Skip to main content

See also:

David Stephens from We Came As Romans talks musical genres and influences

Fortunately, I’ve never been one to jump into the newest herald of popularity as it pertains to music. It’s just the nature of the beast within me that yearns for more than radio play and recommendations from iTunes. With that, an album from a group named We Came as Romans literally fell into my lap, courtesy of a friend of mine and I have been hooked ever since. The album in question was titled Understanding What We've Grown to Be but I couldn’t resist the urge to question this towering sound coming from the band We Came as Romans.

More then just a genre, We Came as Romans is an identity.
photo credit: Douglas Sonders

Hailing from – gasp – Detroit, We Came as Romans sounds so clean and concise, all the while shattering car speakers with the incessant double bass peddle. The vocals are crisp, almost euphoric, as they masquerade around power chords destined for immortality. All this said, I found myself intrigued with who and what We Came as Romans are. Vocalist for the group, David Stephens, filled in the answers to my personal Scantron sheet as he answered my questions, of which I genuinely wanted to know.

The new We Came as Romans album, Tracing Back Roots, is so thorough in its delivery and every track is attuned to the progressive style the group exudes. How many, if at all, tracks didn’t make the final cut?

We went into the studio with almost ten songs and started writing another ten when we got there. Of those if I remember right, we finished 16 but only 11 made it to the album.

I first heard We Came as Romans from the Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be album but you had another studio album before that, To Plant a Seed, and two other EP’s even before that. As clichéd as it sounds, how much has the brand progressed musically since the “infant” years?

Listening back to our earlier stuff, we hardly even sound similar especially when comparing Tracing Back Roots to the Demonstrations EP. With that being said, every time we went in to record something new, the goal wasn't massive changes. We just wrote what we wanted, put as much effort in as we could, and the progression happened naturally. Sure, some of our writing techniques have changed, the way we write songs is different, and we're all better at our individual instruments, but the mindset has always remained the same.

I despise musical genres as definite labels - everyone is classified as post-hardcore, emo-metal, electronicore, etc. However, We Came as Romans literally defines an uncategorized genre. Do you see the group as something that fits into a niche or is We Came as Romans simply playing the music you love, genres be damned?

Genres be damned! I refuse to even read comments on our YouTube because hardly anything said is about the music! It's either a massive argument about what genre we are or if we should have cut our hair. Neither of which should matter because neither have anything to do with what you're LISTENING to.

I ask everyone but I’m ridiculously interested to know: what group/song/album has been stuck on repeat for David Stephens?

The new Architects record; Lost Forever, Lost Together. I've listened to it at least twice a day front to back since it dropped. I'm just blown away by every track. And how does someone sing and scream like that!? Sam is a legend.

Favorite place to play live and why?

Anywhere in the northeast. We've been touring out here longer than anywhere else in the world and it shows through our fans. I've never met more die-hard fans or played shows as crazy as in the northeast of America.

Aaron Gillespie of The Almost lends a hand on Tracing Back Roots. With that, are there any musical influences to some of the music that is written and if so, how much of it affects We Came as Romans?

Underoath was a huge influence on our music and still is to this day! They're also the only band all six of us enjoy listening to.

Any way in hell I can get some insight on the event(s) that inspired the title track Tracing Back Roots?

Sometimes life out on the road can be tough which is where the story of Understanding What We've Grown to Be leaves you. But at the end of the day, the stories we hear from our fans about saving their lives, seeing our lyrics tattooed on them, playing shows where every one of them is singing with us, it makes any hardship worthwhile.

Besides the absurd amount of new fans flocking to We Came as Romans daily, how has the mainstream music industry treated you as a whole, if they’ve even treated you at all?

We're knocking on their doors and they're starting to say hello. It's so exciting to be meeting with different radio stations, doing live on-air acoustic sets, and expanding our music to new people!

What can we expect from We Came as Romans in the near future?

We're going to keep touring as much as possible and working hard like we always do.

Lastly, why does We Came as Romans kick so much ass?

I love this question! Thank you! I think the main reason is how much we all love doing this and how much fun we have with it.

We Came as Romans' newest album Tracing Back Roots is available now on iTunes and through their website.

www.wecameasromans.com/