The Devil Wears Prada: "We want to make an album that will mean something in fifteen years"
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.