Latest release: Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be (UNFD)

Michigan lads We Came as Romans have come a long way since their early rumblings as This Emergency a mere six years ago. With a steady line-up for the past three years and an uncharacteristically positive message behind their music, the post-hardcore/ metalcore sextet recently celebrated a Billboard Top 20 entry for their current album and is about to tour Australia this month with The Devil Wears Prada. Prior to them stepping out on a headlining tour across Canada and the States, Loud chatted briefly with guitarist and founding member Joshua Moore.

Q: Hey Joshua, you’re about to tour Australia this month. How many times will it be now?
A: Oh this will only be the second time. We came over on the No Sleep til Festival tour, and that was our first time. And this will just be our second time with The Devil Wears Prada.

Q: That festival wasn’t all that long ago.
A: Yeah, it was in December last year, and it was really  awesome. It was a really great way to experience Australia and we’ve been trying to come back ever since.

Q: Well it should be good for you to be playing down here with The Devil Wears Prada. They’re certainly doing well here.
A: They’re doing well pretty much everywhere! (laughs). It’s great… it’s great that they’re getting the attention they deserve.

Q: Getting back to your band, what’s the concept behind the title?
A: Oh, well the album title Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be encompasses just figuring out how to be happy with your life and how to retain that happiness, and not always to searching for something else to keep you happy.

Q: You’ve used the motif of the faceless boy on both your records now. Is there a story behind that guy?
A: Not really. He’s a representation of us as people and as a band. To Plant a Seed was a lot about how we started and what we wanted to do with the band, what our goals were and whatnot. You had the boy, very innocent looking with branches coming out of his hands trying to reach out to other people, and then on the second CD you have the same boy but he’s more mature. He’s grown up a little bit ad he’s been torn between right and wrong and good and evil.

Q: Do you feel that’s the way you’ve grown as a band? How would you compare what you’re doing now with what you did on the first album?
A: I definitely think that as a band and as people we’ve all grown up and matured. I think that musically we’ve made a natural progression to this CD, and as people we’ve all grown up on the road. So this new CD, the lyrics are a little bit more honest and raw and more real to how our life really is. And To Plant a Seed, really, well, looking back on it, I see it as a bit naive.

Q: Well it was your first album, after all. As you’ve said you’ve done a lot of touring and growing since then. You’ve obviously learned a lot more about song writing and just being in a band over that time.
A: Yeah. Being on the road so much and not really having a home or solid ground you learn a lot about yourself and your relationships with people. And that can really end up changing you as a person and shaping you into the person that you are. And we just keep growing. Our music and our lyrics are just a direct reflection of how I am, how we are as people and as a band. It’s definitely been an influence on us, being on the road so much and going through all those things.

Q: Have you seen any influence on your overall musical direction?
A: As far as direction, before we wrote this album we sat down as a band and had a talk about where we wanted to go as a band and with our sound. I think that we made a really good natural progression in terms of music. I think that anyone who listens to our new CD will be able to tell that it’s us, but it’s definitely heavier, and it has a lot more strings and piano and a lot more natural sounds as opposed to synthesizers and all that. As far as lyrics go, we’re not afraid to tell it like it is. Everyone sees us as a very positive band, a very positive message band, and you know, we still are. But we’re not afraid to acknowledge that there is negativity and to talk about how to deal with that.

Q: Why do you think people seem to think it strange that a band could have a positive outlook instead of a negative one?
A: I think that, with anything in life, it’s easier to be negative. It’s always easier to be pessimistic about a situation than it is to be the opposite. So I think that, especially in our genre of music, it’s something very different. It’s a breath of fresh air and I think that our fans really appreciate.

Q: And you are one of those bands that seems to fall into the post-hardcore category. I’ve said before to other bands that it just seems to be a catch-all because so many of the bands seem to be so different to one another. How do you feel about being put in there with other bands that often aren’t that similar to what you guys do?
A: Well being classified in a genre… sometimes it’s really accurate, sometimes it’s just a matter of opinion. You know, we have fans who say, “I really like We Came as Romans, I think they’re a hardcore band.” And there’ll be some kid who’s into super hardcore music who’ll say, “They’re not hardcore at all! They’re a bunch of girls compared to the hardcore that I listen to!” Then some kid will say, “I like We Came as Romans because they’re a metal band. Metalcore.” And this other kid will say, “They’re not metal at all! Because I listen to such and such, and they’re so much more metal than this band.” At the end of the day, I think you just get nowhere trying to classify bands, because there’s always going to be someone that tries to tell you what that sort of band sounds like. It’s weird.

Q: So what are you going to bring this time? Do you get a longer set than the last tour?
A: Yeah. Last time we got, like, twenty-five minutes? That is definitely not long enough. And so this time we’re out with Prada, we’ll definitely have time for some more stuff. And know you, we’ll have a new CD out, so we’ll have some new songs to choose from as well.

Q: So is it starting to get difficult now to decide what to include in your sets?
A: Oh yeah. We had to sit down and decide what to include for our headlining tour that’s coming up in two days. Being a headlining band you get longer than anyone else, and we’re still having trouble deciding on what songs to include.