We as Human’s Justin Cordle Talks Rock + Christian Worlds, Touring Life + More
We as Human have emerged on the rock scene over the past year with their self-titled album and breakout single ‘Strike Back.’ ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie recently spoke with frontman Justin Cordle about the band’s inroads in both the Christian and secular rock worlds, their influences and the touring life. Check out the chat below.
Loudwire Nights, its Full Metal Jackie. On the show with us tonight, we’ve got Justin Cordle from We as Human. Justin, which is more difficult — satisfying a Christian audience expecting a spiritual message or appealing to a secular audience that might not be willing to entertain a Christian message?
You just come out with guns blazing, don’t you? [laughs] I honestly don’t put much thought into that to be… I used to think about that a lot — like what one audience requires versus the other. But our music reflects the way we live our lives and I don’t look at it any differently when I meet an atheist or when I meet a Christian or when I meet a Buddhist for that matter, or whatever life path someone’s on. I try to live my life in a way that I love everybody, or try to anyway, love everybody that I encounter, and so when I get on stage, because my band and I live our lives that way, that’s just kind of what comes out on the stage. So, you know, whether we are playing for a giant Christian audience, or whether we are playing for a giant main streamed rock audience, I just look at them as people.
We all have common struggles. We all have successes and failures and we all go through the same thing, and so I don’t typically put a whole lot of thought into what audience I’m playing for any more than … you know, I just go out and do my thing on stage and let the music speak for itself. That’s where I really, whenever I write my music, I just write for humans. I mean that’s what our name is about — We as Humans — it’s collective humanity. I just write for people, and then people take away from it what they will.
Justin, what’s the biggest misconception you’ve heard about this band or yourself based on being specifically categorized as a Christian band?
The Christian market in general in kind of known for ripping off what mainstream music is doing, and then rejecting mainstream music for doing it, but all the while copying them and so I think if somebody hadn’t heard our music, there’s definitely this kind of copycat syndrome that they are definitely responsible for because, quite honestly, that’s exactly what they’ve done. So, I think that if somebody hadn’t heard our music, they might assume that we would be another band like that. I’m not saying every band has done that, don’t get me wrong, but there’s definitely been quite a few artists that’ve done that. So, I think some people could think that we might just be another copycat band trying to rip off somebody else’s music for our own success.
So I’ve definitely heard things like that — not about us specifically, but that runs pretty rampant in the Christian market so we wanted to make sure that nobody ever thinks that way of us because we don’t. We’ve written our own music and pulled inspiration from everywhere. You know, we don’t ever want to be a band that knocks anybody else off. I think overall that’s probably the only one that I can really think of. I don’t think there are many misconceptions that are attached to my band anyway. If there are, maybe they just haven’t told me yet.
Musically or lyrically, what is the most significant sense of spirituality you’ve ever felt listening to a secular band that has absolutely no Christian message at all?
Right, well, the scripture teaches that all good things come down from the Father of heavenly life, which is God, of course. So anything that is good, anything. Literally I believe anything and everything that is good is a gift. So I can sit and enjoy artists from all walks of life if their art is good. Nobody whenever they pick up their phone … well, I’m sure there are…I shouldn’t say nobody, but if you want to call a plumber, you don’t call a Christian plumber, you just call a plumber. If you go to an art museum, you aren’t walking around looking for just the Christian artists or the atheists aren’t just looking for the atheist artists or anything like that. You just go and you enjoy the art, and so I think knowing that all good things are a gift to us from our Creator who loved us kind of gives us a freedom to enjoy good art no matter who it comes from.
That doesn’t always mean that you agree with the message. That doesn’t always mean that you would perpetuate their belief system by listening to it. It just means that you can take the good and leave the bones, you know, and everybody does that to one degree or another. I’m sure people do that with my music, and I do that with other people’s art as well. You take the good, and if there’s something you disagree with then you leave that where it is. I think that is has set me free to enjoy all the amazing art that is around us from all walks of life for sure.
The band has such varied music tastes in terms of what each of you listens to. Being a heavy rock band, what has been the biggest advantage to being familiar to musical styles far removed from hard rock and metal?
I think the world is so full of amazing songs and music that if you don’t listen to certain genres because it’s not your thing you can really miss out on some amazing songwriting. Quite honestly, maybe a song that can change your life. If you don’t listen to country, hip hop, rap, rock or whatever, there could be a song there that could really help you or mean something to you. Personally, I’ve just tried to be a fan of good songwriting, good music in general.
I love rock obviously, I’ve chosen my life path. I do it for a living, it’s my career and first love. I also have a huge love for country. I love pop music — anything that sounds good that someone put their heart into. If it makes you feel something then I’m a fan. We need music that when we’re happy we listen to and when we’re angry we listen to, when we’re sad and mourning we’re listening to. I haven’t found that I can get that out of one genre. I need multiple genres.
I need all the influence of all the songwriters I can possibly get to help put my emotions into words. I haven’t found that in one genre. I’ve found that in all genres. I’ve found hip hop songs, country songs and rock songs that have really helped me grow as a person. I think for me, where country comes in for me is I love the storytelling that country music does so I’ve kind of adopted that in some of my songwriting like ‘Take the Bullets Away,’ for instance. I use that storytelling mentality or songs like ‘Zombie,’ ‘Deadman’ even. I try to bring that country music influence in on the lyric and lyric and songwriting side. I love all styles of music.
Last year the Carnival of Madness tour introduced We as Human to a new audience. This summer you’ve obviously got other tours that are happening for you. Justin, what’s the single most important thing this band needs to keep in mind about playing for new people every night?
Get on stage every night and play like it’s our last show. For anyone who has ever seen us, they can bear witness to that. We leave it all on the stage. I think the single most important thing for us is to be genuine dudes — genuine men that when we look back at the rest of our life when we’re old that we’re proud of what we did on stage.
It’s really easy to let it all get in your head and change who you are and we’ve had to fight that ourselves on many occasions. I want my children and my family and friends and fans to be proud of the man I am and so when I get on stage, I want to make sure that’s reflected in what I say and the way I perform. It shapes everything about our show. The guys and I really want to be good men of integrity and be good examples for the people who are listening. That doesn’t always come out as happy smiles and bubblegum. Sometimes it comes out as aggression and anger. Sometimes it comes out as happiness and joy. No matter what we’re doing on stage, we believe we just need to be honest with the way we’re feeling and honest with our music and that just means going out and being who we really are. So if we can do that every night i think that’s a life well lived right there.
Thanks to We as Human’s Justin Cordle for the interview. We as Human’s self-titled album is currently available at Amazon and iTunes. Catch We as Human on tour at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.