While their debut single “Strangers” was released on February 4, Pump Action, a group of four students from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, have been making their presence known in Miami for months.
Consisting of drummer Jack Dratch, vocalist Spencer Ford, bassist Poppy Geoghan and guitarist Trent Jones, Pump Action has grown rapidly in recent months.
Of all out-of-state transplants, the band credits UM’s music program as the biggest asset in bringing them to Florida. Between the differences in tuition, the more positive campus tour, and better interactions with faculty, the four Frost School juniors each chose UM.
“In music, there are only a few good schools that everyone competes at: USC, NYU, UM, so I think we’ve all had our eye on Miami for a while,” Geoghan said.
When they’re not playing gigs or going to class, the bands stay close. The band members are currently roommates and had all lived together in the Stanford residence.
“We probably would have become friends even without the band,” Jones said.
Describing themselves as “big UM fans”, the group enjoys UM sports as well as sports in general.
“We play a ton of Madden,” Jones said.
Attributing some of their early success to their dynamic cover work, Pump Action performs constantly in South Florida. The band began doing restaurant gigs, including several at Titanic Brewery, as well as campus events like the Fall Festival, striving to adapt their line of covers.
“Always play in front of the crowd, the setlist for a house party and in a restaurant is going to differ a bit,” Ford said.
Tracks like The Killers classic “Mr. Brightside” and Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” have become staples of the band’s sets.
Mixed in with the band’s increased presence in the Coral Gables music scene is their increased success on social media. Currently, Pump Action has nearly 1,300 followers on TikTok and 850 on Instagram, with their most viewed TikTok reel at 61,000 views.
“Social media is the life of bands… Since we released our single, we’ve gained 100 followers.” said Ford. “We were only at 500 over the summer,” Geoghan continued.
As social media becomes increasingly important for gaining a foothold in the creative world, Pump Action’s success is a strong indication of a bright future.
Collaboration is key, and Pump Action has sought opportunities both on and off campus. Working with Florida bands Cannibal Kids and Mustard Service, the band began to dabble in the Florida musical world.
At UM, it is common to work with other students and other campus groups.
“Being part of the growing Frost group culture is really exciting,” said Geoghan.
Following their recently released debut single, “Strangers”, Pump Action plans to release their debut EP. While discussing a potential release date, Dratch suggested hopefully late March or early April, then more promotion in May.
The project, as described by the band, will mix many elements the bands started working in to create their signature “Pump Action Style”. This includes R&B rock and R&B vocals with riffs.
The group’s self-description is appropriate. Alternative R&B bands and artists have seen growing success in recent years, fusing influences from across the musical landscape. “Strangers” seamlessly blends the genre with an Indie-Rock sensibility that gained popularity thanks to artists like Blood Orange.
“That’s what makes it fun, our music has a wide range of influences that we all bring, so it’s not just anything,” Ford said.
In terms of vocal performance, Ford mentioned Michael Jackson and Stevie Nicks as inspirations.
In addition to their upcoming EP, Pump Action has upcoming performances February 27 at the Fort Lauderdale Rhythm and Vine as part of the band’s Take Lead Tour, as well as performances at the Miami Dade County Youth Fair on April 1. are updated via the band’s website and social media, including official release dates.
Listen to Pump Action’s “Strangers” here.