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ACTN (pronounced by saying the letters) was formed in 2013 by Gus Watkins and is comprised of a rotating cast of talented musicians. The band makes soulful, futuristic, avant-garde pop. ACTN is based in Minneapolis.
In 2013 ACTN released two digital 7-inch singles with accompanying music videos and followed up in early 2014 with the Body Out EP as well as a collaboration with dark EDM producer KPT called Deathdance.
The beginning of 2015 found the band touring the southeast United States in support of its "Drinking Your Words" single and video. In April ACTN released the "My Flesh is Weakness" digital 7".
In October 2016, ACTN released their full-length LP You Will Never Be Known. The first single "Cruel Trick" was accompanied by a lyric video.
ACTN's distinctive songs and videos have been called: textured, intoxicating, nifty, fuzzy, cinematic, innovative, soulful, incredibly catchy, complex, sinister, offbeat, moody, stunning, shadowy, gloomy, dark, and enigmatic.
Some Kind Things People Have Said
"I dunno what [Deathpop] means, but I hear some pretty nifty, fuzzy electronics and high-pitched vocals and tons and tons of melody, dunno where the death comes in exactly but I know I like it." - Jon Hunt, l'étoile magazine
ACTN is Gus Watkins, a beguiling electronic artist and talented vocalist and songwriter. Andrea Swensson, The Current / Minnesota Public Radio
My Flesh is Weakness
"Raw, honest and reaching" - Sarah Stanley-Ayre - CityPages
"ACTN are back with another pulsating new jam." - Erik Thompson - CityPages
"Featuring four richly cinematic electronica tracks with grinding basslines and futuristic vocals, the [Deathdance] EP further proves that the Minneapolis-based producers are among the most innovative acts in EDM." - Noiseporn
"A mixture of EDM and industrial power. Trappy snares ride over squelching synths before a booming bass chorus that builds to a brilliant shriek. It’s the restrained the vocals that, in some ways, make this seem like the spiritual offspring of NIN." - Chris Cobcroft, 4ZZZ
"IMHO, random submissions from the far corners of the earth have a very low hit rate. Every now and then one of them is pretty awesome." - Compressionhell
"I must say that 'Salt' touches me in a very special place. Gets better and better the more I listen to it." - My friend Derrick
"Funk element is simple yet strong, soulful high tone to it snuggle up with full of sex appeal. I feel even some atmosphere meaning blue eyed soul... There is a coolness that does not say whether or not. Nothing is wasted!" - Hi-Hi-Woopee (translated)
"Incredibly catchy and complex—the horn parts remind me of St. Vincent’s collaboration with David Byrne, while his high-pitched croon creeps over the beat to create a sinister aftertaste." - Andrea Swensson, The Current / Minnesota Public Radio
"Minneapolis death-pop outfit, ACTN, are back with an intoxicating new EP, Body Out, and they have just released an ominous video for the funky, textured title track to that collection." - Erik Thompson, Gimme Noise / CityPages
ACTN "makes offbeat, moody synthpop that combines R&B style vocals with glossy electronic instrumentation – heavy on the keys and reverb. I think it comes off well in ACTN single 'Body Out' which also gives its name to Watkins’ recent debut EP." - Jon Behm, Reviler.org
"Stunning new dark-pop project of Gus Watkins remniscent of Polara and Peter Gabriel" - Cyn Collins, Spin With Cyn / KFAI
"The gloomy electro-pop Minneapolis outfit ACTN are back with their second digital 7-inch of the year, the 'Alone Together/Step Away' split, and this dark, enigmatic video for 'Alone Together' builds on the pulsing menace of the song itself. Gus Watkins, of Hot Ashes, has shifted his creative focus to the shadowy, electronic churn of ACTN, and based on the strength of the singles he's released so far, this new direction clearly suits him." - Erik Thopmson, Gimme Noise / CityPages
"If this first glimpse of what the project has in store is any indication, ACTN should add a dynamic new direction to the local music scene." - Erik Thompson, Gimme Noise / CityPages