Interview: Mouth For War's Trae Roberts On Letting Grief Guide Him Through New Album "Life Cast in Glass"


(Photo credit: Errick Easterday)

Mouth For War are a metalcore-influenced hardcore band from Colorado. A couple weeks ago, on May 14th, they dropped an absolute heavy-hitter of a debut record - Life Cast in Glass. Though hard to describe - I’ve seen other sites call them hardcore, death metal, metalcore, and everything else in between - one thing remains true… Mouth for War aren’t holding anything back.

As for some background on our interviewee, Trae Roberts, you may recognize him as being the vocalist of one of my favorite Indiana bands - the now-defunct Bruise. After relocating to Colorado, joined by members of Chain of Torment, Trae and Bruise drummer Mason started up Mouth For War. When asked to tell me something he wanted the readers to know, Trae kept it simple - his name is Trae, he is the vocalist and songwriter, and his favorite band is Alice in Chains. 

What was Trae’s first show like? “It was an all-local show in small-town Indiana, where a bunch of kids threw flyers up around school,” Trae recounts. “I had never seen so much energy and people moshing like crazy before, and I definitely immediately knew it was something I wanted to be involved in.”

The band’s influences are just as hard to pin down as their sound. Trae and the band cite bands as varied as Kickback, Sentence, Lamb of God, and The Devil Wears Prada as inspirations behind the band’s writing. The result is 11 songs curated to showcase all the aggression and pain Trae has experienced in the last year, with lyrics that lay those deep feelings bare. He is accompanied by unforgivingly heavy, explosive instrumentals that perfectly suit the aggrieved, brooding nature of his words.

“At the time, I was grieving heavily from the loss of my sister, and I feel like that made some of these songs fall out of me so naturally,” Trae explains. As far as compiling these songs as a band, he affirms the pandemic was oddly helpful in giving them time. “The pandemic gave us a lot of extra time to sit back and pick at the specifics, and it was definitely a factor in how things came together so smoothly.”

When asked how it felt to finally express these emotions, Trae was quick to describe it as a cathartic experience. “Finally getting this album out is definitely like a breath of fresh air. Writing music is the only way I can imagine coping with something like I was going through, and it just happened to help create the super aggressive sound we were going for.”

The track “Manifesting You,” for example, describes some vivid nightmares Trae was having during the grieving process - and it was also selected as a single, with an accompanying music video filmed by Errick Easterday. On why the song was chosen, Trae offers this explanation - “After finally being able to sit back and look at the record as a full piece of work, we felt ‘Manifesting You’ was a hard-hitting song that also did a good job of displaying a little bit of all of the sounds we were bringing together for this album.”

Regarding the creative process behind the video, everything was just as intuitive and straightforward as choosing the song. “I've known Errick since middle school, so it was a no-brainer that we'd bring him out to work on some videos. He's always been incredible at turning my lyrics into something that makes sense visually. [Again,] we picked that song because we thought it showed every sound that we were trying to bring together on the record, while also holding some of the strongest lyrics,” Trae continues. “Errick's ideas for the plot just brought it together perfectly. The creative process while working with Errick is always so natural and smooth, and things wind together with ease.”

After self-releasing their first EP in 2019, Mouth For War decided to link up with Massachusetts-based label, 1126 Records, to put out their debut record. “Our drummer met Scott [owner] on tour with another band and kept in contact with him,” Trae explains. “On a whim, we decided to send him our EP, and it happened pretty fast from there. Scott was super down with our goals as a band, and wanted to get involved. It's been great being a part of 1126 so far.”

As I stated previously, Trae’s not a Colorado native. Still, the scene in Colorado has always seemed like an awesome one to be a part of - many of the bands seem very close to each other and their surrounding scenes, and the transplant members of Mouth For War seem to have been welcomed in the same way. I asked Trae how he felt about being a part of the new scene. “Colorado is the best. I'm super blessed and thankful to have been welcomed into this scene being an outsider from Indiana, and I look forward to continuing building on what we have out here.”

Regarding future plans, Trae kept it simple and decisive.I can say - expect to see us almost everywhere in the US by the end of the year.” 

This much is true - as you can see above, the band has announced a release show in their home of Colorado Springs at The Black Sheep on Saturday, June 26th, and they also just announced a full U.S. tour this fall.

His last words? Just as simple - “Go add Life Cast In Glass to your playlist and jam!”

As always, I appreciate Trae for taking the time to talk to me. As someone involved in Midwest hardcore, Trae has always been a friendly face I’ve seen around at shows, and I’m stoked to see him thriving in a new band and a new place!

Keep up with Mouth For War via their social media below.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp | Merch store

Listen to Life Cast In Glass via Spotify below!


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