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INTERVIEW: Set It Off: “We’re huge nerds about pop music”

With their new album Duality, Set It Off has made a record that shows the world their true selves and it leaves no subject untouched. LLUID spoke with the band (Cody, Dan, Austin, Zach and Maxx) during their tour with Crown The Empire, about what duality means to them, cover songs and their wildest spring break stories.

Your latest album is called Duality, but that can mean a lot of things. What does duality mean to you?

Cody: Duality means to us that there are two sides to everyone, and that second side is the one that people like to hide. When you’re in a band, people have that preconceived notion that you have to be a good person, and we were sick of that being held over our heads. We wanted to show who we really are. Making this album was really liberating for us. The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the easier life is. With this record we want to encourage other people to do that, just let loose and be yourself. Duality means being human, through the good and the bad. In our song Duality you can hear that. The lyrics are ‘I cant quite explain my evil ways, explain why I’m not sane, but this is your warning’, that song is really about being human. We also took on some subjects we usually wouldn’t touch on, like alcohol or sex. Things that we involve ourselves in and are just part of our lives, wether you like it or not. Dan: The subject content on this album isn’t the typical boy-girl drama. It’s there, but it’s brought to you in a very different way, more mature. Austin: Another big part of it is the way it’s brought musically. Some songs are very upbeat, poppy and happy like Forever Stuck In Our Youth, but there are also songs on the record that are more darker, like The Haunting. So there’s even duality between the songs. Cody: The song Why Worry has those two sides in itself; the verses are dark and spooky and the chorus is very uplifting, it’s very bipolar. To show that duality in our music we also created our own version of the yin-yang symbol, which can me made with your hands (see photo below).

IMG_20150125_162324Zach, Maxx, Cody, Jaap (LLUID), Austin and Dan doing the ‘Duality Diamond’ (Photo: Jaap Smit)

On a couple of songs on the record you work with other artists, William Beckett and Jason Lancaster. How was it to work with them?

Cody: It was incredible. The song on which Jason sings, Tomorrow, started in 2009. Back then we were thinking that it would be great if Jason would sing the bridge on this song. We didn’t knew him personally at the time, so in the years that followed we met him and befriended him. Eventually we asked him to sing on Tomorrow, and he said yes. He just needed to be on that track, his voice fits there so perfectly. We met William on another tour with We Are The In Crowd, and he showed me a song were he hit a very angry tone in which no one ever heard him. We also wanted him on one of our songs, but didn’t know were he would fit. We don’t want to throw some guest vocals in for the sake of publicity. Only if it fits artistically, we’ll do it. There was this angry verse in the song Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing and thought, “what about William Becket?” He was really excited to do it, and he absolutely killed it.

You covered some songs in the past months, Ariana Grande’s Problem (Punk Goes Pop 6) and not too long ago a cover of Uptown Funk (with Against The Current). What is it about those songs that makes you wanna record your own version?

Dan: As a band we like to have a lot of fun, on and off stage. We really wanna wear that energy on our sleeves. Both of the songs really fit in that energy, so we wanted to make a move on both those songs. Cody: When Problem came out we all loved it, but it seemed that another band (Youth In Revolt) would cover that song on the Punk Goes Pop record. We would be the band to cover Royals by Lorde. We went to our manager to ask him if there was any way to still get to play Problem, and Youth In Revolt were kind enough to switch with us, so we got to do Problem! We like all sorts of music, but we’re also huge nerds about pop. Also, Bruno Mars is amazing!

Are there any favourite songs you would like to cover?

Dan: Destiny’s Child! Cody: For the longest time we wanted to do a full band cover of Say My Name by Destiny’s Child! We don’t know if it will ever happen, but when the time is right we might do it. I’m a huge Destiny’s Child fan. Maxx: We bumped into The Weeknd recently, so we might do something with him, we really like him.

This year you will play on the Glamour Kills Springbreak Tour with Against The Current, As It Is and ROAM. What are your craziest adventures during your spring breaks?

Dan: I did a road trip to Miami once with a couple of friends I went to high school with. We got a flat tire, went to frat party and almost got in a fight, haha! Zach: I never did anything like that. I went on a road trip to family, but then we got stuck in traffic and I got diarrhea.. Austin: Whats ironic about it; we’re from Clearwater, which is a beachtown where people come to spend their Spring Break. But we are not gonna be tourists in our own town, that’s weird. Maxx: I had my first Beereal during a spring break, you know what that is? You wake up in the morning, pour yourself some cereal, and then instead of milk you use beer. I don’t recommend it, it’s honestly awful, my whole morning was ruined! Dan: Maxx and I had our own Springbreak celebration before we started touring, we use to have a really wild day the day before we start touring. Maxx: Until the moment we had to get in the bus and leave we would just be going hard! Dan: On one of those days I woke up in daisy dukes and a cowboy hat, haha! Cody: Mine is not as cool as the other stories, but when I was a kid we used to play flashlight tag during the spring breaks, where you would only wear black clothes, and when it was dark you tried to tag the other ones with your flashlight. Not as exciting as the rest, but still, good times!

What are the plans for the rest of this year?

Cody: Up until this point this year looks great. I can’t announce to much, but we’re booked ‘till fall! Dan: We’ll be in Belgium for Groezrock this may. Austin: Between now and fall we have about a month off, in which we like to sleep a lot! Cody: Being on the road is a crazy lifestyle, and when you’re home you can just enjoy being normal for a bit and relax and cook some home-cooked meals. Pretty dad-like, but I like it, haha!

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REVIEW: Lenachka – Lenachka

(TRANSLATED REVIEW BELOW)

Doe je voordeel met het lezen van deze recensie; zodra Lenachka (spreek uit: le-notch-ke) over een klein tijdje wereldfamous is kende jij haar al voordat ze cool was en kan je met recht je vensterglas hipsterbril dragen. Want als er iets ‘the next big thing’ wordt, is het deze Duitse Russische wel, die al geruime tijd in Amerika woont. Producer Charlie Peacock ontdekte de zangeres en trommelde een heel leger aan topproducers (onder andere van Taylor Swift, Eminem, Paramore) op om haar self-titled debuut EP op te nemen.

De vijf tracks verspreiden een prettige feelgood-sfeer met dromerige en poppy muziekjes, als perfecte achtergrond voor Lenachka’s stem die doet denken aan een kruising tussen Lorde en Taylor Swift. Arrangementjes die violen en electronische drums combineren verraden wat invloeden van Clean Bandit (Breaking Down), om vervolgens op z’n Bee Gees funky gitaartjes te mixen met prettige poprefreintjes op Good Luck. Ondanks de vele verschillende producers klinkt niks overgeproduceerd en heeft ieder nummer wel een eigen opvallende gimmick, waardoor Lenachka er zo eentje is die je vijfhonderd keer kan luisteren en bij iedere keer weer iets nieuws hoort.

Het vlotte Go Slow en prachtige Edge Of New York geven Lenachka net dat extra zetje naar een dikke tien. Haar debuut EP geeft naast een perfect visitekaartje van deze zangeres ook zat redenen om deze Duitse Russische de komende tijd goed in de gaten te houden, want doorbreken gaat ze.

Luister van Lenachka:

  • Good Luck
  • Edge Of New York

Abonneer je op de LLUID Spotify Playlist om direct te luisteren!


TRANSLATION by Jan Smit

Take advantage of this review; as soon as Lenachka (pronounced as: le-notch-ke) will be world famous in just a short time, you can say you knew her already before she was cool and you can rightfully wear your windowpane hipster glasses. If there exists something like ‘the next big thing’, then it must be this German Russian who has been living in the US for quite some time. Producer Charlie Peacock discovered this singer and recruited an entire army of top notch producers (among others from Taylor Swift, Eminem, Paramore) to record her self-titled debut EP. 

The five tracks disseminate a very nice feelgood atmosphere with dreamy and poppy music that is the perfect backdrop for Lenachka’s voice that makes you think of a cross between Lorde and Taylor Swift. Arrangements that combine violins and electronic drums show the influence of Clean Bandit (Breaking Down), and that subsequently mix funky guitars with nice pop choruses in a Bee Gees like fashion in Good Luck. Despite the many different producers there is nothing that sounds overproduced. Each song has its own gimmick that leaps out to the listener, whick makes Lenachka a record you can listen to five hundred times and still discover something new each and every time.

The lighthearted Go Slow and the magnificent Edge Of New York lend Lenachka that extra push to absolute top class. This debut EP not only is the perfect showpiece for this singer, but provides plenty of reasons to keep a keen eye on this German Russian in the months to come, because her breakthrough is a near certainty.

Must-listens from Lenachka:

  • Good Luck
  • Edge Of New York
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REVIEW: Melanie Penn – Hope Tonight

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(TRANSLATED REVIEW BELOW)

Tegen het einde van deze zomer wil ik nog even de aandacht vestigen op een lenteplaat bij uitstek. We zijn eigenlijk al weer een paar maanden verder, maar op 20 mei kwam het tweede album van singer-songwriter Melanie Penn Hope Tonight uit. En hoewel deze Amerikaanse zich vooral in het gospelcircuit beweegt, is dit een album dat het verdiend om door iedereen beluisterd te worden.

Hope Tonight is een leuke verzameling van liedjes die je allemaal zo’n lekker fris lentegevoel geven. Hier en daar wat elektrische bliepjes (Turnaround) die al snel doen denken aan artiesten zoals Owl City, of rustige tracks, zoals het bijna jazzy You Can’t Choose Who You Love. Penns prachtige stem ligt in elk nummer prettig in het gehoor, waar de Oostenrijkse zangeres Marina Zettl hier en daar doorheen klinkt. Bovenal is de productie op Hope Tonight een dikke tien, die alle nummers tot een strak en compleet geheel maakt, met als hoogtepuntje het swingende Patterns.

In tegenstelling tot sommige singer-songwriters die zich beperken tot één gitaar of piano, diept Melanie Penn alle mogelijkheden uit, waar soms magische nummers uitkomen. Naast Patterns zijn No Time, Hope Tonight en Before A Fall de nummers die sfeerbepalend zijn voor het album, dat eigenlijk geen saaie of slechte tracks kent. Ieder nummertje heeft zo haar galmpjes, bliepjes, leuke ritmes, xylofoontjes, vrolijke melodietjes en ga zo maar even door.

Dit alles maakt dat Hope Tonight een echt lente-album is, vol zonnige sfeer en lieve melodietjes. Er komen nog net geen bloemen uit je speakers tijdens het luisteren, want beter zul je de lente niet vangen op een album.

Luister van Hope Tonight:

  • No Time
  • Before A Fall
  • Patterns
  • Hope Tonight

Abonneer je op de LLUID Spotify Playlist om direct te luisteren!


TRANSLATION by Jan Smit

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Now that this summer is drawing to a close, I would like to focus attention on a typical springtime album. Time has progressed several months since then, but on May 20 of this year the second album of singer-songwriter Melanie Penn was released: Hope Tonight. Although this Amercan singer is primarily active in the gospel circuit, this is an album that deserves to be listened to by a much wider audience.

Hope Tonight is a nice collection of songs that give you that sparkling springtime feeling. Here and there you’ll hear some electronic beeps (Turnaround) that remind you of artists like Owl City, or you will find tranquil tracks like the almost jazzy You Can’t Choose Who YOu Love. Each song sounds lovely because of Penns beautiful voice; in several instances she makes you think of the Austrian singer Marina Zettl. On top of this, the production of Hope Tonight is superb: all songs have been made into a tight and coherent album, with the swinging Patterns being the best song.

Contrary to some songer-songwriters who keep to one guitar or piano, Melanie Penn makes use of all kinds of possibilities, creating some magic songs. Apart from Patterns, other songs that define the atmosphere of the album are No Time, Hope Tonight and Before A Fall. As a matter of fact, this album does not contain a single track that is boring or bad. Every song has its own little resonances, little beeps, nice rythms, little xylophones, happy little tunes, etc. etc.

All of this makes sure that Hope Tonight is a real springtime album, filled with a sunny atmosphere and happy little tunes. The album won’t make flowers grow out of your speakers while listening, but it captures springtime in unsurpassed fashion.

Must-listens from Hope Tonight:
  • No Time
  • Before A Fall
  • Patterns
  • Hope Tonight