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Set It Off is Looking to Set Off the Music Industry

Photo Credit: Equal Vision Records promotional photo.

U.J. Johnson, Editor

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Cody Carson went to college at Oberlin Observatory Music. Cody’s dad had cancer and, when Cody called him and said he wanted to pursue a career in full band music and wanted to be on the stage instead of in a full orchestra, his dad told him to pursue his dreams and that he could understand. Cody told his dad that he would finish the school year at his college. Then he said his dad told him something that will always stick with him for the rest of his life, “Cody, there are no shortcuts to success.”

A few weeks passed after this phone call, and Cody’s dad lost his battle with cancer. Cody immediately flew home to Tampa. Before the flight home, Cody called his high school friend, Dan Clermont to help him pursue his dream. Dan agreed. In 2008, the two high school marching band friends decided they wanted to pursue a career in music. When Cody got home, he saw a note on his fridge from his dad: “There are no shortcuts to success, love Dad.” His mom told him that the note was the one thing his dad wanted to do before going to the hospital before passing away.

After things settled down, vocalist Cody Carson and guitarist and keyboardist Dan Clermont asked other people from their old high school to join the band. They found guitarist Zack DeWall, bassist Austin Kerr, and drummer Benji Panic. The band played local shows and decided to head into the studio to record their first EP, “Baby, You Don’t Tripajaharda.” The pop punk sound of the band caught the eyes of many surrounding areas and the number of shows they played began to grow.

Since the reception of their first EP was so positive, they decided to go into the studio to record another. “Calm Before the Storm” still had the band’s signature pop punk sound, catchy hooks, and relatable lyrics. Benjamin Panic left the band and Set It Off had to find a new drummer. They took to their Facebook page and held auditions. They met Maxx Danzinger and announced he would be the new drummer. The band then decided to take try a different sound and said they wanted their own signature sound and didn’t want to be just another pop punk band.

So they ditched their old ways and decided to go with new kind of music they called “orchestral pop” where they still used their same instruments but incorporate the orchestral instruments they played in high school and some instruments they’ll learn to play while recording their EP “Horrible Kids” on August 30th, 2011. Many described this EP as a harder rock version of earlier Panic! At The Disco mixed with some All Time Low.

On the EP, Dan Clermont played trumpet and keyboard like he did in high school. Cody  Carson played clarinet, and new drummer Maxx Danzinger plays xylophone as well as other percussion instruments. After this EP, they caught the eye of record label Equal Vision Records and got signed. Then, Equal Vision wanted to remaster the “Horrible Kids” EP and rerelease it on January, 10th, 2012. In July, the band hinted that they’d be releasing a new album in the summer. A few weeks later, they announced their debut full length album would be released, September 18th, and be titled “Cinematics.”

The first track of “Cinematics,” “Thoughts That Breathe” is an instrumental track that really showcases the bands talents; it does an all around good job of showing off the orchestral side of this band. A lot of strings are used in this song, and it has a dark, driving, brief orchestral composition. Track number two, entitled “Nightmare,” is a very well crafted track which frontman Cody Carson says is a song written about his really bad anxiety he suffers from for as long as he can remember. All orchestral instruments are almost absent here as only a violin was used in the bridge of this song. The track combines heavy rifts with many breakdowns in between the chorus, verses, and bridges.

The next song, “Swan Song” is easily one of the best, if not the best song, SIO has ever put out. This song is meant for the people who have ever had someone just walk out of their life completely. The story behind what a swan song is is that it used to be said that a swan would remain completely quiet it’s whole life until it was about to die, when it would sing this elegant song, and it was kind of like the grand finale for the swan. Really catchy and relatable lyrics, great guitar hooks, and Carson’s captivating vocals, make this the best song on this album.

Track number four entitled “Plastic Promises” is a song written about becoming fed up with being handed empty promises. This is another song that has really good orchestral parts. Cody plays clarinet and Dan Clermont plays a really challenging trumpet part.

“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” is a song about something really simple – Carson’s insomnia. This is a song where there’s very limited orchestral instruments used, but instead there’s other things that make this not just another track on this album. There’s some cello in the second verse playing in the background, and, in the bridge, there’s some “ghost vocals” which is just the singer’s voice that’s altered to give it a little creepy sound.

The sixth track “No Control” is the song that most sounds like the bands first two releases “Baby, You Don’t Tripajaharda” and “Calm Before The Storm” in that this sounds like a pop punk track. The songs starts off with a slow piano track but quickly picks up into a full band song.

“Dream Catcher” is a song about a dream guitarist Dan Clermont had about the band selling out one of the biggest stages in the world and Dan says he realized this was his dream and that he’s currently chasing it. The song is an inspiring song that Dan says should make people want to chase there dreams and to not give up on them. It’s a really strong track that has many fans talking and seems to be a fan favorite.

The next song “Freak Show” is a song that Cody Carson says is about trying to find “the real you” and not trying to just follow the crowd and fit in. This is song where Carson really tries to show off just how good his vocals are.

The ninth song “Distance Disturbs Me” is another song I really enjoyed from this album. This is a song that has really catchy lyrics, and some clarinet in the background of the chorus.

The next track “Dad’s Song” is a song Carson wrote about one of the things that started this whole band; the loss of his father. In the video where Cody explains how he lost his father, it is really an emotional thing for him and it is obvious how much Cody’s father had a impact on Cody and his music.

The second to last song, “I’d Rather Drown,” is about how there’s that one annoying person. The song’s beginning starts with a lot of different instruments but it is perfectly planned so that one instrument doesn’t overpower the other.

The grand finale of this album is properly entitled “The Grand Finale” and really ends this album in a great way. It does a great job of summing up everything this album represents.

All in all, “Cinematics” is a really original and experimental album from the band Set It Off. The best part is that it’s pretty apparent that this band is giving their all on each and every song off this album. Their combination of their self-proclaimed “orchestral pop rock” sound and honest, heartfelt lyrics will keep the listeners attention from start to finish. Whether it’s clean, or unclean vocals, or the addition of one, or many orchestral instruments, this album will no doubt have you hooked.

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Set It Off is Looking to Set Off the Music Industry