THE READY SET: ON BEING EX-EMO, MAKING HIS BIGGEST HIT IN GARAGEBAND, AND HIS NEW SOUND
STORY // ANGIE PICCIRILLO
PHOTOGRAPHY // MALLORY TURNER
For all the other OG Emo Myspace fans out there like me — get ready for a truthbomb that will make your brain explode: The Ready Set’s mega hit “Love Like Woe” was made completely in garageband. I’ll give you a moment here if you need time to reassemble your brain… because also, The Ready Set has returned with new music that is more electro-pop leaning but still emo at heart, and like, we couldn’t be happier.
The Ready Set originated back in 2007 — and lead singer, writer, producer, all-the-things-etc. Jordan Witzigreuter had quite possibly the best emo bangs of all time (sorry, Pete Wentz). So now that it’s over ten years later, the newest iteration of The Ready Set has emerged bangless — Gasp — but with new tunes that will make you forget anyone ever breathed the word “emo” at you as a derogatory comment. And no, Jordan hasn’t gone electro in order to “stay relevant,” because most people are brainwashed into believing “rock is dead,” but like, they’re actually sorely mistaken.
Of his new more electronic sound Jordan says, “I think it’s a natural progression, — I think it’s definitely bad to chase trends for the sake of staying relevant.”
With his newest album, “V1” — it’s easy to see the growth The Ready Set has undergone. And he manages to ride the line of more organic tracks like “Feeling Something” to the more complicated heavily produced tracks like “Let U Go.”
It’s seriously upsetting to try and stamp a genre stamp on a band you like — so I’m not going to try and do that here, because it’s just no fun for anyone. But, if you love alternative indie pop with electronic production — I urge you to check the new stuff from The Ready Set ASAP. And not to worry, he also has cool hair — still.
You were previously considered to be one of the original “emo” musicians (and also pop punk, yay!) — how do you feel when people refer to you as “emo” or “pop punk”?
Jordan: I think I was definitely part of a wave early-on of the emo-pop resurgence via MySpace and all that, but I definitely couldn’t take credit for being one of the originals! I always thought it was really interesting that I got sort of lumped into the “pop punk” category — I think a lot of it had to do with the bands I toured with early on and the way I would translate the songs live into a more full-band thing. At the heart of it, my stuff has always been electronic pop. I’ve always really liked the idea that I could sort of bounce between worlds and fit in on lots of different lineups though.
Do you think you’ve grown beyond the description of “emo”?
Jordan: Growing up, I remember “emo” being used as this sort of insult, which was always crazy to me. All music is obviously emotional, but there was this weird stigma for a while. When I started TRS, I wanted to do something so bright and so positive sounding to almost combat the darkness of the scene my other bands were in, which was super heavy (and really very fun, looking back). As I’ve grown up, I’ve almost started to embrace that more. This project has always been pretty bright and happy, but for the first time in a while i’m feeling like it’s natural to be a little more personal and honest with things. Ultimately, I think we are at a point where genres aren’t really as important.
Everything on “V1” sounds way more electronic than “Love Like Woe” — what would you say to previous fans who might not be expecting the shift toward electro-pop?
Jordan: It’s definitely a bit more production-centric, which has a lot to do with the fact that I spend 99% of my time producing music. I guess more or less I just learned a lot more tricks and techniques on that end. Realistically, I feel that I’m starting to, slowly, find exactly what I’ve wanted and intended TRS to be. The funny thing is that “Love Like Woe” was made completely in garageband, no live instruments or anything, so it was very electronic, but in a different way I guess!
How has your songwriting/producing process changed along with your sound?
Jordan: It’s different every time I write something, but the production end of things has definitely been a way more time consuming part of it. I always want all my songs to feel different from each other, so I end up editing things and going back through things so much more than I used to.
Do you think that the rock genre in general has to include electro-elements in order to stay relevant? Or do you think that it’s a natural progression that comes with technology?
Jordan: I think sticking to your guns and growing without forcing anything will always be the best thing. I have another project called Nekokat that’s a bit more on the rock end of the spectrum, and we are actually using less and less electronic elements. I think there is gonna be a big resurgence for organic stuff soon.
Songs like “Life in Pink” seem like more of a throwback to your “pop punk” sound — how do you think this song is similar or different to what you were doing back in 2010?
Jordan: That song was definitely me trying to capture this vibe of “what would 2007 me do”, and then applying it to a modern sound and concept. The melodies and structure of that song are very intentionally leaning toward the pop punk thing. It makes me super glad so many people caught on to that intention, but I think it’s still fairly different from what I was doing back then. Or maybe it’s not — I guess I don’t really think that much into it. I just know that song was super fun to write and produce.
This EP is named V1, so I assume there will be a V2…. and possibly a V3? Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Jordan: Definitely a v2. Who knows what’s after that. I had v2 finished before v1 came out, but I ended up scrapping most of it because I think it could be better. I’m still working on it — in the midst of three other production projects and my other band I mentioned earlier’s new EP, so I’m in this weird whirlwind of trying to do a ton of things at once, but it keeps things interesting for sure!
What’s next for The Ready Set?
Jordan: I’m gonna sit down and make a lot of songs, and then I’m gonna release them, and hopefully get a chance to get back out on the road and play some wild shows. Touring has started to feel like the missing piece, as it’s been almost 2 years since my last full US tour. It has to happen, but it’s something that I know will present itself when it’s really the right time. Either way, I’m excited for all of it. Lots more to come!
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