Interview with Set It Off’s Cody Carson & Maxx Danziger: “Everything has just kinda come together at the right time”

Set It Off Band Promo Photo

Back in the Autumn, Florida pop punkers Set It Off were once again in the UK, wow’ing audiences as special guests to British rock favourites Mallory Knox. Before Mallory Knox’s hometown show at The Cambridge Junction, Rock Sins were able to catch up with Set It Off’s main man Cody Carson and drummer Maxx Danziger to talk about the first anniversary of Duality, touring the UK and what the future holds.

So this is Jamie from Rock Sins and I’m here with Maxx and Cody from Set It Off! How are you guys doing?

Max: We’re doing pretty great, thanks!

Set It Off have been to the UK a lot over the last couple of years. Is that something you decided effectively that you wanted to “crack the UK”, or is it just something that’s evolved organically as time has gone on?

Cody: Yes! We like it here a lot *laughs*. Since the beginning of the band, and I’m talking MySpace here, we’d get messages saying “come to the UK, come to the UK” and we never had the financial means to come over. Now that the band is starting to pick up some ground we’re really excited about the excitement in the UK for Set It Off, especially since Duality released. We have an amazing team working for us here in the UK and they keep finding ways for us to make it over and so when we got the offer for this Mallory Knox tour there was no way we could say no to it. So here we are again!

Am I right in thinking the first really big UK tour for Set It Off was the tour at the start of 2014 with Crown The Empire?

Max: Actually we did a tour here with Yellowcard at the start of 2013. That was the first time we ever came over.
Cody: Our first show in London was at The Koko!
Max: I think one of the reasons why (we’ve kept coming back) is that Set It Off took off a lot quicker in the UK than in the States where we’ve really had to work our way up from the smaller shows. Our first tour here was pretty big. We’ve managed to build a good base here so when we come back we can hit the ground running.

Do you think that Yellowcard tour was the catalyst that started things in motion to allow you guys to keep coming back the way you have?

Cody: I don’t think it was a tour, if anything it was Duality. As soon as Duality came out, not that they didn’t before but Kerrang! started giving us a lot of love, Rock Sound started giving us a lot of love. A lot of press outlets started noticing Set It Off, we were getting constant interview requests, we got our first magazine cover, so the press outlets really started putting our name out there. Then, I think the Crown The Empire tour was around the time the album was coming out so it really all started to come together. Then we came over and did our first headliner, and now we’re back doing another great support tour. Everything has just kinda come together at the right time.

Did you know much about Mallory Knox or The Xcerts before this tour was put together?

Cody: Not The Xcerts but we knew about Mallory Knox, we’d heard their name throughout the press outlets. We also got to know them on Warped Tour this Summer in the States, Mikey would come on our bus all the time. So they’ve all become really good friends of ours. So they were in our homeland and now they’re helping us out over here.

You’ve managed to pre-empt one of the other questions because I was going to ask about Warped. It must be such an experience and be like living in a bubble almost?

Max: Oh absolutely, it’s not like anything else. On tour there’s a certain lifestyle that you live and Warped Tour really just envelops you. You spend all day and all night in these grounds and these parking lots with the same people every single day and you just get used to certain things and then you get back into the real world and you forget. Like you can pretty much carry a solo cup of alcohol wherever you go. So the first couple days you get back, you’re walking into any kind of store with a solo cup and it’s like “oh, right, I can’t be doing this!” *laughs*.
Cody: It’s definitely it’s own culture.
Max: It immerses you into this whole other world which is just amazing.

Just before Warped Tour you were over here for the Slam Dunk Festival triple bill where you opened the main stage, that must’ve been an interesting weekend and almost a three day preview to Warped?

Cody: Oh my god yes. I couldn’t handle one of the days. Our friends Zebrahead, I don’t know if you know Zebrahead but they have a guy who is a bartender on stage and we all like to drink and have a good time so he was like “yo, come on stage and I’ll make you drinks throughout the set”. Now I didn’t realise it was an hour long set. I was sitting down and I must have drunk how much the average person drinks over the span of five or six hours in the course of an hour. So I was thinking “I’m fine, I’m fine”, I stood up and I was like “I have to go to bed immediately!”. So I went to bed at like 6:30pm that night..
Max: *laughs*
Cody: So it was conditioning for me! I had to get better. But the next day I was totally fine. Slam Dunk was one of the most fun festivals we’ve ever been a part of, so well organised and they take such good care of you. It’s the same kind of environment (as Warped), everyone’s so happy and enjoying being in everyone’s presence and just having a good time.
Max: It was just so good!
Cody: The bands were amazing and the crowds were just FUCKING MENTAL! We loved it!

Is it right that you guys weren’t here for the first night of this tour (in Glasgow)?

Max: We were actually in Canada. We were trying to make it in time but we ended up getting a nine hour flight and a lay over in Amsterdam and all this kinda stuff so we ended up turning up to our first show, Manchester, and none of us had slept, completed jetlagged, some of us were sick but we still did the set.
Cody: We’ve literally just finished a tour with All Time Low. We were on the last date in Vancouver and we told them we would finish the tour. So we either had to leave that tour early or miss Glasgow, so it made more sense for us to finish the tour in the US.
Rock Sins: You guys are gonna be pretty dead by the time this tour finishes then *laughs*.
Cody: Yeah, we’re gettin’ better though. First day we were like *puts on haggard voice* “what the fuck?!”, but we’re all getting over the sickness now..
Max: I slept fourteen hours last night!
Cody: So we’ve just overcome the jetlag and it’s all good.

We’re just a few days away now from Duality’s first birthday. You must be so pleased with the doors the album has opened for you and everything that has happened as a result?

Cody: Oh god it’s a whole different world, honestly. You look at a band’s success levels and it’s here’s where we were and here’s where we are now. It’s the biggest leap that our band has ever taken. Not so long ago we were preparing for headlining tours where there would be 200 kids there if we were lucky! I mean it started out with like ten a show! But we did a headline tour in the States called Spring Break tour and it sold out the second largest room in New York City called the Marlin Room at this place called Webster Hall which is 8 or 900 kids. We also sold out this venue called The Bottom Lounge which is the kind of place you play right before you step up to House Of Blues, so maybe the next tour we could upgrade to House Of Blues. We’re seeing the progression and it’s because of the songs we put out on Duality. I feel like we’re an insatiable band though because although we’re rapidly approaching Duality’s first birthday we’re back in the studio in January. We’re ready to start making more music.

Radio In The US is a much bigger deal than it is here. Have the songs from Duality been picked up by the College Radio Stations and in the places you would need them to get picked up for big success?

Cody: Radio in the US is much harder. They’ve not been picked up at Top 40 because to get Top 40 you need hundreds of thousands of dollars, a couple of favours and you need to know somebody at a major label or be on a major label. There is a lot that goes into it and that’s why I love UK radio. On UK radio it’s actually about the songs and your overall buzz and you as a band.
Max: Before we even released the record we released Why Worry and that got played on BBC One on The Rock Show.
Cody: Fearne Cotton played it, Zane (Lowe) played it, it’s just amazing. Dan Carter, he was unholy for us. He really liked our stuff and he was really good to us. It’s just our team over here man, they’re incredible. US radio, if you have guitars in your band, it’s already infinitly more difficult for you to make it to Top 40 radio. But as far as I’m concerned it’s game on, it’s a challenge we’re willing to take.

Between Duality and whatever comes next you’ve released your acoustic EP (Duality: Stories Unplugged) which is obviously something fun for you guys to do and there’s a new song on there, was it just a way of bridging the gap between Duality and the next album?

Cody: Not really *laughs*, without going back to the whole messages constantly asking for a UK tour, we’ve always been asked for an acoustic release because acoustic shows have been a huge part of the inception of Set It Off. We’ve always just done shows, show after show after show. If we ever didn’t get a show or had a show cancelled we’d just go to malls and we’d play acoustic. We’d do acoustic shows in people’s houses. We’re really proud of how we sound acoustic and our ability to stand on our music, no tracks, just us and our vocals and acoustic guitars and percussion. We’d been asked for it for awhile so we decided if we’re going to do this lets do it right and wait until we’ve got the right songs, re-arrange them, re-imagine them and we’ve done that with Duality: Stories Unplugged. We’re really proud of that release, and we added the new song as you said Wild Wild World. We’ve just released a music video for that as well which is really taking off so that’s great. We’re really proud of the message in that song. It was something we needed to do and we’re really proud of how it came together.

You lost your bassist a few months ago and we don’t need to go into the details of that again as it’s been well documented, but have you got a touring bassist?

Cody: No, we’re proud of ourselves and we’re a four piece and we’re gonna remain a four piece until otherwise needed. So currently we just track the bass.
Rock Sins: Fair enough!

Once this tour is over and you’ve already said you’ll be back in the studio in January, is there more stuff going on back home in the US or will you actually have some time off?

Cody: Actually that’s the next plan! We finish this tour, go home and we just write! Write write write until we hit the studio.
Max: When I found out we were going to have about four months without touring my mind was blown. We haven’t had that much time off ever.
Cody: I don’t know what we’re going to do with ourselves, it’s gonna be nice *laughs*

Is the schedule already filling up for 2016 apart from the studio?

Max: Yep.
Cody: Ooo yeah. We’ve got the album and we’ve already confirmed a US tour.
Rock Sins: do you think you’ll be looking to hit the festivals, Download obviously being a big one?
Max: We’d love to.
Cody: You know we’d love that. We’ll see what plays out from there, no details we can release yet but I’m very excited about what’s coming together.

One last question which we try to ask everybody, are you guys fans of The Simpsons?

Cody: Oh he’s the biggest fan ever.
Rock Sins: Who is your favourite Simpsons character?
Max: Oooo! Well, growing up it was always Bart because he was very cool, but I like Moe a lot, he’s so upset! *laughs* He’s so mad! There’s not a lot of characters I didn’t like. Skinner is another great one, I could talk about it all day.
Cody: I like the neighbour who’s overly nice.
Max: Flanders?
Cody: I like how he’s just so annoying.
Max: Homer hates him SO MUCH. There is no reason for him not to like him but he just hates him. I can’t believe it’s still on the air, I love it. Especially now they’ve switched more now to tying in subtley with more current events and things like that. It’s the humour they’ve always had but it’s changed and evolved.
Rock Sins: I think they’ve said recently they might stop after Season 30, and they’re on about Season 27 now, so there’s still at least another three years to go.
Cody: How many are South Park up to now? That must be getting fairly close.
Max: I think that’s like 20? Those two shows have been on for a long time. You know a lot of people compare The Simpsons with Family Guy but I think they might have been playing off South Park a little bit in the taking current events and making jokes out of them.
Cody: They’ve always been so good at that, almost weekly. They really put things into perspective, I think (as a band) South Park is our favourite show.

Well that’s a great way to finish, thank you guys very much!

Max: No problem!
Cody: Thank you!

A review of Set It Off’s gig at The Cambridge Junction with Mallory Knox can be read here. Set It Off are currently gearing up for a massive co-headline tour of the US with Aussie rockers Tonight Alive. Full details of that can be found at the tour’s website – Stay tuned for more updates on Set It Off as and when we have them. We’ll leave you with the guys latest music video for Duality.

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