The Devil Wear's Prada (due this Sunday, November 24, at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom) first came together in 2005. Formed in Dayton, Ohio, by members who came up in the local hardcore scene, the act is a Christian band, but it has never traded on that aspect of the band with any overt, ham-fisted musical content. This year, the band released its most sonically adventurous album yet, 8:18, which is considerably darker.
In advance of the act's show this weekend, we spoke with Jeremy DePoyster about the band's hardcore origins, how it never really tried to fit into the world of Christian music and why 8:18 is the band's darkest record.
Westword: The name of your band is kind of statement against materialism. Why was that an important issue to you at the time you gave yourselves that name?
Jeremy DePoyter: We're a Christian band, so obviously that kind of mentality comes with the territory. The older we get, that falls into not necessarily just anti-materialism but making sure your values are in the right place. We're also a relatively liberal band, so whether that's Christian or not, I think everyone could do with putting more emphasis on more important things than material possessions, money, heroes, idols and that sort of thing.
What got you more into playing heavier music with a groove?
Probably just where I grew up and the time I grew up, and I was into bands like Slipknot and Korn. Then I fell into Slayer and other metal and a bunch of other Goth type stuff. I was always interested in alternative music and heavier rock and roll. That was what attracted me to other people into the same sort of thing. Andy Trick and I have been friends since the eighth or ninth grade, and we met the other guys playing in other local bands. We've been doing it for eight years now. We're into all kinds of other music, too, but it's what we like to do.
What kind of Goth stuff were you into?
Bauhaus, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Southern Death Cult, before they were the Cult, and stuff like that. Other brooding young men clad in black.
As a rhythm guitarist, have you been playing with the band the whole time, as you are also one of the main vocalists?
Yeah, I've played guitar with the band the whole time. I sang in a couple of other bands previous to this, but I always played guitar. I grew up around it because my father and grandfather played. At first, we were looking for another guitar player, but I said I would do it. Our other guitarist, Chris Rubey, taught me how to play the metal stylings and things of which I had no idea. I still don't. I just use a lot of delay and phasers every now and then and fudge my way through. I am more intrigued by cool melodies and textures and cool songs, chord structures and sounds than I am in intricate metal proficiencies.
In Dayton, Ohio, what kind of opportunities did you have to play live and develop your band early on?
It was good. There was a massive hardcore scene out of Cincinatti, a couple hours south of us, at the time. So we kind of grew up in that atmosphere and going to small little shows and had that kind of music to be a part of us. So when we were starting out, that was a big influence on us. It was cool. We had a lot of opportunity because of that to learn how to be a band without having to do it on a massive scale.
We were playing to twenty or thirty people max at these small places all around Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Indiana. It was nice that we got to do those sorts of shows and sketch everything out without having to have a huge spotlight on us. There was a place called the High Five in Columbus, and we probably played every VFW hall everywhere in the region. We play Bogart's now but we never dreamed we'd get to play there then.
As a Christian band, do you differentiate your shows between "secular" shows and shows at churches or Christian-oriented events and that sort of thing?
I think naturally things have just gone the way they have, and we've been the kind of band that has taken the hand off the wheel and let it drive itself, as far as those kinds of things go. We've always just toured with whoever would take us out, and that drove us into a really secular field, and we felt the message we had was more applicable there than be a worship band in a Christian market with people who were already Christian.
We had another outlook on Christianity maybe because of the way we grew up. I knew I was super disenchanted as a kid because the faith I have has nothing to do with what I was being told at the time and exposed to. So we feel like it's important for us to get out there and say what we want to say, and it's easier to do that in the secular market. We also like playing those shows a lot. We will still do a Christian festival now and again, but a lot of times, I think we just have a different vibe from what people are used to around that kind of thing.
What was it like playing Cornerstone the first time?
I don't think we played the last year, but we played the previous two years. We did all facets of Cornerstone. We started out playing on a generator stage one year on our first tour ever. The next time, we were on one of the tent stages, and the next two times, we were on one of the main stages with Underoath, and then headlined another year, which was cool.
Was it different from playing one of your shows at another type of rock festival or club?
No, not really. Obviously a festival show is going to be different from playing a club. We're still going to try and have the same show every night. We get ready the same way and that's our mentality. Which means we're going to be natural and go hard and do our thing, we're an aggressive band. We're just going to feed off whatever the vibe is. As long as we can kind of tune in and do it, it's always going to be good no matter what it is
Your new album is called 8:18. Do you feel it is darker than Dead Throne?
I think so. I just think that's the way that we're going with the imagery with the video and the lighting, to show it is just a darker thing. I think the more this Instagram generation wanted to make pseudo pop stars, but the metal version kind of thing isn't us, and we go on tour with bands that are not like that. We played the Rockstar Mayhem tour with Slipknot and Slayer, and those are the kinds of bands we like and the kind of people we want to play to and the kind of atmosphere we want to have at a show.
And that just doesn't have to do with being a pseudo pop star. I think that plays to the music, too, and not wanting to do these gimmicky, flash-in-the-pan things. We want to make an album that will mean something in fifteen years. We're getting older now, and we made our first album when I was eighteen, and I'm 26 now. I'm at a different place, and I have something different I want to contribute now.
The title of the album is from Romans 8:18? Why did you feel compelled to explore different perspectives on misery
That comes from Mike [Hranica], our singer, who writes all the lyrics and develops all that content for stuff. I think the more time goes on, the more he writes about what he knows and what his experiences are and meditates on. I think when he goes to his place to write, I think that's where he's coming from. I think the more we've written, the more comfortable he feels with being candid and frank about those kinds of things. I guess that's just where he's at.
You sing the clean vocals, and he sings the more distorted vocals? Why did you split up the vocal duties that way?
Because he doesn't know how to sing, I guess? I don't know. I would think it would be cool if he did the singing, too, but that's not his style. He's switching up his vocal style now on the newer stuff, and he's finding his own voice. It's what we've always done.