“We’re more aware of being in a band for the right reasons and actually playing together.”
When Set Your Goals released their debut album, Mutiny!, in 2006, the San Francisco pop punk band didn't realize that it would lead to sold out tours around the world, two more records and a chance to make an impact on lots of people. Following drummer Mike Ambrose's departure in 2012 and the band's indefinite "hibernation" in 2013, the rest of the members pursued other projects and played with other bands. However, in 2015 Smartpunk approached the band about pressing a special record on vinyl to mark the 10th anniversary of Mutiny!.
"So we figured, at that point, it didn’t make sense to not play shows in support of the record," singer Jordan Brown explains to Myspace.
On a cold December morning with Santacon in full swing, Brown, Ambrose, singer Matt Wilson, bassist Joe Saucedo, guitarist Audelio Flores, Jr. and guitarist Daniel Coddaire met me Angelica Kitchen in the East Village for a hearty vegan brunch and to chat the past, present and future before they were to play at The Marlin Room in Webster Hall later that night.
Since all the members are now spread throughout the US, they have become "Weekend Warriors" and aim to play on the weekends unless they're able to tour abroad. But before they even got back onto the same stage together, Set Your Goals had to reach the same synergy that they had years before. And while some bands take a while to find that sweet spot, Flores admits it was much easier this time around.
“We thought it was, but when we came together on the first of rehearsals, it was just like we haven’t seen each other for two weeks," he says. "It was like, 'All right, let’s get back to it.'”
However, Ambrose also admitted that it was different because they had to learn how to play together again.
"It was cool to come back together," he admits. "It was a totally different dynamic. We relearned how to play like a band. Well, we’re in our 30s now. If we can’t play pop punk songs well, then we shouldn’t be a band. So we spent a lot of time and really got good at playing together. It feels great. We’ve had a lot of friends at a lot of these shows who’ve seen us throughout the years come up and say, ‘You sound better than you ever have before.’ And that’s really encouraging because that’s priority number one." Adding, "We're more aware of being in a band for the right reasons and actually playing together."