MEB staffer Rebecca Kravetz recently caught up with vocalist Dave Stephens and bass player Andy Glass of the metalcore group We Came As Romans. They discussed the band’s newest album Tracing Back Roots, the release of a new music video, and the everyday adventures of Vans Warped Tour, featuring Captain Cannon.
What is it like being back on Warped Tour? How is this year different from the past?
Dave: This year was way easier than the other year because we have a better crew, we knew what to expect mentally, and physically we knew what to pack, what not to pack. We were just more ready for it this time around, having done it once before.
Your album Tracing Back Roots was just released on July 23. How do you think it is being received?
Andy: It’s been awesome. A lot of kids are really liking the new sound. Dave is doing a lot of clean vocals now and it’s got more of an edgy, raw kind of sound to it, unlike our previous stuff that has a sharper, more dissected kind of sound. But kids are loving it. I feel like obviously there are some kids who don’t really like the change but I think the majority of our fans do, and a lot of new fans have come in from the new sound. We’ve been walking around selling CDs every day of Warped Tour and meeting our fans and just listening to how they feel about the album, and signing stuff and taking pictures, so it’s just been really good.
Dave: It’s raw, more on the rock side of things and also there are two of the heaviest songs we’ve ever done as a band too, “Tracing Back Roots” and “Present, Future, and Past.” We wrote a couple of rock songs and [producer] John Feldmann was like, “Well if Dave is going to be singing and we’re going to be doing these rock kind of songs, go write the heaviest song you can now.” We were like, “okay, cool,” so we went ahead and did that.
Does it have any sort of theme or collective meaning?
Andy: Yeah, all our albums have a meaning and theme to them. This one is called Tracing Back Roots and the reason it’s called that is because we’re taking a huge step in doing something but we’re also moving forward. There’s actually a lyric about that in a song. Never stop moving forward, never forget where you came from, always changing but always true, a tree stands strong but not without its roots. So basically it’s taking the necessary steps to move forward as a band and as people in our lives, but also remembering where we came from. So that’s kind of the theme for this one. The first CD is growing up, the second CD is that mid-area where you have a dark and a light, a duality kind of edging at you and you’re not really sure where you want to go and what you want to do, and this new one is finding a path and taking it.
The album reached #2 on the daily iTunes sales.
How does it feel to be getting this much recognition?
Dave: Sick! Mom and dad are proud. It’s actually really cool to see that. Especially to be able to just go on your phone and be like, “whoop there we are.”
Andy: It’s awesome. We all worked really hard on the record too so it’s nice to see it getting appreciated.
You released a music video for the song “Hope” off your new album. What was it like filming that video? Can you tell me a little about it?
Andy: It was awesome. We went with Dan [Kennedy] and he’s an awesome director.
Dave: It went really well. Sometimes you shoot videos and you feel uncomfortable the whole time and it’s kind of weird, but this one was really nice. We actually did a recent video with them. I can’t say what it was for or when it’s going to be out, but we were so stoked with this video that we wanted to work with them again.
You have a music video that you filmed while on Vans Warped Tour in New York. Can you tell me about that video and if it will be released anytime soon?
Andy: It will be released soon. That’s all I can really say.
Andy: We actually just got the first cut of it yesterday and even the first cut already looks sweet. We never like our music videos either and we thought it was actually pretty cool. Just keep an eye out.
You are playing three songs off your new album at Warped Tour: “Hope,” “Fade Away” and “Tracing Back Roots.” What is it like playing these new songs for the first time live? Have you noticed any fans singing along to the lyrics?
Dave: Yeah, it’s cool. It seems like every day people are knowing the songs more and more. When we first started playing “Fade Away,” everyone was like, “what’s going on?” And yesterday for example, I was now able to hold the mic out a lot and people actually knew the words. It was cool. There’s definitely been a progression.
Have there been any interesting, funny or memorable situations that have occurred so far on tour?
Dave: Captain Cannon.
Andy: Captain Cannon, a highly dangerous and extremely inaccurate superhero that we made up. Yesterday Dave and I got strapped to a chair at a bar.
Dave: Yeah, like an electrical chair. We couldn’t move.
Andy: I rode a moped (scooter) the other day with Jesse [Lawson] from Sleeping With Sirens. I covered myself in tin foil. I was wearing a Mexican hat the other day that said “asshole” on it and I was walking around.
Dave: You also wore a shirt that said “keep calm and get naked, dudes.”
Andy: Yeah dudes. Um, I kissed a guy. I’m trying to think what else happened. Oh, Dunuvin. The birth of Dunuvin was last night.
Dave: Captain Cannon’s villain.
Andy: I kissed a guy, whatever.
What different things do you have planned for after Warped Tour?
Dave: We’re doing a lot of international stuff right after this, which is exciting. We’re going back overseas to the UK, Europe, Australia, the Philippines and other things I can’t talk about. We have a new record out so we’re not going to be at home at all. We’re going to be touring everywhere.
Andy: I’m going to get tan.
Dave: I just burn. I don’t tan.
Lastly, if Warped Tour were a high school, what bands would fit under each stereotype? For example, the band geeks, art kids, jocks, popular kids, etc.
Dave: We would be the class clowns.
Andy: We really can’t take many things seriously.
Dave: Go figure. August Burns Red would be the jocks, but they’re the cool jocks. They’re not mean. They just like sports. Sleeping With Sirens would be the party animals. If Periphery were on the tour, they would be the geeks.
Andy: Stick to Your Guns is the workout group. They’re kind of the jocks too.
Thank you so much for the interview.
Andy: Thank you.
Dave: This was great.