We Came As Romans’ Joshua Moore Explains Never Playing Songs on First Album Again
We Came As Romans are currently working on their sixth album and first since the death of singer Kyle Pavone in 2018. With new material ahead, the band is also looking back to their beginning, touring in celebration of their 2009 debut, To Plant a Seed. It'll be the last time they ever play songs live off that record, however, and guitarist Joshua Moore guested on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program, goes into detail about it all.
It's been 11 years since To Plant a Seed was released. What does hindsight fully reveal to you about the significance of that album?
Oh, it's super weird to look back on it. I was 17 or 18 writing and I'm 30 now, so back then I'm some teenager and I'm like, 'Oh, this is good and I know what I'm doing and I can totally make a record.' We're writing our sixth album now and looking back through all of those experiences, I really was that stereotypical teenager who had no idea what I was getting into.
I'm just really thankful that it worked out the way it did. We released that record and we were a nobody band. I think we sold barely 3,000 [copies in the] first week and this is back when people were actually buying records as well.
That was a very low number and for the record to grow into what it did and be responsible for all the success that our band has had, it's crazy to think how many people were able to connect with it. I actually gave it a listen the other day and thought, 'You know what, I actually did write some good songs and some of these parts are pretty cool. Some of the parts I listened to sounded like 'my first metal riff.'
But a lot has changed in the last 10 years and I guess I'm pretty thankful that I'm even able to say that it's been 10 years since we put out that album and we're still putting out more and we're still a band.
You're commemorating the record by performing the it in its entirety and then never playing any song off it again. Why is that finality necessary for an album that's been so pivotal to you?
Some of the songs we'll be playing for the first and last time.
We're currently writing our sixth studio album and we have so many songs. If we're not headlining the tour, we're playing for 30 or 40 minutes. How do you choose which songs to play out of 75 songs?
Of course, we want to play our most recent stuff because it's new and it's exciting and it's hard to open that slot and the set list when I'm stuck playing To Plant a Seed that is 10 years old and I've played it a million times. To us, it's just about moving forward and celebrating the newer songs that we have put out — they're easier for us to connect to as a band.
We Came As Romans, "To Plant a Seed" — Live (2009)
That's really translatable to the stage where if we're up there and we're playing a song and we're not having fun and we're not emotionally connected, the audience can feel that. That's not what they paid to be there for. That's not what they're spending their time on. They want great performances and they want to connect with us as a band. We just do that best when we're more connected to the songs that we're playing.
The last year or so has been marked by loss. How will revisiting the beginning by touring the first album empower the band for the future?
Last year was insane. It was the toughest year of all of our lives with losing [singer] Kyle [Pavone] and he was such a huge part of that CD. At the time, Dave [Stephens], our vocalist didn't even start to sing yet. It was just Kyle singing.
So, on this tour, it'll be Dave singing all of his parts and I think it'll go exactly how anyone would expect. There's going to be a lot of tears shed — happy ones and sad ones. It's entirely possible to be grateful and thankful for the time that we spent with Kyle and all the music that we created and still be really upset that he's not here anymore to share that with us.
It's going to be a ton of emotion every night — wave after wave just crashing in. It'll be most important to us to really sink in the good parts of it and be grateful rather than sink into the depression of it.
The two singles that are out there are about Kyle. Over the course of the last year since his passing, how have you changed personally and also in terms of what you feel compelled to express creatively?
I don't even know how to quantify how that change and the past year have changed my life and the rest of the guys' lives. It’s been insane, a very difficult roller coaster of emotion that is just reality. Going through that over the course of the year and learning what grief was and how to deal with it and learning how to be happy sometimes — it sounds funny talking about it being 30 years old and it is a little weird to say out loud, but it's something that we've all had to do.
The two singles that are out really show that. "Carry the Weight" is really dark and it's about that pain in that grief and that horrible weight of the burden of loss.
"From the First Note" is about being thankful that we even met each other, created music, spent that time together and that in our memory and in our hearts like Kyle will live on it and we'll be the ones that carry on his legacy with our music that we all made together.
We Came As Romans, "Carry the Weight"
Kyle was a prolific writer. Creatively, how great was the weight of developing and completing ideas he left behind?
On our very last record that we did — Cold Like War —Kyle made almost all of the keyboard programming and the drum machine sounds himself. He would start with a bass line and an hour later we'd have this keyboard part that was just completely unique, which was basically the embodiment of him in music.
That's not anything that I've ever done and that's not anything that I could do. He was so uniquely talented at hearing what a song needed and what that part needed to sound like and the little nuances of that sound. It's hard writing and knowing that I'll never find anyone to do that again, not only for the song's sake but then I'll never get to do that again with Kyle.
We sat a lot on the couch at the studio with Drew Folk, who produced the record, just talking about the keyboard sounds and the chord progression and all of that. That's maybe the biggest bummer of it all is that I'll never get to do that again and I think that's also what makes it special is that there's not anyone capable of replacing that connection that we had and the way that we were able to create something together.
Thanks to Joshua Moore for the interview. Follow We Came As Romans on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
We Came As Romans, To Plant a Seed 10th Anniversary Tour Dates
March 5 - Chicago, Ill. @ House of Blues
March 6 - St. Louis, Mo. @ Ready Room
March 7 - Indianapolis, Ind. @ The Citadel Music Hall
March 8 - Grand Rapids, Mich. @ The Intersection
March 10 - Toronto, Ontario @ Opera House
March 11 - Montreal, Quebec @ Club Soda
March 13 - Worcester, Mass. @ The Palladium
March 14 - Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Warsaw
March 15 - Philadelphia, Pa. @ Theatre of Living Arts
March 17 - Baltimore, Md. @ Rams Head Live!
March 18 - Greensboro, N.C. @ Arizona Pete's
March 19 - Atlanta, Ga. @ The Masquerade
March 20 - Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. @ Culture Room
March 21 - Tampa, Fla. @ The Orpheum
March 23 - Houston, Texas @ White Oak Music Hall
March 24 - Austin, Texas @ Empire Control Room
March 25 - Dallas, Texas @ Canton Hall
March 26 - Denver, Colo. @ The Oriental Theater
March 28 - Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Complex
March 30 - Spokane, Wash. @ Knitting Factory
March 31 - Seattle, Wash. @ El Corazon
April 1 - Portland, Ore. @ Hawthorne Theatre
April 3 - Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
April 4 - Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Regent Theater
April 5 - Phoenix, Ariz. @ The Pressroom
April 7 - Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Diamond Ballroom
April 8 - Lawrence, Kan. @ Granada Theater
April 9 - Minneapolis, Minn. @ Skyway Theatre
April 10 - Milwaukee, Wis. @ The Rave
April 11 - Pontiac, Mich. @ The Crofoot Ballroom
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