We Came As Romans have released their first single since their self-titled recordand it gets back to the heavier WCAR many fans missed the last time around. While it’s still got Kyle Pavone’s clean vocals thrown in and is not the heaviest track of their career, it endeavors to set the tone for the next, as yet unannounced, record.
In our last interview with We Came As Romans, the band admitted that there were things that they tried with their most recent record that did not end up being successful and they were eager to return to their roots. The new song, “Wasted Age,” is the first that the band have released on new label Sharptone Records and without drummer Eric Choi.
The band had this to say about the new song:
“When we got together and wrote ‘Wasted Age,’ we realized it was a snapshot of what we‘ve been through and are still going through as a band,” WCAR said about the song. “We are eager to play this every night on the Unbreakable Tour with Parkway Drive. This one is for our fans who continue to support us. Thank you.”
And of Choi’s departure:
“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the 10 years we’ve spent with Eric in this band and the countless memories we’ve made together. He is an extremely talented musician and a great person, but life happens andwe‘re all torn in different ways as we grow older. Eric has chose to pursue a different future than we have, and as someone we respect and deeply care for,we need to allow him to live his life. The band will continue on and Eric will be successful in whatever he chooses to do and we only wish him the best.”
We Came As Romanstalked with us at the Rock’n Derby festival in New York about how they beat Memphis May Firein a burrito eating contest, what they’d do differently on their next record, and how Kyle Pavone creates his own made-up words and imaginary god to worship pre-show.
First off, for a band whose music is so heavy and full of rage, the dudes in Miss May I are some of the nicest guys we’ve ever interviewed. So we treated them to a five star experience by cornering them in a stable next to a hay bail and asking them why they weren’t invited to the WCAR vs Memphis May Fire eating contest. Both MMI and For Today were left out of the event, so we’re thinking a round two is in order. And for the record, Levi Benton is definitely down.
GRAMERCY, NYC – The Road to Bands VS. Food Tour may have been an odd tour title, but named an unforgettable night (April 23rd). Featuring the bands Sworn In, Wilson, Miss May I and We Came as Romans, the line-up was diverse, but oh so satisfying. Starting with Sworn In definitely got the room going wild, especially the crowd killers. Tyler Dennen (Vocalist) fueled the audience as everyone raised their fists and yelled the lyrics with him. When the song “Sunshine” kicked in it got real. Coming down into the crowd, Tyler became surrounded as he continued to scream out the words along with everyone else. It was an epic moment and a great turnout since Sworn In’s previous New York shows were filled with technical issues and illnesses. Luckily their curse was broken and they were able to put on a sick opening to the night.
The fourth full-length record from the Michigan group We Came As Romans hits almost all the right notes. The band’s self-titled touches on some of the major themes of life: identity crises, falling in and out of love, and the ever-changing nature of the world as a whole. Some pretty heavy stuff, but We Came As Romans have never shied from heavy topics.
Musically the album showcases a broad range of styles. There is, of course, the traditional hardcore screaming over thumping guitar riffs and pounding drum beats. But they also incorporate pop punk elements, repetitive choruses and a strong electronic tone that hums throughout the album. It’s a range that works well.
In “Flatline,” the opening verse gets crooned out with a whiny Tom Delonge-inspired voice, hitting a pop punk high note that carries throughout the album. The song “Who Will Pray” juxtaposes a deep life question (“If I fall too far, disappear in the dark/ Who will pray for me tomorrow?”) with some computer licks that could feel just as at home in an Imagine Dragons song. “Defiance” also starts with electronic strumming, seeming particularly influenced by early-2000s Linkin Park. But We Came As Romans’ use of metaphors sets them apart. In the second verse of “Defiance” they sing, “Ready to contend, ready to withstand/ Open up these walls built to keep you out/ Nothing you say can make me give up/ I’m persistent like a river cuts through a rock.”
While WCAR pepper the album with electronic beats and synthetic sounds, it never becomes too much. The self-titled’s electronic undertone helps keep a continuous theme as the songs jump from semi-ballads like “Memories” to full on hardcore affairs like “Regenerate.” It works as a unifying theme and helps make the album cohesive, even though they pull from all corners of the rock world for each song. It’s a solid album, and a great addition to We Came As Romans’ discography as a whole, but not the second coming of the rock gods.
We Came As Romans premiered their new single “Tear It Down” on Billboard yesterday, and it turns out there is a long and turbulent story behind it and the rest of the new album. In the accompanying interview, vocalist Dave Stephens recounts how the band’s producer for this record, David Bendeth(Breaking Benjamin, Paramore, Papa Roach), tore their initial ideas to pieces. The result is a sound that blends metalcore with nu metal and gives extra attention to Stephens’ melodic vocals; a role for which he spent a lot of time preparing. Of his new vocal coach, Stephens says:
She made me do things like get on my knees and sing with my entire back and butt and feet against the wall and show me all kinds of strange things to show me how to sing properly — not to mention practicing two to three hours a day. But it worked; my range improved, my tone improved.
WCAR have also switched up their writing style in terms of lyricism for their upcoming self-titled work. “Tear It Down” represents a new phase in which the band isn’t afraid to shy away from their stubbornly positive words of the past:
We used to think we had to write positively about change; on this record we realized that to point out something negative or that we don’t like or makes you angry doesn’t mean positive change can’t happen.
Check out the rest of the Billboard interview here and go ahead and put “Tear It Down” on repeat. Trust us.
While you’re waiting for We Came As Romans to release their self-titled album on July 24th, hold yourself over with the music video for their single “Regenerate.” Continuing with their signature optimism, this pit-maker is all about coming together to create a better future. Battle cries from vocalists Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone echo from the middle of a vast circle pit: “This is our time to restore the faith/ Regenerate, we will be the change.” And hey, if that isn’t enough to inspire you, stay tuned for the end to watch them take baseball bats to a car. Everyone needs a little catharsis now and then, and the fans in this video sure seem to be enjoying it.
The following is the first interview in our ongoing serial “Women of Hardcore.” For more from the serial click here.
After a morning of speaking on panel, loitering in empty bars themed after literary eccentrics Oscar Wilde and H.P. Lovecraft, and meeting with an artist for a friend’s tattoo consultation, I remember it’s almost time for my interview with Katie Cole, drummer of Ohio band Dangerkids. Stranded in the lower east side of perhaps the loudest city in the world, I try to find a quiet place. The bar I end up in is playing music and has no service. Turning the corner, I cubby myself in the frame of the backdoor to protect Cole’s answers from the wind. There, she tells me all about the upcoming Dangerkids record, the band’s recent tour in Europe, and how to laugh it off when dudes think you’re the drum tech and not the drummer.
First thing’s first, I apologize for New York City’s screeches.“It’s okay,” she assures me, “I was just in the weirdest place ever. I was trying to find a quiet place too. I went into this coffeehouse; it was so loud and no one spoke English.”
“Where are you?”
Though the drummer is back at home, she and her bandmates recently ended their European tour–where you’d actually expect a coffeehouse to be filled with non-English speakers.
“What was your favorite place you visited?”
“Scotland. Just ‘cuz everyone there’s crazy. They just like to party and have fun.”
Anyone who has heard Dangerkids’ debut record, Collapse, knows that fun is a big part of the band’s M.O. I tell her how the first time I saw the Rise Records band, they were opening for We Came As Romans in NYC. We all know that opening bands can be pretty insufferable, but Dangerkids were so assured and animated they nearly stole the show. It’s a refreshing change of attitude in a scene where bands can take themselves too seriously.
“I get excited to play any time,” she says, “so I smile the whole time. We all get really pumped.”
“During that night’s set over a year ago, Tyler (Smyth, M.C.) said something between sets about not letting anyone tell you you can’t do something, especially because of your gender. Do you have any personal experience with that?”
“I honestly don’t get as much hate as I ever expected to,” she admits. “Obviously there are some people who will judge you or think you’re not gonna be good at what you’re doing because you’re a girl, but I don’t see it too much. Most people who hate the most on it have never even listened to us or haven’t even seen us play. I feel like after people watch us they don’t tend to hate on it as much. A lot of people think it might be a gimmick or something like that, but they tend to respect it after we play.”
I share with her that when I go up to band members after shows, sometimes guys automatically assume I’m a groupie.
“Yeah, God I hate that! No, that’s so crazy. I’ve seen that so many times and it makes me so angry. People always think that I’m doing merch or that I’m a drum tech or something. That was the funniest thing. We played this show and I was sitting on my drums, about to play, and one of the sound guys on stage was getting so angry. He was just like, ‘Where’s the drummer?!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m the drummer. I’m setting up my stuff…’
“He didn’t even know you were in the band?”
“Exactly. No one ever thinks that when I’m setting up my drums. They’re just like ‘Oh, she’s just setting them up.’
“That’s kind of cool though, on the other end of it, because you get to surprise them.”
“Yeah. I don’t let it bother me. I think it’s funny.”
“That’s a good attitude to have about it.”
“Yeah, you should be that way too.”
Interrupting the interview, an old, unshaven man hobbles by and stops to talk to me about some nonsense. I point to the phone. He keeps talking until finally, my frantic hand motions are enough to shoo him away. I return to Cole in my ear, talking about playing Rock On The Range on May 15th. “Other than that [we’re] just finishing the album,” she says. “Once we get that done we’ll be able to play a lot more shows.”
“What can you tell me about the new album?”
“I really really love it. I love the direction that it’s going. It just sounds more like Dangerkids. We’re developing into our own style. There’s a lot more radio rock, a little bit less screaming. But it’s really cool, I feel like anyone can get into it.”
“What was one of your favorite songs off your first record?”
“One of my favorites is ‘Cut Me Out.’ That’s one that a lot of people don’t really know; it’s not one of our big singles. I really like that one, it’s really fun to play on drums. ‘We’re All In Danger’ is probably my favorite to play on drums because it’s so fast—it’s exhausting.”
“I know you said the new record is going be more radio rock, but is it still going to be that fast-paced vibe that we got from the first album? Or is it gonna be totally different?”
“There are a couple heavy ones that if you’re into heavy music you’ll be like (she cheers). There’s also a couple really fast songs. We actually opened with one of them when we were in Europe. So it’s got a lot of similar stuff as the first record. I think anyone that liked that record will definitely love this next record.”
Wrapped in what she’s saying, I hardly pay any mind when someone bursts through the backdoor I’ve been sheltering in and slams my body off onto the sidewalk. It’s also warm enough outside that the ice cream trucks are on patrol and sounding their creepy songs down the street. Note to journalists: Avoid this situation at all costs.
With a finger in one ear I concentrate on Cole with the other as she begins to tell me more about her touring experiences.
“Our first tour was with Sleeping With Sirens. The first show—I think it was in Atlanta; it was at the Masquerade—we went on and in the middle of our first song [“Countdown”] the track cut out. It ended up being okay, but it’s always really scary when that stuff happens.”
“Who are your favorite bands to tour with?”
“Sleeping With Sirens is really fun to tour with. I really like We Came As Romans. We toured with Silverstein too which I thought was really cool ‘cuz that’s one of the bands that I used to listen to all the time.”
She pauses, then adds, “I don’t really listen to a lot of heavier bands. I’ll check them out and I like it, but I usually listen to pop and emo music from back in the day.”
“What other bands do you listen to from back then?”
“I love The Used; they were one of my favorites. I was obsessed with Green Day when I was younger; they got me into everything. Taking Back Sunday…any band like that. But The Used is definitely my favorite. I love Underoath too, they were great.”
We bond over the importance of Underoath for a minute. “Aaron Gillespie is my favorite drummer,” she says. “I really looked up to him for a long time and he kind of helped my style develop. He just plays interesting things. I’ve never seen someone play the types of beats that he plays, and he has so much energy live. He’s really fun to watch.”
“Favorite Underoath song?”
She goes with the anthem, “Reinventing Your Exit.”
“How would you describe Dangerkids in one word?”
Cole struggles for a moment. Finally, she comes to an answer. “Motivational,” she chooses. “A lot of our songs are about getting through tough times. It’s crazy how music can do that. I’ve always really liked sad music and film scores. If I’m ever feeling down, I listen to that kind of stuff because you just feel it so much. If I’m not doing that I’ll listen to Kesha.”
“People always take very different views of the saying ‘Music saved my life.’ Where do you stand on that?”
“I feel like my whole life basically revolves around music. If it wasn’t for music I wouldn’t be playing drums, or be in a band, or doing anything that I love, really. I’ve always loved to be able to travel and play for people. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have music. So I think that’s definitely true for me. I think it’s true for everyone in the band.”
Before hanging up, she turns back to the film score question and divulges that her favorite soundtracks are from Titanic and Forest Gump. Last words?“Hans Zimmer is dope.”
Expect the release of Dangerkids’ sophomore full-length record sometime this summer.
Ah, spring break. That mystical time of year when the world (supposedly) begins to thaw and stupid decisions become a mandatory cultural practice. Regardless of whether you’re in school or if you’ve just got a case of spring fever, it calls for some celebratory tunes. Even though we still wear black head to toe, we know how to appreciate a bit of sunshine. So we’ve assembled some star tracks to blare down the highway with or to chair dance to as you’re sipping your second margarita (which are hopefully mutually exclusive activities). All you’ve gotta do is scroll.
“Filth Friends Unite” by I See Stars
Sometimes when you want to have a good time, you’ve gotta get a little filthy. Self-destructive behavior shouldn’t be encouraged, but let’s be honest, it does happen from time to time, and being bad can feel oh so good. So if you’re into finding friends in the filthiest places, press play on this I See Stars anthem. –Taylor Markarian
“Another Song About the Weekend” by A Day To Remember
Everybody wants to get out of their hometown at some point, and your spring break is the best time to do it. This popcore ADTR jam is one of our favorite b-sides from the Florida rockers and the perfect tune to pop into your car stereo as you take your road trip to wherever the hell your heart desires. –Natasha Van Duser
“I Knew You Were Trouble” (Cover) by We Came As Romans
Melodic metalcore covers of pop songs are always a sinfully sweet treat, but nothing beats watching Kyle Pavone get the short end of the stick in WCAR’s version of Taylor Swift’s major hit. The guy just can’t win, and it’s hilarious. From bitching out during a tattoo session to getting ganged up on in a pool hall, it’s clear that the dude isn’t getting the girl anytime soon. The song itself is also a great adaptation that’s equally as catchy as the original and infinitely more badass. -TM
“Wake Me Up” by Crown The Empire
Crown The Empire blew up when their debut full length The Falloutdropped, however their Limitless EP in my humble opinion still holds some of the best work they’ve ever written with “Wake Me Up” being the staple. Combining catchy riffs, melodic vocals, heavy breakdowns and even dubstep, “Wake Me Up” is one of the most dynamic tracks to celebrate the warmer weather with. –NVD
“Deja Vu All Over Again” by Alesana
“Raise your glass to rock and roll” are the words we live by and this track from Alesana’s The Decade EP helps us celebrate that fact. Get yourself to a bar and toast to your friends and to the music you revel in, and on the way there blast this Ode to the Art Form. –TM
“For You” by Get Scared
If I could happy dance in my underwear like Tom Cruise all day to this song, I would. Hands down one of the most poppy things Get Scared has ever released, “For You” proves that warm weather and good feels can even make a heavily emo-influenced band smile. –NVD
“The Best Of Me” by The Starting Line
The Starting Line’s signature track, “The Best Of Me” has been a banner song for pop punk kids for years. Though The Starting Line have ceased active writing and touring, with the exception of a few one off shows, “we got older / but we’re still young / we never grew out of / this feeling that we won’t give up” is a sentiment that still holds true. (Besides, TSL are supposedly coming out with new material in 2015…#DefendPopPunk) –TM
“Elevated” by State Champs
Spring Break and summer are both seasons basically designed for going to music festivals, spending time in the sun, and listening to upbeat pop punk. And if there’s one new pop punk band to listen to, it’s definitely State Champs. Heavily supported by the hardcore scene (always touring with Vanna), State Champs delivers some of the most in-depth, yet still catchy tracks in today’s scene. Roll down your windows when you blast this one. –NVD
“Rodent” by The Menzingers
Even though the lyrics carry some tangible angst, “Rodent” is a modern punk rock track with a feel good vibe. Sure, it’s fed up with you and your bullshit, but the frank lines “I don’t care anymore / I’ll let it all go” make it all kind of okay. Roll the windows down, put some shades on, and drive down whatever highway you can and escape from the rodent in your wall. –TM
“A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More ‘Touch Me'” by Fall Out Boy
You can’t have a Spring Break playlist without at least one old school Fall Out Boy song. Before the foursome were selling out arenas around the world and writing songs with Courtney Love, they were growing up in the suburbs of Chicago trying to get the girl next door–and apparently failing miserably. Isn’t that just the story of everyone’s teenage and college years? It’s the perfect track to unwind to all week long. –NVD
Click below to listen to the full playlist on Spotify and YouTube!