As promised in “Mutiny!” Set Your Goals has risen like they’ve “never risen above before.” It seems like just yesterday, the band released their debut album, Mutiny, a longtime favorite among many pop and punk rock advocates, including myself. Fast forward to 10 years later, Set Your Goals is back on the scene, and not only are they touring the country playing all their beloved hits from ’06, they are also working on a brand new record set to be released hopefully in the new year. As a punk band with a history of intertwining music with current events, politics and religion, the upcoming record still stays true to that positive light the band has carried on so well.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with the fun-tastic Jordan Brown to talk about the feeling of being back on stage after 10 years, as well as what the band is up to now. Check it out below!
You guys are currently touring with The Story So Far and Good Charlotte, which is a pretty crazy lineup. How has the tour been going so far?
Yeah, it is a pretty wild lineup. So, we were invited to do the California shows, which we were thrilled about. We are really amped, and we couldn’t believe it when we found out about it. I was like, wow. I couldn’t believe we got that tour in.
Not a bad way to kick off the fall season, right?
Yeah! Probably the biggest thing we’ve done in years, and it might be the biggest thing we’ve ever done, really. When we found out we were going on tour with Paramore years back, that’s the same exact reaction we had when we found out we were going on this tour.
What’s it been like performing with these guys? I’d imagine it’s probably amazing.
Oh, I think it’s going to be wild. All their videos from the iHeart Music Radio Festival and then they were on The Tonight Show, I just think it’s going to be nostalgic and high energy. I’ve seen them play so many times and they never seem to lose that energy. I think it’d be so hard to go nonstop and from our experience in touring so much, we’ve learned if you don’t pace your songs right, you’re not going to get the same result.
So, I’m really excited. I think it’s going to be a really diverse crowd. I think all the different fans for all of the different bands will be sharing this together for the first time, and so I think it’s just going to be a really good [outcome] from the first band to the headlining band.
Last December you guys announced that Set Your Goals would be coming back onto the music scene, which your fans were super stoked to hear. Does it feel any different being on tour after that break you guys had in between?
Yeah! It’s completely better; it’s completely different, it’s like a whole new band again. I can’t really explain the difference, except that there’s no pressure on the band. It’s all about having fun. We’re not worried about image, or having to tactically plan things. Any time we’re offered something, we’re like, “Sure, let’s do that!”
All we did was basically announce when we’re going to play shows, then we started getting all of these messages, like, “Oh, do you want to do a tour?” And we just said yes to everything. We all have other things going in addition to the band, so it’s not like we’re going to be doing anything that’s going to hurt the band. Before, we were all nervous that something with the band wouldn’t work out, but like I said, we have other things going on, so it’s all good. We’re all really stoked.
Did you guys keep in touch during your time off?
Yeah, we did! I went back to school, so I was really consumed with that, which I loved. All the time (laughs), and I would talk to everyone here and there, and I think it was really important for us to separate for a while and do different things. I think we were all just exhausted, and so naturally it happened like that. And the more you’re separated, the more you start to come back together a little bit, and we all still cared about what we were doing and everything like that.
A lot of the guys started playing other music, and Junior, our guitar player, was still really involved with the music culture and the scene of all these bands still, and so he continued to work in merchandising, and that’s kind of how we all came about. The company he works for asked if they could do our record for our 10-year anniversary, and we said yeah. I didn’t feel right having them put all that effort and money and work into it, and I called [the band] a week later and asked them, “I don’t think it’s fair to not play it anymore.” And so, we were just like, “OK, let’s do it.”
Can I ask why you guys decided it was the right time to take a break from the band? Were there other factors that sort of played into that decision?
Yeah! Yeah, and…I think it was kind of sad how it fell apart, to be honest.
Aw, I’m sorry.
No! No, it was totally cool! It all worked out for a reason! We were on tour at the time, there was a lot of tension and I personally didn’t feel myself at all, and I remember thinking, “Man, I’m not happy. Why am I not happy?” I love music, and I love playing it, but I just kind of stopped growing, I think. I just wasn’t having the learning experiences like I wanted to have. I mean, I was traveling, and that was great, but I stopped learning, and I realized that I needed school.
Once I went back, I was like, “Wow, this is all brand new!” There were all these courses I could take and all these people for me to engage with. We had all these deep conversations about current events, culture in my anthropology classes, and I just knew I needed to grow like that.
In terms of your previous records, what’s really interesting about your guys, is that you tend to incorporate plenty of current events, particularly politics and religion into your music, which is something I’d imagine being tough to do, since they can be touchy subjects to talk about. Do you plan on doing the same in your next album?
Yeah! Definitely! I think that’s how we get a lot of ideas off of our chests. These are things that sort of held us captive or prevented us from, you know, becoming happier or become our own selves. Things like religion. I don’t believe in organized religion, except for when it’s like a community. Like, I think it’s a grain of salt with anything, but I also think that it’s really important for us to write these songs about what our experiences have been. We had people coming up to us and telling us that they have certain faiths, things like that, and they follow other religions but they really identify with the song, and they were very thankful we wrote the song. Maybe not every religious community is the right one but you believe in those morals or those teachings.
I also saw in another previous interview that you do plan on releasing a new album next summer with more musical content. Do you think that’s because you have more of a clear-headed mindset in your writing?
Yeah! That’s exactly what it is. Any time we’ve ever worked on music, it was always scary, because I always thought it wasn’t going to be good enough. I always put a lot of pressure on myself, and everything had to be perfect. It was really almost unhealthy to do that. When you’re writing music, you should always just write it, record it, and you know, you just never know what it may become.
Aside from the highly anticipated upcoming album release, after this tour ends, what is next for you and Set Your Goals?
We’re going to be playing shows in the Midwest and the East Coast for the 10-year anniversary, and we can’t wait!
You can catch Set Your Goals at the Theatre of The Living Arts in Philadelphia, PA on Dec. 9, and Webster Hall in New York, NY on Dec. 10. For more details, go to setyourgoalsband.com.