Metalcore four-piece The Devil Wears Prada are set to release their highly-anticipated new album Transit Blues in a matter of weeks, so we had the chance to chat with guitarist and all round nice dude Jeremy DePoyster to get the low down on the record, and address a few other important issues.
What’s up Jeremy, how are you? You sound like you’re driving right now! You’re a busy man.
I’m good man! It’s kinda the late evening here so I’m on my way to pick my wife up from work. It’s been good lately we haven’t really had that much going on since finishing the record so it’s been our first summer off in like, 10 years, so that’s been pretty nice before we start hammering it again.
Always nice to have a little bit of downtime between writing, recording and touring I guess?
Let’s just dive right in and talk a little bit about Transit Blues and what we can expect from the new record, which we’re all super excited about. Anything you can tell us to get us extra pumped?
Yeah, so this is actually the first full length we’ve done with our current lineup and our new guitarist Kyle (Sipress), which is really exciting for us. He worked on the Zombie EP so we already knew this was gonna turn out pretty cool, but this was a super communal, group-oriented way of writing. Probably more so than we ever have, I think. Especially with Mike’s (Hranica) contribution, and the song writing and guitar writing and everything like that it was extremely communal.
That’s interesting, because the Zombie EP is undoubtedly some of your heaviest work, does it follow on from where it left off, or does it lend more to the recent Space EP and 8:18?
I think it strikes a balance in between them. It unintentionally came out really really heavy (laughs). We just tried to write a bunch of cool songs and then we listened back and we were just like ‘Wow, man’…. It’s funny though because we’re a bit weird and like a lot of crazy samples and special effects and stuff like that too so I think there’s a lot more texture there than anything we’ve done in the past, and I love doing that kind of stuff, as does Kyle. It’s like he’s just painting these big, lush landscapes and he’s just really good at writing heavy music. He’s still new to it and to the band so he’s not burnt out which gave it an added freshness to it also.
I actually also read that you guys lived together full time while working on the record. How’d that go?
Yeah, it’s the first time we’ve ever done that. In each other’s pockets from the writing, through the recording process... like, the whole time. You know you spend so much time with people, but I guess we all did get to spend some time alone throughout certain parts of this process, but for the most part we were together. We rented a place in Michigan for a little bit and then in Wisconsin just jamming out a bunch of stuff, it was really cool and the chemistry between everybody was better than it ever has been.
It was very cool to just nut it all out and be like “oh hey this doesn’t really work, but this might!” and there weren’t any hard feelings around that. No ego’s got in the way, none of that stuff so it was great.
Living with people full time is enough of a challenge in itself, and when you’re trying to get something done it becomes even harder. Do you think you’d do it that way again?
I think so. I mean it kinda makes you insane after a certain point. The writing process wasn’t really the insanity of it – We’re so used to being around each other from living on the road and whatnot. We’re not one of those bands that hate each other and get it together on stage; we just really really get along. Mike, Andy (Trick) and I have been in the band and been very close friends for about eleven years now and we’ve known Kyle and John for years too. So we’ve always been buddies, and we all live in Chicago so whenever we have to opportunity to hang out we do and it’s great.
The Devil Wears Prada has grown into a worldwide favourite amongst rock and metal fans on the back of several successful releases. Tell us a bit about how you’ve dealt with that as a band.
I think we’ve just been really lucky. We obviously work really hard but I think most bands do, and I don’t think success is a measured result of how much work you put in to being a band. There’s bands that work harder than others and never have any success and vice versa so I think we got a lot of really cool opportunities and we’ve been able to create great music out of that which people seem to enjoy. There’s now a lot of interactivity with what we do, which is cool.
It’s nice to be able to have that success, and knowing that somebody somewhere is going to care enough about the things that you do, really makes you want to challenge yourself to do something cool, because you can waste it so easily. It’s never like ‘well somebody might listen to it so let’s put out a mediocre record’ because that just feels like such a waste of everybody’s time and a disservice to people that have afforded you the opportunity to be able to be creative for a living. So whether it’s the album or the show or whatever, we owe it to the fan base to do the best that we can, y’know?
That’s a breath of fresh air I think, as many bands can go the other way and feel as though they can put out anything and people will listen. Let’s move on a little bit to the touring side of things. What drives you to stay motivated and engaged while spending so much time away from family and friends, and out on the road?
I think we have this sick addiction to it now, like it’s all we’ve known since we were seventeen or eighteen years old. I think a lot of it for us is the need to play these shows and it’s just such a culture and a community, and it’s so engaging to be on the stage and in that environment it’s just so much fun. It’s honestly the best thing there is, so I think there’s that and then also we all have very supportive families that are always like ‘yeah it’s who you are and do what you gotta do’. Finally I guess we just really enjoy being around each other.
I think really we just try and be as creative as we can, so there’s always something new that we want to do with the show or something more that we want to put out there in the world. Some of our really good friends are from A Day To Remember, and it’s been so fun to watch them play shows and tours and be able to watch visions that Jeremy (McKinnon/ADTR) has had throughout his whole life come to reality, and I think we’ve harnessed a bit of that ourselves.
We just have so much more that we want to do and so many more elements we want to bring to a show, so it’s just never enough, I guess.
It’s always been common knowledge that a Devil Wears Prada show is an intense experience, and in many ways you know you’re going to get. It’s going to be heavy, it’s going to extreme. Do you have to prepare yourself, and how do you harness the energy to bring that intensity to your show on a nightly basis, or does it just come naturally?
Um, I think a lot of it comes naturally, especially the ‘in the moment’ stuff. Obviously we work our butts off practicing the technical side of it, but we don’t have a big meeting and discuss what’s gonna happen at the 3 minute mark of this song, y’know?
So it’s not choreographed, then?
(Laughs) Yeah, no! Mike especially, y’know, if you talk to him off stage he’s such a calm and reserved guy but the minute gets up there he just goes beast mode, like psychotic so you just have to stand back just let him do his thing. I never know what he’s going to do or what he’s going to say, or if he’s going to break a bunch of stuff or jump up on the speaker stack or whatever (laughs). Believe me it’s as much fun for us as it is for everyone else. So even we don’t know what we’re in for sometimes.
How do you guys spend your down time while you’re touring? Are you big sports fans? TV, movies anything like that to keep you entertained when you’re not working?
Big, big time sports fans man. We pretty much live for sports. Huge NFL fans... basketball, baseball hockey the whole thing, so we love that just as much if not more than music!
We have something in common! Die hard NBA basketball fan right here. But I’m a Laker fan which might disappoint you.
Ah man, I won’t hold that against you! (Laughs) I’m a big time Bulls fan which is hard not to be here in Chicago. My wife actually works at Marc Jacobs here in town and Rajon Rondo has been shopping here a little bit so I’m like “Please call me next time he’s in the store!” (Laughs).
Nothing wrong with sweating an NBA player sometimes, but moving on, your fans down here in Australia are extremely keen to see you guys down under! Any plans to come back, and what’s your favourite thing about touring in Australia?
Oh man, yes, we LOVE your country so much. We’re huge fans, and the last time we were there for Soundwave and some side shows it was just insane, we’ve been itching to get back; it’s basically our number one thing. We’ve been hounding our management like “get us to Australia, we gotta go!” so we just love the food, the culture, the coffee… you guys have a lot of cool stuff!
Plus my wife’s cousin actually lives in Sydney so I have some family over there too so every time I’m there we’re kicking it down to Bondi or the Shire where they are so it’s nice I love that.
Oh, what are those little chocolate cookies you guys have?
That would be Tim Tams….
Oh my GOSH! Send them to me by the case!
You’re definitely not alone in that assessment. Have you ever bitten the ends off a Tim Tam, and drank your coffee through it? If you take one thing away from this interview make sure it’s that.
(Laughs) Oh man, I definitely will!
I’m sure you’re a busy man, so we’ll wrap it up, but have you got any favourite artists or bands you guys are into at the moment that you think we should be checking out, or may not have heard?
I’m a really big fan of the guys in Architects, and they put out a record earlier this year that’s really, really good. It’s called All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us and I’m a huge fan of that. Mike is a big Courtney Barnett fan so we’re listening to a lot of that so those are a couple of things to check out on totally different ends of the spectrum! Not that anyone hasn’t already (laughs).
Architects are one of those bands that everyone has gravitated towards, especially over the last couple of records.
Oh man, they are a very good live band. It’s hard not to.
Well they’re out here with Bring Me the Horizon this month so I’m sure a lot of people will be heading to those shows, but just to close this thing out, have you got a favourite song from the new record?
There are just so many of them. I love them all. I think The Condition is my current favourite right now.
I’m sure your fans will be jumping all over that once the new album drops in a few weeks. I know I can’t wait to hear it. Thanks so much for spending some time with us today, good luck with the record and hopefully we see you down here real soon!
Hey thank you man, it’s really appreciated. Catch you later!
Watch the video for Daughter by The Devil Wears Prada above