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

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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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