Set Your Goals

Check the walls of your local music venue and there’s a good chance you’ll find a Set Your Goals sticker plastered somewhere. It’s a visual reminder of how much things have changed since the band joined the Epitaph Records roster. “On our old label, we would get, like, 100 stickers and they would be in black and white,” singer Matt Wilson explains from the back of band’s tour van. “Now Epitaph asks us if we want stickers, and the next day we have 10,000 of them.”
The differences go much deeper than stickers, but it’s a good metaphor for the progress this California band has made since their formation in 2004. When Wilson and drummer Mike Ambrose, guitarists Dan Coddaire and Audelio Flores Jr., bassist Joe Saucedo, and co-vocalist Jordan Brown release their newest album, This Will Be the Death of Us, the climate in the pop-punk scene will be notably different than when their debut, Mutiny!, dropped in 2006. At the time, pop-punk was on a decline, but now the entire genre is in the midst of a serious upswing. “The last peak was around 2000 when Blink-182 was on top of their game and the Warped Tour just had a ton of great bands,” Wilson remembers. “But I think it’s really going to blow up again this summer. So many good records are coming out, including ours. This is going to be the year.”

Set Your Goals played no small part in that renaissance, taking both the catchy pop and moshy hardcore elements implemented by bands like New Found Glory and amplifying them. “It has sort of become a trend to have a random breakdown in the middle of a poppy part, so we’re trying to stray away from that,” Wilson says. “We’re trying to make it fit a little better into the songs.”
Despite the band’s growth, the songs on the new album still retain the signature SYG sound, much of which is due to the lead-singer-by-committee vocals provided by the tag team of Wilson and Brown. “We don’t usually argue about who gets to sing what,” Wilson says. “The disagreements are usually about topics. We both have a lot of things we want to say.”

Surprisingly, the system works for the six-piece band, without much drama. For proof, check out the appropriately cute band tattoos they got on a recent tour of Australia. Tattooer Malika Rose inked each band member with an adorable koala bear. It was Wilson’s first tattoo. “Our guitarist Dan probably has the most work done, but I’ve always been too broke or haven’t quite been into an idea enough,” says Wilson. “Oh, and sometimes I’m just too much of a chicken.”

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