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Jen chats to Dave Stephens from We Came As Romans about their new album ‘Cold Like War’

We Came as Romans have had a full on 2016. They have used this time to perfect an album that has made them proud and their fans happy. ‘Cold Like War’  is due out October the 20th. You can preorder the album here and check out their Pledge Music Campaign here. More details on the album after the interview. Jen got the chance to talk to Dave Stephens, the lead singer today. 

Hi Dave, I last interviewed you guys when you were last here in Melbourne so great to chat again.

For sure!

Your fans are counting the days now until they have your album downloaded and set on repeat.

It is no secret that your fans showed disappointment in your last album and asked for your new album to have more heavy parts in particular. You have listened to them and I believe have delivered what they were looking for. Any words for them while they get more excited by the day?

We are really stoked for our fans that we have delivered what they were looking for. We actually did a little bit of research into it. We were going into the studio kind of lost like we weren’t really sure who we were and what we want to sound like. One day our producer went on Facebook and messaged about 40 fans and asked them “ What you want to hear from We Came As Romans?’ We kind of took a quick poll and basically the fans  wanted the same thing.  They wanted us to go back to our Metal Core roots and a lot of the electronics were two of the big factors and funnily enough we miss playing the heavier music too. When we play the songs from our last record it never really felt right live, it was something that we want to do too. It is really exciting droppings songs and seeing what our fans react. Especially live right now, seeing their reactions and see how much people love them, it feels good to have given them what they wanted.

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Are you feeling more of a sense of anxiety about the way their reaction is going to be or are you confident that you have done your best work. Or both?

Before every single that we release we have ever done, we get incredibly nervous and worried about how everything was going to go. Before we released anything we had a moment in  LA when we were recording it thinking we have something very incredible here. We showed our label and their reaction was kind of the same thinking that we really had something here! Our fans were so patient when we were making it.

The more I research you to write these questions, the more I realise that it was not just your fans that were unhappy with your previous direction. You, as a band were also pretty disappointed in yourself. How difficult and frustrating was it for you to take a year off to try and prove not only your critics but yourselves as well?

Yeah, it was a really difficult year. I think that’s where a lot of the aggression and madness come from in that record and the feelings that we had when we were in that place. My favourite thing about being in a band is performing and when we are stuck at home not doing that it does not feel right. It was what had to be done. We want to make the best record of our career so we couldn’t really fit touring in as well. We had our backs against the wall and I think we came out really well. Taking that time out to focus and really take out time to work on the record is what really happened, if we had touring around the studio time we would not have been able to extend our time and the record would not be half as good as it is. It was cool to have an open ended itinerary with the feeling that we will keep making it until we were right and that is what we do. Every dollar that the band spent and every second we worked it was really down to the wire. It was cool to be able to take our time and make it perfect.

Was that year therapeutic for you in a way?

I wouldn’t say therapeutic, I was feeling very stressed but I will say it was a learning experience and it kinda made us all sit back and appreciate what we have. For a while it felt like it was slipping away and that was the worst feeling and it made us how fortunate we are to be able to do this and how much we love it. We missed it so much. I wouldn’t say therapeutic but you know now that we are back out on the road the vibes are better than they have ever been in our group and everyone is just feeling so fortunate and are happy to be here and to play every night, it is something that I almost think we were taking for granted for a short amount of time.

Let’s look at a few songs now.

I think you have answered a fair few questions on ‘Cold Like War’ from what I have read today for example, the internal war you all fought etc. So let me ask one about ‘Lost in the Moment’

A friend of mine said that when she first listened to ‘Lost in the Moment’ she felt an instant connection to the song. She feels that she is always trying to help everyone, please everyone and that sometimes she forgets her health and happiness. She has forgotten how to be herself. The major impact that made me understand how much your songs means to her is the line “We’ve been drifting through existence’ She does not want to drift anymore, she wants to experience life but just does not know how to.

Your thoughts on all that?

I think that is awesome. I have that trouble myself, I have a very hard time saying no and my down mate say that I tried to put 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag.(both laughing) It is so true, and it makes me really crazy sometimes, I bite off more than I can chew, I try to please people so often it affects my health and my mental stability at times. So yes when we wrote that song we were all in that place where we were very worried and concerned and very stressed about our future, like where is everything going to go. So your friend and I have the same frustrations in carrying too much shit.

That is actually the first song we wrote over a year ago. We wanted to base the record on that, enjoying these moments that we have together and we are doing what we love and it is definitely one of the most uplifting songs on that record. funnily enough it end up being the last Song that we worked on, there was about 10 different renditions vocally and we couldn’t really nail it till the very end. That is what we found we were able to take at times releasing to make the songs that much better.

A question about you letting Kyle meld his EDM side project into the song Encoder. That is tbh has turned out amazing as when I hear the mixing of the two genres…… I thought hmm how is that going to work. I have met Kyle a few times now and I can almost see him pleading to be let loose in the studio to be able to do this. Was that the case? Seriously though, it works!

Yeah I mean, one of the things that we were talking about we notice is that we have our side projects and the reason that we have them for example my side project is superheavy and that is what I like to play and what I like to listen to. Kyle’s solo project is the same thing, it is EDM and he likes playing that and we thought these are the things we’re passionate about so it should bring our band closer together. we should be incorporating them more in this band. So that is one of the revamps that we wanted to do for this record too. Kyle has launched pads with stuff on stage as he is doing that live now. In recording this album he has had his hands on everything and it made him fall in love with the record that much more. The same with Andy and the electronic stuff, the key element of doing this record was hindering the programming, keeping a modern, this made every song come to life so much more.

The other song that I connected to is ‘Promise Me’ has been the most played for sure. Can you take us through the writing process of that?

That song was Kyle’s little baby. I won’t lie and say that I was involved in that one and all! Kyle went to town and got really involved with the lyrics and pretty much opened up about you know how he was feeling at the time. ‘Promise Me’ was something that he worked on his laptop at home, it was pretty cool. When I heard the final version of it I think it fits into the record perfectly.

Sure does! -New drummer David Puckett, how is he going so far?

He is so awesome!   I will be honest we never thought anyone could replace Eric. We thought we were going to have somebody that would come in tour with us but we would not use people in our videos or photos, it would just be the five of us.But ‘For Today’ Did their Farewell tour and then he came out and said I know you’re looking for a drummer if you want me to play on your record like hit me up as I would be super keen. We thought cool! So he drummed on the record and he loved it and we had three shows this summer over the course over a couple months, shows that we would drive to catch a plane to so we asked him to join us. He came out, and there was just such a good connection between us and he brought so much more to the table than just a drummer. That is a great thing about our plans because everybody bring something special to the table. David is really really good at marketing and has so many cool ideas and we were going to market the record ourselves. It was great to have a mind like that working with us, everything went really smoothly. He kind of found a place in the band and defied the odds as we didn’t think we were going to add somebody. So it was cool way it worked out like it did.

Yes sounds like it was meant to be!

You guys have always been available for your fans, well you have here in Australia.  I know that there are fans here who credit you for saving their lives and having the chance to let their emotions out when they sing, yell or growl at your songs.

For each gig that you do, are you still keen to meet the fans and listen to their stories?

Yes I do, we have been doing some touring with a band called I Prevail, and we do a meet and greet before the show that people can buy tickets to and after we play I always chat around the merch table and hang out between the bands but have to stop when it gets too noisy. A couple of our shows Kyle and I went to the bar after the shows. We had some beers and met a bunch of fans and that’s really the best way especially if you’re having an off day, if you don’t feel that good, meeting the fans and hearing their stories and hearing how much our music means to them is kind of day maker!

Yeah it would be. OK last question as we have ran out of time.

Are you confident that this album has what it takes to put you back on the course you want to be on?

Yeah, like I said there was a lot of doubt and everything but now everything is moving forward  I am super confident! I don’t need to worry. I know that we have made a record that our fans want to hear and the fans are going to love it. Our team of workers are just so incredible I am 100% confident that it is right where we want it to be. 

Great! Your fans will be happy.

thanks, appreciate your time.

Thank you so much, hope to see you here in 2018.

Yes, it will be a crazy year but we will see you.

 

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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. “It [the title] is about struggle, those trials,” says guitarist and songwriter Joshua Moore. “They can turn us towards each other, towards those we love, towards those who have supported us. Because the last two years to us have felt like this giant war – an internal war – to figure out the right path for our band…to figure out how to stay together and be happy again.”

 

»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.

 

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