We As Human is a now Nashville based Christian rock band who’s making an awful lot of noise. After tours with fellow Christian rockers Red, as well as Skillet, the band is about to embark on a tour that will see them in front of entirely different crowds. Armed with their terrific self-titled debut album, We As Human have their sights set on the Carnival Of Madness Tour. Joining heavyweights Skillet, In This Moment, Papa Roach and Shinedown, We As Human is getting the chance of a lifetime and from all indications, is about to explode. I’d describe their sound as equal parts Skillet, Red, Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. If you enjoy either of those bands, you’re gonna love We As Human. We’ll be catching the Carnival Of Madness stop in Cincinnati this weekend. Hope to see some of you there!
Listen to the entire Justin Cordle interview below:
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Joining me today is Justin Cordle. Justin is the vocalist from the band We As Human. First off, thanks for joining me and welcome to the Unsung Melody family.
Oh absolutely. I’m glad to be on the call with you. Thanks for having me.
Let’s talk a bit about the band to start with. You guys are originally from Idaho. I thought there were only potato farmers and blue football fields there. Where did you guys come from?
(laughter) I’ve heard that potatoes come from Idaho and I have eaten Idaho potatoes, but having been born and raised in Idaho, my entire life until two years ago, I have actually never seen a potato farm. So, I think that, my best guess is that the potatoes are down south in Idaho. But, I’m a fan of them. I like the potatoes. I guess it kind of runs in my blood.
So did you guys move to Nashville before or after what I’m calling, the John Cooper incident?
(laughter) The John Cooper Incident. (laughter) Nice. That was after actually. We’d been thinking about it for years. A few years before we ever met John Cooper, or had anything really significant going on, we started touring. We realized rather quickly that it was really hard to tour in Idaho. Because we’re just so far from everything. We often times had to travel upwards of a thousand miles just to get to the first date of a tour. We’d be starting out in Arizona or California or Nevada or something. So we thought about moving long before we ever met John, but we ran into him and things started to really take off for us. We signed with Atlantic Records and started doing a lot more tours. A lot of bigger tours. We had decided to just to go ahead and make the move. We were deciding between like Dallas, TX or LA or NY or Nashville, one of those hubs and every thing, all fingers just started to point towards Nashville. So, we moved about two years ago to Music City USA.
John Cooper is of course in Skillet and a demo of yours got in his hands and now we’re here. Did I miss anything?
We hooked up with John Cooper, he had heard our EP that we did back in 2009. He ended up meeting our road manager at one of his shows. Our road manager was a runner and handed him one of our cd’s and the rest is kind of history. John listened to it, more so to see how bad it would be. He gets a lot of cd’s on the road and he just approved track number one. He loved it. So, that kind of started our whole deal with John and Skillet and all them.
Your debut album is self-titled. Naming an album can nearly be the end of a lot of bands. Did you guys struggle with that and just go with the self-title or was that the plan all along?
We thought about some album titles. We kind of waited towards the end to see if anything, if any of the songs that we had chose would present itself as the leader for the album. We may have chosen a We As Human – Strike Back album or we may have went with We As Human -We Fall Apart or something like that, but we felt so good about so many of the songs that we didn’t want to have one of them really personify the entire feel of the album, to it’s fullest extent, to it’s totality. We felt like we wanted to present ourselves as We As Human and not throw anymore confusion. Because honestly, one of the other reasons that we did it, is our name is so different. We have people saying We As Humans or We Are Human, there’s just kind of some confusion around our name. So, we wanted to make it abundantly clear as possible, who we were and that was also another reason behind us doing a self title release for sure. I don’t know if it’s helped or hurt to be honest with you. (laughter) People still get our name wrong on a pretty frequent basis, but I guess that’s just part of the game I guess.
Hopefully that will smooth out here shortly. You had a pretty great debut, it’s opened a lot of doors obviously. Your guys music and sound has in the past. One thing that you’re doing, you’re getting the opportunity to, you guys being a Christian band, you’re getting the chance to play to a lot of mainstream crowds on the Carnival of Madness Tour this year. Are you guys getting excited for Carnival of Madness?
Yeah. Absolutely. We are a Christian rock band and we have felt, for the longest time, that we were never the band to just play in Churches. That was never what we wanted to do. As much as we love our family in the Church, the world is so much bigger than that and we wanted to reach beyond the walls of the Church and a lot times we’ve been met with a lot of conflict and disagreement from some people in the Church who just don’t understand what we do. We love our music and we want everybody to hear it. We feel like the saying in our songs is that it’s meant for the whole world. We want everybody to listen to and hear us. So we’re excited to be on the Carnival of Madness Tour. It’s just insane. I think it’s going to be a great tour from beginning to end. I think of all the tours we’ve done, this one is probably the one we’re most excited about. It’s a great opportunity and there are a lot of great bands. I love Shinedown. I’ve loved them forever. Skillet of course. We’ve done a lot of shows with Skillet and it just never gets old. They bring it every night. Papa Roach is on there. There’s just some really great bands and it’s an honor to be on the stage with these guys. They’re really great and I know they have a lot of respect for us. For what we believe and who we are and we do for them as well. We respect what they believe and who they are, and what they’re all about and I think the feeling seems to be really mutual. It’s a good thing.
You have a brand new video for Strike Back. Let’s talk about the car, then we’ll discuss the rest. Is that an old Pontiac? I can’t get a good look at it.
Yeah, it was a 1967, I believe, Pontiac Firebird. It’s a sick car dude. I was actually jealous that ole John Cooper got to drive it and not me. I almost changed the video at the very end. Like, “John you’re out of here. I want to burn this thing up.” We filmed the car scenes about 10 minutes from our house in Tennessee and John definitely had a good time driving it around. That same exact car, if you’ll look, the next night after we shot our video, that car is in the American Noise video for Skillet. So we went out and hung out with them while they were shooting that. The car that was in our video was in one of theirs as well.
Okay, okay. John Cooper is driving the car. He disappears. There’s also a song on the album called Zombie that John sings on. Could that be a bit of foreshadowing for the next single?
Are you talking about Zombie?
Yeah. He sings on Zombie, but on the video for Strike Back, he just disappears and I just wondered if maybe he’ll pop up in another video.
Oh right. I see what you’re saying. Ummmm, well you never know. I think that’s definitely a strong possibility, yes. We will see what happens with Zombie. It’s been really interesting with it, as it always is, to see the reactions and such. We kind of have our picks of what the singles are going to be on this album. Even before it came out, what kind of songs we wanted. Us and our management and our label, and everybody who has heard our songs, feels like Strike Back is definitely a lead single and We Fall Apart is a great single. Our management has picked Bring To Life, they think that will be a great one. Zombie is the one with John Cooper and that was definitely on our list, but it’s kind of interesting to see now that the album is actually out, to see which songs are resonating with our fans. One of the ones that the band and I have thought that would be a single from the beginning, but everybody else kind of took a while to warm up to it, is Take The Bullets Away with Lacey Sturm, formerly from Flyleaf. That wasn’t on anybodies singles list, except for the band and I. Now everybody is really loving it. I think that Zombie could definitely show up as a music video too. Of course, it would have to have Mr. Cooper in it as well, right? It wouldn’t really turn out as well if he wasn’t in it.
You worked with the great Howard Benson on this album. What was Howard able to bring out of you or teach you that you won’t forget?
I think that it was amazing working with Howard and I think if I were to look back and think about something that he taught the band and I, I would probably use one word and that’s simplify. That’s really what he was pushing us to do. Just to simplify and as musicians and songwriters, you have a lot of great ideas, or at least what you think are great ideas, (laughter) then you put them in a song and you try to make the song as great as it can be. Well Howard kept telling us that we have to make sure that we cut out everything that doesn’t have a purpose in the songs. Every guitar part. Every note. Every drum beat. Even down to the kick drums. Every word that is sung. Every note that is sung in the melody, make sure it has a purpose and there’s a reason for it to be there. If not, we need to get it out because it will just be distracting from what the song is trying to do. So we really, once we got in the studio with Howard, he kept telling us to simplify and focus on the thing that are the most important. Something as simple as a guitar solo that’s happening, make sure that the bass isn’t doing anything that would take away from that guitar solo. Make sure the drums aren’t playing too busy, so it doesn’t take away from the flair of that guitar solo. Just simple things like that. Across the board, he really just taught us to simplify our music and to make sure that the main thing, is indeed the main thing. So that was really valuable. Something that we, even when we are writing now, that we keep in mind.
I’ve always heard that in the studio, you should remember the band KISS. Use their name as an acronym and that’s, Keep It Simple Stupid.
(laughter) Keep it simple stupid. Yeah, that’s a good one. I’ll remember that next time we’re in there. Keep it simple stupid. (laughter)
Alright, I end things up on a random question or situation in this case. So I read that you have children. Without thinking about it, sing the first cartoon or children’s show theme song that pops in your head.
Spongebob Squarepants. I have three children and they all have been raised on Spongebob Squarepants, so that’s definitely the first one that pops into my head. In fact, when I’m off the phone with you, I’ll probably end up singing it with half of my band.
Justin, I thank you for your time and for being such a good sport. The site and myself wish you nothing but the best. You be safe out there and we’ll see you in Cincinnati.
Preview or purchase We As Human below:
We As Human – Strike Back: