Interview: We As Human
Mon, 24 Jun 2013 07:12:08
We As Human hit hard on their self-titled debut.
It's as powerful as it is passionate, and it's an exciting and enthralling first look at what the Nashville, TN quintet is capable of. Given just how potent their sound is, they even attracted some high-profile collaborations from both Lacey Sturm and John Cooper of Skillet. You're going to be singing along as soon as you hear We As Human.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, We as Human vocalist Justin Cordle talks the stories behind the record and so much more.
Did you have one vision in vibe in mind for the record?
I just started writing. I wrote a lot of songs for the record. I didn't really have a theme or anything in mind. The last year of my life has been chaotic with everything. I moved 2500 miles. My whole band and family did. There was a lot of craziness going. It's been an adventurous, scary, and exciting time in all of our lives. I just started writing songs about all of it. By the end, I found that there's definitely a consistent theme that flows through the album, but it wasn't intentional. I'm glad it's there.
What is that theme?
The theme is exactly what's represented in our album on the cover of our album. It's how life is. I've found we're all connected through the series of choices we make. Whether they're big or small choices, none of them are inconsequential. They all have consequences and reactions set in place when we make them. Do I get marry? Do I not get married? Do I have kids? Do I not have kids? Do we move to Nashville or not? We all have questions about God, faith, and our lives as well as what kind of people we are versus what kind of people we want to be. That plays into why we put that giant door on the cover of the album. It represents that huge decision we all have to make. What do we believe about God, faith, marriage, society, and justice? I found that each song talks about those choices we have to make in our lives. That seemed to be really cool.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
Yeah! I love storytelling songs. One reason I really love country music is because of the stories that are told. There's so much great storytelling. I love telling stories and trying to find words that put pictures into people's heads. It's like watching a movie almost.
What's the story behind "Take the Bullets Away"?
That's a heavy one, dude! A week before I had this writing session, my sister-in-law came to visit. My wife and I sat in a restaurant with her in this restaurant, and she started to tell us the most heart-wrenching and horrifying story about what had been happening to her and her family over the previous year. Her husband had left her and her kids alone. He cheated on her. Her daughter had been molested. It's the worst things you can possibly think of. She was broken, and she was at the end of her rope. She said, "I don't think I can trust anyone anymore. I don't think I can trust men, my family, or even God". That was a really heavy moment. When I was going into this writing session, I wanted to take what I was feeling in those moments and put them into words. I wrote the first verse on my iPad on the way to the writing session! After it was done, I felt like it was missing something. Since it was written about a woman, I felt like it needed a woman. I thought of singers, and Lacey popped into my head. We asked her, and she went into the studio and did one of my favorite tracks on this entire new record. She brought in the whole feminine side.
Where did "I Stand" come from?
We were on the road a lot. We were getting a lot of kickbacks. We weren't Christian enough for the Christians, and we weren't dirty enough for the general market. We were in this wash, and we felt worn out and exhausted. We decided to write a song that tells everybody exactly what we're about. We sat down with that intention and wrote "I Stand". It's bullet points of where we stand on faith, family, God, and country. It's our punch to the face. It feels good doing that song every night because it's what we stand for. It's We As Human wrapped up in one song.
If the album were a movie, what would you compare it to?
Great question! I've got to say manly movies, right? [Laughs] I'd say Braveheart, 300, and The Lord of the Rings (Film Series). I'll say The Abyss too. It's one of my favorite sci-fi movies. I watched it a few months ago, and I was like, "Dang, why don't I watch this more often?"
What artists shaped you?
In the early days, I was shaped a lot by Creed and Linkin Park. I love P.O.D.'s Satellite record. That was a game-changer for me. Listening to Stone Sour was big. Garth Brooks is one of my favorite artists of all-time—as well as Keith Urban. They're really great songwriters with good music. I like Michael Jackson. It doesn't matter what genre. As a band, we'd agree Alter Bridge, Disturbed, and Muse are common influences. Lately, I've been into Deftones' White Pony record, which is awesome.
Have you heard We As Human yet?