Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Every music lover has that one album that will stick with them throughout their entire life, a collection of songs that always seems to have the right words to say, that you always find yourself going back to. Even as you’re reading of this, you’re probably thinking of one or a couple of your favorite records and how they’ve affected your life, and for many people, this monumental album is Set Your Goals’ 2006 release, Mutiny.
Ten years later, a lot has changed since Mutiny was released, but many things are still the same, the most important of which is Set Your Goals’ excitement to be on stage once more. After a few years in hibernation, the pop-punk kings have returned just in time for the anniversary of Mutiny, and as vocalist Jordan Brown and guitarist Audelio Flores have put it, things feel exactly how they did when Mutiny first came out, only now, the band has a legion of fans who are just as excited to see them live once more. Among a slew of festival appearances, Set Your Goals will be hitting the road as support for Good Charlotte and playing a few headlining Mutiny shows later this year, and with good reason.
The staying power of Mutiny is undeniable. Although the album is simply a snapshot of a moment in time as the opening track, “Work in Progress” suggests, it chronicles the highs and lows of a group of friends and a band on the rise. Songs like “Mutiny!” and “An Old Book Misread” are timeless - even new listeners will still be able to connect with them ten years later - and lyrically, the earnest honesty on the album is impossible not to feel. Now, as the band gears up for a busy four months of tour to round out 2016, that same honesty is still present, promising great things for whatever the future has in store for Set Your Goals, and if their triumphant return to Denver at this year's Riot Fest is anything to go by, things are looking great.
The Prelude Press: Now that you guys are back, what’s it like playing together again?
Jordan Brown: It’s fun, it’s awesome. It’s really exciting. It’s more fun than ever before.
Audelio Flores: There’s no stress, we don’t have to commit to anything.
Jordan: We just goof off. Like, when one of us isn’t there, we make fun of them. It’s like being in high school again.
Audelio: When we first got back together and when we got together for the first practice after almost four and a half years, it felt like we only stopped playing for a week. A bunch of us still saw each other, but he hadn’t talked about the band for a while. And now it just feels good. When we meet up, we’re excited to play.
Jordan: We have the same stuff on our minds, have the same conversations. And it’s really fun rehearsing.
Audelio: Being in the band is cool again.
Jordan: It rules!
We saw you guys when you did the So What?! preshow out in Texas and it was insane! There were people surfing on a goose raft and you looked like you were having so much fun.
Joran: Yeah! We were just like, “We need to figure out how to circle this thing around the crowd,” and sure enough, it worked. And then the girl fell and everyone was like, “Oh no!”
This year, on top of you being back together, marks the ten year anniversary for Mutiny! What’s it like playing those songs ten years later? I know some bands feel like they grow out of their older material or get sick of it, but you guys seem to really enjoy playing it.
Audelio: I mean, I think you grow out of it when you’re just constantly on the road. Since we kind of took a step back, there’s new life to Set Your Goals. We were like, “Hey, let’s play Mutiny” and when we played that first show, it just felt right, and we were like, “Let’s do a ten year.” We never talked about it ever.
The company I work for, my boss hit me up like early last year like, “Hey I can get the rights for your album for X amount of copies. Do you guys wanna do a ten year pressing of it?” And I was like, “Oh, I don’t know,” and I never gave him an answer until the end of the year. Like, six months later, he bugs me again, and I was like, “You know what, let me send an email,” and it just kind of happened to where we had full control over it, which made it exciting. Set Your Goals never had any control over that album at all, and we got to kind of piece that together and everything started falling into place and it felt good.
"Since we kind of took a step back, there's new life to Set Your Goals." - Audelio Flores
Jordan: They got really creative with the colors too. We had some cool white vinyl for This Will Be The Death Of Us, but this vinyl is the coolest thing ever.
Audelio: Since it’s a pirate theme, we have a gold record.
Did you ever think that Mutiny would ever be a record that people were so stoked to hear or that you’d be excited to play ten years later?
Jordan: When we play it, it’s fun because it’s like a big song. When we were working on it, it came out like that. So, we didn’t know it would be this important ten years later when we were working on it, we just knew that we were hyped. When we finished the record, Eulogy called, and they had a meeting and said over the phone that it was their best sounding record that they were ever going to put out. And I always say that you can argue this with any record and not everyone is going to agree with this statement, even we’ll probably disagree, but they said that it was the best record that they were going to put out, ever. So when we heard that - because we were super pressured to finish the album - that was when, all of the sudden we knew that we could just tour on it forever. We didn’t even think about doing another record, so we toured on Mutiny for about three and a half years. So it’s really fun to play it again.
Audelio: I didn’t think people would care ten years later. I think when we decided to play our first show back at Gilman, it was kind of an emotional show because we were like, “Holy shit.” The crowd went nuts. And then we said, “Let’s play more.” And then when we announced the ten year, and when we did our first ten year show for Warped Tour, we were like, “Alright, let’s see if people do care.”
Jordan: Yeah, and we did the thing for Warped Tour, and you looked out into the crowd and all you saw were tour laminates, all over. And our stage was next to the busses, and you’d just see everyone running over. It was so sweet. It feels different when you play those songs, it’s like there’s a shift in the crowd, and you can actually feel that change.
Well I know for me personally, “Mutiny” as a song is still super relevant ten years later because things in the music industry are still the same in one aspect or another. There’s still shit that isn’t perfect.
Jordan: We talk about this with artists all the time, and they have these same experiences with record labels and when you finally get control over your band again and you don’t belong to anyone else, it’s awesome.
If you could change anything about the music industry now, ten years later, what would it be?
Jordan: So, we’re going out with Good Charlotte in October with The Story So Far, and we’ve been talking with these guys about their experience, too, with their label. So one thing we could change would be what you were talking about -
Audelio: A&R’s need to let their artists be artists. I was talking to Joel [Madden, Good Charlotte] about this, and labels will sign an artist and put them in the studio to work on a record and say, “You need to write this song for radio, we’re going to push you to this pop station or that,” and it really fucks with them because it’s like, “You signed us cause you liked our band, but this song isn’t good enough.” Then you start to get pressured and second guess yourself.
That, and when a band tells a label, “Hey, we’re tired. We want to take six months off,” let them. Don’t try to be like, “No, but we have all of this booked already.” Everyone is trying to get a cut of the band, and what feels good with us is we have the option to say, “Yeah, we’re down to play that show,” or “No, we don’t want to play it,” and it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be there, we just can’t. We have other things going on.
Jordan: There was a great band in the 70’s and they were called The Carpenters and they were a brother and sister, and we were watching something on them on PBS - they were doing this anthology. And that was when they would sign you to twelve deals - and they still do, they’ll sign you for four to six records - but they were like, “You have to put out a record, you have to write,” and she became anorexic. She stopped eating and she died of anorexia. She was phenomenal - she was a drummer, but she was a singer, too. She was actually a drummer first.
But I think that’s the thing you have to change, and we experienced this with our second record. I couldn’t believe we were already going in the studio again. But that’s what labels need, they need to hurry up, and film studios do the same thing - you have a blockbuster movie, and next summer it needs to come out again or it won’t be good for them.
And you need to be able to take your time to create something that you’re happy with.
Audelio: Sometimes you just don’t have it in you for another record and you need to step away from it for more inspiration.
Jordan: And I didn’t know that that happened with Good Charlotte either, and looking back on their career, I can see it. And their new album is incredible! It’s their best record.
You guys have toured with so many different bands - I remember seeing you back in like 2010 or 2011 with The Warriors, and Parkway Drive and The Ghost Inside, but you don’t really see a lot of bands mixing those bills anymore.
Jordan: I think we’re all the same ages. We all grew up listening to the same bands and the same hardcore bands. The Descendents, thinking about that set yesterday, I was seeing a lot of dudes from straight hardcore bands going to that set, and you could put Descendents on a bill like this - on a festival that Hatebreed plays - and I feel like we were able to do that because we had this crossover sound. We were just writing what was happening, we weren’t trying to write a certain type of song at the time, and so you’re just playing with all your friends.
Audelio: That’s all we knew at that time.
On top of the Mutiny shows and the tour with Good Charlotte, you’re also working on new music for next year. What goals do you have going into the future?
Audelio: Go into the trance style.
Jordan: [laughs] Lots of EDM. Steve Aoki just remixed a Blink song and it’s insane! So I’m totally down, why not? But yeah, I know the one thing we want to do is get sonically what we did with our second album - big guitars, really great drums sounds - it just hits when you put that in your speakers. And then the same energy that Mutiny and that record had. It’s going to be a really positive record - just these sounds alone are positive. I’m more stoked on these songs than anything we’ve done before. Period. I think this will have something from Mutiny and This Will Be The Death Of Us and even something from our third record too, cause we’ll have fans that come up and are like “That’s our favorite record.” I think that everyone attaches themselves to a record differently. For us, our favorite New Found Glory record is Coming Home, and they never play anything from Coming Home, but at that time, I needed that record way more than I needed anything else they’d done.
"I'm more stoked on these songs than anything we've done before. Period." - Jordan Brown
It’s like a certain point in your life.
Jordan: Exactly! And it just crushes.
So I have to ask, because I was reading the AMA you guys did recently and came across the story about the IHOP incident in Texas, and you mentioned that if we ask about the Fireworks story in Summer Jam, you’d share that.
Jordan: Oh yeah. So did you hear about the time we went to jail with Fireworks?
Jordan: So this how, in “Summer Jam,” we got our smoothies on, dawg. We went to a mall and there was this place called Razzberry Cool, and so the lyric goes, “It’s so hard to keep your Razzberry Cool,” cause these sheriff’s deputies showed up to the mall.
Audelio: It was us and Fireworks, so it was twelve or thirteen people at the time or more -
Jordan: And we were in Augusta, Georgia, no one goes to this mall, so for us to roll in with tattoos and black shirts -
Audelio: It was a gang. So a few of us got arrested…
Jordan: More than a few. Probably about seven of us at least.
Audelio: And Baloni actually did get away.
Jordan: I was in the car, in the back of the car handcuffed, and I just see him run past this dumpster, and he just starts laughing at me and is running away.
Audelio: We got arrested because we were singing in a mall. The kid who worked there was at our show the day before, and he gave us free smoothies, so everyone started doing this chant of “Razzberry Cool, Razzberry Cool,” and then it just got even louder and louder, and that’s what did it. So a few of us got arrested. I forgot the cell number, but it has Set Your Goals and Fireworks carved into it. It was all for a smoothie.
Jordan: Man, that band was a really big tour band for us.
Audelio: They’ve become some of our best friends. We could play with them every single day and tour with be amazing.
Thank you for talking with us today! Is there anything else you’d like to add for anyone reading?
Audelio: We have a bunch of shows coming. We will make it to your city.
Jordan: We will be back in Denver.
Audelio: It’s not as easy as hopping in a van anymore, but we are working on bringing Mutiny to every one of our big cities. We all live all over the US now, I have two kids -
Jordan: I have two classes [laughs]
Marquis theater. Mutiny.
Jordan: That’s probably the best venue here, for sure.