With a focus on catchy choruses and anthemic energy, Set It Off evolved from youthful pop-punk to driving, synthesizer-accented rock over the course of their first decade. Like contemporaries Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco, the quartet matured with each subsequent release, from the straightforward punk blasts of their initial EPs to their major-label debut, Cinematics. By the time 2016's Upside Down was released, Set It Off had incorporated electronics and pop-friendly sweetness in their increasingly radio-friendly sound.
Formed in Tampa, Florida in 2008, the Los Angeles-based band issued a series of raucous pop-punk EPs — Baby You Don't Tripajaharda (2008), Calm Before the Storm (2009), and Horrible Kids (2011) — before signing to Equal Vision Records in 2011. Comprising founding vocalist Cody Carson, guitarists Dan Clermont and Zach DeWall, bassist Austin Kerr, and drummer Maxx Danziger, Set It Off released their debut full-length Cinematics in 2011 and watched it land on the Billboard 200. Two years later, they delivered the R&B-infused Duality, featuring production by Brandon Paddock as well as contributions from Tommy English and Matt Appleton. That year, the band's cover of Ariana Grande's "Problem" was included on the Fearless Records compilation Punk Goes Pop, Vol. 6.
In 2016, Set It Off — now a quartet after the departure of bassist Austin Kerr in 2015 — returned with Upside Down, featuring the single "Life Afraid." The set was their highest charting to date, peaking just outside the Top 50 on the Billboard 200. Two years later, they left Equal Vision for Fearless Records and released the edgy pop single "Killer in the Mirror." The song was included on their fourth full-length, Midnight, which arrived in 2019. Produced by Mike Green (State Champs, All Time Low) and Brandon Paddock (Panic! At the Disco, Papa Roach), it also included the single "Lonely Dance." ~ Neil Z. Yeung & Jason Lymangrover