Q And A with Set It OffOctober 1, 2012
At BareBones Entertainment, I got the great privilege to speak with one of my favorite bands out right now in Set It Off. The band consists of vocalist Cody Carson, Guitarist and back up vocals Dan Clermont, Zach DeWall on guitar, Austin Kerr on bass, and drummer Maxx Danziger. So Dreamcatchers, take a look below with our interview with Cody Carson and Austin Kerr.
BS: Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here, but from what I’m understanding you guys actually started out making videos on YouTube? What was that like?
Cody Carson: Yeah we kind of did, I started out doing covers and it got us a lot of online attention. I would then use those videos to promote the band and it really gave us our starting fan base. The Internet is an incredible resource for new bands.
BS: What was it like for your hard work to finally pay off and be signed by Equal Vision records?
Cody Carson: Surreal is the only word that comes to mind. You work so hard at something and become so used to everything going a certain way, but reaching a milestone like that just kind of wakes you up and says, “Hey, you have a real shot at success, keep going.”
BS: There is a lot of energy in the music that you play, what bands do you take inspiration from or feel influences your music?
Cody Carson: Fall Out Boy is for sure one of them but that is one of many. I listen to a lot of different music: jazz, pop, R&B, pop/punk, pop/rock, etc. but I loved the energy that bands like FOB and My Chemical Romance would bring to the table. We want to make people want to jump up and dance when they hear our songs and I’m so glad to hear that you feel the energy from them.
BS: Can you take us through the typical process a Set It Off song goes through when it is being created?
Cody Carson: Honestly, there isn’t a typical process. Each song starts in its own way. Wherever the heaviest inspiration lies, it starts there. Whether it be a melody, a strong lyrical line, a guitar line, it just matters that we are very excited on the start of the and then the rest falls into place in natural order.
BS: Speaking of songs, this is a little older but I really like the ‘Horrible Kids’ song and video. The video comes across to me like a video discouraging bullying and showing self-worth. Was this the message you wanted to get across, or what was the message you wanted to portray? [Video at bottom of interview]
Cody Carson: I was bullied a lot when I was growing up and I wrote “Horrible Kids” as an underdog anthem for those going through what I went through. I want people to know they’re not alone and no matter how tough life is now, if you work hard enough – you’ll make them regret it simply by being successful. Success is the best revenge.
BS: Are there any plans to create a new official music video for any of the tracks off of the new album since the releases so far have been lyric videos?
Cody Carson: Actually yes, we just shot a video! I unfortunately cannot name the song YET, but what I can say is that it’s coming along so well! Get ready 🙂
BS: The two singles I have heard off of “Cinematics,” “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” and “Swan Song” are both fantastic tracks, is this what we have to look forward to from the new album? Is there a running theme throughout the album that you are trying to get across to the listener, or what is the message behind this album?
Cody Carson: Thank you so much! There may not be a running theme but one thing that all the songs have in common is that they all are derived from personal experiences in my life. I cope through writing and these lyrics are a product of that. My goal is, that hopefully, when you close your eyes and listen to one of the songs off of Cinematics that you feel as if you are sitting down for a short film. We wanted it to be as vivid as possible.
BS: What are you most excited about with “Cinematics” being released on September 18? What was your favorite part of working on this album?
Austin Kerr: I think my favorite part of working on Cinematics was our experience of recording with Zack and Kenneth. They knew just how to get the best out of us!
BS: What is the work that you are doing with VH1’s Save the Music Foundation in connection with “Cinematics”?
Austin Kerr: We’re donating one dollar per every CD sold, prior to and during the first week of its release, to VH1 Save The Music! It’s a nonprofit organization that supports music programs in public schools. We’re helping them raise awareness about the importance of music education, and donating to help them save those types of programs in schools.
BS: So far what has been your favorite song to play live and why?
Austin Kerr: I really like playing “Swan Song”. The song has a few parts with very different styles, so it’s fun being able to mix it up and do a lot of different types of stage presence within the same song!
BS: What can you reveal about the upcoming tour in support of the album? Are there any locations you are most excited to play?
Austin Kerr: The headliner is There For Tomorrow, who is a fantastic band and one of the cleanest live bands we’ve had the pleasure to tour with; And we’re going on as direct support every night. Opening band is Divided By Friday, who is probably the best band in the world. Looking forward to Michigan, NYC, Boston and Tampa shows!
BS: What are some of the big bands that you have shared a stage with in the past? Are there any bands that you have not had an opportunity to play with that you would love to go on tour with?
Austin Kerr: We’ve done tours with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Our Last Night, The Millionaires, Crown The Empire and Chiodos. And shared the stage with Say Anything, We Came As Romans, Glass Cloud, Life On Repeat and more at SXSW last year. As far as bands I can see us touring with in the near future, I’d love to tour with Pierce The Veil, Go Radio, Sleeping With Sirens and Falling In Reverse. I think a lot of their fans would be into our music, and I personally enjoy the music of those bands.
BS: Now from what I understand you guys have a very large and loyal fan base, what has that been like for you guys as a band to know you have all of that support?
Austin Kerr: Great, I love our fan base! Knowing that we have the ability to share our music and lives with such a great group of people is amazing. Plus, with the new album it’s growing and growing.
BS: It’s just not the fans either from what I hear. You guys are very open and in tune with your fans. What do you feel has contributed to that great connection between the band and your fans?
Austin Kerr: Well, from day one we have turned to our fans to make sure what we give them is what they want, whether it be tours, merch, contests, etc. We honestly just make sure to treat them as people and love to have conversations with them all the time. We love our fans and they love us back 🙂
BS: What has the release of Cinematics been like for you? Has all of the promoting for it been different than what you’ve had to do before?
Cody Carson: The release has been incredible! We have never had so much promotion behind an album before and it really shows what it can do. EVR has really helped us get our name out to way more people than we could have ever done on our own and we really thank them for that. Also, the spreading of awareness for our band through word of mouth is quite impressive as of recently. It’s fascinating to see the growth and progress happening right before our eyes.
Austin Kerr: The promoting was much more extensive than our last album. It was a lot of work, but I definitely feel like it paid off!
BS: I obviously think the album is fantastic, but what has the response been like from everyone else?
Austin Kerr: Great so far! It’s been especially cool to tour during this time; I feel like every show since the release, the crowds have been bigger and more responsive! I also haven’t noticed any of our fan base leaving, which is always a bit of a concern with new music coming out.
Cody Carson: It’s been more than I could have ever hoped for! People are making their own album review videos and putting them on YouTube. Some people who have never heard us before are calling it their favorite album of the year. It’s such a great feeling.
BS: I really like the fact that you guys did the track-by-track explanations for every track on Cinematics. I think it is different and gives your fans a closer connection with the band, but what made you guys want to do that?
Austin Kerr: We just wanted a chance to open up about the album to our fans, to give them a chance to get a peek into the mindset of how they were written and know the back-story behind them. The album means a lot to us and we wanted to bring the personal connection we have with our fans, to our album. So that the very first time you listen you can really get immersed.
BS: Anything else you would like to tell your fans?
Austin Kerr: We have a lot of exciting things coming up: A European/UK tour with Yellowcard, a full US with Sparks the Rescue, and a music video coming out soon too. So, to the fans, I’d say just keep your eyes and ears peeled! We are always announcing things and we don’t want you to miss out on anything!
With Cinematics having been out for a couple weeks now this band has been keeping busy promoting and touring. If you have an opportunity to see this band in your city do not miss the chance. I am looking forward to many more great things from these guys. If you have not yet head on over to their Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/setitoffband], and show them some love, and go pick up Cinematics on iTunes or in FYE stores…you will not regret it.
Take a look at our Cinematics review here: http://www.barebonesent.com/?p=41