Wednesday, January 2, 2013

SET YOUR GOALS interview

by marcs77

Oh Summer time! How many of you guys are missing it? I don't think this is much of a concern for the Cali kids and to those who live in some all-year-warm countries around the globe. Why thinking to Summer on January the 2nd -and even worse, why, when I happen I've nothing against our European winter time?
Well, the interview you're gonna read here below took place on 26th July 2012 after the show SET YOUR GOALS played at 4th edition of Into The Pit festival

-last year bill featured the reunited Verse, Deez Nuts, Ritual and Strength Approach to name a few.
After a sweaty and damn-well received gig Set Your Goals singer Matt Wilson sat down with me outside the Idroscalo park to reply a bunch of questions including his view on hardcore, growing up, the new album, their studio time with Brian McTernan and more.

Matt has been really kind and chatty showing that he and his bandmates are still down to earth grown up hardcore kids that really love to connect to the crowds refusing any barriers which may rise when bands start getting recognition on a greater scale like SYG did.
And to quote their words “I don't do this to fit in or feel cool, I do this because it's what I love, I always want to feel this young!” -off “Start A Reactor” track included in “Burning At Both Ends”.

gan: First off, what are your thoughts on tonight show?

We had a really great time. We weren't sure of what to expect, it was all hardcore bands and we're kind of a little more like happy and melodic music so...we weren't sure how the crowd would receive us as well but it was really good a really positive surprise.

gan: Are you guys happy of the kids who stuck with you for the encores instead of moving to the other stage where Verse had already started their show?

Yeah, we were stocked man!

gan: And what about the tour/shows you're playing this summer?

This tour has been all festivals, so it's not like a real tour. We're not here with another band or anything, we're doing festivals mostly and a few off shows here and there but it's been a lot of fun we've played some very big festivals and some very small ones. I mean one night we played in Poland for the first time in five years and there were less than one hundred people there and the next day we played a huge festival in Poland before like ten thousand people. It's just such a different world. But we had fun both shows you know. A different kind of fun.

gan: What kind of show setting you like the most?Festivals or small venues?

I like festivals because I like seeing so many people jumping up and down at the same time, you know, it feels awesome but I don't like to disconnect from the crowd. I like to interact to the crowd. You can't really do this at festivals since the crowd is so far away from stage, that sucks! There are pros and cons to both.

gan: You recorded your latest record with Brian McTernan. Do you have stories related to the time you spent with the man?

We've got a lot of stories. It was cool. Because while I was growing up and going to shows I saw Battery play in like, I don't know, 1998 and it was really cool. But I've been a fan of Battery since high-school so I asked him a lot of questions about that, and his brother is Damnation AD and asked a lot of questions about that. Growing up in've like a lot of cool stories and great stories about all the great records he has made too. You know the guy has made something like 91 records so he knows a lot of bands and he's got a lot of stories. He's a cool guy!

gan: He's recently produced a lot of pop-melodic punk rock records as of late but he comes from Battery, and the old-school. What you expected from him recording-wise before entering the studio?

We did “This Will Be The Death Of Us” with Mike Green. If you don't know he's a pop producer. He worked with Good Charlotte, All Time Low, Yellow Card, he worked with Paramore. All pop music and that was cool but the record come out sounding too polish. It didn't sound quite like us. We were going for more us. So with Brian we went in the studio with less material we worked on it in the studio which is why it took so long but it was cool because we could relate to him on that level. He's a hardcore kid we've grown up going to hardcore shows so we had that sort of influences incoming with him. He was able to go the hardcore spin rather than the pop. That was what we were going for.

gan: Set Your Goals his a moniker that breathe hardcore of every pores and basing my judgment on the name I'd expect you guys had straight hardcore lyrics while there's a more in them. They're more on a personal level and up-lifting and keep away from the slogan-ism. Who write your lyrics and how they come to life?

I write a lot of the lyrics in the band so I think lyrics are something very important and our name is from the first CIV record. And CIV is my favourite lyricist in hardcore or punk rock ever. So when I was growing up and I heard “Start Today” (Gorilla Bisquits) and that record lyrically is so important not only to the hardcore things but in life. You look at that record and every song is a life lesson. He had so much prospective at such a young age. He's very inspirational as a lyricist.

gan: And how did you get in hardcore punk in the first place?

Me and my friend Brad when we were in the fourth grade going to shows was like our thing. We went to every...we were into like Metallica...but we were really into grunge rock. I got Nirvana's “Nevermind” from a family friend in second grade and it was like a huge impression on me at that early age and then I got into Alice In Chains, Rage Against The Machine and I sort of evolved into punk rock from there. Me and my friend were into the same music Pearl Jam...all that stuff and then he had this friend who had an older brother who went to 924 Gilman street every weekend...he said it was very cool and we should to check that out. So finally we got one of our parents who gave us a ride and we went to our first punk show. And it just changed our lives. Whatever you think about punk is like it's pretty much all there. Punk rock is really represented at Gilman. And they're still doing it today.
In the mid 90's in the Bay area there were mixed had like an evil band with a punk band with a hardcore band. The hardcore was the perfect mix for us. Because it was aggressive but it wasn't metal, you know, metal was very uncool at the time. It was like punk rock but they were more focussed. Punk rock was kind of like fuck you! But hardcore had a message. And hardcore also there was not barriers between the band and the crowd. I really liked the way the crowd got involved, you know, singing along. I thought it was cool. You know you didn't see that in punk rock. So that's why I got into hardcore and ever since I've always supported mixed bills. Whenever we take bands we try to represent all styles of punk as a general...any bands like punk bands, hardcore bands and even the heavier bands.

gan: And when did you realize you wanted to start your own band?

I wanted to be in a band since I was very young but I can't think to a defining moment when I was like I need to do a band but it was a thing I wanted to do and once the time was right I did it. And what the scene at the time when we started our band it was really in need of something more. A lot of the older bands had just broken up. I wanted to do something new. I wanted to do pop-punk with like breakdowns. And nobody was doing this at the time and we did. And it was terrible first. The cool thing with our band is we don't fit in one genre elements of hardcore we have elements of pop-punk and it's cool to able to do so different kinds of tours. We've been able to play with some of my favourite metal bands as well as some of my favourite punk rock bands. We played with Lifetime, we played with Leeway. We are playing at a festival with At The Gates as well, one of my favourite metal band ever. We're playing with them in like a week so that's incredible.

gan: Did you already start writing new songs for the follow-up to “Burning At Both Ends”? And what sound we may expect?

A few months ago we put two new songs up online on itunes and I think we will probably put one or both of them on the new record. We've also demoed one more song that we didn't record. And we're going to finish this tour in two weeks and take the rest of the year off of tour and just to focus on writing. So the plan is to go in the studio in January.
And about the sound I think it will sound like Set Your Goals but I think it's gonna be more aggressive.

gan: Will the new album be out on Epitaph? And what's your relationship with the label? 

Yes, it will be out on Epitaph. They're really cool. I feel like they didn't push “Burning At Both Ends” like they did with “This Will Be The Death Of Us” but I have hopes with the next record. Simply because they had a contract for two records and then an option and this is the option and after hearing the two new songs I think they liked them.

gan: When you were up on stage earlier on you were mentioning your first show you played here in Italy, and it was like 5 years ago and I was there. The show was not in Milan but in a place called Arese at SGA.

Yeah, in the countryside.

gan: Were you touring on “Mutiny” right?


gan: I have just a blurred memory of that show. How things changed for your band? Back then you were just starting out...

Yeh, you know we did a lot of tours since then so I think we probably got a little better live and we put out two other records since then. I think the fan-base changed a little bit. Maybe not so much in Europe but at home there's a different crowd when we play live now. When we started it was all hardcore kids and it was like teenage high-school to college age guys and now is half girls half guys, you know there's hardcore kids or people who listen to nothing even close to hardcore and it's a big mix of people so it's cool. It's been cool seeing our fan-base grow and change.

gan: Where do you see your band in like three years time?

Hopefully our new record does well. I think in about one year time it will come out. And hopefully we can tour on it for another two years after that. I hope it success, I don't know. I know we do wanna slow down. We're getting older now Joe is marrying a couple of us as steady girlfriends. So like I said we're taking the rest of the year off to write the new album and when it's out we're gonna do the tour circle but after that we'll probably slow down. We will probably only do a few tours a year and maybe do a band just like Lag Wagon or Madball. You know, we do all over the world once a year but we're not touring full time because, you know, being away from home like night/ten months of the years takes a lot out of you and you really can't have a life at home. So we have one life only and it would be nice to get settled in and not have to jump around every time we come home to a new place of residence and we can get real jobs or something and still doing Set Your Goals for fun hehe... I know it sounds weird. It also weird be 50 years old and still sleeping on the couches all the time...

gan: And talking about touring life, how do you kill the time when on the road?

We've become quite experienced on that. Like time flies by for me now. Like a three hours drive is nothing!
We all stuck upon movies. You know when we come to Europe we know the wi-fi is very hard to come by so we download tons of movies and stuff before we live and TV shows and stuff. We just watch movies on our laptops all the time and I got a Kindle last December so I use that a lot I read a lot. 

gan: What are some of your general thoughts on book-reader devices like Kindle?

It's weird. I'm still getting used to it. I didn't like it at first...I prefer books still.

gan: Do you wanna add something?

Yeah, check out the new record and keep checking our facebook and website for updates and stuff like that on the band. Everything can be found at

gan: Thank you Matt.


Photo copyright - Ryan Russell

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