Infectious Magazine’s Sami Marshall sat down with Florida’s own Set If Off when this year’s Vans Warped Tour made a stop in Orlando. The group chatted about facing their fears, the time they played Warped without actually being on the roster, and their celebratory traditions.
Check out the full interview after the jump!
Set It Off are playing all summer long on the Journey’s Left Foot Stage. To see them live, you can buy concert tickets here.
IM: How are you guys and how has Warped Tour been so far?
Maxx Danziger: Surprisingly, it’s actually kind of hot.
Cody Carson: Every one told us it was going to be snowing and it hasn’t snowed once. I’m a little disappointed.
IM: This is your third time playing Warped Tour…
Dan Clermont: Our third full time playing, yes.
MD: We’ve played four times though.
CC: The other time, we weren’t supposed to be here.
IM: Oh yeah! Didn’t you guys like sneak in or something?
CC: There was a stage that snuck in!
DC: A full stage, every day!
CC: Not even kidding. It was called the Dzambo Stage. They set up last every day and gave us our set time 10 minutes before we went on. We didn’t get catering, we didn’t get water. It was crazy. But we were on Warped Tour, so we didn’t care. We were on it for two weeks. [Warped] found out they were charging other bands to be on their stage, which you can’t do. And they got shut down real fast.
MD: But it still counts!
IM: Since you guys are basically vets now, what is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from travelling with this type of tour?
MD: Stay hydrated.
CC: Don’t overstress because it does seem like a really stressful tour. Also, if you can hire a crew, it makes your life a lot easier. It’s a hard tour.
DC: And you should seize opportunities to talk to your fans.
Zach DeWall: And if you’re a smaller band, just sell the line. That’s how you’re going to make a lot of your fans too.
IM: Now that Warped is in its 22nd year, and we’ve seen a lot of changes and now it seems to be cycling back to the early 2000s with some of the lineup. I’m sure you guys have seen some of those changes as well in the few years that you’ve been on. What do you think will be the next trend to hit the tour?
CC: I don’t know. I think…
MD: Studded belts.
CC: Studded belts are going to come back. Wallet chains will be the next trend. (laughs) Ooh, you mean with Warped Tour!
IM: (laughs) Yeah, music wise…
CC: I think what’s kind of neat is it’s become a more condensed festival and I like that. It’s already hard enough to see all the bands you want to see. So this way it allows you to focus more on catching as many bands as humanly possible, without the whole headache of everything. And without having like a thousand stages. Not that that would be possible. (laughs)That would be crazy! Every year, I think it becomes more and more organized, and easier, not only for the bands but for those who come to Warped. I feel like they’ll continue that trend.
DC: I feel like this year they went back to the basics. There’s a lot of younger bands that will be on Warped Tour six years later, like Waterparks and ROAM, so it’s nice to see those pop punk or pop rock, or whatever idiom bands, kind of starting out. That’s definitely the next generation.
MD: I want to see the trend of more fan to band interaction. More meet and greets, more signings. TEI – the lessons and workshops, stuff like that.
IM: Now speaking of the TEI workshops, you two [Maxx and Cody] are doing them. How are those going so far?
CC: Awesome. It’s really cool. You get to really interact with [the fans] on a very personal level. And I know when we were growing up, we wished someone that was in a band we watched would teach how they do what they do. And I think it’s really easy to forget how cool it is for them, because we just think of ourselves as regular people. But then you see them freak out, you’re like, “This is what I would have been like!” I would be really pumped about it.
MD: Yeah, like you said, because of music, we changed our entire life path. To give that gift to someone else, to show them why we love what we do and the passion behind it, is really cool. It’s one of our favorite parts of the day.
IM: [to Dan and Zach] If you two were to teach a workshop, what would it be about?
ZD: Ha! I really wanted to make a terrible joke. (laughs) If I were to teach a class, other than the standard guitar, I guess it would be a class on Harry Potter.
CC: He knows a lot!
MD: He’s very proficient in Potter knowledge.
CC: Professor of Proficiency in Potter Knowledge.
DC: I’ve done it for the past couple of years. I did guitar technique and songwriting. But it’s our first year being one of those toppish bands on the tour and really wanted to focus and enjoy those moments and not be bogged down with a crazy schedule all day. These two are troopers for doing it.
CC: That is the thing though, Warped Tour days are so full. It’s all about personal preference. But it’s fun either way.
IM: If you could take any of the classes being taught this year, which would you want to take?
MD: I was just talking to Ashley Osborn and her class, from what I’ve gathered, is about life as a touring photographer.
CC: Yeah, I know nothing about photography, so I would absolutely take that one.
DC: If you watch her during the show, there’s chaos going around her, and she’s just so calm.
IM: You just announced a new album, which I am stoked about!
CC: Thank you!
IM: It’s been almost two years since Duality.
CC: It’s crazy! The time flew by!
IM: It did! And Duality was more of a self-reflection album. So what was your approach to this album?
CC: We always try to write about what we’re going through. We’ve gone through some changes. I’m in a relationship now, but there’s also a lot of things we’ve gone through in the past year that have been really life-changing. I never plan a concept or a concept record. We tried it once and realized we were forcing it. You don’t want that. You just write what you’re feeling and I think being genuine is what everyone wants. They want to connect to you. They want to see you as a person. So this is just a collection of life events, basically, and how we dealt with those things. I think that’s why our fanbase connects to us so much. It’s just real. Lyrically, it’s about that. There’s a lot of anarchy, a lot of sad, a lot angry. It’s all over the place. This is, in my opinion, a way more mature Duality.
IM: You’ve been performing two of the new songs [from the album] this summer. How has the crowd been reacting to those songs?
CC: Awesome so far! “Uncontainable,” they’ve had some time to learn it. They’re doing the “Heys!” really loud. We’re teaching them parts of “Something New” now as well, because it’s new… Ha ha, something new. They’re really taking to it.
IM: I want to congratulate you guys on playing mainstage this year. It’s really awesome!
ZD: Started from the bottom!
IM: (laughs) You guys have a pretty large selection of music to choose from now. How do you create your setlist for that type of stage?
MD: We were just talking about this! This is the first time I think we’ve ever been like, “We have too many songs to pick.” You don’t realize when at first, but we really have a full discography now. We literally had to go on Twitter and do polls.
CC: I like that approach because it puts the decision in their hands.
IM: I love the video for “Something New.” It’s so good!
CC: We actually shot a lot of it here in Orlando.
IM: Oh really?! And really recently too, right?
CC: Yeah, right before the tour started.
IM: Wow. And I love that you guys are doing things, like facing fears and bucket list items, together. How does that togetherness and comradery help you guys as band and personally?
CC: I think being in a band and being in close quarters, you just grow this bond that you can’t destroy. We’re brothers in a sense. We love hanging out. As you can see, we’re calm now, but we were just inside these lockers screaming and being told be quiet. We have a lot of fun together, and we don’t really get to show that [in videos.] Every video has a storyline and we get to be a character. We never get to just be us and show people who we are. We know how we are when we get together. We wanted to show that. There’s no script there. I like that everyone was there to support each other’s fears. And Maxx, he’s a huge wrestling fan, so we got to be his entourage while he wrestled. I think videos like that, the lifestyle videos, are something that people can really get behind.
IM: It really showed you guys and who you are as people. It wasn’t Set It Off playing other people. And I think that’s what people want to see as opposed to an act.
ZD: We used to do those “We Will Set You Off” videos and those were like a get to know us thing. This video is a way more professional version of that.
IM: Definitely! And I loved that you guys included the whole Slingshot clip at the end. [To Dan] Your reactions were so good! [To Cody] You looked a little scared too, though.
CC: It’s just the adrenaline. I had ridden it before, but when I brought it up to Dan, he was not happy. (laughs).
DC: It was cool though.
CC: He wasn’t mad, he was just like, “Aww, screw you, dude!” But I love that we could end it like that. You know when you watch a Marvel movie, there’s that little Easter egg at the end? To me, it was like that.
IM: [to Maxx] Now are you not afraid of anything? The other three faced fears.
MD: Am I not afraid of anything? No, I’ve never been scared in my life. (laughs) Let’s see, what’s a fear? I don’t know.
CC: I’ve never asked you this!
MD: I don’t like…
ZD: His wrists being touched.
MD: Yeah, my wrists being touched. But that wouldn’t have worked for the video
CC: We could have just tied you to a chair and had people come in.
MD: I didn’t realize this – on planes, I’m fine – but I have a little bit of a fear of heights. We went with a couple of our friends in this band called Seven Minutes In Heaven, and we all went cliff diving. Which was amazing. We had to climb this giant dam like 100 feet up, with a really shotty ladder that looked like it was going to break the entire time. That’s how I found out I have a little fear of heights.
ZD: What’s weird was Maxx and I were terrified of the Slingshot.
IM: You guys wouldn’t go on it?
ZD: No,no, no!
IM: I don’t blame you!
CC: Well Dan has a known fear of heights, so we were going to conquer that!
IM: [to Zach] Now you didn’t seem to shaken by the spiders. I would have been having a panic attack.
ZD: What you don’t see in the video is the instructor telling me that if I panic at all, the spider is going to bite me a thousand times.
CC: Like if it gets stressed. Like if it has a lot of homework or has to go into work tomorrow. (laughs)
MD: With the snakes, we basically came in and said, “Hey, Cody is terrified of snakes, can you help him figure it out?” And she started out small and worked her way up until you saw that giant one.
CC: And it lunged at me! After that I had to stay perfectly still and it gave me a little back massage.
IM: So are you all good with your fears now?
CC: Yeah… well, I mean we’re not “good!”
DC: I’m not getting back on the Slingshot!
ZD: I’m not letting a spider crawl on me.
CC: If I see a snake in the wild, I’m running.
IM: The APMAS are just around the corner and you guys are nominated for Breakthrough Band, and you [to Maxx] are nominated for Best Drummer, congratulations! How are you guys feeling about the nominations?
CC: We’re very excited. We’re stoked for Maxx getting recognized for his drumming.
MD: I’m really excited to be on that list.
ZD: (laughs) I thought you were going to say, “I’m a really good drummer!” We’re going there, alright!
MD: But there’s a lot of incredible drummers, so it’s on honor to be a part of it.
CC: It’s the same with the Breakthrough Band category, there’s a lot of great bands on that list. We’re just excited to be recognized in general by a magazine we grew up reading.
IM: What are you guys going to do if you win? Any celebrations planned?
DC: We’ll listen to “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown.
CC: That’s our thing. If something exciting happens, we listen to that song and just freak out.
ZD: If we win, that should play when we go up on stage.
CC: If we get to pick the music, yeah!
ZD: In it’s entirety. And we’ll just stand there and wait till it’s over and then we’ll speak.
IM: Are you guys performing or presenting that night?
CC: Not this year. We’re just coming to hang.
IM: Is there anyone you’re excited to see?
CC: Babymetal. I wanna see Babymetal. They’re fun!
IM: I remember when they first started out and they were just young kids. People went nuts over them.
CC: They’re still young kids. When they were babies. Literal babies. (laughs)
IM: When you guys aren’t performing this summer, whose set can we find you at?
ZD: Sum 41.
CC: I haven’t really had the chance to roam around just yet – aha, I could see ROAM. I got to see Mayday Parade. They’re always amazing to watch live. I grew up a New Found Glory fan, and I have yet to see them.
MD: State Champs for sure! They have those wacky waving inflatable tube men and sometimes they attack them while they are playing. So keep an eye out for that!
IM: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with your fans and the readers?
ZD: October 7th.
CC: [to Zach] Thank you! Our new album Upside Down is coming out October 7th. You can preorder now on our website and you can watch that video we were talking about there.
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