Editor’s Note: In late 2017, We Came as Romans released a new album called Cold Like War. The band was a mainstay in HM’s pages, having covered them from their early years in 2005 when they were still called This Emergency. Working with the band’s PR around the time of the release, HM set up an interview to talk about it with one of the band’s two vocalists, Kyle Pavone. Due to the brevity of the interview, it never made it to a full-fledged feature.
Over the weekend, Pavone was found deceased. To honor the band’s contributions and innovation to the metalcore sound, HM is publishing that interview here for the first time.
“My future started with the first note that I ever played…”
Every teenager wanted those words tattooed on them throughout the start of the metalcore movement. We Came As Romans stormed the scene with To Plant a Seed back in 2009, and, ever since, their raw, edgy sound has grown into a permanent staple in the metalcore scene. This week, the scene grieves the tragic loss of one of the generation’s leading voices, Kyle Pavone.
WCAR has always been a staple in any metalcore collection. Pioneering their unique sound with both a singer and a screamer on stage, they have always unabashedly brought the best of both worlds to their set. Not only are WCAR excellent at their craft, they are all passionate, hard-working musicians on and off the stage, and the heartbreaking loss of their co-frontman leaves the band and their fans clinging to the only thing that makes sense in light of such a tragedy – music. The band released their fifth studio album, Cold Like War, late last year via SharpTone Records and wasted no time hitting the road with I Prevail, Escape the Fate, and The Word Alive.
At the beginning of that tour, Pavone talked with us about the dynamic of the band and the powerful sound that developed within the band while writing Cold Like War. The record showcased WCAR’s heaviest songs to date, and, during our interview, Pavone was beaming with pride for the work he and his friends had just released to their fans. With every question, a new facet of his vibrant personality revealed itself, all while keeping the songs in the spotlight. Our last conversation with him is a true testament to the singer’s love for music and his bandmates.
As the music world copes with the untimely death of a brother, bandmate, role model, and friend, it is safe to say that his voice mattered, from the first note to the last.
First of all, how is tour going?
Tour is going amazing! Every show has been slam-packed, and we’re really excited for the rest of it. It’s only just begun, too. We have a ton of shows, so it’s great.
Are you playing any new music that hasn’t been released yet?
We are playing new music, but most of them are the singles we just released in the past month or so.
How are people responding to those?
I think they’re going over really well. We open with our first single that we released, “Cold Like War,” and I haven’t seen kids move around like that in a long time, so I think this set really brings a lot of energy and that’s exactly what kids really want from the show.
Yeah, definitely from you guys. So what can we expect from the new album? What direction are you going with it?
Well, the record is 100% a lot faster. There are only a couple of songs that we bring down – I’d say one or two – but the majority of the record is fast and heavy. Our last album was really divided between heavy and then super light. There was really no middle ground. But we really wanted to capture the energy of the heavier side of our band, so a lot of the songs are faster and a lot edgier.
Do you have a favorite song off the new record?
It’s hard because I think this is our best record, so I can’t really pick a favorite song. But if I had to pick a song, I’d have to say “Foreign Fire” or “Encoder.” “Encoder” is probably one of the heaviest songs we’ve ever written. I think the coolest aspect of it is that I didn’t really write it as a metal song, and, in retrospect, I wrote it as a dance song and then kind of incorporated We Came as Romans into it. It became this new entity, and it was really cool.
Speaking of that, how does your songwriting process typically work?
We did it a little differently this time around because we wanted to incorporate a lot more. Like, on our first record, we incorporated a lot more electronics and samples, but we kind of shied away from that on the last three. I’m a big advocate of electronic music, so I brought that side back into the band. I have a bunch of side projects that I’m doing electronic music with, so I brought that back in.
We took a lot more time to write on this record, as well. It was a lot of patience and trying to dial in to make the perfect We Came as Romans record instead of rushing to get it done by a deadline.
So I know Dave (Stephens, co-vocalist) also has another band, and you have other projects. Is that the case for everyone?
Actually, my projects have been going for about five or six years. I don’t know how long Crucible has been out, but I think it’s only been a couple years. I don’t know if anyone else has any projects. Three of the five members are in Crucible, so I don’t even know if they have other projects.
Where do you draw most of your influences, particularly for this last album?
I think I bring a lot of analog sounds in. I took a whole retrospective of tasteful electronic music and a little bit of dance at the same time and pulled different parts from different cool genres. You’ll hear some down-tempo, you’ll hear some bass-y stuff, and you’ll hear some weird analog sounds at the same time. You can’t really say it’s one specific thing when it’s an entire collection of cool sounds.
What would you say is the most difficult part of the album cycle for you?
I don’t know. I would probably say right around the end. That’s usually when people want to rush you to get the record done and there’s still so much to do. I know I said you want to not have any deadlines, but there are still always deadlines, so the end is probably the worst for me. I’m always rushing to try and finalize things.
You guys have also gone through some member changes, right?
Yes, we have. Eric (Choi, former drummer) left the band a little over a year ago now. We actually picked up David Puckett from For Today. He’s a great addition to the band. He’s a really cool guy.
Does he change the sound? Or had you already written the record he came in?
We already wrote the record when he came in.
Ah, so maybe next time around we’ll really get to hear some of his influence in there.
I imagine you get this question a lot, but what is it like having two of you as frontmen? How do you handle that dynamic?
Well, it does bring more of a dynamic to the sound. I mean, I don’t really scream and he does a lot more screaming. When you bring that in, it brings a whole new edge. And my style of voice suits more of the singing. On stage, yeah we can bounce into each other, but I feel like we’ve been doing this for so long that we know how to stay out of each other’s way. But we don’t even really think about it anymore. It’s been kind of easy to do now.
Where do you see the band going after this record?
It’s tough to say. I really feel like this is going to be our best record. I feel like a lot of people say that, but the feedback has been incredible and a lot of us are super passionate about this record. I think we’re on our way up again.
Would you say this is the ultimate sound that you guys have been working toward?
I would definitely say this is the ultimate record, and the ultimate sound.
We Came as Romans was posted on August 27, 2018 for HM Magazine and authored by Nao Lewandowski.