Tampa Band, Set It Off, have maximized their creative synergy to bring to life their own Pop and Electronic infused niche that is idiosyncratic and abounding with heart. Gearing up for the upcoming release of ‘MIDNIGHT’, I caught up with Lead Vocalist, Cody Carson, to discuss the paradoxes of facing rejection, the power within realizing your worth, being proactive and aware of anxiety triggers stemming from social media, choosing not to sacrifice your moral compass for success and more.
Congrats on the upcoming release of ‘MIDNIGHT’. Tell us about the creative and recording process so far and what you have learned along the way.
Thank you so much! It is been an absolutely amazing process filled with growth, vulnerability, and experimentation. Once we had our start date to begin the record, it wasn’t an endless grind every day to try to produce what we consider to be our best songs yet. We came in with around 60 ideas and wrote as many songs as we could to end up tasking ourselves with narrowing it down to just 15. This will be our longest release yet, and we’re happy to say that we feel this is the best we’ve been.
What new techniques or skills did you acquire during the process of record ‘MIDNIGHT’?
For me personally, three skills that I honed in on the most were learning when to subtract rather than add, fighting for the best possible metaphor (that I have never heard before) whether it be one line or the concept of the song itself, and how to come up with better titles for the songs overall.
Showcasing the human in you, what is a challenging thought that you recently had and were able to overcome over time?
Rejection within my career. It is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to personally face because in all honesty, we are talking about our dreams. For someone to make you feel like your dream doesn’t count or that you’re not wanted is a hard pill to swallow. That’s how I felt in November of 2017, right before we started creating this album due to being dropped by people we were working with in the past. But we needed that feeling, it’s good to feel low sometimes, because if we never did, we would never know exactly what we have to fight for. It gives you time to realize your own worth and refuel that fire to succeed.
What is your perception on the digital world that we live in and social media culture?
I think like anything in the world it has it’s pros and cons. It is incredibly convenient that we can access any song we want to whenever we want to because of the digital world. It is also incredibly hard for musicians to sell the albums they create now due to the format of digital streaming. But then you factor in that anyone can access your music with incredible ease and you can’t really complain. Another example is that we are simultaneously the most connected and disconnected we have ever been. Random phone calls or knocks at the door used to be an exciting thing with a positive connotation and now it triggers anxiety. But we also have the ability to talk to whoever we want to whenever we want to on a device just bigger than our hand. Just like anything in life there are positive sides and there are negative sides. For me personally, I think we’re extremely lucky to have the technology that we do.
No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.
I take pride in the fact that each member of this band will never sacrifice their integrity or their moral compass to gain success. I pride myself in the fact that I will always be real with all of you, If I’m happy you will know it, if I am sad you will know it, and you will know my flaws. I don’t want there to be a separation between who we are supports us. I want Set It Off to be a home where people can go to cope with everything that they are going through or have been through.
As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?
Funny enough, but by feeding it more stimulus. I am a big believer in positive distractions. I deal with my problems, but if they are too hard to face in that moment, then I will just turn to video games, music, or movies. It is okay to take your brain away from stressful situations sometimes. Personally, video games are my escape from the real world.
You have toured with a wide variety of musicians over the past years and have played at some major festivals. Tell us some words of wisdom that you collected along the way.
There is something that can be learned from every artist no matter if they’re outside of your genre or a spitting image of yourself. You can learn what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. You should constantly be evaluating how you can better yourself. I’m happy with the fact I will never feel secure in my level of success because that means I will always feel that I have room to grow. Playing shows alongside people who have the same passion as you is the perfect place to learn.
If any of our readers have never been to Tampa, what are three of your favorite restaurants that you recommend to visit?
This may not be a restaurant, but if you go to Florida in general and don’t go to Publix and get a Publix sub from their deli then you’ve wasted your trip! You can customize whatever you want and they will do it with a smile. I miss it so much! Also, my favorite date spot in Tampa is definitely Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club, it’s a real intimate vibe with craft cocktails and amazing food. Right up my alley!
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Yes! We are lucky to have you. We are also very lucky that you’re so kind to each other and also some of the funniest people we’ve ever seen online. Thank you for being a part of our lives and for letting us be a part of yours. Here’s to the new era of Set It Off!
Florida Rapper, RuudAwakening, sets his inner intention to make music for listeners to be able to listen through to dive deeper into themselves. In celebration of the November 13th drop of ‘CATHARSIS’, here’s our track-by-track thoughts.
Kicking off with the first track, “Magic”, RuudAwakening opens with a haunting instrumental that blasts into profound songwriting as Ruud spits about knowing that his freedom is worth every single risk that he is willing to take to ensure that both him and his family experience a life full of everything and anything that they desire. The second track, “Ice”, takes listeners through the crevices of RuudAwakening as he tells it exactly how he feels and lets the world know that what he currently cares about is adding ice to his wrist and around his neck to remind himself that he has what he takes to make it in the bright lights. “Paradise” is the third track that slows it down into an R&B style that ties in a Jamaican twist that showcases a cultural flare that will put RuudAwakening away from the pact of what’s common these days in Hip-Hop. The fourth track, “Freedom”, lyrically twists and turn through mass societies sprawled out perceptions of freedom as RuudAwakening sheds light on what his thoughts are on all of them from the outside looking in. “Binks” is the fifth track that instantly mimics the likes of Ab Soul back in his ‘Control System’ days as RuudAwakening showcases his writing skills as bar after bar listeners are led into a place of awe.
The sixth track, “Runway”, takes listeners deeper into RuudAwakening’s heart as he lyrically attempts to attract the apple of his eye and reminds her that she will always be the one no matter what trials and tribulations that they experience. “LMR” is the seventh track that takes listeners down the road of inner suffocation as RuudAwakening shows all of the ways that religion can stifle as the chorus screams that he is ready to move past the belief systems that he was brought into and only held him back throughout his youth. The eighth track, “Fallen From Grace”, candidly speaks about the gradual humbling that comes through tough life experiences that have left RuudAwakening simultaneously hardened and awakened. “The Worst” is the ninth track that twists it up to take listeners into the guts of RuudAwakening as he doesn’t feel the need to pull the curtains on his darkness and lets his dark side unleash without any remorse. Closing out with “Thank U 4 Sharing”, RuudAwakening mimics Chance The Rapper as he reminds listeners and his fans that he is grateful for each and every one of them that have joined him along his journey.
If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as The Underachievers, Joey Bada$$ and Ab Soul then keep an eye on the promising ride ahead for RuudAwakening on SoundCloud.
Driven from engaging deeply from the heart while creating an emotional field of highs and lows through music, Tanya Gallagher out of Pensacola, Florida is coming to life throughout the upcoming August 6th, 2019 release of her EP, ‘One Hand On My Heart’. Here’s our track-by-track thoughts.
Kicking off with the first track, “Dark Side”, Tanya cuts to the bone with a lyrical dose of soul that speaks of the shadows of her dark that come to light in the midst of self-destruction while remaining hyper-aware of her own demise. “A Little Effort” is the second track that begins swiftly as Tanya lyrically explains her lack of remorse for an individual who plays hot and cold down a seasoned road of relational insecurity which ultimately leads to a sense of personal clarity. The third track, “Barren Land”, is a lyrically metaphorically rich musical gem that speaks of succumbing to crumbs when she deep down knows that she deserves the full plate.
“Mistake” is the fourth track that slows it down into a mystical instrumental that lyrically dives into the choices that Tanya has made in the past that have stuck her cells as she comes to realize that she will no longer tolerate an ounce of uncertainty in love. The fifth track, “Dolphin in the Snow”, carries a flirtatious essence that showcases femininity that carries into lyrical metaphors that balance aspects of nature and the city. Closing out with “Magic”, Tanya begins with ease as lyrics that speak of setting herself free to accept nothing short of mutual adoration and love come off as both enlightening and real to the conscious listener.
If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as Paula Cole, Sheryl Crow and the edge of Fiona Apple, then keep an eye on the ride ahead for Tanya Gallagher on Soundcloud.