Mind Equals Blown’s Tim Dodderidge talked to Jeremy DePoyster, guitarist/clean vocalist of The Devil Wears Prada during their stint on the 2012 Mayhem Festival. With a new record out, they chatted about the band’s career and new direction with Dead Throne. In addition, they discuss zombie flicks, AMC television shows, and finish things up with a Lightning Round.
How’s Mayhem treated you guys so far?
Very well. Very good. We didn’t know what to expect, really. We are a metal band, but there are some ridiculously metal bands on tour. But the crowds have been awesome and super-receptive, and just mosh and have a good time.
You just released a live CD/DVD in June. How do you feel about the live album in general? Do you think it represents your live performance well?
Yeah, actually I was just talking to my dad about it the other day, and he was saying he thinks it’s our best-produced thing that we’ve done. I think it just kind of breaks down the songs so that they’re core elements and what they really are. That’s kind of important to show what a song is or what a band is – to see it live and just to break it down into its core elements, and it should be able to stand on its own like that. And I think it does, so that’s pretty cool. It’s not just a programmed-in piece of work, but it’s a living, breathing thing. So it’s pretty cool.
The band released their fourth studio record, Dead Throne, last September, and from listening to it, it becomes quite apparent that the band has really progressed their sound over time. How would you describe this progression?
Thank you. I guess it’s just a multitude of things. Getting older – and we’re significantly older than we were when we started the band and started writing music. Just playing together and living together, and just becoming a really tight-knit group. Another big thing has been that Chris [Rubey], our guitar player, started writing a lot of the songs out on his laptop and bringing them to us, and then working the songs out from there. So that kind of gives it more structure. Another big element was probably Adam [Dutkiewicz] doing the record, and taking a lot of the songs and going, “Nope, I don’t like this part,” “Speed this part up,” or “This part sucks; do this again,’’ just to get the best songs that we can, which we’ve never really had before.
Looking back on Dear Love six years later, how do you feel about the album? I know a lot of kids growing up in the metalcore scene find it to be a classic.
Yeah I hear that a lot and people say that and they’re like, “That’s my favorite record!” And I’m like, “I hope you’re not just saying that to impress me, because it sucks.” We were kids when we wrote it. It was the first thing that we’d ever written together, and really, some of the first stuff we’d written period. It had its place in the time and maybe if people get nostalgic listening to it, that’s cool – you know, the same way that we rock out to old Norma Jean and stuff like that and relive those moments. Who am I to say? If somebody likes it, they like it.
Who speaks Spanish, colon quesadilla?
I don’t even know what that was from now that I think about it (laughs).
I Googled it, and you guys are the first to come up. I thought maybe it came from a movie quote or something.
Nope. Most of them were just stupid little things that we’d say. Living in a van together at 18, having no money, and eating $2 McDonald’s meals every two days, it just got real weird real quick. So we just made up some weird stuff.
Lyrically and thematically, how is Dead Throne different from the rest of your work?
It’s really kind of a – not necessarily a continuation of Zombie – but it was kind of a defining moment for us, when we were like “We’re not going to do the joke titles anymore,” and as goofy as we are offstage and stuff, we’re really going to take stuff seriously and be a serious band. This is all we have. This is who we are. This is what we have to show for our lives. I think getting older and that kind of stuff just influences all of that. When it came to the songs, it wasn’t just throwing parts in for the sake of it like “Oh, that’s a cool part.” It worked within the song and stuff like that.
The album was recorded in Lawrence, Kansas and there’s a song titled “Kansas” on the new record. I’ve lived in Kansas all my life. Why did you guys center so much on my home state?
Our sound guy, who’s also a really good friend of all of our’s (the whole crew’s kind of like a family), lives in Lawrence, so we went and stayed with him. We wrote half the record in – I don’t remember the exact city – the studio where one of the The Get-Up Kids dudes owns and runs or whatever. So we went over there and did that, and it just kind of seemed relevant. Just the trip out there every day was just bleak, it was winter. Just going through these fields and stuff is kind of like where we grew up in Ohio. It kind of has that somber feeling. When the song sounded like that, it just kind of made sense.
I know it’s been a couple years since it happened, but what made you guys want to do a Zombie-based EP?
Well, it’s kind of funny. We have a DVD out now, and that was our goal. We were going to do a DVD and put it out. We weren’t ready to write a new record out, but we needed something to go out since it’d been awhile since our last record. So, we were going to do a DVD, and then we were in Europe and were really depressed – as Europe can kind of be depressing at times. We went and saw the movie Zombieland that came out. And we were like, “Ah, it’d be funny if we did a song about zombies.” So Chris wrote one in the back lounge – that was “Escape” – and we were like “Wow, we should do a whole record like that.” But we worried it’d be too much. So we were like, “Let’s just do a few songs and see how many we get.” Mike [Hranica, lead vocalist] started to read a bunch of zombie stuff and get inspiration for lyrics. It was just fun and funny (laughs).
Since it’s 2012 and there are rumors going around that the world’s going to end, how likely do you think it is to end by a zombie apocalypse?
I don’t know, man. That guy was tweaking out and they found out it was bath salts. I guess he only had marijuana in his system. So maybe it is the start. I don’t know; who’s to say? I’m sure every hundreds of years, they think it’s going to be one thing or another. At least we’ll be prepared if it is (laughs).
If not by zombies, how else do you think the world could end?
Umm…I don’t know. Asteroid. Meteor. Probably nuclear war is the most likely thing.
Just “us” killing each other off.
Exactly. You launch one, he launches one, and all of a sudden it’s all gone (laughs).
And since I’ve already gone down that road, what’s your favorite zombie flick and why?
I like all the old ones, like the b movies, a lot. Zombieland was great, just because I love Bill Murray and Jesse Eisenberg and stuff. As far as classics go, the original Dawn of the Dead is great. It influenced so many young filmmakers to do goofy stuff to get started. So probably Dawn of the Dead.
Do you watch The Walking Dead at all?
I don’t watch it just because I read a bunch of the comics and somebody told me to not watch it if you really like the comic. I guess it strays off. I watch a little bit. It’s alright. It’s kind of cool. I need to get more into it.
I don’t really watch any of those shows on AMC. Breaking Bad. Mad Men. I hear they’re great, too.
I know, I’m like the only one who hasn’t seen those (laughs).
If you had the chance to re-name your band after all these years, would you? And if so, what would you like to change it to?
Yes, and anything other than what it is now (laughs). Anything at all.
Anything else you want to say to your fans?
Thank you for the support. I don’t think people realize – especially in this day and age – how much we appreciate it, and how it’s literally only them that keep us out here. Going to shows. Buying music, t-shirts, CDs. It’s our livelihood, and it’s the only way we can keep doing it. We really, really appreciate it.
Batman or Spider-Man? Spider-Man. I’m a Marvel guy.
Ke$ha or Lady GaGa? GaGa
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Ketchup or Mustard? Mustard. I hate ketchup.
Apple or Microsoft? Apple all the way. No contest.
Natalie Portman or Zooey Deschanel? Who could choose (laughs)? Zooey. She’s a little bubblier.
Regular or Extra Crispy? Regular
Cooler animal: spiders or snakes? Snakes
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
McDonald’s or Taco Bell? Taco Bell
Supporting Slot On Big Festival or Headlining Smaller Tour? Headlining. We’d bring more lights.
Sunrise or Sunset? Sunset
Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs
Ninjas or Pirates? Pirates all the way.