I had the chance to talk to Set Your Goals members Matt Wilson (Vocals) and Dan Coddaire (Guitar) while they were direct support on Parkway Drive‘s Deep Blue North American Tour. We talk about their new record Burning At Both Ends (due out in Spring/Summer 2011), their current touring schedule which sees them on back to back Metalcore tours, Rob Schneider movies, and much more.
Mind Equals Blown: Later this year Set Your Goals will be releasing their third album, Burning At Both Ends. This time you decided to go into the studio with Brian McTernan, who has worked with bands in the past such as The Movielife, Snapcase, and Thrice. After releasing This Will Be The Death Of Us you guys came out and said Mike Green was “the 7th member of the band in the recording process on that record.” What was the decision to go with Brian as opposed to Mike again?
Matt: I don’t really remember the deciding factor. I think Epitaph had a hand in it. They wanted to see us work with Brian. We were really eager to try that because we all know the impressive roster of bands he has done in the past. There’s a lot of really good records he has been a part of.
It was cool to have someone with more of a hardcore background. His outlook, reflection on the songs, and overall vision of the record was way different than Mike Green’s. He’s not a pop dude at all. He is a hardcore dude. I feel like that definitely helped the album’s sound. It made it sound a lot more like us.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Mike Green was actually involved in this album’s recording process. What happened was we ran out of time with Brian McTernan in Baltimore. So we finished the record with Mike Green. We spent a couple weeks in L.A. finishing up guitar leads and vocal harmonies. In my mind it sorta gave it a more well-rounded sound. The core of the songs were done with Brian but we had a little bit of Mike’s influence, which was cool with us. We work really well with Mike Green.
Working with Brian isn’t as smooth as Mike Green, but it is definitely the kick in the butt we needed for our sound and bringing it back to our roots.
Talking more about the sound of the record, what can fans expect on Burning At Both Ends? With Brian’s hardcore background, are there more songs like “Gaia Bleeds,” more melodic songs like “Summer Jam” or seeing as you were talking about the “roots,” songs sounding more like “Mutiny?”
Dan: I think it’s a bit of all of what you mentioned. There is nothing that is as hardcore or heavy as “Gaia Bleeds” as a whole on the new record. However there are definitely heavier parts but they are also poppier songs. There is also a lot of melodic stuff.
In my opinion, it’s our most well-rounded record at this point. I think there is something that everyone who has been into our first two records will dig. The fans that like anything from our first two records will find plenty to be into on this new one.
Near the end of the album cycle for Mutiny! there was a bit of turmoil within the band. This Will Be The Death Of Us was a bit of a different tour cycle for you guys, touring with bands people would consider unusual such as Mayday Parade. Before you went into the studio on this one, what was the overall feeling from the band? In my mind, I got the vibe that Set Your Goals were more motivated and ready to take things to the next step.
Matt: Definitely. Towards the end of the Mutiny! record cycle and before we went into recording This Will Be The Death Of Us, even in the studio, there was a lot of uncertainty with our future and our label situation. It was a very dark time for us. It was the worst year of our band’s career just leading up to recording with all the label stuff.
We had our heads in the right place this time around. I think we were a lot more focused with what we wanted to do with the record.
Dan: There is still tons of turmoil here and there though (laughs)! There is no easy sailing when it comes to Set Your Goals.
I think that’s become our motivating factor. A bit of uncertainty can definitely make us go further. I think whenever things get comfortable with us we can expect things to go bad and flip around on us. I think we kinda need that at some point now. It will never be easy.
Matt: At this point, we all know where we are at and what we want to do with the band way better than we did at the end of the Mutiny! touring cycle.
From a lyrical standpoint on Burning At Both Bridges, is there a consistent theme throughout?
Matt: There is no theme in the sense of something such as Mutiny! being a theme. There are some darker lyrics on the record, but overall it’s more upbeat than This Will Be The Death Of Us.
While in the studio, I heard you guys were on a huge Rob Schneider movie kick. I gotta ask, favourite Rob Schneider flick?
Matt: The Hot Chick is a real good one. I really enjoyed that one.
Dan: Hard to say…but apparently he is going to be in Baltimore when we play there sometime next week! Rob Schneider, if you are reading this before then, you need to hit us up and maybe introduce us on stage! Or hang out and grace us with your presence because that would be a good time.
Matt: We found out he’s going to be at our friend’s school the same day. It’s destiny (laughs)! We were in the studio in Baltimore watching all his movies, now we have come back to Baltimore and he’s here the same day we are! We gotta get him to come out to the show.
There are clearly no boundaries when it comes to bands that Set Your Goals will tour with. You went out with Parkway Drive and co. right now before heading on a Canadian Tour with August Burns Red, Born Of Osiris, and Texas In July, two lineups that would be considered “outside of the typical touring box” for the band. Are these just tour opportunities coming up or have you been wanting to branch out and tour with heavier bands?
Matt: We have gotten a lot of offers on tours that are all over the place. This current tour with Parkway, The Ghost Inside, and The Warriors was very appealing because we have a ton of friends on the tour. August Burns Red was kind of on the same page as that. “Hey, let’s try some heavier tours and see how it goes!”
We haven’t done a Canadian tour in a long time. The first and only Canadian tour we did was with Daggermouth and No Trigger. I think that was 3 or 4 years ago so we are very excited to play some places we normally don’t get to play.
Dan, you run a blog called Roadnoms (http://roadnoms.com) where you post all about things you eat on the road. I suggested a place today close to Opera House called Dangerous Dan’s (http://dangerousdansdiner.com) which has some amazing burgers. What did you think? As well, has there been anything new that has satisfied the appetite on this tour?
Dan: Dangerous Dan’s was pretty good. I had the Kevorkian Burger. A lot of deep fried veggies on a pretty decent-sized burger patty. My stomach is feeling it a bit but it isn’t too bad.
Other stops on the tour…the other night we were in Chicago and went to Kuma’s Corner (http://kumascorner.com). That was my first time going there and it was great. It’s basically a burger joint with a bunch of burgers named after metal bands. Some metal bands which I’m pretty into. I had the Absu Burger. It had deep fried chili, cheese, and avacado tomatillo spread. It was good.
I’m up for any suggestions! If anyone out there has any give me a shout! (Hit him up on twitter!: @danthejew).
Matt, you also started posting once again on your blog while out on this tour. Where can people check that out?
Matt: Yeah I dusted that thing off! I update far less frequently than Dan, but it’s http://mattwilsonrules.blogspot.com.
What are the band’s touring plans after Warped Tour?
Matt: Can’t announce anything yet, but it is a sweet Fall pop punk tour. We are stoked for it!
Your friends in Four Year Strong are in the studio right now recording a new record. The Wonder Years, This Time Next Year, Title Fight and a ton of other pop punk bands have albums due out this year. The Pop Punk Universe wants to know: Any chance of a Giglife 2 tour this fall?
Dan: I don’t know. We’ll have to see. To be honest I kind of think they (Four Year Strong) have transcended beyond us. It’d be kind of odd. They are still our boys and we love them. Anything could happen.
Lastly, something I always do with the bands I interview is get them to pick a song from their catalogue, then any song they want the readers/listeners to check out. Go for it!
Set Your Goals Pick – “Start The Reactor”
Dan Coddaire’s Song Pick: Oh man… this is tough. Gotta go with:
E. Town Concrete -“Time 2 Shine”
Matt Wilson’s Song Pick: I’ve been on a Crowbar kick lately.
Crowbar – “To Build A Mountain”