To say good guys Lorna Shore have undergone some adversity in recent years, would be an understatement. From their inceptive 2010 debut EP Triumph to studio albums Psalms and Flesh Coffin, now vocalist of Chelsea Grin / Darko US – Tom Barber left the band and was replaced with CJ McCreery for 2020 record Immortal. It wasn’t long after the COVID-era album was released that the band parted ways with McCreery for reasons that most readers will be acutely aware of.
This would’ve been nothing short of challenging for the remaining members of the band who were not just trying to get on with it, but had just poured all their musicianship into the third record. You’d think a deathcore band who’d undergone this level of trial and tribulation would fold it all in, that is – losing two talented vocalists who helped build the band’s reputation.
But then something crazy happened; they got it right. The New Jersey four-piece recruited their new fifth: local extraordinaire William Ramos. They brought him into the Lorna Shore family and it might’ve just been the best decision they ever made. In 2021 they introduced Ramos to the world via now-viral track ‘To The Hellfire‘ which has since attracted over 11 Million views as of writing this sentence. The deathcore outfit went onto release groundbreaking EP …And I Return To Nothingness where they maintained the momentum with a blistering title-track and also a Ramos favourite – ‘Of the Abyss‘. Fans could not get enough of this band (still can’t), and again, as of writing this – Lorna Shore has since attracted close to 900,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
The deathcore giants are approaching the release of their fourth LP Pain Remains (album review here) and are undoubtedly just moments away from cracking 1 Million monthly Spotify listeners. Could this be the single most highly anticipated deathcore album of 2022? If not it’d have to be pretty damn close. Just five months ago, Lorna Shore appeared from the eerie shadows with their first song of the year. It’s called ‘Sun//Eater‘ and the heavy music community simply lost their minds when it popped up. The track from the forthcoming record erased any cast of doubt of an inability to meet expectations, following their seminal EP.
Lead guitarist Adam De Micco, drummer Austin Archey, rhythm guitarist Andrew O’Connor, bassist Michael Yager and their fresh blood Ramos then dropped a series of singles, all breadcrumbs to release day where it’s pieced together, and all coupled with music videos that are just as cinematic as they sound, including ‘Into The Earth‘ and ‘Cursed To Die‘. As the Pain Remains album info surfaced, fans thought that might be it in terms of pre-release singles and that the album waiting game would therein begin.
Upon inspection of the album tracklist, an ominous trifecta sprayed ‘Pain Remains‘ which seemed like deep cuts that fans would in no form of reality get to hear until the day of release. Lorna Shore then dropped magnificent single ‘Pain Remains I: ‘Dancing Like Flames’ and soon after ‘Pain Remains II: ‘After All I’ve Done, I’ll Disappear‘. But we’ll get to all of that shortly, as part of our recent chat with Will Ramos on our latest edition of Wall of Sound Virtual Hangs.
It’d been a fair period of time for the new vocalist on the block – between mastering the record and announcing it, so it feels like a bit of a trip to be on the cusp of release day. “Honestly, it’s kind of insane to think about that,” with Friday, 14 October in a clear line of sight. “I remember when we first were putting it together and we were like ‘this release date is going to be so far away in the future’, and now we’re like four days away. I don’t know where the time goes,” he says charismatically, with his signature curly blonde hair tied up in a man-bun for the interview.
Lorna Shore have just burst straight through the first Europe festival touring circuit since COVID, and whilst it’s been explosive for the band, it’s also wrecked them as the emotions start to build for the pending record release day. In short, they’re feeling “a little bit of excitement, a little bit of anxiety, mostly tired, general fatigue – we’ve been touring for I feel like freaking forever.”
This recent tour run was one of the first opportunities for them to play new hits like ‘Sun//Eater‘ – and let’s just Ramos was humble about the performance; for him, it certainly was not a walk in the park. It was…
“Hard. I’ll tell you that right now. These songs are not easy. I wasn’t really thinking about it when we were writing it. I was just like ‘this sounds good. Let’s just put it out there,’ and then I’m playing Sun//Eater live and I’m like, ‘oh my god, why did I do this to myself?”
The 28-year old had to really focus on surviving through the performances. “There’s parts where I know [that] every single time we do it live, I’m like ‘okay if you don’t focus your breathing here, you’re going to lose it before the song is over’” he says smiling at how crazy it is, but is equally assuring that not all the songs are that tough.
It’s not just the mechanics of the songs that has been challenging to play live, but also the duration. The showman, often dressed in all black – confirms that these shows have been “some of the longest sets that I’ve ever played ever to say the least. I’ve got to make sure I take care of the voice and all the goodies going on in there,” he says colloquially in his placid and playful state.
The bloke needs to look after his voice because it’s his musical instrument and a critical component of the band. Recently, Ramos was invited onto The Charismatic Voice where cameras were put up his nose and all up in his grill to check out what goes on in there when he pig-squeals and all the rest – it’s a super interesting and easy watch, if you haven’t seen it.
After getting a bit of airtime now, the episode has led to increasing educational/medical interest. “I found out they’re actually going to be in a science book,” he says referring to his famous vocal chords. “So, somewhere in the world, somebody will be taking a voice class anatomy, and then they’re going to be like ‘Will Ramos, this is one person who happens to be able to block phonate his voice.” Reflecting on the cameo, he continues, “I like that, I’m in a book!” he says laughing astonishingly.
Of course, all this fame ultimately came on the back of ‘To The Hellfire‘ and its reception, which would ultimately be followed by some significant expectations for whatever came next from Lorna Shore, although he didn’t feel the pressure like some of his bandmates did.
“For some of us, it was a lot, [but] for me, I was actually more comfortable recording the album than I was recording the EP,” as with Nothingness, he was super cognizant of fans’ expectations. “In my mind I was like, I’ve got to stick to what fans expect, I’ve got to beat that guy,” referring to McCreery.
“What am I gonna write my lyrics about? What’s this one gonna be about?“- some of the questions going through Ramos’ mind at the start. “But then once I realised that they were totally fine with me just putting out whatever I felt was most comfortable to me, everything became a lot easier,” he says, referring to the band.
From therein, he was ready to face into their forthcoming record, but as alluded to already, not all members felt the same way. “Adam, our guitarist/songwriter, would write like ten different riffs a day, they were all insane and he would hate every single one of them,” Ramos sniggers. “We would be like ‘it’s really good. It’s good. I promise’, and he’s like ‘no man, no’. But ultimately, De Micco’s riffs eventually struck perfection.
“Everybody in the band is like ‘this is the best thing that we’ve ever put out’ and not just as a whole but individually.”
For Mr. Ramos, his first ever track with the band is nothing compared to what’s coming on Pain Remains. “To The Hellfire is cool, It has that shock value part, but that isn’t a make-or-break, that’s not going to make it for me. I like to throw in a whole bunch of other styles, it was fun.”
He’s still not convinced De Micco would describe it as ‘fun’. “He might give you a completely different answer because he’s the band dad. He’s the most original member out of everybody in the band, so this is like his baby.” Hopefully, the outcome will instill confidence in the Lorna Shore founder on whatever the band do next.
As the lyricist for both Nothingness and Pain Remains, he knows how to pack one hell of a narrative and he was more than happy to share it.
“It’s a concept album, it’s about so many things, but the main point of it is about somebody who lucid dreams,” and this person “hates their reality. I drew inspiration from this one anime that I saw a very long time ago, it wasn’t even a very important part of the anime,” he shares only weeks after Machine Head‘s Rob Flynn shared a very similar inspirational source for their new record Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn. Not only that, but the linkage continues with Flynn having also hosted Ramos on his own podcast.
“There’s the idea of this person that just doesn’t love where they are and they want to be anywhere else, and so for them, that somewhere else was in their dreams. All the songs tell more chapters of this person dreaming, becoming lucid, being able to control their dreams, finding eventually that there’s no point to any of these things, almost like an omnipotent figure.”
The climax of the story is this notion that “‘I just want to get out of here and go back to take the whole freaking world down with me’, like ‘I’ve built this ship and I want to see the ship go down with me'”.
Ramos shares that he loves philosophy and whilst he may have failed his studies, he loves the concept that “people having different thoughts and different ideologies,” he says earnestly. So for me, when I was writing this, I was also thinking about it as circular. It starts in one place, he wants to escape from his reality in this world. He ends the album where he finally escapes the reality and ends up somewhere else.”
Eventually, the dreamer gets bored of the godlike omnipotence which faces into the cyclical nature of the story.
“They get tired, they get bored. They don’t find any fulfilment and being able to do whatever they want. And, it ends. Somebody was telling me it makes them think about [it as] the soundtrack to the end of the world.”
Do you believe in playing favourites? Ramos does. He picked track eight, ‘Pain Remains I‘ without a glimmer of hesitation. “Why?” – he asks rhetorically, as if the answer is well rehearsed. “Because it’s sad as hell, and I love sad songs, that’s what I like to listen to. There’ll never be a point in your life where you’re like, ‘I never want to hear a sad song again’.”
The deathcore demon exposes his soft and sensitive side. “I want to hear a freaking sad song and just cry, and I wanted to write this song for those intents and purpose.
“I want you to come in and just be like ‘dude I feel this. I feel the emotion that’s going on here’, and especially for deathcore, you don’t really [get] a lot of emotion, they keep it very monotone.”
‘Dancing Like Flames‘ is the deathcore ballad that the world got shellshocked by in its unique approach to fusing sorrow with obliterating heaviness. “We tried to push the boundaries a little bit with this one by adding a romantic side to it, the story of love and loss.”
In the spirit of love and romance, like many of us, you probably feel enchanted by Ramos’ charming personality, and you might’ve also seen that he’s got a new bromance with Aaron Matts of ten56. who just dropped dual single ‘Traumadoll‘ / ‘RLS‘. The two guttural GOATs recently connected on tour in Europe, with a run of August shows together.
After reminiscing over some videos they sent each other earlier the day we spoke, Ramos shares that he’s a big fan of Matts and the ten56. “We all hung out after we played a show in France, they weren’t even playing that show, but they all came and hung out,” although apparently it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
“It’s funny, because when I first met Aaron Matts, he was such a d*ck -at least that’s what I thought anyway,” he laughs, realising how wrong he was. “I thought he was being super rude about something that I [now] don’t even think he was being rude about. I was just so insecure about it at that moment, and then we ended up hanging out and I was just like, ‘dude, I love you man. You are such a great guy’.”
For modern deathcore fans, the idea of seeing Lorna Shore and ten56. at one show is a pretty brutal and remarkable one. However, it doesn’t seem like any future touring plans between the two are slated just yet. “Maybe. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, that would be really sick.”
Finally, we grabbed a question for Ramos from our Wall of Sound Community of Legends Facebook Page, and this is exactly how it was asked: Lorna Shore. Australian tour. when?
“Oh man, I don’t know – but I’m gonna say 2023, I don’t know for sure but this is me manifesting it because I really want to come to Australia. I want to eat some Australian food, I want to explore it, I just want to be there. We had one tour lined up and it totally fell through, so hopefully this time everything will work out.”
Interview by Ricky Aarons (rickysaul90)
Pre-order Pain Remains here
Lorna Shore – Pain Remains tracklisting
1. Welcome Back, O’ Sleeping Dreamer
2. Into The Earth
4. Cursed To Die
5. Soulless Existence
8. Pain Remains I: Dancing Like Flames
9. Pain Remains II: After All I’ve Done, I’ll Disappear
10. Pain Remains III: In A Sea of Fire