Set It Off: The Pop Rock Storm Has Arrived

Photo Credit: Natalie Bisignano

Recently signed to Equal Vision Records, the hard working members of Set It Off has unleashed Horrible Kids onto the nation at large.  An earlier self-released EP was entitled Calm Before The Storm, and judging by what’s heard on Horrible Kids, the Storm has arrived in a grand and glorious way!  Winding down for a headlining tour with City Lights in support, expect to see a whole lot more of Set It Off on the road in the New Year.  In the meantime, we caught up with one of the members to find out a bit more on this dynamic collective.

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Set It Off, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Austin Kerr, I play bass in Set It Off. The band has been together since July of 2008.

Where is your band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Any local bands you could recommend?
We’re based out of Tampa, Florida. The music scene is kinda slow but picking up as of recently. For two years or so the scene in Tampa was completely dead. At a lot of our shows, we had fans of ours just playing mainly cover songs on an acoustic guitar for openers, which was pretty cool though. And the recent crop of local bands have been great! A View From The East Coast, Select Start, A Play On Words.

How did you wind up being signed to Equal Vision Records?
Honestly, we just submitted through their website. I think we were all surprised that it actually worked, but apparently record labels (EVR at least) actually listen to all submissions.

Horrible Kids has such a tremendous, full on sound. How do you think it compares overall to your previous releases?
We like to think it’s a step up haha I appreciate the complement! As a band, we all put a lot more into Horrible Kids, where as a lot of our previous releases were more based on solo contributions. I think that John Harrell and Brandon Ham also had a lot to do with it. We all just really dove into the songs as a group and we couldn’t be more stoked on the outcome.

Is there any story or concept behind the title Horrible Kids?
Yes. A lot of our previously released songs were made to sound upbeat and were primarily about relationships. For Horrible Kids we tried to express a wider array of emotions and subjects, with the main concept being that there’s a lot of stuff we all deal with in life. We wanted to put out an album that one could listen to in all of those instances, and feel like you’re not so alone and help you to get through it.

Please select any two Set It Off songs and what inspired the lyrics?
I’m honestly more of an editor of lyrics than a writer. Generally Cody (our singer) will write up the lyrics and then bring them to me and we’ll go through the lines together to figure out the best way to say each line. I think the two songs I felt the deepest connection with would have been “@reply” and “Missing You“.

@reply” was written out of…I guess you’d call it annoyance or maybe frustration. We wrote the song to break out of the norms and show people our capabilities as songwriters and musicians. “Missing You” is a ballad about missing your girl on the road and making it through all of the problems that this touring lifestyle posses. I’ve been in a relationship for three years, so I felt very strong about the subject matter.

Where did the bonus track “Chase It” come from and is it a newer song?
It was recorded at the same time as the majority of the other tracks on Horrible Kids. We actually began talking to EVR the first day of being in the studio so we decided to hold the track back from the original release, in case we decided to re-release the EP through EVR, which we did end up doing.

What could one expect from a live Set It Off show?
A lot of energy! We like to try to put everything we have into our performances. We love nothing more than when someone in the crowd really gets into it and uses the show to feel better about themselves. It means a lot to us.

Any strange or unusual touring stories you could share?
Well, there was the time that Dan rode the Rhino….

Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We love LA and plan to come back as soon as possible!

With Horrible Kids basically being a re-release, how close are you to writing and recording all new material?
We’re always writing new songs and we hope to record in early 2012!

Would you (or have you) ever let a kid up onstage to sing with you on one of your songs?
Yea, a few times! Before the band started, All Time Low let Cody sing on stage with them, so when someone asks us to, we always try to let them.

Any final words of wisdom?
Stay positive, follow your dreams and continue to progress. It’s never as bad as it seems. High School is temporary. And all you need to do to make everything you ever wanted come true, is work harder at it than anyone else.

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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