The Van’s Warped Tour may be winding down with it’s final 2016 dates occurring this week, but the year is just kicking off for Tampa’s own Set It Off.
The band has spent their 2016 preparing for the release of their third studio album, Upside Down, which is set to be released by Equal Vision Records on October 7th. The album follows their previous LPs, Cinematics (2012) and Duality (2014), which charted on the Billboard 200. Impressive feats which led to them taking over the Journeys Left Foot MainStage this summer.
The four-piece pop-rock band has been praised over the years for their ability to turn a concert into a theatrical performance, applying an orchestral sound and monologue to music that is both dark and motivational. But Set It Off is hitting the refresh button on their sound with their newest singles “Life Afraid,” “Something New” and “Uncontainable,” emphasizing the pop aspect much more than the rock. The new life breathed into the band’s vibe suggests that it’s time for fans to have fun and forget the bad times through their music, which will balance out Set It Off’s older, much more grim tunes in their live set.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Set It Off’s two guitarists, Zach DeWall (who I’ve always thought looks A LOT like Tyler Szalkowski of State Champs) and Dan Clermont about Set It Off’s third year on the festival’s line-up, how they would change the music industry, and their Warped Tour cocktail of choice.
It’s going well, it’s been a very smooth tour. I think being on the tour last year and doing it back-to back makes it that much easier. We’re still excited to be here and all of our friends are here on tour, it’s crazy.
I mean, last year we really focused, coming back on a really serious level, playing a serious stage. We were trying to make a good impression while on Warped Tour. We were invited back this year to play the main stage so we’re a little more comfortable for these shows.
It’s incredible, it’s something we’ve always wanted as a band – to affect someone in a positive way. Maybe they have a different outlook on life and music than they had before because of our music. But, we always tell them to give themselves some credit too. They had to connect with us and then push themselves to get to that next level.
One thing I’ve always liked is it’s such a comfortable place to connect with your fans. Every band is expected to do a signing and meet all of their fans; for us it’s really awesome to do that, and we do it about 2 or 3 times a day. Sometimes we’ll do a signing at our own tent, take pictures at the Twix tent, or Dan and I will do a signing at the Ernie Ball tent. It’s been a really good time to connect with fans on a one-on-one basis, whereas in a club tour you might not have the freedom to do that.
Everyday’s a little bit different. We have a preritual we do, and it gets longer and longer every tour, now it’s over a minute long. It’s just a collection of inside jokes we’ve amassed over time and we’ve turned it into a bit of a ritual that we love doing. I can’t imagine doing a show without it.
I’m a big Jack Daniels fan, I get called Zach Daniels a lot, but I’ve been drinking a lot of vodka because that’s what’s available. Plus we get a lot of beer out here, but I’m not the biggest fan of beer. I’ve been drinking a lot of this high-punch Monster with a little bit of vodka in it.
It’s a great mix. But, here’s the thing: these days are so freaking hot so we can’t really drink throughout the day. We’ll have a few drinks here and there, but we don’t really get buckwild til the sun goes down.
Fans have been receiving it well. We actually had another new one come out a couple weeks ago called “Something New.” It’s the second single off our new album, Upside Down, which comes out October 7th. We’ve been selling it on our website, doing presales at the merch table. It’s setting us up for our new sound, ushering fans into our new era.
It’s such a personal tour. It’s always been known if you go to Warped Tour you’re gonna see your favorite band just walking around chillin’, and you can just go over and talk to them. I remember when I went, tickets were twenty bucks and I could see sixty bands. You don’t get to see em all, but you can make a little list of who you want to see. It’s way different that a club tour where you pay the same price to watch three or four bands.
I think it’s lasted so long because Kevin Lyman and his team do a great job of having headliners, your big shots, your old and new, and the best of the upcoming bands. We started out in 2013 on the smaller stage. And it’s cool to see the progression 3 years later.
Oh yeah, we have plans for a lot of touring, you’re gonna see a lot of us. We’re not the type of band who put out a record and sees what happens, we’re gonna be out there, trying to tour as much as possible to see all the kids.