I had the chance to chat with Dave Stephens, unclean vocalist for We Came as Romans, before their show at the Palladium in Worcester, MA on their holiday co-headlining run with Chiodos about the tour and what’s in the works for the band next. Check out what he had to say about their next record and more below!
How did you guys come up with your setlist for tonight?
It’s a similar set that we’ve played through a few practices and we thought it felt good so we decided to bring it through this area. It’s just a good balance of newer songs and older songs and fun stuff like covers so there’s something there for everyone, from our newer fans to our older ones and everyone in between.
What’s your favorite song to sing off of the setlist?
It’s been really fun to do “Trouble”. I guess when we tracked it and everything I never really thought of it as a live song and the last couple of nights when we played it I realized its actually really really fun to play. It’s cool because it’s fresh, like I said we’ve only played it for two nights and it’s always fun to play new stuff.
What made you guys decide on that song for Pop Goes Punk vol. 7?
We had a few in mind but we just really love Taylor in multiple ways, we all have crushes on her! We thought it would be fun to do and hoped maybe we’d get her attention.
How has reaction been to the cover?
It’s been really good! The video already has I think 2.5 million views (as of December 13!). It’s been so good, a lot of people have heard it and when we play it live people are going off!
How was it putting your own spin on a song like that?
It’s always funny doing pop songs because there’s not much going on beside vocals in most of them. It’s kind of a daunting task for the rhythm section to make it their own and I guess vocally it can be challenging because pop songs aren’t always the easiest to sing. It’s stuff that’s fun and it makes you think differently and you learn new things in the process.
How do you go about adding in unclean vocals?
We just added them into the chorus for an extra umph. We thought about doing a verse with them but it didn’t really sound or feel right so we just kept them in the chorus for that umph kind of effect.
You mention you guys enjoy doing covers so if you could cover any holiday song what would it be and why?
I don’t know, that’s tough because the one I would want to do has already been done so many times, “Carol of the Bells”. That would be cool to do it but August Burns Red and a few other bands have already done it, but it would be fun to do a song that’s that intense. Most Christmas songs are so holly, jolly and happy and that one is pretty cool and epic. It would be hard to do a Christmas song, probably much harder than a pop song.
You released Tracing Back Roots on Equal Vision Records last year (2013) so it’s been over a year without new music, do you have anything in the works?
Yeah! We’re just writing and writing. If a song isn’t good enough we re-write it, and then again. And again and again. That’s sort of the process we’re in right now. We’ve written a lot of music for this record so now we’re going through all of it. It’ll be a full- length but we don’t have a release date or anything yet. Soon though!
What did you guys learn on Tracing Back Roots that you’re carrying into the next record?
We learned a lot about song writing from John Feldmann (Panic! at the Disco, All Time Low, Saosin) from working with him. It was cool to co-write songs with him and then on this new record we’ve worked with some different people and learned from them. People always think of co-writing as such a negative thing like you go in and they give you a song and you record it but it’s not like that at all. It’s just having an extra person there. It’s an extra mind and you end up writing things you may not have. They challenge you as a writer and a musician. It’s been really cool, we’ve learned a lot about song writing in the last year and a half, way more than I’ve learned in my entire life.
Who do you think has challenged you the most?
I mean they’ve all challenged us in their own ways. We’ve had sessions where the guy was like we’re going to write the song title first and write the entire song around that which is completely backwards, it’s not at all what we normally do. We’ve had sessions where we’d pull out acoustic guitars and write like that, and sessions where it was all done like that. We’ve had all different types of sessions and ways to write a song and new formulas to writing songs. Once again it’s just been such a great learning experience.
What’s been your favorite?
It was really cool being in Nashville writing. It’s such a music city and there’s so many writers there. Our manager called and told us that we had to go out there and just feel the vibe and all. So we went out in Nashville and it was such a cool experience with all of the music, and shows, and tour buses there; it was such a cool place to write music. It was unlike anything else.
What goals did you guys have when you started We Came As Romans and how have they changed since then?
When we first started we just wanted to play shows on the weekend, then in Indiana and Ohio, and then we wanted a national tour and we eventually did that. Then we wanted to get a record deal, and we did that. There’s always something new, it’s just funny each our goals change and it’s something even bigger. We’re trying to go to the last two states, Alaska and Hawaii, we’re trying to go to Africa, it’s much bigger goals than we had before. We’re always trying to reach for those big festivals and get on those. We’re all very ambitious and goal oriented. It’s hard for us to stop and smell the roses sometimes because we’re all such goal-oriented and forward moving people so our team has to remind us that we need to stop and enjoy where we are. We try to remind each other to enjoy what’s happening and then reach for even more.
So you’re reaching for more, you’re creating your dream festival who’s at it, who’s headlining, where are you in the line up, where is it?!
We got to have one of the big four metal bands, so probably Slipknot headlining, Linkin Park. Right there with those two it’s a massive festival! Let’s throw A Day to Remember on there and then a bunch of bands we’re friends with on there: The Color Morale, The Word Alive, Texas in July, Chiodos, everyone we’re friends with!
Do you have any tour plans coming up?
Nope, just working on the record! It kind of sucks we can’t tour and work on the record so when we do a record we just disappear a bit but we’ll be back when it’s done with lots of touring. We always start off a new record cycle with a ton of touring; we’ll probably be on the road for 90-100 days straight on the road.
Anything to say to fans?
Keep an eye out for a new record and announcements!