This year, Cody Carson was a busy man. The Tampa quintet’s year started with the goal of recording and releasing their new album, Duality. And during that time, the vocalist grew a beard and drank a worrying amount of coffee. A science-defying amount. Here, he looks back on the defining moments of 2014…
Hello Cody, what were your ambitions going into 2014?
“Hey there! Honestly, going into 2014 we knew we would be writing and recording a new record so my main goal was to put together the best damn album we possibly could.”
Tell us about the recording of Duality…
“Well, honestly it was a little chaotic! We had a producer lined up to do our record four months prior to the scheduled date and three days before our start date, we were informed he could no longer do it for us due to an emergency that had come up for him. So, last minute I called a close and very talented friend of ours, Brandon Paddock. Usually it’s insane for a producer to take on a project as big as a full-length album this last minute but he not only said yes but assembled a full team and a plan with me within hours of us finding out we no longer had our original guy.”
Were there any happy accidents that led to any of the song’s highlights?
“Two things were experimental that actually came out really cool, both in the same song actually. One was in the chorus of our song Bleak December, there is an instrument that sounds like a high pitched whistle, but it’s actually a theremin. That cheesy sci-fi instrument that you usually hear when some low budget UFO comes into frame. We also tried out an electric cello in the bridge and that came out great as well so we kept them both.”
How much coffee did you drink during the recording process?
“All of it. I depleted the earth of all of its coffee. They somehow managed to replenish it so quickly though, I don’t know how they did it. But seriously, caffeine fuels my writing and productivity. I’m already very hyperactive, something about having a scattered mind while writing gets me very excited because we all end up throwing so many ideas out into the air. It just becomes a high paced-game of tennis. I love it!”
I understood you learned how to use a French Press while you were making the album – did that lead to a lot of insomnia?
“I honestly don’t need coffee to stay up until 6AM on my back staring at the window watching the sun rise, but it definitely didn’t help. It was a learning process for sure too, I made some pretty mediocre coffee but I’m better at it now. Or at least I think I am!”
Why did you grow a beard in the studio?
“Well, to be honest all of my friends always did ‘No Shave November’ or studio beards and I’ve never attempted it. Since the process was so chaotic going into the studio, I noticed some scruff and wanted a physical representation of a reward for us getting through this. Also it helped me realise that I can actually grow a beard, so that was nice.”
What’s been your most memorable show of the year?
“After just finishing the Black Mass Tour, I think I have to say playing a sold out show at House of Blues in Orlando, FL. I was able to see my mom from the stage smiling from ear to ear. I could physically see her being proud of me and there’s not many feelings that emotionally satisfying. My mom was performer as well and I just want to make her proud. I love her to death.”
What’s been your personal highlight?
“I’d have to say watching Set It Off grow show by show. We started as five kids stupid enough to leave school and chase our dreams and at first would tour non-stop to play for maybe five kids, if we were lucky. Sharing a $5 pizza on the side of the road because we couldn’t afford our own meals. I stand on stage now and see a journey and the result of hard work. It’s always enough to keep us going.”
Best film you saw at the cinema?
“Of this year? Big Hero Six! That movie was incredible!”
Who’s the most famous person you’ve hung out with in the last 12 months?
“That’s such a funny question, but if I had to say, I’ve gotten close to [Falling In Reverse frontman] Ronnie Radke and [Black Veil Brides] Andy Biersack on this tour, but they’re honestly just down to Earth nice guys. I’m gonna miss those dudes.”
How are you planning to end the year?
“Well, I’m currently in our vehicle in the middle of a 30-hour drive home from Tuscon, Arizona. I’m going to get home, dive headfirst into my bed, grab my dogs and cuddle with them. Then I’m going to take the longest shower in the world, and cook myself a healthy meal. It’s going to be paradise! Then I fly on Christmas day to see my family. I’m excited to take a little relaxing vacation for a week, but then it’s right back to work.”