For almost eleven years, Dayton, Ohio’s own The Devil Wears Prada has been powering along the metalcore scene and as time went on, progressed into a band who has broken out of that mold. Their 2016 release, Transit Blues takes in all that they have learned and is one of their most musically accomplished albums to date. MEB writer/photographer M.J. Rawls caught up with guitarist/vocalist Jeremy DePoyster for an interview about their latest album, Transit Blues, the history of the band, life on the road, and more.
MEB: Your most recent New York show had a great mix of your discography (Transit Blues, Space, Zombie). You guys even threw a medley in there of older tracks. How does the band go about picking the set list for a tour?
Jeremy: A lot of variables go into it. A lot of times we default things to Mike [Hranica] and just ask him what he wants to do. The medley was our tour manager’s idea. Just going, “hey, it’s been long enough. You guys should throw some old songs in.” We just want a group-oriented operation. A lot of the new stuff, whether it’s a single or not, and ones that are fun to play. Mike likes to play guitar, so we try to throw some songs in there that he can play guitar on. Playing some of the old songs, it’s like, “Well, we’ve resisted it long enough.”
Speaking of old stuff, it’s been a little more than 10 years since TDWP released Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord. Looking back, how do you feel about the debut now?
Real candidly, I think it sucks. I was 18 years old. I knew nothing about songwriting. We knew nothing about songwriting. We kinda just combined together a bunch of riffs that we liked, parts and ideas. It was kinda a chaotic mess. I see the nostalgia and the value in it. I remember that culture and I remember what other bands were doing at the time. We were kind of like a high energy group. We were influenced by bands like The Chariot. I look back and I see why in that climate it worked out. I just think we got so much better at writing (laughs).
Speaking of, the whole metalcore scene as changed. Bands like The Chariot have gone away. You guys have improved upon each album. Every Devil Wears Prada album adds something different – adds layers. Does the band emphasize improving, especially given the state of the genre you guys originated from?
Yeah, big time. It’s weird. When you look at an album after the fact, you get the impression of what it is as a whole. When you start going into writing stuff, it’s a very personal small thing. It’s just a bunch of dudes or maybe even one dude, depending on the song – writing it and not really having, at least for us, an intention of what it’s going to be. We just set out to write the stuff that we want to hear. We’ve been very fortunate in that we have a huge spread of influences. Everyone likes different stuff and everyone dislikes certain stuff and because we have the “everybody throw ideas into the pot” attitude, especially with our keyboard player John [Gering] whose taken on a very heavy production role. He’s of the mindset of “give me all you’ve got and I’ll tell you what’s good from that.” I think that helps us to diversify it a bit.
I hear a lot of bands say nowadays, “I don’t really listen to heavy music anymore.” While I think our tastes have definitely spread quite wide over the years, I think we do listen to a lot of heavy stuff. I start to resent that statement because that means you aren’t looking hard enough for heavy bands. They don’t have to be right directly in your scene to find them.
The whole album, Transit Blues is indicative of touring and being away from home. Even though TDWP has been together for a long time, touring can be taxing. This is also one of the first albums the band got together and recorded in the same place. As a veteran band, does it get any easier touring?
Parts of it do get easier and parts of it do get infinitely harder. There’s more stable of a base that you form. It’s just what time and age does. Everybody in the band either is married or has serious girlfriends. That kinda makes it hard to go away from because we have those families and relationships at home. At the same time, we’ve been on the road for so long just as a part of our normal life, you almost step on the bus and think you’re going to be over it. It becomes a part of your personality that you’re attracted to. I think it takes a combination of the type of person – there’s really no way to define that. It’s a really unnatural way to live, which may drive some people to drugs and that whole thing. I think people in bands are a lot more sympathetic. I think in certain ways, touring becomes easier because you’ve done it for so long.
Especially with us. We have a very tight knit band and crew. Everyone is family and if someone doesn’t fit it, we very quickly force them out. That type of family atmosphere makes it easier to do it.
Specifically, you touch on this in “Worldwide”, that it’s tough to leave from home, but the fans and the love that you get pushes you through.
Yeah, big time. It was pretty emotional for me to sing that on the first impression. Mike handed me the lyric sheet at the rental house that we had when we were writing and trying to garnish those emotions. You talk about Sweden, you talk about Tokyo, you talk about France; you talk about these places that we have not just been, but we’ve been there together. A lot of people travel, but I have traveled the world with the exact same people. There’s that emotional connection – it’s really awesome, we’re really thankful for it.
This is the first full album that you recorded with drummer Giuseppe [Capolupo] and I know Kyle [Sipress] has been with the band for at least two years. How was the recording process with two new elements?
I think it’s awesome. I love Kyle. I love playing guitar with him, especially because we do not see eye-to-eye on many factors, but on many, we do. We come from a lot of similar approaches, but a lot of different ones. I think that creates a really fun dynamic. He’s very much an integral part of our band now. Not just personality-wise, but writing-wise. Such a massive portion of what’s on the album is straight from his brain, which is awesome. I think an album should be representative of everyone’s personalities put together – no matter how big or how small they are. He’s an infinite pool of creativity – all the guys are. The harmony and disharmony we have creates something like Transit Blues.
It’s just the first chapter in the next ten years of what we want to do. Giuseppe came in and tracked all the drums only hearing the demos we had. He really had a big impression drum-wise on the album. I think that’s a large portion of how these riffs became so heavy and we’re really pumped to have him in the writing process for next time.
My favorite song on the album is “The Key To Evergreen”. It starts off heavy in the beginning, but then there’s this beautiful, crescendo towards the end. Mike is singing about the story of “Lolita”, and there’s almost a sadness to it. How did that track come together?
Kyle kinda had this little riff – the beginning riff of the song. We had been jamming with that as a band in Wisconsin. I made this little chord part that we went into after that and it got flushed into a big, melodic thing. Kyle went off on his own in the barn and made this super lush, reverbed-out loop from that same chord progression. Jonathan came in and was like, “yes, let me record that.” Mike immediately starting singing about Evergreen things, (trees, mountains). It created this really cool, forestry vibe into it that was a nice counter to what started out as a very metal-influenced riff. We added in the choir and speaking parts later.
Pick up Transit Blues on iTunes.
Main Photo Credit: Anthony Barlich