WE CAME AS ROMANS released their new album “Cold like war” in October. Shortly before the release, guitar player and songwriter Joshua Moore answered our questions while he was on tour with the band.
Speaking about “Cold like war”
First of all, congratulations to a great album! To me, it sounds like a combination of the advantages of the two previous albums. A logical development, so to speak. How do you see it? How does it feel to you?
Thank you so much for the kind words! I love to hear when someone loves the album, there is no better feeling as an artist! The album to me feels right. There is no other way to describe it than just… feels so right. Just to be clear, hahaha, that doesn’t mean that it was easy! We took a ton of time off tour, to solely focus 100% of our effort towards making sure that this CD was the absolute best that we could produce as a band. I can’t wait for the release in only a few more days!
There is more keyboard/electronic on the album or it is more dominant. Was it a conscious decision or did it happen “by accident”?
Nothing on “Cold Like War” was happened by accident! Everything about the record was thought out and planned. Even before we started writing the music for the record, we knew what the songs were going to be about and we were able to tailor the song musically, to the intent behind the lyrics. So the keyboards and electronic elements were all planned out as well, we knew where they were going to fit and how they were going to fit, and Kyle (Pavone; keyboard and clean vocals – editor’s note) did a great job creating sounds for this record.
In the music video of ‘Cold Like War’, there is this really colorful instrument. Will it also be part of the live shows?
Those are part of a new element that we’ve decided to introduce on this record cycle, having Kyle have his own “station” on stage where we can queue samples and drum machines in our set, and we’re not done building it yet! We’ve started to utilize the set up on stage as well, and the feedback has been awesome. It can be a huge cluster on stage having six members, so having a place for Kyle to do his thing is awesome for us live, as well, because it can get confusing for fans trying to track members across the stage when there are so many of us!
The cover artwork differs a lot from your previous releases – colourful and romantic, now dark and a very different style of drawing. Was it another artist and is there a meaning behind it?
The artist was the same as our previous albums, his name is Paul Romano and it’s great to work with him again. He always does a great job bringing to life visions that him and Andy (Andrew Glass – editor’s note), our bassist, come up with. We had to make a statement that we are a new band, that the previous figure on all of our artwork has completed his chapter of being the center of our artwork, and we are moving on and growing further from it. All of those light blues and greens from previous album artwork, and the white and red from the last, wouldn’t fit the theme of Cold Like War at all. I love the color scheme, as well as all the art that has been done for this record.
Talking about (semi-) personal stuff
The lyrics, the promo info and the title, obviously, deal a lot with the topic of war and especially the promo info says that you struggled with people in the music business which you are now not working with anymore. Can you tell us more details?
Yeah, I’ll give you as much as I can without costing us anything in terms of professionalism, but there were people we worked with that were a part of the WCAR team for many years, and just as the relationship progressed it started going down paths that wasn’t beneficial to either of us anymore. Sometimes it’s hard to define that boundary between a personal and professional relationship, and it’s hard to hold someone accountable for their actions when you have such a history together, and I think that was a big hindrance to the working “machine” that is WCAR. So we cut the ties of many relationships we had behind the scenes, we moved to a new label, and we wrote a record about what we were going through.
Was there also a ‘war’ inside the band – the title track’s chorus sounds like that. And if so, how did you get over it?
Yeah there definitely have definitely been internal conflicts through out the past few years for the band, and there are going to be some in the future. That’s what happens when you’re a family, but that’s not a bad thing. Learning to overcome conflict makes you stronger, and I think that we are the strongest we’ve been as a band. That’s not to say that it doesn’t take time, and sometimes rebuilding, to get over those issues… just to say that in the end, it’s definitely worth it to make it past and continue on.
In at least two songs, you mention you had to kill the ego inside. Are you talking about your personal development here? In some YouTube comments on your music videos, people describe Kyle as arrogant. Am I on the wrong track or is there a connection? And what would you say to these people?
That specific lyric, from ‘If There’s Nothing To See’, is just meant to say that we keep each other level headed. And to be frank, I don’t really take anything from the YT comments section seriously. It’s most trolls trying to get some attention, fabricating stories because there’s no way to verify, or giving their “expertise” on situations they’ve never had to deal with. That’s not to say that there aren’t genuine fans in YT comment sections, but I heavily doubt that anyone commenting there has had the time to get to know or develop a relationship with any one of us in the band, let alone state facts about our character or type of person we are. When it comes down to it, generally they are very eager to share that opinion from behind the screen, but when confronted, we’re usually met with a “no no no! i love your band, i’m sorry!” … I could go on for a long time about my experiences with this, personally, hahaha… but it’s not that interesting.
Nowadays, music is always available without paying especially for one album. Thanks to Spotify, Apple Music etc. How do you feel about that? Does it change the music’s value?
I do think it devalues music, and it kind of hurts to see something I worked SO hard on, and put so much emotion into be valued so low… hundredths of a penny for something to listen to, or just a dollar to own. At the same time, there is an upside to how many potential fans you can reach with their playlists and promotion. It’s a double edged sword, and I’m not sure if the upsides are worth what I feel it’s done to the value of a song. I’m not sure my sob story about it will change anyone’s mind, but I do think if someone truly wants to support a band, they know how to do that through actually buying an album, going to their show, buying merch, etc. Regardless of how I feel about it, it’s our responsibility as a band to adapt to how fans are consuming music and how we are providing it, and we will continue to do that if we want to stay relevant and accessible.