Set Your Goals recently released their sophomore album ‘This Will Be The Death Of Us’ to rave reviews and we caught up with singer Matt Wilson about their upcoming appearance at the 2010 Soundwave Festival.
First things first – tell us your name, what you do in the band, and your worst habit?
My name is Matt Wilson, I sing and my worst habit is probably spending too much money on records.
You were last here in June with All Time Low for the Take Action Tour, which aims to bring attention to youth suicide. Is the vibe different on this kind of tour – one with a definite message and ethos to broadcast to fans – as opposed to a regular tour?
The Take Action tour was a little more of a serious cause than, say, a normal tour, but it’s a good feeling knowing that you’re helping to spread a positive message and support a cause that helps a lot of people out.
I read somewhere that you guys once did a whole set of Foo Fighters and Nirvana covers, billing yourself as Set Your Grohls (after Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl). Aside from the best wordplay I’ve seen for a while, what made you decide to do this?
This is true! We did it for the Hoodwink Festival in New Jersey. Every band playing had to pick a band to cover for their set and we thought we’d get creative with it and do all Dave Grohl songs because we love his music!
For me, the thing that makes you guys stand out against the plethora of pop-punk/hardcore cross-over bands is your lyrics. Instead of just dealing with girls and partying, your lyrics look at issues from the environment (Gaia Bleeds) and religion (An Old Book Misread), to the music industry itself (Mutiny and The Few That Remain). Are these songs about experiences you’ve personally had, or just things you notice happening around you?
The bulk of our lyrical content comes from personal experience. Even the issues that may not necessarily be tales of events from our personal lives are usually issues that affect everyone equally (Gaia Bleeds).
Is it more difficult to write lyrics when you have two vocalists? How do you decide who handles which vocals, and does that decision impact on the actual lyrics themselves?
Jordan and I have developed a formula for this where we’ll agree on a topic we want to address for a song, sort of a "thesis," if you will. From there we’ll usually write a page or two of lyrics independently from each other, then we reconvene to form vocal melodies, then we’ll take our lyrics we’ve written and form them to fit the vocal melodies. We try to break up the singing parts as evenly and creatively as possible. So yes, sometimes the words are changed around a bit to fit the structure of the melody but we always keep working with the same thesis in mind.
You’re heading back out to Australia for the Soundwave festival, what are you most looking forward to doing while out here?
I’m very much looking forward to all the great bands and friends we’re going to see while we’re there. I love being in Australia, it’s everyone in SYG’s favorite country in the world so just being there is always a wonderful experience for us. The weather is amazing during that time of year and the people are beautiful. I may have to move there someday!
What can Australian festival-goers expect from a Set Your Goals set?
A party! Lots of energy, people moving around, singing along, jumping, dancing and fun. We feed off the energy of the crowd and if it’s not going off then you know something’s wrong haha.
Paramore are also on the Soundwave bill; will we be seeing Hayley Williams again lending some guest vocals on “The Few That Remain”, as she did on the recorded version?
You’ll just have to wait and see!
I heard you guys got tattoos of koalas last time you were out here; is this true, and if so, where is your tattoo?
It’s true! we all loved Australia so much that we got koalas to celebrate! Mine is on my inside left ankle.
What does 2010 have in store for Set Your Goals?
LOADS of touring! So far we’ve got a US tour with Motion City Soundtrack, This Providence, and The Swellers lined up, followed by a headlining run shortly thereafter. Then we head out to Soundwave in Australia and Punkspring in Japan. We hope to do Warped tour in the states this Summer as well, fingers crossed!
Last one – what’s one thing you want to accomplish with Set Your Goals, that you haven’t done yet?
I want to play in Russia, Southeast Asia and South America!
Set Your Goals‘ new album ‘This Will Be The Death Of Us‘ is out now via Shock Records. The band will be here in 2010 for the Soundwave Festival and you can check out all the dates and venues here.