When I walked up to the tour bus to interview We Came As Romans, Dave was standing outside talking on the phone. He quietly shook my hand and explained that he was talking to his mom but I could head inside and take a seat. The tour bus was a modest size, with snacks and beverages covering the front counter. A small Slipknot poster was tacked next to the door. Dave followed shortly after me, saying “I love you” to his mom before hanging up and apologizing to me that she had called when we were supposed to do the interview. After turning off the heating vent to eliminate noise, I turned on my voice recorder and began.
Eric Pettersson, IVM: Just to start off, name and what you do in the band.
David Stephens, WCAR: I’m Dave, I do vocals in We Came As Romans.
E: You’re towards the end of the Rock Yourself to Sleep tour. How’s that going?
D: Great. We sold out every show, except for one or two. It’s been pretty insane. Definitely more than I thought it would be, that’s for sure.
E: And it’s sponsored by Motel 6, is that right?
D: Yeah, they gave us a couple of hotel rooms a night and been really good to us. All the bands are really happy to be on it, including ourselves.
E: What are your plans after the tour?
D: We’re doing A Day to Remember and the Bring Me the Horizon Tour after this. We’re doing Warped Tour. Writing some music and stuff for the next album.
E: I’m going to get back to the new music in a little bit. I feel like, since the first album came out, I just hear your name everywhere now. I have a friend who doesn’t even like metal that bought the record. And I guess I’m just wondering how you deal with that popularity, like that sudden popularity, both as a band and as people?
D: I think it’s surprised us, even since the last time we were in the States on our last headliner. You know, we left, toured Europe, toured Australia, had a little bit of time off. And then we come back out on this tour, and it’s just really blown up, like almost exponentially. And I think for all of us, it’s not only surprising and amazing, but I think it’s more than any of us could have asked for when we started this band. It’s pretty awesome. It’s weird [to have] people recognizing us and knowing our names. That’s definitely nothing I expected from the start of the band.
E: Cool. So the new album is coming out this summer?
D: Uh, it’ll be out soon. I can’t say exactly when yet.
E: Ok, something said summer online, but I know that changes all the time.
D: Nothing’s really set in stone yet, and I can’t really say when we’re hoping for it to come out, but…
E: Do you have who you’re working with yet? Like, producer or album title or anything?
D: Yeah, we’re going back with Joey Sturgis, for sure. Other than that, we’re still writing, just brainstorming a lot.
E: How does the sound compare to the last album?
D: People that like our heavy stuff will definitely be happy. People that like our lighter stuff will be happy. It’s gonna be some heavier, darker songs on the album, as well as some songs that are on the lighter side of things. We’re trying to do it all on this album.
E: Yeah, I actually posted a little news thing on the site saying I’d be interviewing We Came As Romans, “What do you want to know?” And the first thing was like, “Is the new album going to be heavier?”
D: [Laughs] I think it’s gonna make everyone happy. The people that want heavier stuff, the people that want lighter stuff, I think everyone will be happy with it.
E: I saw you’re also on the new Pop Goes Punk 3 album, covering Justin Timberlake’s “My Love.” How did you get involved with that?
D: Um, I’m not exactly sure how we got involved…I mean, I know, I think we got… Do you know, Josh? [Guitarist Josh Moore had entered the tour bus just a minute earlier.]
J: Yeah. Fearless Records approached us and asked us. Our manager also manages The Word Alive, and The Word Alive is on Fearless Records, so they were good to go for Punk Goes Pop 3. Our manager was like, “Hey, can we try to do it?” And they were like, “Yeah, WCAR can totally do it.” So they sent us a list of songs, and we were like, “Let’s do ‘My Love.’”
D: Josh already had a ton of good ideas for it. I feel like he already had the whole song covered in his head before we even looked at it. It’s funny that we’re playing it live this tour, because that was never the plan either. But it’s grown on all of us playing it live. The first couple nights we were like, “I don’t know how I feel about this,” and now we love playing it live. It’s something fun, definitely.
E: Do the crowds get into it?
D: Yeah, we get the whole crowd bouncing. It’s like a party song. It’s so much fun to do live.
E: I told you I asked the people on the site what they wanted to know, and this is kind of an awkward question to ask, but the last time you interviewed with our site you talked about how you try to have a positive message and focus on hope and love. And the one person was really critical of that, and he was like, “Well, being positive is okay, but what about Jesus?” You know, and that being positive is not enough, but you need to talk about Jesus. How would you respond to that kind of comment?
D: Some of us are Christians in the band, and that’s just not something we’ve chosen to write about. We feel like we can reach a lot of people doing this, and touch a lot of people doing this, and I feel like that’s enough. I know for a lot of guys in the band, that’s enough for all of us. We’ve never been established as a Christian band. We never started as a Christian band. It’s never been something we talk about. I mean, [to Josh] do you want to say anything about that?
J: We’ve always believed as a band that religion isn’t something we need to put in our music. I mean, obviously a few of us in the band are Christian, and we’ve agreed; [if you have an overtly religious message, then] you’re not going to reach the people that you can reach just talking about loving one another. And if someone who is a Christian wants to criticize on us for not talking about Jesus in our music, like, no offense to you, but that’s not your place as a Christian to be judging our lives and what we’re doing. Judging a fellow Christian like that, you know, that’s not right. We don’t get up there on stage and judge people about the lives that they’re living. Obviously we talk about love and a really positive message, but if some guy’s like, “I just like your music. I don’t really care about your message,” then we’re not like, “Well get out of our crowd,” you know? We’re not there to judge anybody. We’re there to say what we believe in, and that’s what we say. And if you don’t think that we do enough, then I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you might want to stop listening to us.
E: Thanks for clearing that up.
D: So, we’re both in this interview, right?
J: Well if that interests you…
D: You came in and sat down, so I was like…
J: I came in here to eat these cookies.
D: I thought you were part of it too.
J: No, no, we can do the whole thing.
E: Ok, great. Moving on to something a little more positive, can you tell us some fun stuff that’s happened on the tour?
D: The one night… We always play pranks on our merch guy, because he’s got a good heart and he’s a good sport about whatever we do to him. And the one night, he went to sleep early, and we were all still awake. And we had these huge Styrofoam boards in the trailer. We were gonna use them for merch, but we decided, you know, let’s think about something else for merch. So they were sitting in the trailer. What can we do with these? So we decided to build a wall of Styrofoam in front of his bunk. When he woke up, he had to punch his way out of it to get out. He was trapped. And we built it so thick, it was a good four inches, so when he tried to get out in the middle of the night, we heard him punching. He couldn’t punch through, so he had to pull out his knife and cut his way out. And then the next night, we ripped the Styrofoam up and had a Styrofoam fight, which was a pretty funny set of events.
E: What music are you listening to as you drive around?
D: It depends what time of day it is. In general, back here it’s a lot of hip-hop. We’ve been digging the new Dre songs, Eminem, Biggie. If we have a lot of people on here we play a lot of dub-step, house music, things like that. Skrillex, things like that. When I go to sleep, I listen to softer stuff to help me fall asleep, like Explosions in the Sky. Me personally, I really like some heavier stuff like White Chapel and things along those lines, and hip-hop, basically. But it’s playing all day. It depends what time of day you come on here what you’re going to hear.
E: I would not have guessed that hip-hop would be such a big presence on here.
D: Yeah, it’s surprising kinda, actually.
E: That’s cool. Alright, that’s all that I have. Is there anything else you want to talk about? Anything else we should know about?
D: Come see us on tour. Say hey. We’re friendly people.