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Matt Wilson - Set Your Goals, Sharp Dresser, Fan of The Kenmore Agency, ...
  -- Monday, May 28, 2007

What can be said about Matt Wilson that you do NOT know? A lot, I'm sure. And this interview aims to answer some of those questions. Unfortunately, his association with the venerable Pete Lynch is never brought up. Sad but true. The next time you see Matt out and about, or on tour with Set Your Goals, make sure to ask him some deeply disturbing questions. Until then, read these and enjoy.



Yo, how's your edge?

Ten years and still going strong!

How did it all begin for you? How did you get into Hardcore?

I started going to punk shows when I was 11 or 12. My friend and I would go to 924 Gilman St. and through mixed bill shows, got to see a lot of great (and some not so great) hardcore/punk shows. Things just sort of snowballed from there and I feel that getting into it that way helped me to keep an open mind when approaching all kinds of new music.

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What can be said about Matt Wilson that you do NOT know? A lot, I'm sure. And this interview aims to answer some of those questions. Unfortunately, his association with the venerable Pete Lynch is never brought up. Sad but true. The next time you see Matt out and about, or on tour with Set Your Goals, make sure to ask him some deeply disturbing questions. Until then, read these and enjoy.



Yo, how's your edge?

Ten years and still going strong!

How did it all begin for you? How did you get into Hardcore?

I started going to punk shows when I was 11 or 12. My friend and I would go to 924 Gilman St. and through mixed bill shows, got to see a lot of great (and some not so great) hardcore/punk shows. Things just sort of snowballed from there and I feel that getting into it that way helped me to keep an open mind when approaching all kinds of new music.

When did you fully realize what straight edge was? And what does it mean to you now?

Once I got over the initial stage that every straight edger goes through where you're like, "alright man I gotta X up at every show and buy as much sxe gear as possible and rep it all day every day!" I realized that it is a part of me and I don't need to prove it to anyone or even advertise it because I learned that doing that only serves to separate me from the rest of the world even more. I already feel isolated on the inside, but I don't see a point in building a wall outside myself for people who don't understand me to attack. Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of the fact that I can survive reality without the many self-destructive devices that exist to escape it, but at the same time I know that anyone can find some facet of their life to relate to anyone else's life if they try hard enough and life is too short to go around hating other people because you choose not to relate to them anyway. Basically for me it comes down to my outlook on life and drug free is the way I've chosen to live that works best for me.

Ok, let's get a few formal questions out of the way.



You sing for a band called Set Your Goals. For people who have been living in caves for the last couple of years, can you break it down for them?

Basically, it's like this: we like to have fun. Whether you like our music or not, I'm sure anyone can find something in our lyrics that relates to their life to sing along with at a show. If you haven't seen us live and you still go to shows to have fun (and some people don't) I recommend checking us out because if you're watching a Set Your Goals set and nobody is having fun, something is very wrong. Oooohhhh yeahhhhhh brotherrrrrr!

Set Your Goals style is not typical youth crew or metal hardcore. In your mind, is Set Your Goals a hardcore band? Do you think most of your fans (anti-fans too) view you as a "hardcore band?"

This has always been a tough question because it's hard for me to categorize us and I don't feel its terribly important to either. Slapping a band with a genre only gives close-minded people an excuse not to check them out in my opinion. We're all hardcore kids and ex-hardcore kids and we definitely take influence from hardcore bands but when I started this band with Jordan, we never set out to do a hardcore band or play hardcore music. I know that a lot of hardcore kids are quick to call us a hardcore band which in my opinion is open to one's interpretation of what hardcore is. I've said this before but musically we're as hardcore as lifetime, new found glory, kid dynamite, etc. Take that statement however you like. I remember when At The Drive-In got really popular people were calling them hardcore which never really made sense to me. I think some people just can't justify liking something unless they have a name for it that suits their tastes. I guarantee that your friend's 13 year old sister who listens to us in her room and the bro push-moshing to our songs with his friends in the back of the show pissing off all the core kids don't consider us hardcore. We set out to write something more pop-influenced musically, but to keep the intensity of the live shows and the lyrical integrity that hardcore has to offer and I feel like we've accomplished that at least in some small way. I think that a lot of the reason some "hardcore kids" don't like us anymore is because they expected us to play basement tours forever which is something we've planned on progressing past since the day we decided we were going to tour full-time.

Another reason many "hardcore kids" who were all about us a year ago don't like us anymore is because many of them are sheep. I use quotations around the term because I believe that when one takes on the ideals of hardcore music, part of the mentality there is thinking for yourself and anyone who doesn't do that is not a hardcore kid in my eyes. At the risk of sounding like a huge nerd, allow me to illustrate the following example: we are both frequent readers of the B9 board and anyone who has been reading that board for the past year cannot deny that a year ago there wasn't a day that went by that you wouldn't see a thread about Set Your Goals. If anyone spoke ill of us they were torn apart by other posters. Today if a thread is made that even mentions SYG there are more than enough posters standing by to put in their two cents about how lame we are. Nothing has really changed in the past year except for the fact that we've toured nonstop and reached a larger audience. Maybe I missed something but that's the way I see it. Trends come and go in hardcore and we were one of them and that era has now ended which is fine with me because I never cared about impressing anyone, the only thing that bothers me is when rumors are spread and an entire band's reputation can be damaged by what a 15 year old kid may or may not have heard from a friend, and message boards are the best/worst venues for that sort of behavior. There are a lot of fakes in this scene that prides itself in being "the one honest music scene" and it sucks but at the same time there are a lot of people who keep it real and that's what keeps it going. Surprisingly, some of the older guys I've met who play in bigger bands that tour arenas have more integrity in their pinky finger than some of the people I've met within the underground hardcore scene. I will never stop loving and supporting hardcore and I will never abandon its ideals but when I go to a show these days, I can't help but feel isolated in a place that was once the only environment I could relate to. I think that is the case with a lot of the people I've met through touring as well. They still have the same ideals they started with, they've just progressed beyond the high school nonsense that comes with "the scene."



Someone once said to me, "Here's the deal with bands with two singers. Everyone in the band is friends and want to start a band. However, two dudes can't play an instrument. One guy can obviously be the singer, but the other can't be left out so they make him a singer too." I didn't buy it (haha), but what's your take? Is two singers a key factor to the success of Set Your Goals, or are you just trying to be the next Path Of Resistance?

Honestly, we didn't plan it out like this. We didn't really plan it out at all hahaha. We started with myself on vox and Jordan on guitar, just jamming and writing songs for a demo. We never thought anyone would give a shit about us, much less want us to tour and play their town, but that's the way it turned out. As we built up a full line-up Jordan wrote the guitar parts and wanted to sing as well but we all felt that if he played while singing that it would be boring live so we found a guitarist so that we could have 2 singers. I think that it works to our benefit live because it makes for a much more intense show. I don't know that it's a key factor or even a factor to our success at all, but it does set us apart from the rest which makes us unique.

Who's cooler: Pike or Merrick?

Next question please! hahahaha Oh man you're trying to get me into trouble here!

Well I've only met Merrick a couple of times so I'm gonna have to say Pike but Merrick gets bonus points for being a much more mellow dude to deal with. There are pros and cons to each approach I guess hahaha

What bands have been getting a lot of play from you lately? What current bands are you most excited to play with?

We really like playing with Bangarang from Lansdale, PA. Great dudes and their music is really good. I hope at some point we can put out a split or put together a tour with them or something because we love their music. We met them through our friends in CDC who are always fun to tour with as well. We just finished a tour with Daggermouth, No Trigger and Hostage Life which was a lot of fun, all great bands and great people. Really looking forward to doing a tour with our friends in Fireworks in about a week as well, though I'm afraid we're all going to be arrested at one point or another for inciting a riot in a restaurant somewhere hahaha

When you aren't listening to hardcore, what are you usually listening to? Has that new Avril Lavigne song, Girlfriend ever been stuck in your head for hours?

We don't really listen to hardcore in the van any more than we do any other style of music. We like to mix it up a lot. That new Avril song gets stuck in everyone's head I think. Jordan is all about that record but usually just listens to it with headphones hahaha.

It's a huge list but I'll try to summarize: I think Brand New's latest record is incredible and I've listened to it at least a couple times a week for the past few months. That Memorial (ex-Renee Heartfelt) EP has been on heavy rotation in the van on the past couple tours as well. We would all love to tour with them. On the metal tip, the Decrepit Birth promo songs are unreal and as soon as we get our paws on the new Animosity record that will be getting some heavy play as well. Dave and I listen to a lot of Katatonia while driving.



Two shows: What was your favorite show to attend and favorite show to play? Explain why.

Honestly the Gorilla Biscuits shows were some of the best shows of my life, both playing and attending. Truly a dream come true for me. They are my fav hawdcore band of all time.

When was the last time you were urinated on? And the reason for that was ...?

On the Less Than Jake tour, Junior offered me $25 to let Jordan pee on my leg and I accepted. LTJ's stage manager Rhino saw the whole thing and told us we all need to start doing drugs hahaha

Last year, your band was in car accident during the middle of tour. Do you think that negatively affected your tour perspective or does it make you want to get out more, play harder, tour harder? "Twelve hour drives are nothing when I'm with all of you ..."

It definitely made us all sit back and put things into perspective a little bit. Joe was driving and hit a deer. Luckily we were all fine but we were stuck in Nebraska for a while. More recently we hit ice in Idaho and again we were stuck for a week after the wreck and sort of forced to reflect on what happened. It was a test of our fortitude but we're going stronger than ever now, we will just think twice before booking a winter tour next time.

Let's say I had a hardcore time machine. You have one shot to use it. What specific event in the past would you go see?

I'd probably go to around the time I was born when all the greats were coming up in DC and NYC. I'd want to see Minor Threat, Bad Brains, GB, Agnostic Front, and Cro-Mags. I'd also love to see the thrash metal acts of that era in their prime: Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, etc.

I've heard rumors of you appearing in a Teen People feature. Can you clear up these rumors?

Guilty as charged. It was a few years back and there were about 8 of us in the picture. Sarah Plante was interviewed by Teen People and they wanted a picture of her hanging out with her edge friends so we came over and ate all her chips and salsa and played with her pets during the interview and posed for some pics. I bought it when it came out and still have the issue in a box somewhere. I think maybe 3 of the 8 or so people in that picture are still edge haha



If you could tour the world with any band, like 180 days straight, who would it be?

It's a toss-up between Led Zep and The Beatles. The Beatles were larger than life and I think that would be so surreal to fly to some foreign country on their jet with them to watch them play to a sold out crowd of thousands upon thousands of people who absolutely worship them. It would truly be a life changing experience. Then again Led Zeppelin were way big too and probably much more exciting live. Plus they were complete ragers.

What one question do you wish interviewers would ask you but never do? What's the most off the wall question you have been asked?

Pretty much anything out of the ordinary is more fun than the average "state your name and what you do in the band" type of stuf; the more creative and intimate the question, the more fun it is to read. Some of the best interviews I've read have had nothing to do with music. Once I was asked what my favorite porn movie was by my friend Kirby for AMP Magazine, that was kind of strange haha

Any closing thoughts, shout outs or well wishings?

We recorded an acoustic version of "Echoes" for Punk Goes Acoustic 2 which is out now, check it out! Thanks Brian!!

Images courtesy of those who took them (yeah, real specific) and Matt Wilson.

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1 Comments:

Blogger shine said...
matt wilson is #1 awesome! this interview is brilliant!
11/24/2008 09:40:00 PM  

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