Seth Gamble, the 2020 XBIZ winning “Male Performer of the Year” and “Best Actor” — he picked up another XBIZ Award for his acting again this year — has just learned a rooster lives next door to his new home. The rowdy fowl repeatedly interrupts our hour long phone conversation, but Gamble isn’t perturbed.
“Welcome to Hawaii,” he laughs.
Roosters aside, Gamble is quickly adjusting to the pace of his new life. He delights in explaining local traffic signs that indicate a slow speed limit. “It’s crazy,” he says. “In Los Angles, it’s always traffic, but fast.” He has observed “a slight anxiety 24 hours a day” that is pervasive in the City of Angels.
It’s been nearly two years since the popular and prolific performer has given an in-depth interview. He generally prefers to let his work speak for itself. But Gamble has recently made a number of significant shifts in his life, such as relocating from Los Angeles to Hawaii and inking a deal as the first exclusive performer signed by Gamma Films Group.
Gamble also remains outspoken about his sobriety and his mental health and well being. We talk about how it seems society at large has only begun to grapple with the collective hit to everyone’s psyche in the wake of COVID, and he listens with interest as I describe a recent interview for XBIZ with Kristel Penn, the longtime marketing and creative director for Grooby, who founded The Sad But Rad Club as a platform to empower and advocate for the adult community, particularly in regards to mental health and wellness.
“These are not normal times. And so the internal meter that you may use to measure your productivity or your own value needs to be thrown out the window,” Penn advised.
“That’s such an important thing, man. The biggest tool I’ve gained in my sobriety is that you’re allowed to think whatever you want, but it’s the feelings you attach to those thoughts that will give you your freedom or not,” Gamble said. “That’s helped me more than anything. For so many years I would [believe] whatever I was thinking was real. We have these thoughts all day long and it’s whatever you attach to those thoughts that will decide how your day’s going to go. When there’s so much information being tossed at you, it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t real — and the fear builds.”
“Dude, I haven’t been on Twitter all week and I feel amazing,” he added with a laugh.
XBIZ: It’s been a minute since we sat down with you. Now felt like a good time.
GAMBLE: Yeah, thank you. I don’t do many interviews. I appreciate it.
XBIZ: You’re in Hawaii now?
GAMBLE: Yeah, I moved in the beginning of March  and I just felt that I’d been living in L.A. for 12 years and due to the — there’s a multitude of reasons that I moved here — but living in L.A. with the [COVID] restrictions and the way that everything was going down gave me a lot of time to reflect on different things I wanted in my life. You know, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life just working every day and not really doing anything [else]. I mean, I had a lot of joy during that period and my career is very, very important to me. I’m so grateful for every opportunity I get. But I wanted to find some separation [between] my personal life and my job and I was having a pretty rough time doing that staying in the mix the way that I was for so long. And I just wanted to experience life in a broader way. I knew if I came back once a month to work that I’d be able to maintain my career and still enjoy it even more so. The Gamma contract wasn’t even being discussed [yet]. Everything is timing and it happened at the perfect moment. It was just one of those things. I wanted to live in paradise and because of the hard work I’ve put in, it was a viable thing that I could do.
XBIZ: I was going to ask how you landed on Hawaii, but that’s kind of an obvious question, isn’t it?
GAMBLE: [Laughs] I’m not going to get too [deep] with it. Now I’m here. I enjoy a nice house in Hawaii and I also have a place in L.A. I live in both places.
XBIZ: And you’re going to come in once a month to film?
GAMBLE: Yeah, that’s pretty much what it is. The way I used to work was — I always got paid my value, but sometimes because I was in the mix I didn’t turn down things I didn’t want to do. I’m in a place with my career where I just want to do projects I feel passionate about.
XBIZ: It’s interesting to hear you say that because it’s a definite evolution from a year-and-a-half or two years ago. Your gratitude for what you’ve described as your second chance is still there. But we’d get press releases at XBIZ promoting your 10 new scenes that month.
GAMBLE: Right, yeah.
XBIZ: You were really committed to putting your nose to the grindstone. We’ve talked about that. I mean, it was clear you didn’t think you were cranking out widgets. But you were just really committed to work.
GAMBLE: Yeah. I would say that I’ve succeeded at a lot of the goals that I’ve had over the last few years. I won “Male Performer of the Year.” I’ve won “Best Actor” awards. Obviously, I’m not done [laughs]. But I’ve put a lot into “Seth Gamble” since I’ve been sober. I’m not speaking in third person.
XBIZ: No, I understand.
GAMBLE: I’m speaking about “Seth Gamble” as a brand. I put pretty much everything into that and into being sober. There was a time when I was working so much that a lot of things in my personal life went in the back burner. I’m not regretful that I did all of that. I’m super-grateful. But I want to go to work now — and I can only speak to where I am right now, in the present moment — I want to go to work now and have every project have meaning to me, as well as be able to make a good living. I think there’s a misconception about being a top male performer, that it means working every single day, doing everything. And you’re building a body of work, but a lot of it doesn’t get seen. You know what I mean?
XBIZ: You mean it just comes and goes?
GAMBLE: I’ll use XBIZ as an example. How many “Best Movie” [nominees] are there in a year?
XBIZ: Usually 10 or 15.
GAMBLE: Ten or 15 movies. I do 350 of them in a year. Do you see what I’m saying?
GAMBLE: This is just one part of the way I’m looking at it [now]. For a few years, I liked working every day. I was one of those people. I had that workaholic mentality: I wanted to work, I want to work. And I was getting to a place where I was uncomfortable slowing myself down. I want to be more [intentional]. “Okay, this is a project that has some meaning to me. This is something I want to do.” There’s also directors that I just like working with and it will be a quick day. I want to be more selective, I guess you would say. I wanted to have the ability to do that. Working a little less will give me the ability to put even more energy into my scenes And having our own platforms like OnlyFans gives us the financial [stability] to be able to do that.
XBIZ: That last thing is really interesting because OnlyFans and all the other platforms have been around for awhile but it’s been in the past year during COVID that it’s really exploded and changed the game for everybody.
XBIZ: And based on what you just said, Seth, it’s really kind of changed what has always been “the curse of the male performer,” where you guys had to work all the time, like you just said. You didn’t have any other options. You had to book two scenes a day. I mean, so many times when I was running a shoot a guy would come up to me and say, “I can book another scene at 2 p.m. Can you release me before then?” But OnlyFans and the like has really changed the game for you now.
GAMBLE: Oh, for sure. I’ll just give you a small [example]: in 2019, I did 476 scenes.
GAMBLE: Yes [laughs]. Don’t get me wrong. I had fun every time. But my body and my mind were really going through it — and on top of doing that many scenes, I did “Perspective,” which was a mental undertaking for me. I’m speaking for myself here. I want to clarify that I think everybody in this business works their ass off and I respect every performer. I think what we do is brave. We put ourselves out there. When I take on acting roles, because of my background and training, I put myself in that part. It’s not like I’m just going to work and saying some lines. I’m writing and doing research and creating alternate realities in my mind so that I can become something that’s not me. It becomes a part of me during the filming and afterwards. It could be difficult — because I did a lot of really, really dark roles — to release those parts of me. And on top of that, doing all of those scenes, I was just — I was really feeling it. I can’t really explain it. It was a lot, you know what I mean?
XBIZ: That makes total sense. I’m an actor, too. I mean, I’ve never played a serial killer or those kinds of roles. But if you don’t give yourself time to recharge, those lines blur.
GAMBLE: Well, it’s not like I turned into a serial killer [laughs].
XBIZ: [laughs] No, no, I meant the emotions. You’re really feeling those things. Your brain doesn’t know the difference.
XBIZ: Your body doesn’t know you’re acting and just playing a part. It feels like it’s really happening.
GAMBLE: Exactly. Luckily I do a lot of self-help work and stuff like that. And then we ended up getting this forced break [due to COVID]. I don’t know everybody’s experience, but I needed the break. Now I could spend some time with myself. That’s what everybody had to do during this time. So I really started getting into home workouts and I started really getting into meditation. I started exploring these parts of me that weren’t based in porn, things I hadn’t really experienced. I’ve been doing this since I was 18. My entire adult life has been inside of porn.
XBIZ: That had to have been disorienting to go from 470-something scenes to nothing, or just your OnlyFans stuff and that’s it.
GAMBLE: It was. I had to completely shift my focus and my thinking. It took a few weeks to get my bearings and figure it out. But in 2020 I had a taste of what I’m talking about now. I’m in “Muse” and I’m in “Killer on the Loose.” I raised my value – my rate – a little bit because the beginning of 2020 was [following] a pretty incredible year. I mean, from XBIZ I won “Best Actor” and “Male Performer” in the same year. After “Perspective” and 476 scenes, I had the most incredible body of work that I’ve ever had. I’m super-grateful — and tired [laughs].
XBIZ: And you achieved it some 15 years into your career.
GAMBLE: Dude, it’s incredible. I have to say, the first 10 or 11 years, I was a kid. I’m in my thirties now. When I really hit my stride I was in my early thirties. Most of my twenties — man, I’ve done so many cool movies — but generally speaking for a majority of my career it was like, “Okay, so the stepson bangs the…” That was my brand because I looked young. What I’ve recognized with this career is that I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. This is a job about sexuality and finesse and as a 22-year-old kid, from my experience, you’re really not into finesse. When I got older, performing with a woman in a scene, I’ve had more confidence in myself as a performer. As times goes on you’re more comfortable with yourself and your sexuality and it shows when you’re on camera.
XBIZ: I completely agree. By the way, I was doing some research on you and I came across your entry in an adult film database. And the photo they have for your entry must have been taken your first day ever on the day. Seth, I swear to god, you look — let’s just say “young.”
GAMBLE: I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s actually not that old [laughs]. But it’s still so funny. So many of those sites have never updated my photos.
XBIZ: You look barely legal.
GAMBLE: Dude, that was my career! I got a contract through Bang Bros because I looked like that. You have guys shooting right now that look like that. That’s always been the trend. My first Bang Bros scene went viral because I looked so much younger than the female talent. And I acted like a kid.
XBIZ: On the gay side, at least, there seems to be a wide range of acceptable ages for performers. But on the straight side, you have to look really, really young. And it’s more popular than ever.
GAMBLE: Yeah, but there’s such a big market now for guys that look like men. They need more “daddies” now. But what you’re talking about is on the [studio] side of things. We’re in a [changing] time on the mainstream side. There’s so much acting! There’s always a story attached to the sex. It doesn’t matter what you look like; if you can convey the story well, the viewer will be watching. There’s so much porn out there — an excess of porn — and so you want something that has a little more [interest] to it and gives you that niche or that fetish or that thing for the viewer. And then there’s gonzo; everybody’s doing gonzo now. You can’t say that’s not acting. There are so many different compartments to porn. It’s really interesting.
XBIZ: It really is. And just watching how self-produced content has evolved in the past year has been interesting, too.
GAMBLE: It’s like a renaissance. If you think back to the ‘90s and the 2000s, people were doing three-day features. Which seems insane when you think of how we shoot features now. And then it moved into parodies from everybody. You had the quality Axel Braun parodies, and Will Ryder made some really great parodies. But there were some [titles] where you thought, “Why is this a parody? This is insane.” I mean, to some extent, everything is a parody when we’re talking about porn. It’s just changed and shifted around and renamed.
XBIZ: A very lightly applied parody.
GAMBLE: [laughs] Yeah, there’s still a lot of that. But now, generally speaking, there’s a lot more originality. Some of the movies I’m so proud I got to be part of were “Perspective,” “The Possession of Mrs. Hyde” and last year with “Killer on the Loose” — these are movies. They have intricacy and if you have the ability to act like my costars in those movies — Angela White and Avi Love and Aiden Ashley, really, really incredible actresses and performers — to me, that’s what “performer” means because it’s someone that can do all of the above.
XBIZ: What I look for is whether the performer can carry their character through the sex scene. You can do that and it’s something Angela White is really, really good at. You and Aiden in “Killer on the Loose” carried those characters straight through the sex scenes. Often the acting just stops when the sex starts.
GAMBLE: Another guy in the industry who is really incredible is Tommy Pistol. There’s just something about him. It’s so natural! And Xander Corvus. These guys who are just so smooth and natural at finding whatever character they’re playing inside themselves. It’s really cool to see. There’s some new guys that have that ability as well. For me, then, it becomes about how much work are you willing to put in? I can only speak for myself and I choose to put everything into it. This is my career.
XBIZ: Some chronologically young guys have a natural ability to project that finesse you’ve been talking about, a natural maturity, but with Tommy I think it’s what you’re saying: he’s a grown man with responsibilities who has lived a little and has a lot of natural empathy, which is what you also have.
GAMBLE: I think with anyone that is good at acting — there is a sensitivity to us. We feel things harder, I don’t know. That’s how I look at it, at least. I don’t know if it’s because I live with alcoholism. I don’t use or drink or do anything anymore because I know where that takes me. But I feel that having that type of brain wiring — and the reason why alcoholism came into play — is because I was trying to stop my head. I didn’t have the tools to [manage] it for a long period of time. And I think people who have that kind of sensitivity are able to come into their own acting ability. If they let themselves feel whatever that person is saying to them or feel whatever situation they’re in, if they have the right tools and they put the work in, it will seem real on camera. That empathy just comes in. This is so interesting to me because, as a performer — a sex performer — it’s different, a different mental mindset. It’s more visceral, it’s a connection that you build with your partner. It comes natural to you especially for me someone who loves my job so much.
XBIZ: And it’s another thing to learn how to do it over and over again, right? To learn how to do that 470 times a year — and that’s just for work, not your own personal sex life. That kind of consistency doesn’t just happen naturally.
GAMBLE: It’s true, man. And you were saying about how I’m winning these awards 15 years into my career — the fact is that consistency has been happening for over a decade. It becomes more a part of me than it was when I was doing it for even five or six or seven years.
XBIZ: Let’s talk about your new Gamma contract. You’ve done a lot of great work with directors like Axel Braun and Bree Mills, and this offer came along at exactly the right time, so it wasn’t a hard decision, I would imagine.
GAMBLE: Think about it: you have Axel, who is not just a director to me; he’s one of my closest friends. He’s one of the people who made me a porn “star,” I would say. He’s put me into positions where I’m playing Luke Skywalker and it becomes one of the bestselling DVDs of all time and I was a kid! He saw potential in me. He’s always seen it in me even when other people didn’t, people on set with us who would say, ‘Seth can’t do this.’ Axel would always say, ‘Yes, he can.’ We got really close over the years, especially after we did ‘The Possession of Mrs. Hyde’ together because it was my coming-of-age after I got sober.
When I got sober, there was definitely a mindset [in the industry] of, ‘Seth’s good but he likes to party.’ And I definitely felt like I had to find out if I could live up to my own expectations for myself. You know what I mean? I absolutely will say it again: it came at the perfect time. I’m so grateful it did. I couldn’t be happier.
XBIZ: You wanted to prove you could actually follow through on something.
GAMBLE: Yeah! What can I do with a clear mind? What could I do if I focused and really put 100 percent in? And it paid off and Axel was one of those people who not only obliged me, but said, ‘You can play this and ‘Deadpool XXX’ in the same year.” Two massive parts simultaneously; sometimes I was doing ‘Hyde’ and ‘Deadpool XXX’ on the same day! Those were some really weird days [laughs].
Also, my relationship I built with Bree Mills when they started Pure Taboo. I was starting to hit my stride then and she was inviting these girls to write stories. They started requesting me for these really in-depth, emotional stories, plus all these movies that Bree wrote herself, for me or Tommy Pistol. Then she puts me in “Anne,” which was a big movie for Tommy and Derrick Pierce, and the year before it was Charles Dera. One day, she comes up to me and says, “Next year is for you. I’m writing a movie for you and Angela White. I want to do a movie with you as the lead.” It was an opportunity I took very seriously, getting to work with Bree Mills and Angela White in such a powerful project.
XBIZ: It seems like you can really explore your various creative urges with Gamma.
GAMBLE: They have a lot of different sites and things I thrive at, a lot of acting-based stuff. There’s lot I can do. They were also interested in my being creative behind the camera and that was something that was very alluring to me. How does it get any better? I don’t think it would have been difficult for me to fly into L.A. for 12 days and call everybody I know and get those days covered. But this gives me some stability. And I’m doing projects I’m proud of with directors I enjoy working for. Gamma’s an incredible company. Look at it this way: when you’re doing upwards of 300-400 scenes a year, there will always be a few that don’t go exactly how you would like. No one’s perfect. But if I’m doing less and working for one company, I want everything to be quality. And I feel like with Gamma I’m going to have that opportunity.
XBIZ: Directing is really about detail work and trust. It seems like a job that would benefit from your mindset.
GAMBLE: We’re [discussing] some ideas. They’re sending me the projects they think I should be a part of. It’s a really great opportunity. They’ve been super-accommodating. I’m grateful. We both seem to value each other equally. What I think about is maybe there are some newer guys, or newer girls, who are willing to put in the work and I can help them elevate their craft. Or maybe somebody you wouldn’t expect and I can offer them that platform. I would find it enriching to be able to do that.
XBIZ: You’ve mentioned your OnlyFans a couple of times. How does that factor into your plans now?
GAMBLE: My OnlyFans is more interactive. That’s how I’ve been able to keep it financially viable and make some money on there. I’m not really big with shooting tons of content. The reliability of shooting free content with other people is not good. I saw an article where OnlyFans was described as “the farmer’s market of porn.” These fans are paying money to see you — everybody’s fan base has a different expectation. But my fans seem to really enjoy talking with me, sitting with me. I’m shooting some couples stuff and then stuff with just me. The more “real” and amateur-based stuff is what they’re looking for, a personal experience with me.
It’s so interesting. When you think back to when I first got into the business, we were fantasies to people. Now with social media and OnlyFans, we’re a reality. We’re so much more accessible. The reaction of when you meet someone who knows who you are is a lot more normal than what they used to do [laughs]. Now it’s a lot more of a normal conversation. We’re a little more acceptable to society. There are people out there fighting for sex workers’ rights. It’s in the culture now, people respecting people for who they are, no matter what they do and I think that’s beautiful. It gets a little over-the-top sometimes; the end of the day it’s great that people are standing up for each other because back in the day we were looked at as the dirty side of the entertainment industry.
XBIZ: Or just an untouchable fantasy.
GAMBLE: Yeah, the Vivid Girls, the Wicked contract girls, these untouchables. It’s a different environment. What constitutes a “porn star” is a completely different thing now. It’s definitely a trip.
Image source: Adult Time