Set It Off - An Interview with Maxx Danziger & Zach DeWall

Photo Credit: Jonathan Weiner Set It Off are continuing to solidify themselves as a pop punk band that are on a one stop path way of growth and experience, the jetpack that was set onto the band a few years ago doesn't seem to be running out of fuel yet, or even close to. We caught up with Zach and Maxx at Slam Dunk and had some questions for them. Jess: How are you both doing today?

Zach: Great.

Maxx: We just got here, so far so good!

J: So this is your second time playing slam dunk, how’s it feel?

Z: We opened main stage two years ago, so now it’s exciting to be back were on a different stage. We get to see a lot of our friends. We’ve just been standing in this restroom for a couple of minutes and literally, I’m not even kidding, few minutes there’s another group of people that were really good friends with just coming right on in.

J: You guys just released a new album not that long ago Upside Down...

M: Yeah we did! We’ve not long release the music video for ‘Hypnotised’ as well which you can check out on our website,

Z: Yeah it’s been released. It’s more of an aggressive song but I feel like our fans really appreciate when we can be honest with them through our lyrics. I think it’s going down very well and we’re excited to play it tonight.

J: Can you tell me a little bit more about the recording process? As you’ve changed your sound a little bit over the years.

Z: Of course, I think with every record we want to go in and we want to evolve as a band, but we also don’t want to try and write in a box. We try and write the music that is true to us.

M: Yeah, we’re really proud of the material we wrote in the earlier years of our band. I feel like with these last couple of records we’ve really found ourselves though. We’re just trying to be as genuine as we possibly could and I think that is portrayed through the music. People can hear that, I think it is important.

J: Who are you most excited to see play today? Any newbies that we should check out?

M: Really good question, there’s a bunch of them. Unfortunately we won’t be able to see Don Broco... We were really excited to see them but we’re playing at the same time as them. Tonight alive is going to be great, hopefully we’re going to be able to see them.

Z: I know Beartooth are here, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to see them or not but hopefully we’re able to.

M: We’ve just got off a Simple Plan tour in The States and our friends in Seaway were on that tour with us, so I’m excited to see them. Waterparks are going to be great, there are just too many bands to name!

Z: I think we got pretty lucky with our stage too, the best bands are on our stage!

J: You’re also just about to play a London show alongside With confidence, you guys looking forward to it?

M: Yeah it’s been about a week of playing shows leading up to this show with With Confidence, Too Close To Touch and Homebound , it’s been amazing. We’re fans of With Confidence’s music, we listen to their records and all that, so it’s nice to hangout with them. Nice people, good music, good tunes and we love playing London.

Z: Yeah, we’re very excited.

J: Do you guys have any rituals before going on stage?

Z: Actually we do, yeah. We have a pre show ritual that we’ve done for years and it started out very simple. It was just the Kamehameha Wave, which is from a popular anime show Dragon Ball Z, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it or not but I love it. We’re all big fans of it. So we would do a Kamehameha Wave before we start but over the years we’ve just added more and more to it and now it’s actually pretty lengthy, it takes a minute to get through.

M: There’s a little dance sequence it’s this whole thing.

Z: You think we’re joking but we’re not.

M: It’s very loud as well if you go check out the set and are close enough to the stage you’ll probably hear us screaming at the top of our lungs and that’s part of the ritual.

J: What other plans do you have once you finish this UK leg?

M: So we head home for a little bit then we go out on a Stateside tour with One Ok Rock. It’s going to be amazing, we’re very excited about it and then right after that going straight into another little run with Simple Plan, and then the tentative game plan is to start writing for another record.

J: Do you have a favourite song that you’ve worked on from the new album?

Z: I’m really liking ‘Hypnotised’. It wasn’t my favourite initially when we first threw out the record but it’s grown to be my favourite. I think it shows a lot of our true selves, like I said earlier just gives the fans another insight into our band and what we’re doing and what we’re about.

J: How about a favourite music video you’ve made, they’re pretty cinematic.

M: I had a lot of fun doing Life Afraid, it was shot in what was supposed to be a retirement home with all these elderly people and they had more energy than we did, I had a hard time keeping up with them! Everyone was in a really good mood, good energy and it was a lot of fun to shoot.

J: I can’t talk to you about your new album without asking, what influenced it?

Z: I think a lot of different things and different parts of life, I feel like Cody and Dan do a lot of the writing and I feel like one of their head space on this record was they really wanted to hone in on the sound that we started with. With ‘Duality’ making a final polished product in Upside Down and I feel like they’ve done a really good job with that. I feel like one thing that we wanted to do was show that we’re not just a band that’s going to write a song about how a guy got his heart broken by a girl. We can write other songs that have other meanings like ‘Hypnotised’, I know we’ve talked about it a hundred times, ‘Life Afraid’ even it’s about not being afraid it was actually written about the Bataclan attack in Paris as while they were writing that in the studio the attack happened. We had actually played that venue not too long ago so that song is basically saying stand up, don’t be afraid and don’t let them win.

J: As musicians how do you feel about the state of the world politically as we’ve just had the Manchester attacks and the security today has been tightened.

M: The only thing I can really say about that is as a musician, growing up we always looked to music as an escape, as a safe place, and I think that’s still true. I know that obviously the attack happened after the show but again, I don’t think we should let them scare us into not using music as your time to enjoy yourself, have fun and feel safe and I think that’s really important.

Photo Credit: Unknown