of WE CAME AS ROMANS
Interviewer – Chloe Over-Anderson
To be an artist – especially in the heavy music realm – is to take on the mentality and nature of a shark. On one level, you have to be hungry and willing to chase down success as if it were elusive prey. On another level, however, you have to stay moving: without development and growth, complacency and stagnation weigh heavy, dragging even the most solid debut sounds and styles into the dreary depths of monotony and boredom. When it comes to capturing this mentality and making the most of it, few bands have done it as well as Michigan post-hardcore outfit WE CAME AS ROMANS. In their expansive tenure as a band, they’ve released four full-length releases, charted #8, #11 and #21 respectively on the Billboard Top 200, performed in five continents and 40 different countries and that doesn’t even begin to touch on what they have in the works for 2017.
2017 is the start of a new era for WE CAME AS ROMANS. After a turbulent 2016 – quiet from an exterior perspective yet wrought with trial, tribulation and struggle internally. After finding more than a niche, but a home at SharpTone Records, reconnecting with their first booking agent and freeing themselves from toxic relationships that held them back, WE CAME AS ROMANS finalized the writing and recording process for their fifth full-length studio album: Cold Like War. In a word, the album represent adversity – in all of its various forms. It is a thrilling, energetic and immensely catchy compendium of songs that run the full gambit of emotion – aggression to sorrow, love to hate – to capture the fullest extent of the conflict and turmoil WE CAME AS ROMANS endured to make it to this point in their careers and their lives.
Cold Like War is part the bouncy, energetic and enthusiastic style of metalcore WE CAME AS ROMANS won over the hearts and ears of their local Michiganian scene with on Dreams and part something new and enigmatic. It is the product of triumphant successes and all-consuming conflict and despair. It is the balance of harmony and chaos that comes from pulling yourself together after nearly falling apart – that vibrant, climactic victory over a seemingly immeasurable adversity that makes it relatable to listeners from any musical background in any country. Cold Like War sees WE CAME AS ROMANS erupting into 2017 after a mysterious – but productive – senescence to once more reclaim their throne as one of the most dedicated and energetic bands the underground music has ever seen. WE CAME AS ROMANS, armed with their forthcoming and fifth full-length release, stand prepared to engulf headphones, speakers and venues worldwide like the war it so boldly symbolizes.
We had the chance to have a chat with Dave Stephens (vocals) of We Came As Romans about the recent release of Cold Like War.
Equal Vision Records played a huge supporting role in the band’s career, how do you think that has impacted on the success of We Came As Romans? And now you have jumped ship to Sharp Tone. What brought this?
Equal vision was a very supportive label and they were great when it came to growing the band. However, our contract with them expired after our Self-Titled release and we wanted to work with a different team. When you work with the same people for so many years, ideas can become stale and each release can become monotonous and repetitive. Working with Sharptone has been rejuvenating because it’s a completely new team with new ideas. They have been watching the band for years and their outside perspective is refreshing.
In the ten years and more We Came As Romans have been around, what for you would have to be the most rewarding experience?
Besides the obvious of playing shows and getting to tour, I feel very thankful to get to travel the way we do. I’ve been to almost every continent on this earth and to more countries than I can even count! That’s an incredible luxury I never thought I’d accomplish when I was growing up.
What inspired you as a band to create Cold Like War?
During the course of our Self-Titled record, none of us were very happy. We had so many plans that never came together, so many people lost faith in us and wrote us off, and the record itself never came together the way we wished it would have. When so many things go wrong and hardly anything goes right, its hard to keep your head up and look at things positively. In the end, all the negative energy helped us create Cold Like War, so it was all a vital part in the creative process. We used that energy and all our emotions to fuel writing Cold Like War.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
When we first started playing we were all 16 and 17 years old. So of course it has evolved quite a bit! We’ve always tried different things from record to record to change it up and push ourselves creatively and try to be a better band. I think the biggest difference with our music is it is much more structured, the lyrics are deeper, and our melodies are much more planned out and memorable.
Were there any challenges as a band you guys faced when beginning the new era of Cold Like War.
It was extremely difficult to take the time off tour we needed to write this record. We also allowed our social media platforms to be silent throughout this because we had nothing with any substance to say. It was important for us to take a step back because we used this time to reflect and make the best record possible. But it was very hard to stay silent and step away from everything.
How can you compare the album Cold Like War to previous albums such as Tracking Back Roots, and We Came As Romans.
Its much heavier than both of them. There is also a lot more programming and synthesizers in our new record. Our lyrics are also some of the deepest lyrics we’ve ever written.
You have a few upcoming tour dates. How do you think fans will react to a new setlist and a new era of We Came As Romans.
There is a lot of excitement around all the new material! We’ve been playing a few new songs on this 77 day tour and the reaction has been incredible. Usually it takes a few months for songs to catch on with our fans, but these songs have caught on almost immediately, which is insane! Not to mention the 98% positive reaction online. Its been very exciting and fulfilling to watch this creation come to life and be appreciated by our fans the way it has.
Clubs, Theatres or festivals, do you have a preference?
They all have their positives and negatives so I like all of them! Some of the craziest shows I’ve ever played have been in clubs because there usually isn’t a barricade and everyone is just packed into a super small room! The energy is always intense. Theaters are nice because there’s energy similar to a club but its possible to use production, lights, and other things to make the show better! Festivals are exciting because that’s when you get to play for the most people and possibly make new fans! However, its not an up close and personal experience like a club and you can’t use production like in a theater.
Are there certain songs of the new album that you’re excited to start playing live?
I want to play Encoder live so bad! We built that song to be a live song where everyone in the crowd can get wild. I’m also excited to eventually play Vultures With Clipped wings.
And one final question before I let you go. What has been your favourite album / singles released in 2017 so far?
Nomad by Kublai Khan is awesome. Cold by Gideon is a super solid album as well.
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