its name, was sporadic and accidental — but for them, it works, and the Davis music community sure appreciates their recent involvement. 

“It was one of those things where, at the beginning of fall quarter, you just say yes to everything and then see what sticks. And this was one of them,” said Koide, a fourth-year design and political science double major. 

“Decent action stuck,” Eng added. 

Playing gigs all over Davis, Decent Action has been far from decent. This small town’s music scene has become a hot spot for both up-and-coming and acclaimed bands from around the area, and Decent Action has played a prominent role in this legacy. 

“It’s crazy to be on the other side of [the music] where we’re able to see all these really crazy creative people putting this together, it’s so cool,” Eng said. “There’s a lot of energy to the Davis music scene, and we’re really lucky to have that.” 

Having played shows over three consecutive weekends, starting with their performance on Picnic Day, followed by the ASUCD Entertainment Council Local Limelight show and finally Whole Earth Festival, Decent Action has made their mark in the Davis music community. Practicing nonstop while having nonstop fun, their passion for music makes the commitment (compared to the equivalent of 25 units at UC Davis, according to Eng) fun and worth it. 

“It’s not a chore,” said Sadler, a third-year religious studies and history double major.

They’re not only bandmates, but now, also close friends jamming together. 

“Most of our practices are really just us hanging out,” added third-year design major Mitra. 

When asked about what their creative process looks like, they responded “dynamic” and as an “open environment,” where anything and everything is accepted and respected without judgment. 

Writing and performing songs that they have written either together or from years prior to the band forming is considered an emotional and personal process. Sadler explained how although it is strange to express those deep parts of herself while performing her songs, it is also exciting to see the audience enjoy that intimate side of her. 

Considering the growth from their first performance to their most recent at Whole Earth Festival, Mitra said, “I feel like we’re all at a point where we could just have fun on stage and not really care about how we look or making a mistake. If anything, that makes it more fun.” 

“I also think it’s important that people know we don’t always know what we’re doing,” Eng said. “We’re kind of just bouncing things off of each other and it kind of just falls into place.” 

Along with their playful energy in and out of the music environment, their sound as a band is not just one thing, but a “million things,” Sadler said. With influences from rock to experimental to late 80s industrial punk, this relatively new band is still figuring out a concrete sound to stick to; as of now, they’re just drawing influences from their shared interests. 

From their song “Maneteen” which makes Eng feel like she’s “underwater” with its simplistic Kurt Cobain-esque lyrics and beachy vibe, to “Not a Girl Band” which gets the crowd moshing, it is fun to see how the audience reacts to each song, the band explained. 

“Not a Girl Band,” written by Mitra, they revealed, is about a worm. They explained that the thought behind this idea was a little earworm constantly telling you what you are, something you can’t get out of your head.

As a non masculine-dominated band in a predominantly male industry, this song reacts to that evident issue in the industry by directly responding that they are not just a girl band. 

“We just have this expectation that we’re supposed to prove ourselves that we can play just as good as any other boy band,” Mitra said. “But we’re not playing to prove ourselves, we know that we can play well, and we do. We just play because we want to, not to show that we can do this too.” 

Decent Action pours their heart and soul into their music, and this far into their journey, “it feels like we’ve played like 400 years at this point, in the best way possible,” Sadler said. 

Not knowing that jamming at a Halloween party would lead to “having a song that we made stuck in my head,” Eng said, “that’s a crazy sentence to say.” This speaks to their evolution as not only a band but as friends too. 

Busy with constant shows, they hope to practice more and write songs together over the summer, and eventually record some songs and put out an EP. After the Couch Concert, Decent Action will be playing at the next Eclectic Collective event tentatively scheduled in early June, so keep an eye out on their Instagram, @decentactionband, for more information to come.

Decent Action was featured in a Couch Concert on May 25 with The Aggie. A video of their performance will be posted on our YouTube channel.

Written by: Sierra Jimenez — arts@theaggie.org

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