Winding roads paved with adversity have led to an enlivening rebirth for Michigan rockers, We Came As Romans, who are on the brink of the release of their most promising record yet, ‘Cold Like War’. Although the band has experienced a steady evolution since their earlier days, they are breaking new ground throughout ‘Cold Like War’ that speaks volumes of their perseverance and loyalty to their singular truth. I caught up with vocalist, Dave Stephens, to discuss the experiences that led to the band’s emotive and profoundly rich lyrical direction, connecting with fellow bands that they’re heading out on tour with, life in Detroit, tattoos and more.
Congrats on the release of your latest single, “Cold Like War”. I perceive that the band has incorporated new technical and lyrically emotive elements that highlight each of the members’ individual strengths and the progression you have made as a band. If you align, what inspired you to go down this road for the track?
We wrote this album much differently lyrically than we have in the past. Andy, Josh, and I each came up with specific dramatic events that happened to each of us in the last few years and used each of those as a lyrical starting point. Doing this and remembering every detail of those moments helped our lyrics be more visual and emotional than they have ever been. This song was inspired by the band being split in half in London on a difficult decision on the safety of going to our next show and how the compromise we made didn’t wind up being the right decision. Our band still feels the effects of it, so we decided to write a song about it!
Your highly anticipated fifth studio album, ‘Cold Like War’, is set to release on October 20th and fans are on pins and needles as to what’s to come. What was the intention behind this release?
We’ve always been a band to try new things and have never been afraid to step out of our comfort zone. As artists, nothing is more dangerous than repeating the same art over and over again and being afraid to branch out. Our last two records, we tried many things and learned a lot about what our fans like and dislike. This record is a combination of the successes we’ve had in the past and more importantly, the failures we’ve learned from. We held on to a lot of the melodic components of our last two records, the electronics we had in our very first record, and made it very fast, very aggressive, with a fresh sound!
What challenges in the studio did you guys overcome as a band this time around that ultimately gave you further understanding of the direction you desired to take with the album?
After creating so many records and experimenting with so many different sounds, we felt like we were having an identity crisis. We weren’t sure who we were any more or what direction we should go. Thankfully, our producer and record label helped us find our way by reminding us to simply write from the heart and be ourselves. It was helpful to have the entire year to create and record this record as well. We were able to focus our full attention on it and not rush through any part of it. Time was always a factor in every other record we’ve done, so it was amazing to not have to worry this time.
You guys are gearing up for a tour with I Prevail, The Word Alive and Escape The Fate. What brought you all together for this lineup? Have you maintained friendships with the members of the fellow bands?
I Prevail brought these bands together for this tour because they wanted to see bands they saw at shows growing up and had a fun time attending. The Word Alive and us have been friends for a very very long time! Before we even released ‘To Plant a Seed’, we did an EP release tour together and have been friends ever since. As for Escape the Fate, we’ve only played together a few times but I’m sure we will develop solid friendships with them all by the end of the tour. And even though we’ve never toured with I Prevail, we hang out in Detroit quite a bit so I definitely consider them great friends.
What are some of your favorite local restaurants or bars in Detroit that you frequent and recommend to those visiting the city for the first time?
Just outside the city of Detroit, there is a cool up and coming town called Ferndale that has some awesome bars and restaurants, it’s also where the majority of us live. My favorite spot there is called One Eyed Betty’s. As for Detroit proper, there is a fun gastropub called Wright & Company. It’s pretty hidden but the appetizers and small plates are fun and they craft some great cocktails.
Let’s talk tattoos. Which tattoo artists do you perceive are really standing out with unique artistry and a style of tattooing that catches your eye?
I’ve been following this guy on Instagram named London Reese. Haven’t been tattooed by him yet, but his work really stands out to me. It’s very vibrant and he brings a lot of color to his realistic portraits that make them pop! Another guy from Detroit who is coming up quick is Rob Sebastian at Eternal Tattoos Clawson. He has been tattooing several of us and does a really great job. He is very contemporary, his pieces heal nicely and still look vibrant.
Broad question, yet what are your thoughts on the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit?
Like most Detroiters, I hate the name of it, but I understand why it has its title. The Illitch’s have done a lot for Detroit and it makes sense they named the stadium accordingly. But it truly is such a beautiful stadium and will be state of the art for years to come. Hopefully, our Red Wings can make some big moves in the upcoming years and bring the cup home to it!
‘Cold Like War’ is your first full-length release on Sharptone Records. What fellow Sharptone artists have put out a release that you’re really diggin’ at the moment?
The new Emmure record caught me by surprise. I’m sure it was very hard to rebuild the entire band and still come out with a record that is without a doubt their best work. I loved the latest record by Currents as well. Lately, I’ve been very into Loathe. They released an awesome record that is more than just “heavy”. I love the synths they used in it and how different every song is. It’s amazing to be on a record label with so many talented artists!
What are some of your absolute tour necessities that help keep you creatively motivated and healthy on the road?
I built a road case for all my touring workout equipment so I can easily load it, unpack it, work out and then pack it up for the next city! Working out on tour is so vital to my mental health, physical health, and the quality of my performances nightly. I need to keep my body and mind sharp and keep my lungs working to their full ability to perform to my maximum on a nightly basis. That case is my everything!!!
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Thank you for your patience with us creating this new record! We’re ecstatic for you all to hear it!