INTERVIEW: New Album Elsewhere, Collaborations & More With Set It Off
Ahead of their sold-out show in TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht, The Netherlands, we sat down with the popular trio Set It Off again. This time around, we discussed the band’s most recent album Elsewhere, collaborations and what’s next for the band, as they have plenty to look forward to. Check out the conversation we had right below! Interested to find out what we discussed the last time we chatted with the band? Check out our Midnight interview right here.
First and foremost, how are you guys doing?
Cody: Doing well! Surprisingly great, since we’ve been touring the whole year. But this has been something that we’ve really been looking forward to, because of the obvious circumstances, how long it’s been trying to be planned for and now seeing it come to fruition. We knew what the ticket sales looked like, we saw the sold-out dates and we were just hoping people show up since it’s been so long, but they have been! It’s been looking phenomenal. Tonight is another sold-out show and it’s gonna be a blast! We’re just really fortunate and grateful to be doing this.
You have had a big upgrade venue-wise since we last spoke in 2019, right?
Cody: Yeah! The London show upgraded and it was the biggest headliner show that we ever played, even in the United States. It was like 2.000 people. It’s exciting! It’s good to know that since 2019 we didn’t stay the same, that’s good!
Obviously, the new album has something to do with that. Congratulations on the release! How have you experienced the reception so far?
Cody: Incredible! With every album there is this kind of fear or anxiety, hoping everyone likes it. This album proved that we never have to fear anything ever again. We tried some risks on it and everyone was receptive to every single track on there. I don’t think there is a song that everyone openly seems to not like and that’s satisfying! It also opens so many doors for us moving forward.
Speaking of being a little risky, we saw that there were 5 producers on the album. What’s the story behind that?
Cody: That is my favorite way to write! There are many different producers but they are all close friends. On our song ‘Midnight Thoughts’ we had two very different producers with different skill sets work together to see how each of their brains worked in different ways, and that was fun to do but this was not like that. This was more about who wants to write great songs and who do we work well with and as long as that’s your goal at the end of the day, you can’t fail.
Is that something that you are going to be doing on next records as well?
Cody: Yes, probably forever. It’s not really about which producer did which song and we don’t decide beforehand who is getting which song. We just started to write and we had a poule of 40 songs and now we know it’s gonna be an album we really like. Because if we narrow it down from 40, there’s quality and there’s quantity and we know it’s gonna be something we love. It’s become a problem, though, because now our albums are very long cause we don’t wanna cut anything!
You do want a theme to go through the album, is this something that you discuss with all the procedures or does it come naturally?
Cody: It depends. When I was working with Mike Green wanted to experiment more with orchestral elements which we’ve been known to do in the past. And this other guy, Nico Stadi, he scored a film for Amazon Prime and it was cool because usually I have my hands on that sight of things very firmly but seeing him work I was like ‘wow, you have a really cool brain’. So when I worked with Mike, it was more about the structure and the perfect melody. When I worked with my friend Bruce Wiegner, it would be more about how are we feeling today, what is the energy in the room like, what have you been listening to lately and what are things you want to replicate. We have never been like ‘we are going down this lane and we are going down this lane only. If I would have worked with one producer and have one track, I would get bored out of my mind. I don’t work well with lack of variety. It bothers me. I think that’s why Set It Off has always been the we we’ve been. Our sound can be so many different things in one album and now that’s more accepted. I know what we are still on Elsewhere, but we’re so excited about what we’ve been talking about doing, moving forward. It’s gonna be fun!
So what is next for you?
Cody: Essentially with the mass conception of media and how accessible everything is, everyone is getting all types of music thrown their way without them even knowing they want it. Like TikTok, there’s so many new genres, and everyone is liking it all. So that means that there is no rules at all, so we’re going to dive into things that we visited before or styles that we haven’t even dared try to go into yet, but it doesn’t matter. As long as the song is fun, they don’t care. There was a song that didn’t make the album last time, which we wrote with Grandson, and it was a little too heavy. I don’t think that’s going to be a thing moving forward. If they like the song, why not put it out? It’s just been a really interesting thing how much our mindset has changed in just a year.
Is the song with grandson ever going to see the light of day?
Cody: It’s tough. There are obviously moving parts behind the scenes. They wrote the song and for not putting it out officially, they probably wouldn’t want it to be out there for free. There’s a lot of legal logistics. So maybe we will revisit it for the next album or maybe we write another one that we think can beat that one. We always think that if something didn’t make the album, it means that we can write a better version or song. I really want to write with him again adn tell him what our plans are. We wrote that song in not even a day and we had good chemistry so it would be really fun to do.
You recently re-released a song with Hatsune Miku, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Maxx: One of the cool things about our fans is that they love such a wide variety of music. So we were trying to think of a cool crossover that fans would love that we can bring into the Set It Off world. Vocaloid music as a huge part of that. It took about a year from coming up with the idea into actually getting it done and making sure it was perfect and doing it the right way and now, it is our number one song on Spotify. It’s cool to see how we took the risk. Trying to explain it to people who had never heard that music before how we wanted a digital person that is not real on our song. But we did it and it paid dividends and fans love it and I think it reached a group of people who maybe had never heard of Set It Off before. It was fun to do and we’ve never seen anybody else do it.
Cody: It’s not a common thing in our scene and when we notice there is a group of people that enjoy our band and we haven’t given them what they want, we always try to make sure they are always being ‘fed’. When Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing came out, it started blowing up out of nowhere and our label was like “what’s going on with ‘Wolf’”? We told them we didn’t know, it’s just getting tons of plays. I searched it on YouTube and a ton of NightCore videos came up and the anime community really just latched onto it and really blew the song up. So we knew we needed to pay attention to them.
Maxx: They were making their own animated music videos and I think making your own thing with it is pretty cool.
Who would you like to collaborate with that you haven’t with yet?
Cody: I just recently answered this question so I’ll have to stick with my answer and that is Bruno Mars. He is the best writer alive today.
Zach: I think last time my answer was Paramore.
Cody: I can see that being your answer, that’s your favorite band.
Maxx: Maybe Bring Me The Horizon. I feel like that could be something fun, cause they’re another band that are just like “we’re gonna do whatever we want”. It’d be cool to delve into that.
Cody: Early 2000 Limp Bizkit. I’ve always loved Limp Bizkit and I guess I need to be a better fan and listen to the new album.
Last time you talked about European tours being more exhausting than US tours because it was a “drop and go” kind of tour.
Cody: Ah yes, we were probably in a van for that one. When you’re in a van, you drop your stuff off, you wait in the green room and you didn’t sleep well last night. Thankfully, this time we’re in a bus. I did have a bad sleep last night, but I feel great because I could sleep in til 3pm. It is just depending on your circumstances.
‘Midnight’ was very dark blue and now ‘Elsewhere’ is very colourful. Does the music come first or the aesthetic of the album?
Cody: Kind of at the same time.
Maxx: On my end, I was trying to figure out who I was and at the same time Set It Off was trying to figure out who they were. Taking all the good and the bad, everything about your life and kind of accepting that. This was during the pandemic so we were all by ourselves and I started hearing the songs Cody was writing and I thought “are we on the same page?”. We hadn’t talked to each other but it all kind of came together even though we were so all over the place and this album kind of reflects that, visually. There is skeletons in pink.
Cody: We hear all the time that people don’t know where to place us and we don’t know why we need to be this or that, why can’t we be whatever we want to be? Which I think is what being a person is. We wanted to lean into that. We are constantly fluctuating and experiencing everything all at once.
How did you decide who dyed their hair which colour?
Cody: Hahaha. I think Maxx was already leaning into green.
Maxx: We talked to Danin, who is the director of all of our music videos and she said that Cody would look really good in pink and then from there we started thinking, what would look good with those and yellow came to mind.
Zach: I never dyed my hair so I was kind of apprehensive at first, but then I downloaded one of those apps where you can change your hair color and I thought it looked pretty good!
Maxx: Now, when the three of us are walking down the street, people know we’re in a band!
Did the pandemic play a role in the creation of this record?
Cody: I don’t know if it altered the sonic choices. I did write one song, that didn’t make the album, about being stuck inside, wanting to get out and experience life again. Lonely Dance was actually before that, which is kind of funny. It did suck not being able to go on tour. That was the hardest part for us and that did a lot to the visual aspect of Elsewhere, because we were all forced to face a lot of personal things and that’s where Maxx got incredibly inspired by the world of Elsewhere. But as far as the songwriting process, that sucked at first because it was all online, on Zoom. We had to figure out how to make it work, because if I sing a melody to you, you know the beat that it’s on. But if there is a half second delay, it’s impossible. So you have to record a voice memo and send it over, or I have to snap on my end so you know where ‘one’ is. There were so many miscommunications. But we didn’t care and we were determined to figure it out and make it work. And we got around all the obstacles. On two or three songs, I recorded the vocals in my apartment in L.A., shout out to Telefunken, they sent us a really nice microphone, and our producer taught me how to set it up properly so it’d sound good enough to be one the album. And it made final vocals for the album! So we figured out a way to make it work. There are a lot of people who didn’t want to do that and I don’t blame that, because it wasn’t the same. But it kind of let to it being what it was.
The track with Scene Queen, ‘Barbie & Ken’, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Cody: Our producer, Zach Jones, I love working with him. Scene Queen was at a Halloween party and we hit it off. She told me she was a big Set It Off fan and even came to a VIP of ours. She was inspired by our band and I wanted to work with her. So she wanted to do a co-write. At the moment, there were photos appearing of the Barbie & Ken movie and I had pink hair, she was wearing all pink, so we were like “Let’s do a Barbie & Ken thing!”. She wanted to make it like Mr & Mrs. Smith. We had so much fun doing that style, so it is not out of the cards that we are doing something like that again.
Stream Elsewhere right below and catch Set It Off on the road next year!