In sports, even experienced players continue to practice and will do whatever it takes to step up their game. As a band, We Came As Romans are no different. The metalcore six-piece—unclean vocalist Dave Stephens, clean vocalist Kyle Pavone, lead guitarist Joshua Moore, rhythm guitarist Lou Cotton, bassist Andy Glass, and drummer Eric Choi—prove their unwavering dedication and passion as musicians with the upcoming release of their self-titled record, We Came As Romans, and taking the stage for the entirety of Warped Tour.
Amidst the summer chaos, Dave takes a moment to detail the exhaustive conception of their fourth studio album and what it took to get there.
We Came As Romans have played on Warped Tour a few times before. What are some things about it you guys look forward to?
For sure! The shows are always so big and the fans are insane. And on top of that you get to tour with bands you don’t normally get to tour with being a kind of festival tour, like some pop-punk bands we’re friends with and tons of other metalcore bands we’ve met along the way. But it’s always just such a big party. I’ve said, and I’ll say it again, it’s like a rock and roll summer camp.
It’s cool too, being able to hit so many areas that your other tours may have missed or you haven’t played in a while.
Yeah, it’s a really expansive tour. It pretty much hits every major city, which is great. And a lot of the fans too, I mean everyone comes to Warped Tour. I’ll see fans who are like, “I haven’t seen you guys since 2010! It’s good to see you guys again!” It kind of brings back some old school fans, and then of course we have our diehard fans who are just amped that we’re there and they come to see us too. But it’s a great tour and it’s great exposure, and we have fun every day.
Now, you guys have a self-titled album coming out soon. Have you been playing any of the new songs on tour?
Yeah, we’re playing “Regenerate” right now and “The World I Used To Know.” It’s great! It’s always refreshing to play new music. Of course I love our old songs and they do mean a lot, but a song like “To Plant A Seed” that we’ve played 1,500 or 2,000 times, it’s really awesome to play some new songs before we play that one.
What was it like getting into recording your upcoming record?
It’s funny, the music we had, the mindset we had, everything completely changed when we went into production in the fall. We went in with about 12 or 13 songs, I don’t even remember, and every single one got cut. We showed our producer, David Bendeth, what we thought was the best one and he goes, “What the fuck was that? Why don’t you show me something that’s going to impress me?” And we’re like, “Well, that’s our best song.” And he was like, “That was shit.”
So yeah, every song we went in with got completely cut and he goes, “You guys have done this before. I’ve heard this song 10 times. This is your fourth record. You’re just writing the same stuff.” So right off the bat we realized this record was going to be a higher caliber and a higher standard of quality so we actually took a lot of time off. We went to New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, our hometown Detroit, and we wrote songs in each city. Kind of like the Foo Fighters were doing apparently, and came back with 20 more songs and narrowed it down to like 10.
The whole writing process changed along the way and we really had to push ourselves, and push the envelope as far as we could. I think we really nailed it though in the end, it just took a lot of effort, a lot of time and a lot of writing.
Wow! When he said that, did you guys have a moment of panic?
Absolutely! We were definitely panicked for a minute. We didn’t know what we were going to write, we didn’t know what the record was going to sound like. For a minute I was like, “Wow, we’re not good enough to record with David Bendeth.” Actually one time he told me I wasn’t a good singer and I had to take a lot of singing lessons, I’ll admit it! A lot of us had to step it up. Multiple members had lessons, I won’t say who, but we all had to step up and change things to get better at what we do; become better at songwriting and better musicians.
It was definitely scary. When we went back in for tracking the first day of vocals I was so scared. I was like, “What’s he going to say? Is he going to tell me I suck again?” It was actually a really awesome moment. I started singing and he was like, “Wow, who’s that? Is that you?” And he was so shocked at the transformation I made as a vocalist and the effort I put in, and it was cool to see it not go unnoticed.
Do you feel like putting in that effort and taking the lessons has benefited you additionally in singing live on tour?
Definitely. Getting those lessons has really helped me preserve my voice and improve my range and tone. I listened to Tracing Back Roots, and I love that record and I was so proud of it when it came out, but I listen to it now and I’m like, “Man, I was not as good of a singer as I am now.” And I’m really proud of the improvement I’ve made and the band has made, and I think live now we are tighter than we’ve ever been. Eric as a drummer stepped up, Andy stepped up a ton, I’ve really improved my voice as well and I think it comes across live. I thank David Bendeth for all of that, for really pushing us. We are a better band, better writers, better musicians, everything.
We Came As Romans’ self-titled record, due out July 24, is available for pre-order at wcar.merchnow.com. You can catch We Came As Romans performing on Warped Tour on July 10 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ, July 11 at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY, and July 19 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. For more information, visit their website wecameasromans.com.