There's been a lot of talk in the underground about a resurgence of the once disreputable term of deathcore for a few years, but in the last twelve months, one band have threatened to take that mainstream. Lorna Shore, a band with a decade of experience behind them, released their And I Return to Nothingness EP in the summer of 2021 premiering their brand new vocalist Will Ramos, and subsequently took absolutely everyone by surprise in how it skyrocketed - not least the band themselves.
If tracks like "To the Hellfire" took the band's symphonic style of brutality to extremes and to places as yet unexperienced, the band's name becoming one of the most spoken about on the planet, you must wonder what a full album could do for them. With that album's arrival later this year, the first tracks like "Sun//Eater" and "Into the Earth" are offering a fearsome taste. Will Ramos, fresh off having a camera stuck down his throat for science, is riding the wave with utmost enthusiasm.
2021 was a pretty mad year for your band so when you were coming through with first tracks off the next project, were you on a high or was there a great deal of nervousness about maintaining that level of craziness, especially with so much emphasis on you as the new guy?
Ramos - There was a lot of stress going on with how we could write this to be the best thing. You can only imagine the nervousness we had in our minds because of all that hype, to put out something that one ups this or is just as good as anything else we have on the EP. I remember being in the studio and everybody feeling it was gonna be tough, but at the end of the day when it’s all said and done we’re really confident in these songs. At this point now, we’re like “it’s gonna be fine”, but when we were first writing it there was a lot of anxiety going on. I was definitely more nervous myself when doing the EP because I felt like I had a lot to prove. No one’s ever freaking heard of me, and it was one of the first things where I was also really able to do whatever I wanted to do, so when we starting working on the album I was able to keep doing exactly what I was comfortable doing and what was working.
The And I Return to Nothingness EP was obviously such a huge record for you guys, but it came out during the pandemic which was such a stop in momentum for a lot of bands, and while Lorna Shore did face some challenges in the lead up to it you're undoubtedly one of the bands who have come out of that period with the most momentum. What are your feelings on that spike happening for you guys at such a strange time?
Ramos - It still doesn’t feel real to me. Every time people ask me about it, it still feels like a year and a half ago was the other day, and a year and a half ago things were happening but it wasn’t out that things were happening. Everything happened so fast. I just went out yesterday to Trader Joe’s and somebody spotted me, I’ve never been spotted in Trader Joe’s before, and that was surreal. I never expected anything like this to happen for any bands I’m involved with.
You've been involved in some out of the ordinary things as part of the band's rise with scientists putting cameras down your throat to look at your vocal chords, and taking part in extensive conversations with things like vocal reaction channels that were going crazy over your videos. Have these things been a weird surprise for you or do you think things like these are important avenues for how heavy bands can put themselves out there today?
Ramos - Yeah, any content is good content, and collaborating with other people like the throat thing is really cool. It wasn’t just for me, it was for science, and even being able to pursue other avenues like that as a way of getting your name out there I think is super helpful. Especially as you say during COVID, a lot of things stopped and a lot of people are trying to figure out how to pick themselves back up, and The Charismatic Voice I’d never even heard of prior to COVID but then when everything started picking up they hit me up and you know what, let’s do it and see how it works out. Honestly, it was really freaking cool, and I’d recommend to anybody just go out there, talk to people. If they want to talk to you then talk to them, what is it gonna hurt? It’s the other 50% of being in a band and you can’t beat times like this.
The "Sun//Eater" track feels like a strong continuation of the massively grandiose and bombastic style of deathcore that has galvanised people so much. With you having so much success off of an EP release, do you feel like a full length album on the cards is going to be able to show a wider scope of what Lorna Shore can do than just those 3 tracks?
Ramos - Absolutely. I think this whole album is a rollercoaster, there are so many different emotions, and that’s what I was saying about when we first started writing how we would be able to make this better. After we got it all out there, it’s what we had but to the next level. Everything’s been made bigger, there’s a lot of emotion in certain songs that you don’t normally hear in a lot of Lorna Shore songs. A lot of it is punch you in the face and that’s cool, but I also come from a metalcore background and I love putting that emotion in there. It’s nothing that anyone’s ever heard before in regards to listening to Lorna, that’s for sure. I’m very excited for it honestly.
It feels like deathcore has had such a huge couple of years in newer bands rejuvenating that scene with their own fresher takes on the subgenre, and with you talking about an increased emotional angle, The Cleansing and The Somatic Defilement are classics of the form but they aren't records that make you bawl. Is that something that's important to keeping it fresh for you?
Ramos - Yeah, personally I listen to pop music on the radio and a long time ago I had just gotten out of a relationship, and just listening to things on the radio that’s when you start to realise that everything on there is dedicated to people that are either in love or just getting out of love and are really sad. I was like “damn dude, all these songs on the radio are so good!” and realised it was just because of the amount of emotion in it. Let’s try and bring that into just one song or two songs and those are my favourite songs on the whole album now. We have some things that are about grief, some about emotional pain, and that human aspect is what we needed to bring more of. We have a love song and no one expects a deathcore love song, and I’m telling you it’s a banger!
You going for the deathcore ballad any time soon then?
Ramos - Hey I’m down, you don’t have to ask me twice!
The symphonic strain has become a massive part of this resurgence and is very much something headed up by Lorna Shore. There are definitely ideas in bands like yourselves now that weren't there in the original wave of deathcore bands that pioneered the style, so what kind of things outside of the worlds of traditional deathcore are influences the music that Lorna Shore makes?
Ramos - Honestly that’s an Adam question, the way Adam writes these instrumentals is unreal. I don’t know what the hell’s going on in his mind but it’s pure genius. You can tell that certain things want certain vocal parts and the way that he writes it, he’s the guitar genius behind everything. I’m just here to put things on top of what’s already there. He brings the sound to it that is Lorna Shore and I bring the Will Ramos little salt on top of the steak.
Something really striking is how bands like yourselves have been able to integrate sounds from certain styles that your core fanbase might not usually be listening to, and particularly in the symphonics and the melodies there's a lot of traces of European symphonic or power metal bands that historically among the US metal crowd might have been viewed as cheesy and not the coolest. Are you guys active listeners of that stuff that aren't typical favourites of the deathcore and metalcore crowd?
Ramos - It’s interesting because everybody in the band listens to completely different things. We have our bassist Moke who is just into beatdown and pure 'fuck you' metal. He’s from a hardcore background so he loves hardcore moshing. Massachusetts punch-you-in-the-face kinda music. Austin just likes anything that’s good, Adam who is the guy who writes all this stuff does listen to all of that, all of that super symphonic music, but at the same time he’ll listen to random things like Tame Impala. Nobody can tell cause they’re in the studio when he’s writing these things, but these things like Tame Impala and these kind of chord progressions get completely changed up and if you peeled back all of the flesh of Lorna Shore you would see that some of these things come from these genres and are then changed so much. We have songs like Immortal and a couple other ones that are super catchy, and it’s that pop structure. We know these things are gonna be good, we give our flair to it and that’s when Adam comes in with his Dimmu Borgir Dark Funeral thing, and then we have our other guitarist Andrew who is the actual symphonic guy who writes all the orchestras. You can imagine all this stuff that he listens to, he doesn’t listen to anything but symphonic music. Everybody comes from a different background and that’s our smorgasbord of music interests.
It does feel like in the last decade the tribalism that existed in metal has become broken down substantially, and taking influence from music far outside of it has become more normalised. Is that important for maintaining creativity, do you feel?
Ramos - I really do because at the same time that’s what’s bringing a lot of people in. A lot of people have been saying for a while the scene is fading away, I don’t necessarily agree with that. It’s not what I remember it to be but at the same time I was 15 and everything was cool to me back then. I think we need the variation. It brings more people in and it’s those little things you do, someone hear a song and might not like it but then hear the chorus and go “Y’know what, this is really singable and I like that”. It’s not just that heavy metal you remember it to be. We’ve got this whole wave coming through, people saying that deathcore is back, and I think it’s because of things like that. Bands like Brand of Sacrifice, like Shadow of Intent, we’re all pulling things that will amplify our music to make it appealing but not take anything away.
With you talking about pop structures though, on the other hand with that sense of the epic and the grandiose in your music as well you are a band from the deathcore scene who have just released a 6 minute lead single, and have engaged people with these long multi-sectioned songs. Is that one of the satisfying challenges of the process for you to maintain that kind of attention to detail and range across these lengthier pieces in a genre that's not really used to them?
Ramos - Oh yeah. For me, when I get that track from Adam, I use what he already has there. We’ve got a big part here, we need a big vocal pay-off, we’ve got faster guitar parts, we’ll put some faster vocals in there, and because of the way the vocals bounce off what is there in the instrumental that’s what comes out at the end of the day.
In the UK you've been selling out shows on your latest tour and coming up have slots at Bloodstock festival as well as supporting Parkway Drive in arenas. With the live industry kicking in again in the last year, how are you feeling about the campaign for the new record you've got coming up and plowing ahead with the momentum up you've built in the last year?
Ramos - I feel so good about it. Like I said it barely feels real so the fact that anything is happening at all I’ll take. I’m excited to get back to the UK and Europe. When COVID hit we were in Europe for a week or two before we were kicked out, so coming back this year is going to be very exciting for me for sure.
Lorna Shore unleash their assault on Lollapalooza later this month before heading overseas for a EU/UK run with Parkway Drive and While She Sleeps. See the complete list of dates below.
Lorna Shore 2022 Tour Dates
06.08.22 (SE) Rättvik - Dalhalla Brinner
10.08.22 (CZ) Jaromer - Brutal Assault
12.08.22 (BE) Kortrijk - Alcatraz Open Air
13.08.22 (UK) Catton Hall - Bloodstock Open Air
19.08.22 (DE) Dinkelsbühl - Summer Breeze
20.08.22 (DE) Trier - Summerblast Festival
21.08.22 (FR) Saint-Nolff - Motocultor Festival
Co-Headline European Shows w/TESSERACT:
05.08.22 (NO) Oslo - Parkteateret
07.08.22 (DK) Copenhagen - Pumpehuset
09.08.22 (PL) Warsaw - Proxima
Parkway Drive European Tour 2022
w/While She Sleeps
09.09.22 (DE) Leipzig - Quarterback Immobilien Arena
10.09.22 (CZ) Prague - Forum Karlin
12.09.22 (BE) Brussels - Forest National
13.09.22 (LUX) Esch-sur-Alzette - Rockhal
14.09.22 (DE) Frankfurt - Festhalle
16.09.22 (CH) Zürich - Samsung Hall
17.09.22 (DE) Munich - Olympiahalle
18.09.22 (AT) Vienna - Stadthalle
20.09.22 (DE) Berlin - Velodrom
21.09.22 (DE) Hamburg - Barclays Arena
23.09.22 (NL) Amsterdam - AFAS Live
24.09.22 (DE) Dortmund - Westfalenhalle
25.09.22 (DE) Stuttgart - Schleyerhalle
27.09.22 (FR) Paris - Zenith
30.09.22 (UK) London - Alexandra Palace
01.10.22 (UK) Manchester - AO Arena
02.10.22 (UK) Nottingham - Motorpoint Arena
03.10.22 (UK) Cardiff - Motorpoint Arena