Set It Off is an alternative rock band originally formed in Tampa, Florida in 2008. The now Los Angeles-based group consists of members Cody Carson, Zach DeWall, and Maxx Danziger and has amassed nearly three million monthly listeners on Spotify. The Brunswickan sat down with lead singer Cody Carson to discuss music and their new album Elsewhere.
Set It Off has been described as pop-punk but Carson explains the band’s sound is hard to pin down. “We’ve evolved so much over the years. When I was first starting off I was heavily inspired by the bands I was listening to at that time, which was like Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory, All Time Low. So we had a very similar style to that,” he explained. “When you’re starting off writing, you don’t really know how to get your own legs and start running. So it started with that and then we were on this journey to find our own sound…. It’s been a constant journey to find the style, so I guess we’re just alternative.” Carson mentioned artists such as My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco, Destiny’s Child, and Brittany Spears as being inspirations to Set It Off’s evolving process.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carson and the band used the lockdown to their advantage and crafted a new album. Carson reflected on his thought process after the band’s upcoming tours had been cancelled in 2020: “I’ll get to work and start writing…. We can take our time and by the time this thing fizzles out we can go back out on tour again, and luckily that’s kind of how it worked out.” With plenty of time during the pandemic to work and create, Set It Off put together their new album Elsewhere.
Elsewhere is an electric album featuring groovy tracks such as “Skeleton” and “Cut Off,” making it a fantastic album to dance around your kitchen to.
Before the album’s release on March 11, 2022, Set It Off completed their first tour since the pandemic began two years ago. Carson tells a story of the first time he played in front of people again: “There’s nowhere I feel more at home than playing songs for other people. I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid. So I start playing this song and I realise I can’t look at any of them. I’m like looking down at the ground.”
Carson was playing “You Are Loved” – a song about a fan who the band had cared for deeply who had committed suicide. Carson elaborates: “I wrote that song for anybody going through those dark thoughts and I think a lot of our fanbase has connected heavily to that song…. I play that song and I look up and I see people smiling and I see them getting into it and feeling emotional and I become overwhelmed. I barely made it through the song.”
Carson spoke passionately about his love for Set It Off’s fanbase. “I know everyone says it’s a family, but it really does feel like a family,” he told me. “What I’m really proud of is we all respond to positive anecdotes and [ignore the] negatives… and the negative people leave so now we’re just left with this hodgepodge amazing group of positive, funny, kind people who are supportive… we’re very blessed to have them.”
I asked Carson why he thought his band attracted such a group of people. “I think our songs help people get through a lot of their tough times,” he offered. “Because I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I’m extremely vulnerable in our songs. I bear it all…. I think by being willing to emote everything that I’ve been going through in such an intense way, it’s allowed other people to latch onto it and apply it to their personal lives. And because of that we relate to each other, and because we relate to each other we realise we’re the same and I think that’s where the connection strives from.”
Set It Off’s music and the energy the group creates makes this band a delight to listen to and engage with. The band begins touring in the US in April and hopes to come to Canada in the near future.
For tour dates visit setitoffband.com and stream Elsewhere on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you listen to music. Set It Off will be touring with the talents of No Love for the Middle Child, Oxymorons, Sherry Amour, and shallow pools.