What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. This week, we’re featuring rock and electropop band A R I Z O N A.

Zachary Charles, Nate Esquite, and David Labuguen technically have the day off, but that only means from touring. The three, known collectively as A R I Z O N A, are spending the afternoon at New York’s Quad Recording Studios working on a mixdown when The Verge arrives to shuffle through their things. A New Jersey-based band, Zach, Nate, and David started A R I Z O N A in 2015, as a last-ditch effort after years of trying to make it in music. “Fuck this, fuck music, fuck everybody, fuck the industry, everybody sucks, everybody’s terrible,” Zach says about his mentality at the time of the band’s creation. “But,” he proposed, “real quick before we before we go, do you guys want to make some songs just for fun?”

That decision to come together one last time wound up changing everything for the trio. Within a matter of months, the songs they made under the newly minted A R I Z O N A banner went viral online, they were discovered on Reddit by their current manager, and they signed a major label record deal. The day The Verge is with the band, they’re preparing to play iconic venue Madison Square Garden as part of the tour they just wrapped with Panic! at the Disco. That’s quite a trajectory.

To top things off, A R I Z O N A has just released a new EP titled COLD NIGHTS // SUMMER DAYS. It’s the breezy kind of infectious pop that hooked fans in the first place, with big, watery splashes of reverb, tropical guitar plucks, and a dash of ‘80s production vibes thrown in for good measure. Laissez faire seems to be the winning approach for these three, both in music and in their longtime friendships with each other. And it’s paid off.


Nate: I’m Nate.

David: I’m David.

Nate: And with our powers combined, we are A R I Z O N A.

Zach: We literally just got off the bus this morning. The AC broke in the bus two days ago so we’re getting that fixed today, but we have a “day off” [makes quote signals]. We’re working today. We’re in the studio, at Quad.

David: This is where we’ve mixed every A R I Z O N A song.

Zach: Every single one has been mixed in this room right here at Quad.

Who wants to go first?

David: I will. This bag is a 5.11 RUSH 72-hour pack. We’re super into tactical gear, especially because we are on tour and how rugged it is. How long it lasts matters. This is definitely bigger than a regular EDC pack.

I’m sorry, a what?

David: Every day carry pack.

Oh okay.

David: It has everything I need just in case. It’s really cool. There’s three main pockets and there’s smaller pockets inside. I got it on Amazon, where I buy everything nowadays, including food. Zach’s bag is a cheaper version, but at a certain point we were like, we have to go for the real deal.


So let’s start here.

David: These are my life essentials. I’m happy, because everyone’s always like, “Why is your bag so heavy?” So now they’ll know. All that technology.

These USB things are iLok licensers for the software we use, which is why they’re always at the ready. That’s also why I have multiples. The LaCie is a little crap drive. I usually have a whole stack of them, but because we’re on tour I have them in a different case. What I do with the LaCie drives is open them, put an SSD in them, and then re-close them.

Okay, so what does that do?

David: Sometimes it just doesn’t come in the capacity that I want it to. So I’ll buy a Samsung SSD, pop open the LaCie, and put a bigger drive in. I’m just using the case, because it has thunderbolt. Then the black drive is a HGST Western Digital, and this other silver one is made by OWC. And then this is my transport drive which is why it’s green, because I want to know which one is the drive that has all the random stuff on it.

And this the same HGST Western Digital brand. You must like it.

David: Honestly, they were just on sale.

On all of our laptops, I upgraded the SSDs internally. But, because they’re Mac, you have to use a specific enclosure. This is just the backup to my touring rig. I keep it on my person so it’s separate from where the rig goes, because it’s our redundancy. Right now, this LaCie is half personal and half samples.

Previous articleThe Verge 2018 tech report card: Twitter
Next article2018: A year in photographs on The Verge