Every day that you wake up, you have a choice. A choice of who you are, how you present yourself, and how you want to be remembered. And in the face of those daily choices – and ahead of the release of Upside Down – Set It Off has simply chosen to be more. More ambitious. More unified. More confident. More open-minded. More collaborative. And above all, more authentic.
“We’ve gotten stronger. We really have. As a whole. As a unit. We feel more together. When you go through struggle and you make it through, your bond strengthens. That’s what Upside Down is about. That’s the theme of this album. Going through struggle, and instead of taking it as defeat or a sign to give up – turning it into a positive and moving forward,” declares Set It Off frontman Cody Carson. “We go through a lot every year, we’re in the music industry, that’s gonna happen. So we decided to band together, and just push forward.”
The Tampa, FL-based band released Upside Down, their third full-length, on October 7 via Equal Vision Records. The album was recorded in Los Angeles, CA with producers Brandon Paddock (Panic! At The Disco, Avril Lavigne, Pentatonix), Erik Ron (Saosin, Panic! At The Disco) and Mike Green (5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low, Cassadee Pope). The release was noted as one of the “Most Anticipated Albums of 2016” by Alternative Press Magazine and follows the band’s sophomore album, Duality, which debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard Independent Chart, No. 81 on the Billboard Top Current Chart, and No. 86 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart; And the band’s debut full-length, Cinematics, that was released in September 2012, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard South Atlantic Heatseekers Regional Chart, No. 4 on Billboard Heatseekers Chart, No. 9 on Billboard Next Big Sound Chart, No. 38 Independent Chart, and even broke into the Billboard Top 200 chart at No. 174. Set It Off formed in 2008 and is comprised of Cody Carson (vocals), Dan Clermont (guitar), Zach DeWall (guitar), and Maxx Danziger (drums).
Upside Down sonically takes a brighter sound than previous releases and offers the band’s most pop-driven anthems to date. Bold electronic elements guide loud, driving rock instrumentations with guitar riffs as catchy as the choruses and an overall feel-good, dance-worthy vibe throughout. On Upside Down, Set It Off commands attention and brings authenticity back to pop music in a bold and unapologetic way.
“I felt like a change was needed for Upside Down, so we decided to go back to our roots. Instead of focusing on what we think everyone else should hear from us or how they should perceive us, we went back to the roots of writing songs for the sake of wanting to write a good song. Opening our minds up to doing more co-writes and to collaborating more and just doing whatever it takes to chase that perfect song,” he shares. “And I feel like once we got out of our darker, more theatrical Cinematics era, writing became easier because we weren’t inside of a box. So with Duality, the first time we started making the transition [to our roots], we started to open our minds to what Set It Off could become if we just didn’t put any boundaries on ourselves and just wrote whatever came out of our minds and our hearts at that moment.”
“Writing Duality really showed me that a vibe is everything in writing. If I’m excited and I’m getting into it, then I’m going to write better melodies. If I’m feeling confident, I’m going to write better melodies and have better ideas. I’ve always heard that songwriting and producing is 99% confidence – and it’s so true. Brandon [Paddock] brought out a writing side of us and a confidence that we’ve never had. And I immediately became a better writer from that,” notes Carson. “Duality was our learning process of getting better and Upside Down is us – our system is on point now.”
Discussing the band’s hardships with people they’ve worked with, how they’ve coped with current events going on in the world, and reflecting on past personal relationships of past and present, Upside Down covers a wide spectrum lyrically – creating a dynamic and distinctly human experience. “I feel like it’s important to be honest, to be yourself. To me, I like how genuine the album is, I love the guys in my band because of the people they are and how real they are, and how real we are with everyone else. That’s what I like with our connection with our fanbase too. And that’s what I want people to take away from all of this…people just seeing us as people. That realness is what is most important to me.”