The journey of hard rockers We As Human from one of northern Idaho’s most beloved, bone-crunching indie acts to ink a deal with Atlantic Records is nothing short of extraordinary. After touring throughout the region alongside a soundtrack slot in a national commercial for Xbox 360’s “Section 8” video game, the guys scored an unexpected networking opportunity of a lifetime.
“Our road manager at the time was working a Skillet show as a runner and a couple of the band members ended up in our touring van,” recalls frontman Justin Cordle. “As they were driving around, he said ‘Hey, I know you get CDs all the time, but this one from We As Human is way more awesome than all the others.’ It wound up making its way to the band’s frontman John Cooper, kind of as a joke at first because they really do get demos pitched to them all the time, but he put it in, absolutely loved it and said we were one of the best bands he’s heard in quite a few years.”
From there, the multi-platinum, chart-topping Skillet made the introduction to Atlantic, who agreed on its leader’s assessment. Add in the group’s aggressive, stadium shaking sounds and reception for the group’s self-titled EP (an Atlantic release through a newly launched imprint label partnership between Cooper, longtime Skillet manager Zachary Kelm and attorney Todd Rubenstein) is already so strong that a full-length is on the books for 2012.
“We wanted people to get to know us with these four songs on the EP, and they are meant to establish us first and foremost as a rock band with a big, massive sound,” explains Cordle of the collection, which was produced by Grammy Award winner Nick Raskulincz (Foo Fighters, Deftones, Velvet Revolver). “We love big guitars, big drums, soaring vocals and everything about the whole rock n’ roll experience. We love getting out and doing live shows, hanging out with our fans, getting to know them and having them get to know what we’re about.”
The band’s very moniker, We As Human, even lays the groundwork for members’ messages, intentionally sounding like an incomplete name or sentence to draw a parallel to the incomplete nature of the human condition. The songwriting across the EP is just as pensive and provocative, often times allowing listeners the opportunity to interpret their own meanings, even if Cordle has a specific story in mind.
“I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to write about vague subjects, in favor of personal stories, observations or just life experiences,” he relates. “A song like ‘Sever’ is inspired by losing my three-year-old nephew to cancer, which he fought for two years. Watching him go through that was really hard, and my brother and sister-in-law were really torn up. The song talks about the whole idea of separating ourselves from the things inside of us that are killing us, and it’s really become a fight song for anyone going through something similar.”
Additional themes range from encourtering a friend who’s betrayed their trust to removing the masks of personal deceit and reminding listeners that every decision has a consequence and it’s always best to strive towards an integrity-filled life. Adds the full-throttled frontman: “I believe we have to face the voices of good and evil every day and we can make decisions to either help or hurt others or ourselves.”
Fans have the chance to see such subjects wrapped around the band’s pummeling sound, come to life on a fall 2011 tour alongside Skillet, followed by a second run with those label mates/mentors on Winter Jam 2012, a 48-city arena trek spread throughout three months. “All the guys in the band are real musicians, and in an age when you don’t know if a band is playing their own instruments, we definitely are,” promises Cordle. “We take a lot of pride in our musicianship and the way we can pull off all of our songs live, but we also really love the entertainment side of things. We run all over the place, jump around and have a really fun, intense live show.”
No matter if it’s from the stage or the studio, We As Human is poised for rock prominence thanks to both its unbridled energy and thought-provoking songwriting, which coupled together in one explosive package, truly gives these Northwest-bred/Nashville transplanted players an innovative edge.
“We want a really long successful music career, but also one where we can move people and make them think,” sums up Cordle. “Hopefully our lyrics will give listeners a different perspective or an angle they never really thought about before. We just want to know as many fans as possible and bring them a killer rock n’ roll show wherever we go.”