Currently signed with Equal Vision Records, Detroit-native post-hardcore metal ensemble We Came As Romans will soon be playing a venue near you. The band is embarking on a miniature U.S. tour along with Chiodos to close out 2014, during which they will swing by Irving Plaza for a night. The band has not released a full-length since last year, so avid listeners can expect big things for 2015. With two EPs and three full-lengths under their belts, the band has put out a Taylor Swift cover earlier just this year to keep the fans at bay. We Came As Romans put a fun spin on “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but what we are all really interested in is when we can hear some new material from the outfit. Tracing Back Roots, the 2013 release from the guys, has made waves within the genre that continues to ripple through the metal music airwaves.
Just prior to a tour cycle launching, vocalist Dave Stephens took the time to fill me in on the lesser-known details that go along with being in a band of this nature. The down-to-earth singer had intriguing insight to share. Here following are some of the more poignant moments of our conversation:
You guys have a mini tour set for December. Are you friends with the bands that you’ll be playing with?
Yeah, for sure. We’ve known Chiodos for a long time, beyond them being from the same area as us. We’ve done shows with them internationally and in America; they’re definitely familiar faces to us.
You put out a live DVD fairly recently. What prompted you to do this?
It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do; we are a very high-energy live band. It’s something we’ve always wanted to show people. It was fun to have our sound guy mix it and I’m pretty excited with how it turned out.
Being from Detroit originally, how did growing up there influence your musical preferences?
It’s certainly a very musical city. There’s lots of different bands that come out of there; a lot of Motown. It’s something that’s always been very important to us, just music in general. We are the type of people that try to listen to everything. Kyle [Pavone, vocalist] listens to all kinds of techno, which is a very popular thing in Detroit; Detroit basically invented techno. I think that’s why you hear a lot of electronica in our music. It’s just a very musical kind of place.
How do you protect your vocal cords when touring consistently?
I drink a lot of water. I try to stick to eating alkaline foods and stuff, avoid dairy products, which is difficult because I love cheese (laughs). You got to do what you got to do. I don’t drink unless I have a day off the next day, I avoid carbonated beverages. A lot of it has to do with a diet and proper warm-ups and proper breathing techniques and everything are very important to not get nodes and fatigue your voice.
We Came As Romans have done a few pop covers now, which seems to be pretty popular. Any plans to throw a few more out there?
It’s always funny, we’re always like, “Yeah, I don’t know if we’ll do another one.” Then it comes around and Chiodos is like, “You don’t want to be on the compilation?” and we’re like, “Yeah, okay.” Then we do it, it’s super fun, and we’re happy with how it turns out. I would say probably, more than likely.
Any in mind that you’d like to do?
I don’t know about pop, but I think it’d be sweet to cover a song that the whole band likes, like something by Slipknot or something by Linkin Park would be really interesting. That’s something that we’ve always wanted to do. We just really have never had the opportunity to do it. Maybe it’s something we’ll be able to do live for a tour or something.
Slipknot, big shoes to fill. What song would you choose?
Um, that’s a tough one. I don’t know, I think Linkin Park, it would be kind of cool to cover “Crawling.” With Slipknot, I don’t know, it would be difficult. I’d be down, I would do anything by them; it would be so much fun. Maybe we’ll just cover like, 10 of their songs.
What music are you into right now?
I listen to a lot of extremes. I like light, easy-listening stuff, and then I like bands a lot heavier than us like Counterparts, Gideon, Capsize, stuff like that. I like Lana Del Rey, like Bon Iver, more relaxing stuff.
What were some of the highlights for you guys as a band in 2014?
It was really cool to go to Europe for festival season. It was a completely exhausting experience, but it was so cool to play in front of thousands of people every day, people who have never heard of us or seen us. I think it was great for our band’s career to do that and have that experience. That was definitely one of my favorite parts of the year.
Touring Japan, personally, was one of my favorite things. Before, we only got to play Tokyo when we went there. This time, we got to tour the whole country. That was so interesting, the culture was so different. I’m really into food and trying loads of different food; all the stuff that you wouldn’t eat here you can eat there. We were with a lot of friends. It was such an amazing experience.
Who have you not yet performed with, but would like to?
I’m really jealous of our friends Of Mice And Men right now because I would love to go on tour with Linkin Park. We saw that and we were like, “Good for you guys, I’m so glad that you got that” (laughs). So jealous! Good for them, we’re excited, you know, a band like Linkin Park are starting to notice bands in our genre and take a liking to it.
What are the band’s plans for 2015?
Currently, we are just writing, and writing, and writing for this next record. We’re really just trying to focus on writing great songs; if the song is not great, just keep rewriting it until it is. We’ve been working for months. We’ve just been taking our time with it and making sure that the songs are great. That’s kind of the base of what we’re doing to start 2015.
When can listeners expect to hear new material?
Definitely soon. I don’t want to shout out a date yet, but we’re working and we’re starting to come up with quite a few songs, so I would guess sometime soon.
Any advice for up-and-coming bands within your genre?
I think the biggest difference with my band is I don’t think we’re all the best at our instruments or musical geniuses. I think just the fact that the six of us all work so hard is the only reason that we made it here. We worked really hard, tried to make as many connections as we could. Even when we got signed and started touring, we’re still working really, really hard, as hard as we can. I think that’s the biggest thing. Like with anything else, you can’t just sit around and expect things to be given to you. You have to go and get it. You have to make it happen.
We Came As Romans will be playing with Chiodos at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY on Dec. 14 and Irving Plaza in New York City on Dec. 15. For more information, go to wecameasromans.com.