Set It Off are starting fresh. The pop-rock four-piece just announced their signing to Fearless Records and with it a brand-new track, “Killer In The Mirror.” All of this unsurprisingly comes with the ushering in of a new era for the band after days of cryptic teasing on social media.
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AP chatted with frontman Cody Carson on the last day in the studio after approximately three months locked away working on their forthcoming Fearless debut. Head below for details on the inspiration behind their aggressive new track, the road to signing to Fearless and the next era of the band.
THEY’RE RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS…
“We’re really excited about it because this whole process of the new music [has] been a lot about going back to our roots and digging deep into what we’ve been going through over these past couple years,” Carson reveals. “We’ve brought a lot of aggression back because we have a lot to talk about. I feel like it’s so easy, in general, when you’re [asked], ‘How have you been?’ to say ‘Oh, everything’s perfect, everything’s great.’ I feel like nobody talks about the real side of things and what we go through in any sort of course of your life whether it be music, your job, relationships—anything at all—to just speak openly, and to say openly, to write openly. I feel like we’ve done that, and this [track] is a good example.”
…TO EVOKE THEIR HUMBLE YET BRUTAL BEGINNINGS…
“This song is called ‘Killer In The Mirror’ because I think back sometimes to who I was as a person when we first started this band,” he says. “We thought this whole world was just butterflies and rainbows, I guess. I was constantly apologetic and insecure. I was constantly worried about offending and walking on eggshells. Then you get into this world, and there are a lot of great people, but you do come across people that are willing to cut your throat to get ahead or people who are willing to hurt you or put you in a negative situation as long as it furthers them and it hinders you. It creates this shell, and you have to put your guard up. You become a tougher person, and you almost feel that you have to go into survival mode at times whether that be in a professional setting or life in general growing up.”
…AND WHAT THEY LEARNED ALONG THE WAY.
“Your every experience, positive and negative, shapes you,” he states. “Everything that you go through is something that’s going to change your demeanor, possibly permanently and how you deal with situations in the future. This song is about that: the growth of a person going through such hard times [and] going from this nice person to the killer we see in the mirror. We tried to reflect that in the song—the lyrics and the overall mood. I’m really excited about the arrangement. I think our fans are going to be really pumped to see the direction we’ve been going on this record.”
WORKING WITH FEARLESS SOMEWHAT INSPIRED THE TRACK…
“We’ve gone through a lot of changes,” he says. “We have a whole new team behind us right now, which first of all, so happy to say we’re with Fearless Records. We’ve been sitting on it for so long, and we finally get to announce it, and I’m so pumped. Since day one of working with them, it’s been such a productive experience getting to sit down and work with them and brainstorm. We live so close to them; we can drive out there. They’re so invested.”
…AND SO DID PEOPLE WHO HAVE WRONGED THEM.
“This is not what me saying that was the negative side of things with Equal Vision Records because they were really great to us as well,” he assures. “But other people that we have worked with have hurt us in one way or another. I guess one of the best and worst things you can ask for when working on a new record is for someone to try and screw you over [by trying] to mess up or mess with your life. You have to accept it in the moment, but at least now you have some raw emotion to get out, and that’s something that can inspire a lot of things. It’s not something that happened recently. It’s been an ongoing thing where things start going a certain way, and then you hit a clog.”
THE TRACK CAME TOGETHER SUPER EASILY.
“Dan [Clermont, guitar] was writing this riff that [you] hear at the beginning of the song, [and] it had so much anger and passion behind it,” he explains. “That’s how I like to go about lyrics. I’ll listen to what the mood is, what the vibe is, and see if I can put a story almost like a movie in my head as the soundtrack to it. So much is going through my head at the time. It just turned out to be one of those perfect moments. Actually, kind of a fun story about the creation of this, I was at Dan’s place, and he was showing me the production he was putting together for what the song would sound like. Every now and again this happens, but it’s rare. I’ll be like, ‘Yo, run it back,’ and I put on a voice memo, and the melodies that you hear right now were pretty much written in one take. It just came out, it flowed, it made sense together. It was one of those songs that was easy—it wrote itself.”
SIGNING TO FEARLESS WAS A NO-BRAINER.
“[We knew] just by talking to them, honestly,” he reveals. “When you’re talking to [people] who want to work with you, you feel around. You have to understand that where you’re going to end up is going to be a home. You have to communicate with them. You have to be able to show your ideas and be yourself and know that you’re going to be accepted as a family. That word gets thrown around so much, but it really has to feel like that. They really made us feel that way. They were honest with us from the get-go. They had constructive criticism, and they listened. They were willing to work with us back and forth. We’ve always been fans of the bands that were or are signed to Fearless, so once all of those factors added up, it was a no-brainer. We had to make the move, and we’re really happy we did.”
OVERALL, IT WAS TIME FOR A CHANGE…
“I mentioned aggression—the songs are going back to that,” he says. “We are obviously who we are, and we have a variance of songs, but the lyrics are probably the most emotional and aggressive that I’ve written in a long time. I think it’s our best—obviously who doesn’t—but I truly believe I’ve reached a new level as far as lyricism goes. That’s not to sound cocky. I just feel more open and free, and I’ve been working hard at it. With the new team, what we’ve been going through [and] how rough we’ve been feeling in the last year, we decided it was time for a new era and time for a change.”
…AND THE INITIAL TEASERS REFLECT THAT.
“What you’ve been seeing, in teaser one, it starts upside down and pans right side up,” he explains. “We see Dan staring at our diamond logo, and it switches to a ‘12’ flashing on the wall, which will make more sense down the line. Basically, we’re hoping people transition with us out of that world that we were all a part of together in the previous album, [Upside Down], and now we’re entering this new one together as we’re anticipat[ing] the new releases that are ahead of us.”
— Set It Off (@SetItOff) July 20, 2018
THE NEW ERA WILL HAVE MORE OPENNESS.
“I’m excited to be able to talk about these songs in-depth and not hold anything back because I feel like it’s too easy to want to pretend like everything’s perfect and OK,” he states. “I think people need to understand that we’re just like them. People are convinced that we’re always doing just fine. With the new songs, you can tell that’s not always the case. It’s cool to have [this] connection, and that’s what we really pride ourselves on—that connection we have with people after the show when we’re able to talk to them, see how they’re doing and really form a genuine bond. We don’t want this to be a hotel for somebody; we want this to be a home. I think that’s what special about this new record as far as topics, songs, tones [and] as far as feeling you’re going to get. You’re going to get a range of emotions, and I think it’s going to hopefully help a lot of people.”
Check out Set It Off’s new track and emotional video below.
Set It Off will be hitting the road with support from Chapel and De’Wayne Jackson. Dates can be seen below, and tickets are on sale now.
08/17 — San Diego, CA @ The Irenic
08/18 — Fresno, CA @ Strummers
08/19 — Berkeley, CA @ Cornerstone
08/21 — Boise, ID @ The Shredder
08/22 — Spokane, WA @ The Pin
08/23 — Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
08/25 — Calgary, AB @ The Palomino
08/26 — Edmonton, AB @ Temple
08/29 — Burnsville, MN @ The Garage
08/30 — Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
08/31 — Lansing, MI @ The Loft
09/01 — Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater
09/02 — Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern
09/05 — Asbury Park, NJ @ House of Independents
09/07 — Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
09/08 — Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
09/09 — Richmond, VA @ Canal Club
09/11 — Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
09/12 — Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade-Purgatory
09/14 — West Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
09/15 — Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
09/20 — Dallas, TX @ Prophet Bar
09/21 — Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
09/23 — Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
09/25 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Larimer Lounge
09/26 — Reno, NV @ Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor
09/27 — Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
09/29 — Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction