Set The Score were our first Aussie Feature for 2015 recently, and rightfully so. They’re a hard-working pop-punk band with the potential for a very big future. Below is our full chat with the band’s bassist, Josh Godwin, regarding their singer Michael Romeo departing the band, his thoughts on Pay What You Wish shows, Jarrod Alonge sharing their work, and their sweet new EP – ‘Render Me Useless’.
So first order of business Josh, is it cool if we talk about Michael [Romeo] leaving the band?
Yeah, that’s all good.
Okay cool, so can you tell me why he chose to leave?
He’s actually taking up an apprenticeship. I think he’s becoming a sparkie [electrician]. Throughout his time with the band, he’s really struggled with finding a job and keeping up with the pace the band was going, so he decided it was probably best for himself and band that he stepped aside. He just couldn’t keep up with all of the money, he got dragged down a bit, and he wanted to focus on his other band, Transit Gloria, and get back to not being so broke all of the time.
That’s fair enough; money’s always a big reason for choices like that. There’s no bad blood between you guys, right?
We’re all on good terms. I’ve personally known Michael for a very long time. I basically graduated school with him. He basically told us it was best for him, and once the initial shock had gone, we definite thought it was for the best too. We’re still very good friends, and we all keep in contact, so no bad blood at all.
That’s good to hear dude. I know it’s still early days, but have you found a replacement yet?
We’re looking at some blokes. We’re in the process of trying out a few people, we’ve had some interest thought the Facebook page, and have put some Melband adverts up. We’re just going through them all and seeing how we go.
Singers leaving bands after new releases seems to be plaguing local bands. A similar thing happened with I, Valiance, Mark [Poida] left to join Aversions Crown pretty soon after that EP came out. Do you think it’s a pretty stressful time for some people, especially when other opportunities come along?
It does suck. I think our situation and I, Valiance’s are pretty similar. While I think Mark left for completely different reasons, Michael told us pretty close to the release of the EP. I know I, Valiance released an instrumental version of their EP, and for us, our mind went from releasing a new EP to the best of our ability, to thinking ahead and finding replacements and how we were going to make shows work. We had to pull out of a few shows too.
It does suck as you’ve put all of this effort into this EP, and once it’s out you’ve gotta focus on all of these other things. There’s nothing you can really do about it, you just have to do what you can. Personally, I’m happy with how the EP came out, and I’m happy with the reception thus far, so you can’t really ask for much more.
That’s the best way to look at it. With bands releasing new material and having big lineup changes right after, or even completely breaking up, I am reminded of Sierra. So do you think that the cost and time and effort involved in getting the music out there can take it’s toll?
Oh, definitely. Our guitarist Jon [Pisani], said that he hasn’t been able to enjoy the EP as much because we’ve been putting so much time to looking so far forward.
I think Sierra was a bit different, and I feel that they thought that the band had had its time, and everybody wanted to move onto different things. And that they wanted to record and release something that was really awesome just before they left. I think it comes down to that, and I mean, it is costly, but you just take what you can really.
Well on the topic of Sierra, how was it to open up their last ever show a couple months back?
It was fantastic. I personally am a huge fan of Sierra. Not only to be there, but to also open the show was crazy. It was the biggest show we’ve played and we were just stoked to witness it. They’re all great dudes, and we wish them the best of luck. Hopefully we’ll get to see them around the scene and that the blokes aren’t all gone.
That show was probably the biggest crowd that the OLP in Ringwood has seen, with about 300 people showing up over the day.
Oh yeah, definitely. People often get out for last shows. I remember seeing videos of The Bride’s last show and getting so envious. When local bands like that call it, a lot of people come out of the woodwork, which is great. But it’s a shame that it takes such a great local band to break up to get people out to shows.
Yeah, it sucks in that regard. Like, why didn’t you come out while we’re still an actual band? It seems kind of strange to me.
With that being said, Sierra never really had any problems pulling crowds (laughs). But it was still pretty special to get that many people down for one last time.
On that lineup, Set The Score was the only non-heavy band on that bill, do you prefer to be the odd one’s out on mixed bills?
I wouldn’t know about preferring it, as when we started out, we played lots of shows with bands like Hollows, a melodic hardcore band from down here. So we’re used to being the odd one out, as we don’t play many pop-punk shows. Maybe we would like to, but some of our best friends are in bands like Void of Vision, Pridelands, and Ocean Grove, so we don’t mind playing with heavier bands. We’re kinda used to it. When we do get to play a mainly pop-punk show, we do get pretty excited.
That show was a ‘Pay What You Wish’ show, and Ash Hull runs a lot of those kinds of shows, Wrangler do it a lot too, so do you think that those shows can pull bigger crowds?
Yeah, a lot of mates don’t turn up to shows as they just don’t have a lot money. You can pay $20 and that can be a lot of people in school and uni students, it may not seem like much, but it is to some. With pay what you wish shows, they don’t have to pay a lot of money, and people who appreciate the lineup do pay more, which I think is just extraordinary. Also, with that being said, bands can benefit from it more as people have more money for merch and whatnot.
I think it’s a great initiative. People like Jayden Roy at Wrangler and as you said, guys like Ash Hull are really pioneering that and I think it’s great.
That kind of attitude is much healthier for the scene and can stop people from sitting at home and talking shit.
Yeah, exactly man.
Well with shows and vocalists, are you going to find temporary fill in for any upcoming shows?
So we’ve got a couple show booked, but I don’t think any are announced just yet. We’ve got a couple people in the wings who are willing to fill in which is good. We have played one show since Michael left, which was at Bang! and we got a mate to come down to fill in with us. But the aim is of course to have a full timer by then.
Sick, hopefully you do. With pop-punk, the genre has grown a fair bit in the past couple years, so what are the new and old bands that you draw influences from?
We try to draw as many bands as we can. Everyone in the band has a very different style of influences. Like Adam [Pinzone, drums], his favourite band in the world is The Amity Affliction, I’m crazy about While She Sleeps, Jon loves Paramore, and Matt [Van Duppen, guitars], is the biggest The Story So Far sweater I’ve met in my life. As far as pop-punk goes, the band was based off that All Time Low vibe from back in the day, even before I joined. But now we take influence from bands like Trophy Eyes, The Story So Far and bands like that.
I can definitely hear that in the music, The Story So Far influence I mean. With the melodic hardcore side, are you guys friends with Ambelside and that’s how you got Daniel Stevens on to do the guest vocal?
We’ve played a couple shows with Ambelside, and when they toured with Trophy Eyes and Worthwhile we played with them. We’re not close friends, as they live over in Adelaide, we would call them mates that we don’t get o see that often. Our manager Liam [Saunders, Paper Crane Music Group] also manages them and they were pretty keen to get Daniel on the track, as Michael really felt that that part needed something extra.
How did it feel having Jarrod Alonge sharing the video for ‘…But Still So Far From Home’?
It’s pretty crazy that this famous YouTube guy has our band on his page somewhere. He was doing this thing where he would share and promote bands last year, and we saw it, emailed him, and he said yes. Not a huge thing, we just asked him. But we have a lot to thank him for, it’s gotten a crazy amount of views and it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near as much without him.
All right, well we’ve gone though everything, so that’ll be fine for the feature and the interview dude.
Ah beautiful, thanks so much for this man. And you wrote the review as well didn’t you?
Yeah I did man, loved it.
Yeah, great review dude, I absolutely loved it.
(Laughs) no worries man, take it easy!
Catch you later dude.
‘Render Me Useless’ is out now independently. You can stream and download it here.