This Set Your Goals interview took place on May 27th, 2007 in the band’s van before their Richmond, VA show. Thank you to Jordan and Matt for taking the time out to do the interview and being great guys. Check out Set Your Goals on tour and make sure you own a copy of their latest record, Ã¢â‚¬Å“MutinyÃ¢â‚¬.
– State your name and position in the band.
Jordan: My name is Jordan and I sing in Set Your Goals.
– Give a brief history of the band and the origin of the name.
Jordan: Set Your Goals came from the CIV album, Set Your Goals. We picked it up when we finished recording a demo. The song clicked, the whole album clicked, but mainly the lyrics of the songs. What we wanted to do with the band at that time and them being an influence on our music as well kind of worked out. We started in 2004 in Mike’s garage, jamming out some songs for fun. Slowly but surely, it became more of a serious project for us. And now we have been doing it for going on three and a half years.
– How would you describe this tour compared to other tours?
Jordan: This tour compared to other tours? Um, well we got arrested yesterday and that has never happened before. We were enjoying a smoothie snack in the mall, some of the employees had come to the show the night before. So we started singing and chanting a song for them and we got arrested on disorderly conduct on being too loud in the mall. It was pretty ridiculous but the irony of it is that we’re on the Snacksidents Happen Tour, so it was a major snacksident. That’s kind of different, but besides that, it’s a different line of bands. We’ve done a lot of cool tours where it has been different styles, this one we had to come out with some friends of ours, a band called Fireworks, we got to do a full run with them. Along with Driving East, they’re from Fairfax, and then Just Surrender. It’s the first time on tour with all these bands, but all bands that we have been fans of.
– What do you love and hate seeing happen at one of your shows?
Jordan: Love when kids get along and sing along, all kinds of different people can come out and enjoy themselves. It obviously sucks when you have little tiffs sometimes, but it rarely happens. I think people assume it happens more often then not, just because of the kind of music we play is appealing to so many different kinds of people. It really doesn’t happen all that often, but we get bummed when it does, we have to stop our set and make sure everyone is all right. We just like seeing people come out, we like people being able to come up and talk to us at shows, being the approachable people we are.
– Are there any plans to record a new record soon? If so, what can the fans expect differently?
Jordan: We don’t have any plans, we don’t have any recording dates right now. We would definitely like to start writing some new material. We’re still so focused on Ã¢â‚¬Å“MutinyÃ¢â‚¬. Going out into Warped Tour with that, we really want to push again like we did last summer, because I think we are going to reach a bigger audience and people that haven’t heard any of the songs before. We are definitely thinking about that we would like to put another album out, we feel that we owe everyone at least one more record, if not another one after that. At least one more because so many people have seen our success this far, we want to give back and give them something else.
As far as the new material goes, it would just be, the way that the EP evolved into what Ã¢â‚¬Å“MutinyÃ¢â‚¬ became. It’s going to be the same with Ã¢â‚¬Å“MutinyÃ¢â‚¬ going into another record. Lots of the same element and maybe something new in there. It’s really hard to say right now. We’re just on tour so much, it’s hard to write.
– In your opinion, how has the band progressed since it was started, musically and lyrically?
Jordan: Um, lyrically we’ve done it the same way. We try to think of stuff that people can identify with, like real life situations. We’ve gotten to write about a lot more things than we did on the EP, obviously there were more songs and more material to cover. We’ve gone through a lot more as a band. Musically, like the EP times ten. We took the hardcore elements, and we would write hardcore songs. We took the rock elements, and we would write rock songs. And kind of throw it all in there. We also have been getting into a lot more current artists, I guess you could say. You know, when we started it was all about, we wanted to pay tribute to bands that kind of started it for us. And now current artists are even influencing us.
Jordan: Like lately, we have been listening to Memorial a lot.
Matt: The new Anberlin.
Jordan: The new Anberlin is really good, yeah they did a really good record. What am I rocking this year? I’m into stuff these guys aren’t into like this artist Regina Spektor, I think she’s awesome. Have you heard of her before?
Yeah, she’s really good but really different.
Jordan: Ah man, she’s so out there, that’s the main thing I like about her. She tells these really cool stories. So I got into that and then, I don’t know, just all kinds of stuff. Do you have any more that you’re into?
Matt: I can’t think of any.
Jordan: Ah, I can’t think of any. I know I’ve gotten a bunch of new records but I can’t think of anything that’s come out.
Matt: I like the new Brand New.
Yeah, it’s way different but still really good.
Jordan: It’s so good. Oh, this is Matt. Say your name.
Matt: Hi, I’m Matt, I sing.
-What do you see as the biggest issue with the music industry?
Jordan leaves the van to put away some weights he was using before the interview.
Matt: I think as far as sincerity and the personal aspect of the business, it has sort of gone downhill. I don’t know, I’m obviously seeing a different side of it, now that I’m in a band and we’re actually doing bigger tours with bigger bands and meeting a lot of industry people. It seems like when I got into it, it was a lot more personal and people helped each other out. Now, it’s all about business. No one is out to help anyone else out, they’re just out for themselves. I think that kind of sucks.
And even with a lot of the bands that aren’t that way, end up being that way.
Matt: Yeah, because it’s acceptable and they see everyone else doing it. That’s my biggest issue, you know? We’re not out here to make money, we’re just here because we want to play music we want to have fun in. If we didn’t do that, then we wouldn’t be on tour. And I feel like there are a lot of bands that aren’t doing that.
Jordan enters the van again.
Jordan: All you hear, when you get to the level we’ve gotten to, is Ã¢â‚¬Å“sound scanÃ¢â‚¬ and all these terms over and over. Part of you does want to pay more attention to it and we have to be a little smarter on the business side of it. But at the same time, a tour like this is such perfect example of how tours should be. Even the Anti-Flag tour was a good example, because that was a really high profile tour. But they still kept it fun, it wasn’t about, it was like, yeah you had your responsibilities, but after you executed them, everyone would just let loose and have a good time. And now it’s just about the music again. It’s a good balance.
Matt: I’ve talked to other bands that have been on tour, where if they don’t talk to anyone else on tour, then they just show up, play, and go to the next show.
Yeah, and they don’t talk to their fans or do anything else.
Matt: Yeah, it’s so impersonal. Why would you do that? I just don’t understand it.
Those are the people that buy your records, go to your shows, buy your shirts, and spread the word.
Jordan: Yeah totally, it sucks.
– What is your opinion of the people that question SYG being a Ã¢â‚¬Å“hardcoreÃ¢â‚¬ band?
Matt: Yeah, the whole Ã¢â‚¬Å“hardcoreÃ¢â‚¬ term gets thrown around a lot. We didn’t set out to start a hardcore band, we set out to start a more melodic band than most of the hardcore bands. We were in the Bay Area scene every week, I don’t know, I’m trying to sum this up in the right way. We didn’t set out to have that label. We are all hardcore kids, we all grew up, met each other through hardcore shows. Obviously there is going to be that association. We’ve toured with a bunch of our friends, hardcore bands, and we all enjoy hardcore music, but as soon as you put that term in, it just sort of gets thrown around a lot. People will start saying you’re exploiting hardcore or you’re not hardcore enough. It’s like, we’re not trying to label ourselves and say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hey, we’re a hardcore band.Ã¢â‚¬ We’re writing the music we want to hear.
I think if people are attacking you for not being a hardcore band, then they have something else to worry about, like attacking a band simply because of the genre that is put on them by the people.
Jordan: I don’t see why people put so much thought into it, if anything, they are putting so much of their thought and they are giving us so much attention. They could be doing so many other things with their lives then worrying whether we’re a hardcore band or not. Why should it anger them so much?
Yeah, even if someone labeled you as a rap band.
Matt: Yeah, I don’t like to label us. What’s the point of that?
The music is still the same, the message is still the same.
Jordan: Yeah, totally.
– In your own words, how would you define what Ã¢â‚¬Å“hardcoreÃ¢â‚¬ is?
Jordan: Hardcore is an idea, it’s a subculture. I don’t know, to me it’s punk rock. It was a place for me to go in high school when I didn’t want to go to parties and I didn’t want to go to football games. I just didn’t identify with that social click. It was something new and something we could call our own thing. I remember going to The List, I remember when I found that. There is a list and it has every show happening within an hour of you. When I found that, it was my personal savior. I was so bored in that time of my life and I didn’t feel like doing all this other stuff, I would just sit at home and play Playsation all day. I found that list and I started going to shows left and right. I would find one band that I recognized on the bill, and then I would learn about all these other bands. And then every show that they would play, I would go to show.
Matt: Same here. That dude that does the list used to come out to every show and hand out the list. I came to other bands and learned about other shows. I mean, hardcore to me is a lot like punk. The attitude of not being able to relate to what is going on around you, society, school, or whatever. Just going to a show and feeling like that is the place you actually belong, something you can relate to. It’s basically the same thing as punk, just a little more aggressive.
Jordan: Yeah, I was going to say that it’s a little bit more aggressive and a little bit more dedicated. We play with a band called Resilience from the North Bay, where we live, and they’re a punk band, but I consider them more of a hardcore band because they’re a band that gets out there and tours and makes something happened. And that to me is what hardcore is, getting something done.
Matt: Without punk I would of definitely not gotten into hardcore.
– So far, what has been the biggest achievement in the band’s history?
Matt: There are so many already.
Jordan: I don’t know what the biggest is but this year alone we have done the highest profile tour to date we’ve ever done and it turned out to be one of the most fun tours. It was the Anti-Flag Tour. That was a big accomplishment. I’ve always wanted to be at that level where it’s not like a rock star level where you are pampered, you still have to work. Even that band works everyday. But you are also comfortable on tour. We had meals everyday, we were able to afford gas to every show, we got to meet and greet a ton of new people. I think that was a big achievement. Then the whole Ã¢â‚¬Å“MutinyÃ¢â‚¬ record for me was a big milestone for my life. I always wanted to do a good sounding record, work with a really cool producer. It was a huge accomplishment in my life.
Matt: Funny you ask us this because about a year before we started this band, I made a checklist of all these things I wanted to do before I die. One was start a band, one was take that band as far as I can take it, release a record, tour the world. Here I am a few years later and I’ve done a lot of things on that list. One of the biggest achievements for me, personally, was playing with Gorilla Biscuits. That’s my favorite hardcore band of all time. The fact that they were doing a reunion tour and I not only got to go to eight of the shows, we played with them. I don’t know, it was unreal for me. Best night of my life for a week straight.
– If the band had to revolve the new record’s lyrics on a book, which book would it be and why?
Matt: Oh man, I don’t know. For me it would be Slaughter House Five because that’s one of my favorite books ever. Maybe 1984.
Jordan: Why Slaughter House Five?
Matt: I don’t know, there is a lot of social commentary in that book that I agree with. I think it would be a cool way to open people’s eyes to the way the world is. I don’t know, the way that book is written, I don’t know. Haha.
Jordan: This is like really clichÃƒ©, but last year I got really back into literature a lot more, so I haven’t, like in high school I would do require reading. The first few years out of high school I didn’t do any reading and last year I got back into it a little bit. So this would be really a really clichÃƒ© book to mention but I would say right now A Catcher In The Rye. Just because his ideas were so philosophical, but so relative. It was just easy to get. Anyone could read it and be like Ã¢â‚¬Å“I totally get this.Ã¢â‚¬ Everyone feels like they’re Holden Caulfield.
Matt: He’s a character everyone could relate to.
Jordan: I actually wanted to write a song called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who is Jane Gallagher?Ã¢â‚¬ I remember when I finished reading this book, I was like Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really want to meet this girl. Who is this girl that he is so in love with but can’t get to.Ã¢â‚¬ So yeah, I really like that book.
– What is main goal behind the band and what how do you hope the band is remembered in forty years?
Matt: I would like to be remembered as a band that actually stood for something and made a positive impact on the music scene, whether it be with our lyrics, with our music, with our shows, or something we did that made the music industry better. If we were able to improve it in any way, I would feel honored.
Jordan: And like to be view all those bands and it be the reason why we started, to be able to do that for a younger generation.
Yeah, someone starts the band because you guys influenced them.
Jordan: Yeah, and keep it going.
Matt: Like Jordan has said in a lot of interviews, to be a sort of gateway drug to bands influence us.
Jordan: Yeah, that’s the best analogy we can use.
– If you had to compile a list of things that the fans don’t know about the band, what would be on the list?
Matt: Joe can’t hear around corners.
Jordan: Haha. We did a Valentine’s bulletin and I wish we had the list right now, you could just summit that. We just made all these inside jokes about Joe.
Matt: Oh yeah, for April Fool’s Day. It’s pretty outrageous. Some lesser-known facts about our bassist Joe.
Jordan: Everyone sort of has their own little offbeat. Dave is into fantasy stuff, I guess he is like a fantasy nerd when it comes down to it. Like Magic The Gathering, stuff kind of like that, I’m not sure if he plays Magic cards. He’s all about reading dragon novels.
Matt: A lot of people are surprised when they find that half of us are really into metal. Like, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You can’t listen to metal, listen to your own music.Ã¢â‚¬ What you play doesn’t reflect on what you listen to at all. A lot of people are surprised about that. Kind of funny to me because why would you want to listen to what you play all day. You hear the same style of music all night, every night. You want to get in the van and listen to something different.
You can’t just focus on one genre and be like Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m not going to listen to anything that’s not hardcore.Ã¢â‚¬
Matt: Yeah, totally. We’re pretty open-minded with our musical tastes.
– What moment in your life made you realize that making music was what you were meant to do?
Matt: Ah man, I was probably like five and I listened to Michael Jackson. I was like Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want to be a rock start!Ã¢â‚¬
Jordan: I wanted to always do, I did musical theater a lot when I was younger, when I was in sixth grade till like tenth. I did community and school related theater, when I was younger, you sort of always get into what your parents listen to. So that kind of turns you onto music on the first place and then it started evolving from there. But to be in a band, which was such a different approach than doing live theater. It’s when I started seeing, it’s when I went to Warped Tour and saw Less Than Jake and Bouncing Souls that is what started me, those kind of bands.
Matt: Yeah, ever since I can remember the music I was hearing, my parents were playing me Depeche Mode, Billy Idol, The Cure, Police, and I loved those bands and now they are my favorite bands. Very grateful for that, they got me into music that was so, in my opinion, really good.
– If you could manufacture a show, the crowd, and the bands playing, how would you describe the show?
Matt: Alright, I would like to play with The Beatles, just to do it, back in their day. Or like Led Zeppelin, I bet they were really intense live.
Jordan: That would be cool, to see a much older band perform punk rock, soul, rock and roll. Led Zeppelin was a good call. You know what band was awesome, an imaginary band? Have you ever seen Almost Famous?
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
Jordan: The band in there, Stillwater, they had a song called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Beaver DogÃ¢â‚¬ and they wrote it for the movie. Dude, this band was a good band, I wish this band existed and played shows.
Matt: That movie is based on Cream or Led Zeppelin.
Jordan: That’s tight.
Matt: I’m sure whoever read this later would know.
Jordan: Yeah, all those Rolling Stones kind of bands would play the show.
Matt: That era was just great for music.
– How do you hope the band impacts people’s life? What impression do you want to leave fans with?
Jordan: It’s kind of similar to the one question about how we want to be remembered. We’ll get messages from kids daily, telling us their story. They will tell us their story and the big one is that a song helped them get through so many things. So I’ll say that hopefully we can help people get over stuff. If you don’t have someone to talk to, then you have someone to listen to.
Matt: If someone listens to our record and afterwards feels motivated to go start a venue, band or record label, just to help out bands, instead of just to make money for themselves, then I feel like we’ve done our job. Even if someone listens to our record and is put in a good mood because of it, if we can teach people to relax and have fun and not take seriously, even that is an accomplishment.
Jordan: Yeah, that’s definitely a big thing. I think that fans doing anything to spread the word, like what you guys are doing, whether it is online or print. We’ve done everything from alternative press to high press magazines to high school and junior high school newspapers. We would never turn anyone down, without that, you don’t have all the works printing about music. We are always able to drop bands in our interviews, that’s another thing, I hope people start researching bands more, new and old.
I’ve been writing for magazines for over two years and people always ask me how much I get paid and I tell them that I don’t and they don’t understand. I do this because I want to spread the word about bands and help out as much as I can.
Jordan: Yeah, exactly. I’ve done my fair share of stuff like this, I’ve done stuff for magazines before. I did a lot of this stuff before we started the band. I remember being like Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ugh, this is going to take so long.Ã¢â‚¬ But I will pick my bands carefully.
– Anything else you want the readers to know?
Jordan: For sure the bands we are on tour with. Give it up for Fireworks, Just Surrender, and Driving East. For starters, if you visit our Myspace page, you can see a bunch of bands we are into right now in our top friends. Check out their top friends from there, it’s like an easy click networking. Thank you to DrivenFarOff and you for posting this and the new articles, I always appreciate that.