By Matt Doria
It’s been quite a while since we heard from the blokes in Michigan metalcore sextet We Came As Romans. The last time they were in the country, they were here for the one-off local incarnation of the Vans Warped Tour, hot off the heels of their third album ‘Tracing Back Roots’. That was all the way back in 2013. We’re hungry for more, goddamn it! Well, thankfully, they hear us loud and clear. We Came As Romans are returning to Australia to support In Hearts Wake on their mammoth ‘Skydancer’ national tour, and vocalist David Stephens promises it’s going to be an experience we won’t soon forget.
“We believe in leaving everything we have on the stage,” he proclaims. “If you wanted to just hear our music, you could easily pick up a record or stream it online. When you come to see us play, you come to see a show.” Anyone that’s had the privilege of seeing We Came As Romans live can vouch for that. Though short and without any extravagant production, even their Warped sets two summers ago were vivaciously frenzied. “You arrive at our show expecting a performance, and we do everything in our power to make that happen,” he continues.
According to Stephens, a lot has changed with We Came As Romans since their last expedition to our shores. While the band haven’t undergone any significant overhauls, he explains, “We’ve all focused a massive amount of time into becoming better writers, musicians, singers, and players.” If you saw the group rock out at Warped and didn’t like what you see, don’t be quick to write their set off as an excuse to duck out for a smoke come the Skydancer tour. “Our live sound is tighter than ever before,” swears Stephens. “I love being in this band with these guys because we’re never content. We all strive to get better, play bigger shows, play more shows, make our live shows better… we’re always hungry for what’s next!”
Looking back on the last time We Came As Romans were down under, Stephen reminisces, “Sydney was a very memorable time for me. The show was great and we had a couple off days in the city following it, which never happens. When we tour, our schedule is always so busy that I never have more than a couple hours to sight-see.” Laughing, he admits, “having two full days with no commitments was almost too much to handle!” With the city at his feet, rather than a stage or studio floor, Stephens followed his heart and ran wild like an unsupervised kid in an unguarded candy store. “I went hiking, lived at the beach, caught a ferry, drank Australian beers, ate a ton of local food, got really lost, met awesome people, and had some of my favorite tour experiences ever,” he says.
While there won’t be much time to go wild this time around with a show on basically every night, Stephens is excited to embrace Australian culture once more. “I’m an explorer. I don’t like doing the touristy things or going to the touristy places,” he states. “My idea of a great day in an unfamiliar city is to meet up with some local people and experience their culture. I like eating, drinking, and doing whatever activity the locals like to do because at the end of the day, they know what’s best in their city.” Essentially, Stephens follows the In Hearts Wake philosophy of exploring, but from a reversed cultural standpoint.
Speaking of In Hearts Wake, Stephens had some very nice things to say about the Byron Bay enviro-core group ahead of their collaborative road trip. “I admire bands and lyricists that stand for something meaningful, so it’s great to be playing alongside such artists,” he says. “I was able to meet Jake a couple weeks ago when they played in Los Angeles. After talking to him for a good hour, I have a lot of respect for him and the band.”
Outside of touring, We Came As Romans have been decidedly quiet about what’s happening behind curtains. It’s been almost two full years since ‘Tracing Back Roots’ hit shelves, so fans’ appetites are starting to grow understandably wild. What is happening? Is there going to be a new album? “We just finished it a few weeks ago,” Stephens says, confirming that a new record is close to bubbling on the surface. “We were pushed harder and challenged more on this record than we’ve ever been before.”
Dedicated to making sure they didn’t drive themselves in a slump, We Came As Romans went into the studio with a clear mind, deciding not to force anything out of themselves, but rather let the material flow freely. “We weren’t sure what direction this record was going in at the start, because we were only concerned with writing great material,” he says. When they first walked into the process of making the new record, they had 36 songs. Eventually, they cut over a third of them, citing a fierce adamancy on not letting mediocrity slip its way through their thick-shelled surface. “It wasn’t about ‘hey, lets make a metal song’ or ‘hey, let’s write a rock ‘n’ roll sing-along anthem’. It was just about making great songs,” he says of the new, currently untitled album’s recording process.
Catch We Came As Romans on the Skydancer tour with In Hearts Wake, Beartooth and Storm The Sky this May/June.
Thursday, 28th May 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane (U18)
Friday, 29th May 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane (18+)
Saturday, 30th May 2015 – Roundhouse, Sydney (Lic/AA)
Sunday, 31st May 2015 – Magpies, Canberra (Lic/AA)
Tuesday, 2nd June 2015 – YMCA HQ, Perth (AA) SOLD OUT
Wednesday, 3rd June 2015 – Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)
Thursday, 4th June 2015 – HQ, Adelaide (Lic/AA)
Friday, 5th June 2015 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Saturday, 6th June 2015 – Arrows, Melbourne (AA)