INTERVIEW: Set It Off on “Midnight”, their return to the road and the music to come!
In the last ten years or so of covering bands, a lot have come and gone. Maybe make two albums, come out with a splash, and then never be heard from again. One that breaks that mold though are the guys in Set It Off, who while they have encountered their fair share of highs and lows, have never shined brighter. With the release of “Midnight”, they are at a level of well being and success that they haven’t seen before. The band as a unit is selling out huge shows and touring nonstop and there’s no signs of slowing down. With so many records under their belt, the writing process is now Cody Carson again regaining his confidence and putting his heart and soul on the line again. Find our chat below!
You guys have been doing Set it Off for so long. And you’ve always been so good about being on tour constantly and kind of being really hands on with the fans. So maybe this tour, “Midnight” doing so well, I’m sure that feels really great after so many years.
Cody Carson: Feels incredible. I was just saying the other day. I feel like I’m the most confident I’ve ever been in my entire life. I feel it’s always a constant journey with myself because I can tend to become an insecure person, just to be completely candid with you. There’s all these things that can get me down. No matter what your career field is, if you’re not hitting your goal, because we always have this level that we want to be, and if you’re not at that level, it can really get you down. And these shows have just reinvigorated me as a person. I feel fearless, I feel I can just have fun out there. And its just about the connection we make from song to song with everybody. And I think that’s what’s making our fanbase and family grow. It’s because of the overall sincerity and fun we’re having. That it’s continuing, and that it’s continuing to grow. That’s the biggest thing for us. And you never want to see the dip. We had one dip I feel like during “Upside Down” because it wasn’t our most aggressive record. But we figured it out with “Midnight”, which is one year old today!
I was going to say, happy one year!
CC: Thank you so much.
CC: And I’m so happy with where we are right now.
Then maybe considering, between those two albums, there was about a three year gap which I’m sure kind of killed you a little bit.
CC: Because we were going through a lot of transitional stuff with personnel. After “Upside Down”, we lost our manager, we lost our booking agents, we lost everything. We were feeling like we were in a really dark place and hopeless at the time. Again, in an industry like this, if anything’s not going your way, especially if everything is going the opposite, then it can really bring you down. So that paired with this long span of no music at the time got us down. We just got back on the horse and got us going again. We found our new manager, he’s been amazing. He’s actually a longtime friend, he is the most loyal guy in the world. So we never have to worry about being betrayed by him. And then we wrote the right songs with the right producer, just everything came together. It felt great. We had a huge chip on our shoulder.
Just a little bit! Now it’s a sad thing but being from Boston and knowing Dan was from Boston, obviously that’s a big change in the writing process, but you released these two new singles.
CC: Well those were actually written with him. He was part of those songs. Then moving forward, obviously since he’s not in the band anymore, I write the songs on my own. At first I was nervous about that, because to be honest with you, I haven’t written songs by myself since before the band started. Because when the band started, it was just me writing songs in my dorm room then eventually he got brought into the writing process. Now, the new record, I won’t lie, I was nervous going in, but I did the first writing session with Mike Green, who was our producer. And it was super fun. He brought my confidence up. He was like, “You’ve had this in you the whole time”. Not that I didn’t think I had it in me but, our process was I’m melodies and lyrics and then as far as riffs went, honestly Mike Green has been involved in that process as well. So my goal at the end of the year was starting at the end of November, I wanted to have twelve songs before the year was over. And I had 14. None of them are the ones we’re releasing right now. The first three songs, whoops, gave it away, there’s one more coming. So, “Catch Me if You Can”, “So Predictable”, they were going to be on “Midnight”. But we couldn’t contractually do 18, we did 15. And we didn’t want to throw the songs away. So we decided in this down period, when the cycle dies down, we’ll just put out more music. And everyone seems to love it which is great. But these new ones, I’m already working towards the next record. And I want 40. I want 40 songs and I want to narrow them down to twelve to fifteen but there’s quality and quantity and I believe in that firmly. And I’m going to keep working hard.
Then you’ve had this unit for so long. Now that you have these years of experience under your belt, how has it been to kind of go back to being yourself?
CC: I think it’s been making me feel better. I always felt so dependent. You ever not know how you feel about something till you start thinking about it? I feel like it’s happening right now. I feel like I’ve always felt so dependent on other people for validation or other things like that. I never took the time to myself to just appreciate myself or to see what I have to offer and be okay with being confident in that. I don’t ever want to become a cocky person. You see people when they become successful become assholes, I don’t want to do that. That’s really important to me, but then I would stop myself from feeling confidence in fear that I would then turn into some monster but now I know I can feel that way without being an abrasive person. I’m learning about my own personality throughout this transition as well. I feel stronger then I’ve ever been. I feel really good. My voice is back. I can sing higher then I used to. I have more control. I’m making this all about me.
No you aren’t. The rest of the guys that have been with you just as long.
CC: Of course. It’s not like it’s just like the “Me Show”, I just feel better individually and it’s nice to finally feel that.
Then maybe right after you finish this tour, you jump right into a headlining tour being mostly Canada. Then you’re going overseas. I know you’ve already done two Set It Off headlining runs in support of this record. I think you did Paradise Rock Club in Boston then another tour after that. So obviously you’ve been non-stop. How has that energy been?
CC: To be back into it? It’s been great. Oh God, it’s the best. I had one of the greatest nights with Max and Zach last night. We just stayed up till I’m not even joking four in the morning just passing a bottle of Jack around having a heart to heart. It was nice because we were talking about how we feel, because they feel the same. They feel amazing. Shows give you validation. It’s that immediate response of “Oh, people like our music” or “Oh, people are having a good time”. So now I know because I physically see it. When you don’t feel it physically every day, and you’re in your home, you’re just left to wonder, are they still thinking about us? Do they still care about us? Your social media’s great for that because you can kind of keep people engaged and talk to people, but it’s not the same. So being home for a while can be hard but also, I tend to enjoy it as well. Because now I have a fiancee, a dog, we have our own place. And I enjoy my privacy, I really do. I know I’m very extroverted and I love to talk, but I also really enjoy getting away. My new gift I got was noise canceling headphones. I got them for Christmas and my favorite thing to do sometimes is walk around without music on. Just the noise canceling. It’s isolation. I don’t know what it is but I love it. So I get that at home, but after a while, it gets boring. How long can I play Star Wars, the video game, before I want to hit the stage again? For me, I have a really optimistic mindset about it, and it was just the right amount of time. I’m happy either way. I enjoy that I have something to miss at home. Someone, some life. Not shitting on single people but before when I was single, I’m like I want to be on tour, I don’t want to be home alone with my thoughts, that sort of thing, but I’m really happy.
Then you have so much going on, you talked about how you want to have forty songs so I’m sure you’re itching to make this new music.
CC: Exactly. As soon as we’re off tour, I’m going straight back into the studio.
And you’re touring up to April. You’ve been doing this band for so long, you’ve put out so many albums, maybe focuses or goals for these next few months? Is it just the album, is it something where you want to put it out this year?
CC: I was talking about this earlier today too. Someone was like, “Are you going to do your private lessons again?” I used to do private lessons for songwriting, like online lessons, and I was like I don’t even have time to do anything else that I want to do. When I went in for my vocal surgery, I had to go on vocal rest for like three weeks. I couldn’t talk, so I was like I’m going to dedicate this to getting a Twitch setup. So I got two monitors, installed the whole thing, got it all working because I could do it all without talking. Perfect! I could fill my time with some other type of work. As soon as I could sing, I just went into the studio and I still haven’t streamed once. I want to go on Twitch so badly, but I could be in the studio. I know that it’s the only way it will work, if we grind. I have to go into the studio, I have to write songs. Because everyone else is. One of my favorite quotes is, “You have to work 24/7, like someone else is working 24/7 and could take it away from you”. Not that someone else is trying to take it away from me, or trying to sabotage me, but being in a band is a saturated market. If you’re not working at your craft all the time, they are and they’re getting better then you. Writing better songs then you and the competition, it’s fun.
Maybe speaking of that, you’re on tour with Sleeping with Sirens. Who have been doing it for a long time as well, but you have Belmont opening, Point North opening. You’re coming into these last few dates of this tour. They’re both new up and coming bands.
CC: Love it.
Belmont was just out opening for Grayscale, Point North opened up for As it Is. How was the tour for you?
CC: The tour for us in general? It was phenomenal. When you’re doing a direct support tour, all you want is to, you have a bunch of fans there that don’t know who you are, is to grab them so when you do a headliner, they’ll come thru. But I am very impressed by how loud our crowds have been, if I’m being completely honest. It’s such a good feeling. I love it. There’s the shows where it’s a little solemn, I think the first show was like that for us. But then sometimes we play a show like yesterday, and it was just incredibly loud and they’re all moving and stuff. And also, we’ve done so many support tours. When I go into support slots, I go in with the mentality that I’m going to make you like me. I look for the people that are on the front like no smile. Because there’s this thing and this exists. There’s this thing where they’re will be a fan for the headlining band in the front row and there will sometimes be a specific one that wants you to know that they’re not there for you. I think they have this fantasy that the headlining band is going to come out, see them, and be like you’re my favorite. My goal is I’m going to make that fucker smile before the set is over. So I’ll keep looking at them, I’ll sing to then and then eventually I’ll get down and mimick then if they’re making a face. And then eventually I’ll get in. Some people are tough though. You know how you combat that? If you have a fan on either side, then you give them all the attention and they’re like, dammit.
I’m sure here. They’re like, Im your diehard.
CC: Not here, not in Boston actually. Every area has their own culture at a show and here, everyone’s here to have a good time. And I love that about Boston. Because everyone’s crazy here. That’s the only way you can describe it. (as a huge roar breaks out, conversation pauses). And that’s only for the first band. They’re like, “Let’s go, let’s have fun”. They just want to go wild. And that’s why every band loves playing here.