They’re uncontainable, they won’t live their life afraid, they’re trying something new and their music will leave you hypnotized. We are, of course, talking about Set It Off!
In support of their latest album ‘Upside Down’, Set It Off recently toured the UK. With electrifying performances in each and every city, the band made smiles out of frowns.
We caught up with the Floridian rockers backstage in Manchester on the 24th May; just two days after the devastating terrorist attack at Ariana Grande’s concert in the city.
In our exclusive interview, Set It Off spoke about: recording their third album, continuing to live on after a tragedy, their favourite lyrics, alien cats and much more.
You can read highlights and hear our full interview with Set It Off below!
Are there any songs from ‘Upside Down’ that you particularly enjoy playing live?
Cody: “For me, probably ‘Diamond Girl’ because it’s such a different song to play live. Zach plays bass guitar on that. On ‘Upside Down’, we actually feature Dan on trumpet as a horn solo so we’re trying a lot of different things and having a lot of fun.”
Zach: “Mine’s ‘Hypnotized’.”
Cody: “Yeah, that one’s a lot of fun as well because it just goes off energy-wise.”
You’re performing in Manchester tonight. After the devastating attack at the Manchester Arena, was there ever a doubt that tonight’s show would still go ahead?
Cody: “We’ve read the articles. Last night, we had a discussion after hearing about the threat level being risen and about possibly military being in the streets. The only thing that was going to stop us was if the venue said they were cancelling this show. We have a song called ‘Life Afraid’ which is about this sort of situation. It’s about not living our life afraid and letting other people affect us that way. We stand by that. We think it’s really important to continue to live your life. Obviously, within the means of safety, but this is what we love to do and we don’t want to let that scare us away.”
CelebMix: “We were about to say ‘Life Afraid’ is very relevant.”
Cody: “Yeah, that was written about actually the Bataclan when those attacks happened in Paris because we’ve played that venue before. It was just the thought of ‘what if that was us?’ – do you know what I mean?”
CelebMix: “Some people have been saying they’re now scared to come to concerts.”
Cody: “That’s why I’m so amazed and happy and proud of Manchester to see kids lining up outside. There’s someone that was at the show where the attack happened that is coming to the show tonight. That’s some bravery. You’ve got to respect that.”
Your latest album ‘Upside Down’ features a mixture of sounds and emotions – how did you go about creating the record? Was it always the intention to try something new?
Cody: “‘Something New’.” (laughs)
Dan: “That record was kind of… it was weird with that one. I don’t know if we went in with a necessary goal; it just came out so easily.”
Cody: “Yeah, I think we stopped doing that. We thought we had a goal with ‘Duality’; that record was going to be literally half heavy and half pop but then we realised that makes no sense. So we were like: let’s just stop trying to put rules or a box around it. Let’s just write, let’s just see what comes out and have as much fun as we possibly can. It ended up being a new sound and new ventures in general. That’s where the topic for the song ‘Something New’ actually came about; we wrote that with Alex from All Time Low and they’ve gone through the same thing. They’re trying different things, trying different sounds and not being afraid to do so in order to salvage your love for what you do. Instead of writing the same damn record over and over again.” (laughs)
‘Hypnotized’ is our favourite and it sees you experiment with a new sound – can we expect more songs like that in the future?
Cody: “Awesome. We experimented, in that one, with a little bit of rap every now and then. I never really did that before but people seem to really like it so it means that maybe we can try that again. We’re not going to force it into a song. If we’re writing and it happens to be influenced that way or becomes that way because it’s a good song, we’ll do it. Obviously with Set It Off, you’re always going to get some aggressive songs so I think they can expect something similar to that in the future.”
We love the line ‘Nobody can relieve me of my ghosts, but I refuse to let them define my soul’ in ‘Life Afraid’ – are there any new lyrics that you’re particularly proud of?
Cody: “That’s actually one of my favourites; I’m happy you said that. I remember being proud of that rhyme scheme as well as what that message stands for in that section of that song so that’s kind of cool that you brought that up. That and I like the ‘So lucky that we met while walking under ladders, it hit me in the blink of an eye that you’re my diamond girl.’ I like that line because what that’s really about is me meeting my current girlfriend after we’ve just been through the worst relationships possible. We met while walking under those unlucky ladders and it led us to each other. I thought that was a fun lyric; I was proud of that one.”
Dan: “Mine’s a little different. I can’t remember the exact lyrics at this moment but it’s the second verse of ‘Want’ when you refer to leaving the lights on. I think that song is a tone that our band has never really touched on; being very personal and showing what life on the road of being single is kind of like so I think that kind of made our fan base a little more comfortable. I think that’s really cool.”
Zach: “Yeah, I’d agree with that one too.”
Maxx: “I like ‘What do you want to receive for fucking it up all the time? A fucking statue?” (laughs) It’s pretty self-explanatory but I like it.”
Do you reckon there’ll be a fifth single released from ‘Upside Down’? If so, which track would you choose?
Cody: “We’re kind of torn. We’ve thought about that. We’ve seen a lot of love for ‘Want’ and a lot of love for ‘Diamond Girl’.”
CelebMix: “‘Upside Down’ maybe?”
Cody: “‘Upside Down’; we’ve obviously had love for that one as well. You know what’s sometimes hard picking singles for music videos? Getting these elaborate ideas and having the budget to match up with what you want and what your expectations are. For ‘Upside Down’, we have a lot of crazy-ass ideas but it would involve like a $50,000 budget. It’s about merging the two.”
CelebMix: “You want to do it justice?”
Cody: “We want to do it justice. Exactly.”
Dan: “I think it’s the first time in our career that we have had our fan base so divided on how they feel about the record. People are very vocal about hearing those three songs. Before, it was like ‘why aren’t you playing ‘Dreamcatcher’?’ but now it’s like ‘I want this’ and ‘I want that’ which is kind of cool.”
Cody: “It’s good. I like it. It’s spread out; they like everything.”
If you could go back and release another single from both ‘Cinematics’ and ‘Duality’, which songs would you choose?
Cody: “I’d say ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ would have been a single for sure.”
Dan, Maxx and Zach: “Yeah.”
Cody: “We had no idea the potential that song had and still has.”
CelebMix: “Isn’t it currently your biggest song on Spotify?”
Cody: “Yeah, there’s this thing called Nightcore where they basically make anime music videos to songs and that culture blew that song up. There’s multiple million hit videos from just that style. We never put out a music video for that so it was just all those things. It’s really insane. That’s a really popular cover those guys did and really fun to watch. From ‘Cinematics’ though…”
Dan, Maxx and Zach: “‘Dreamcatcher’.”
Cody: “Yeah, that is the one we should have made a single.”
Maxx: “We never made that a single.”
Cody: “I forgot we didn’t so it would have been ‘Dreamcatcher’. It would have made sense because there was a dreamcatcher on the fucking cover.” (laughs)
What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Set It Off? You’ve obviously got the One Ok Rock and Simple Plan tours.
Cody: “Yeah exactly, as far as that goes, that’s the rest of our touring plans so far because we’re currently in writing mode already. We’ve been writing a lot since we’ve been home. After the Simple Plan tour, unless something cool comes up that we can’t pass up, it looks like we’ll be taking some time off to write.”
If you could leave a message for your fans, what would you say?
Cody: “Fuck you. (laughs) I’m kidding. But no, seriously, I know it goes without saying but we really appreciate all of the support and thank you for sticking with us through every record. We can’t wait for you to hear the next stuff. Come see us out on tour.”
‘Upside Down’ is available here on iTunes. Since its release in October last year, the album has received rave reviews from critics and fans. It’s a fantastic addition to Set It Off’s already incredible discography so we’d definitely recommend that you check it out.
Make sure you follow @SetItOff on Twitter to keep up to date with all of their latest projects. You can also keep Cody, Dan, Maxx and Zach on your radar by following their very own personal profiles: @CodySIO, @DannySIO, @MaxxSIO and @ZachSIO.
Do you love ‘Upside Down’ by Set It Off? Which is your favourite song on the album? Have you seen the band live in concert? Let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix!