Since forming in 2005, the Ohio metalcore act the Devil Wears Prada have experienced countless milestones but speaking with guitarist/vocalist Jeremy DePoyster, it's clear that they're most excited about their upcoming album 8:18 which comes out on September 17. Alternating between crushing and melodic, the disc sees the band taking their songwriting and arranging skills to the next level without sacrificing any of the aggression that has endeared them to fans over the years.
We caught up with DePoyster to get his take on the new album, his thoughts on the current music scene and learn what acts inspire him on a daily basis. Trust us, we think you'll probably be surprised by his answer.
PureVolume: The video for your first single, "Martyrs," gave me nightmares. Would you say that song and imagery is representative of 8:18 as a whole?
Jeremy DePoyster: It's kind of funny because no, not really. There is a lot of stuff on there that is really dark and really heavy but then there are a couple more songs on there that are on the more mellow side of things. Then again, I'm the wrong person to ask about that stuff because to me what's on the softer more mellow side is still probably unlistenable to people who listen to Top 40 music. [Laughs.] When I say, "Well, this song isn't so heavy," it still involves screaming and loud guitars, so I guess the album is still probably pretty dark but there's a lot of melody that comes across. It's heavy when it needs to be.
What's the significance of the album title. I'm guessing that's a bible verse?
Yeah, it's Romans 8:18. It's an idea that [vocalist] Mike [Hranica] had for a really long time; it's about present suffering and hope to come later. A lot of these lyrics all throughout his life have been about sadness and I think this one is about the acceptance of that in the present but then saying that it can get better. It's optimistic instead of being focused on depression.
How did the success of your last album Dead Throne affect the making of 8:18?
Just knowing that we are able to have the luxury of making the songs that we want to make and still be able to sell tickets, records and shirts and make a living off it was huge for us. It means that we can move forward and write what we want to write and knowing that at the very least we can survive for another year off this band. I try not to think too much about those types of things but I feel very fortunate that we don't have to sell our souls to the music devil to be able to do what we want to do. And listening to the new record, I think it's probably 10 times better than Dead Throne in a lot of ways because it's more focused as opposed to experimental.
You're part of the metalcore scene but you've always also done your own thing. Do you feel a kinship with a lot of those of bands or have you felt like you're on the outside in a way?
I think we just grew up in a different time. When we came up, we hopped in a van and were broke for four years and just played all the time everywhere for little to no money in order to learn how to really be a band and put on a show. Even though records are crucial, that's not how it was for us. We were a live band who performed every night, nine months out of the year, so we go into writing each new record from this live atmosphere. Now things have gone way past that and you can just have an internet presence and not even have done your first tour yet and if that's what someone wants to do that's fine. I just think you're devaluing the fan base if they come out to see you at a show and you don't even know how to play your songs successfully live.
Is there any tension there?
If there's tension there, it's probably self-produced by us. We don't really care, we look up to bands who are excellent live and we aspire to be at that level someday regardless of genre—and if that's not your goal we're never going to see eye to eye. Thankfully, there are some bands who are really awesome live and those are the ones we try to bring out on tour and put in front of people so we can watch them every night. If there's tension, it's not intentional, it's just hard to say in every single interview every single day of your life, "I love this, I'm passionate about this, I live and die by this, I want to give people everything that's in me," and then see someone who doesn't do that and say, "Oh well, we can still be best friends."
Sleeping on floors certainly isn't glamorous but do you think touring in that way for so long is why fans have stuck with you over the years?
I hope so. I'm really glad that we came up in that time period and I think one misconception about us is that we are these elitists who hate everything new. I'm not jaded at all, I want good records to come out, I'm begging for it. I'm a music fan and I want to be blown away by every record that comes out and get angry and jealous because I wish I made it instead but unfortunately that isn't really happening anymore. i just hope that there are still new acts working their way up and learning how to be a band before they focus on fame or stupid things that don't really matter in the long run.
What's the last record that really inspired you creatively?
I love the new album from the National [Trouble Will Find Me] because even though it's not genre-related, I thought it was a phenomenal. I like a lot of weird dance music and stuff like that but I also really like the new Bring Me the Horizon record [Sempiternal] because they're trying some really interesting things.
Those aren't the answers I expected. Do you feel influences like the National or more mellow stuff figures its way into your music at all despite how inherently heavy it is?
Yeah, definitely. I think we were able to watch a lot of bands come up and do a lot of cool things and then just turn their back on everything and try to go down some weird path that was self-destructive and we don't want to do that. We want to be our own band and make our own songs. We don't want to turn into this hipster act playing only wimpy little things, that's not going to happen. We're a heavy metal band but I do think those influences do come in and probably a lot of guys making awesome records—not that I'm saying that about us—would say the same thing in the sense that they're influenced by everything around them.