The Devil Wears Prada

author PP date 04/11/09

The Devil Wears Prada have been snowballing as of late, selling more copies of their albums than most of their peers put together. They're still far from UnderOATH's figures, but selling 31,000 albums and landing high up on the Billboard 200 chart is a respectable achievement from any band. Intrigued by their success and by the constant praise of the band by scene kids around the world, I figured I'll grab them for an interview since they're playing in Denmark for the first time ever. I was brought backstage into one of the tiny rooms known as Lille Vega's backstage, a steaming hot room where Andy and Jeremy were waiting. Curiously enough, it felt like the guys were slightly nervous during the beginning of the interview, which I found somewhat surprising considering they've already put out three albums and enjoyed lots of success in the US as well as the UK. Read on to find out what the guys had to say.

Hi and thanks for doing this interview. Can you introduce yourselves each and tell me what's new in The Devil Wears Prada camp?
Jeremy: I'm Jeremy and I play guitar and sing.

Andy: I'm Andy and I play bass.

Jeremy: It's our first time over in Europe so we're having fun playing shows. We're working on some new material and just trying to push the new record a little bit further and see what we can do with that. It's still kind of fresh, people are hearing us play the new songs and stuff.

Andy: Europe's just been a crazy experience overall.

Yeah? How's the tour going so far?
Andy: It's gone really well I feel.

Jeremy: I can't believe some of the turnouts for our first time here. You guys are playing with Your Demise and Jesaiah. What's your impression of those guys?

Jeremy: I haven't even seen Jesaiah, it's our first show today, but Your Demise have been really really awesome.

Andy: They're awesome guys.

Jeremy: Yeah and a really good band.

So like you said you released a new album called "With Roots Above And Branches Below" earlier this year, what do you think about how it turned out?
Jeremy: I think it turned out really well. I think it's the best stuff that we've done so far and I think it's what we've been working towards as a band, just better songwriting and everything. We're really proud of it. Yeah, based on what critics and people say, they also seem to agree that it's the best one you guys have put out, so that's good. But I've also noticed that it's really weird, people either really really love you or people don't like you guys at all, why do you think that is?

Andy: Quite a lot of things.

Jeremy: I think just because it's a really heavy type of sound, it's not really screamo or anything like that, so it's either that you can really get into it, or you just absolutely hate it.

Andy: It's not necessarily black metal either, so [laughs]

Jeremy: Yeah so a lot of those 'real' metal fans can't really get into it. Does any of the hate that you guys and similar bands get ever bother you?

Jeremy: We don't really care about that [laughs]

Andy: People are gonna hate us no matter what it is.

I saw that the record sold 31,000 copies in the US in its first week and landed you guys at #11 on the Billboard top200. What do you think about that?
Jeremy: It's ridiculous.

Andy: I couldn't believe it.

Jeremy: I never dreamed that we would do anything like that. For a band like us, you never even think about Billboard charts and stuff, so when we found that out like "oh you guys are in the top 15, top 40" I'm like "what..the..heck" right? Yeah it was also number one on the independent albums chart as well?

Jeremy: Yeah, two on the rock charts or something. So whenever you guys play in the US you must play for pretty big crowds right?

Jeremy: Yeah usually like 1500 to 2000 people a night, so it's pretty good. What do you think is the biggest difference between playing in front of such a big audience compared to for example today's venue, which is much smaller?

Jeremy: I mean it's the same sort of thing, we've been playing shows like this in the US for a long time, and then it just started getting bigger and bigger. But it's the same place that we come from, so it's really familiar territory. Which one do you prefer?

Jeremy: I like being able to do a big production with lights and stuff on a big tour just because I feel that people like that and respond to that. You get more for what you pay for. But I kind of like the intimacy of the smaller show where people feel like they're really a part of the experience, and not far removed, you know?

Andy: I agree with all that, definitely.

This one was released on Ferret Records instead of Rise Records. How did the label change come about?
Jeremy: We actually signed to Ferret like a year before the record even came out, before "Plagues" even came out, but we still had another record with Rise, so we put that one out and then started working with Ferret, kind of pushing that record more. We just had a two record deal with Rise, and then instead of going for another deal with them, we wanted to go with a bigger label that could do some bigger things. But Rise obviously got us to where we were, and they're a really good label and they did really good things for us. We just needed somebody that had some more resources. What's the biggest difference feeling-wise between being on Ferret....

Jeremy: Well we had a really good relationship with Rise and with Craig there, but I think that the relationship is really similar but just being able to see a bigger push and more things behind it, like a bigger team working for us, and more stuff in stores. But it's been a really natural growth.

What's the writing process like for you guys?
Jeremy: Usually Chris will write a little skeleton which has maybe one guitar tracks through it and some drums, and then we'll take that and start jamming with it, rework some parts, and put guitar parts in, keyboards, and change the drums around a bit, trying to get a good blend of everything. And then we finish out a song, put keyboards in, and in the studio Mike and I will usually go through the stuff and put vocals in. He does some of the screaming during the writing process but a lot of my singing stuff is just done in the studio. How long time period is that usually?

Jeremy: Well it depends. On this last record we did six weeks before touring, and six weeks after the touring to finish writing, so 12 weeks altogether. And then we were still working on some stuff in the studio, like I wrote another song called "Louder Than Thunder" in the studio, which is more production based and that kind of thing. So around 12-13 weeks total, probably.

The producer has been the same for all your three albums, Mr. Sturgis, you must really like the guy!
Andy: He's awesome to work with.

Jeremy: He gets us. He knows what we want and he knows how to get the sounds that we want. Even if we work with somebody else on our next record, I think we're gonna have to bring Joey in as well to work with. So you definitely see him also working on the next record?

Jeremy: We're looking at some other producers just to get a different experience but we'll probably bring him in with us to the studio to work on keyboards and vocals and stuff like that. Him and I have really really good chemistry on singing parts. I don't have to tell him, I just do something like "lets just roll it again we'll try this harmony here and this thing" and he just knows what I wanna try and do.

A lot of your song titles are references to popular culture. What's the reasoning behind that?
Andy: [both laugh] We just thought of stupid things to begin with. Random stuff that just pops into our heads, or making fun of each other for stupid things that we've said. The new CD has a lot of references to our crew.

Jeremy: Yeah, guitar tech, drum tech and all that stuff. But I don't know. I think we always thought that we would get made fun of if we had cheesy titles like "My Sorrow" and so forth, so we figured we'll just make them stupid, so if people are like "that's stupid", then we'll be like "yeah? It is!", you know, you're not gonna be offended!

You guys have put out so many albums already and it's just been four years in total. Is the next come coming in 2010?
Jeremy: I think we're gonna try and record it next year and just put it out the following year. It'll be a good break of not doing a record every single year like we have been doing. I still feel like there's a lot for people to explore on this CD and for us to do live. So I think we're just gonna try and take some more time. We started writing some songs but we're still working through it and have some other ideas that we're working on so I don't wanna rush it by any means. Just to make sure we get the best record that we can. Have you got like a style or a direction for it already figured out? In comparison to the other ones.

Jeremy: I think we're gonna try and do a couple of more songs that are better structured maybe, with better choruses and stuff like that. I feel like we've always had a weakness of not having real good song structure. I feel like all the choruses are really good but some of them don't repeat and some of them don't go into each other the right way so you kind of lose that catchy feeling about it. I feel like we're gonna try and embrace that a little bit better on the next record. But still, everything that we've been working on so far has been really heavy and really metal influenced, but at the same time it's kind of bringing that feeling of metal and Judas Priest and Slayer and all this type of stuff into more of a pop sounding structure and feel where people that normally would never listen to that kind of stuff can get into it. You named a couple of bands there, what other bands have been your biggest influences before and what about today?

Jeremy: When we started the band it was underOATH and bands like that, just doing hardcore metal and Christian stuff, but as we've grown more we're bringing in different stuff. Anything from Brand New and Dredg and all this crazy effects driven guitars and stuff to, I don't know, I listen to a lot of Top 40 people for vocal references, and then going down to bands like Converge. Converge especially just because no one has that feeling, that raw energy. Have you guys heard the new Converge album yet?

Jeremy: No, I think Mike has it. I've heard a couple of tracks..

Andy: It sounds awesome from what I've heard.

Jeremy: They're the best hardcore band that's ever been I think

Andy: They've been doing it for a long time.

Jeremy: We've been listening to Converge ever since we were like 15 in high school.

Andy: It's what got me into all this stuff.

You briefly before mentioned something about Christianity. It wouldn't be wrong to call you guys a Christian band. On a more general level what does being a Christian band mean to you guys?
Jeremy: I think that... obviously the six of us are all Christians in our own lives but I think that the reason I would define us as a Christian band is because that's kind of the message that Mike puts through his lyrics. It's the point in the band, he doesn't write love stories, he doesn't write about politics, he doesn't write about the state of the world and things like that. He writes about the most important thing for him, which is his faith. I don't know that we're a preachy band and sometimes that label, Christian band, kind of denotes that you're preaching and shove things down people's throats, and that's not us at all. We're really respectful people. 99% of my friends are not Christians, probably even more, 99.9% of the bands I'm friends with are not Christians, and they're still some of my best friends. We're not those kind of people, even if you don't take anything Christian from the music, you can just take something positive or a message of hope instead of just the stereotypical metal talking about death, killing and really just morbid things. I feel like we can appreciate the music but not with those themes through it. So we try and bring that through our music. I think that everything that we say in the show too is really respectful, you know, this is who we are and this is what we believe, we're not trying to tell you what to believe, you know? If you take something out of it, cool, if you don't, then cool, just find out your own shit, you know?

Other than that, I don't have any more questions. Do you want to add anything to the fans or the readers?
Jeremy: I think that you just covered it, but I'm glad that people in Denmark actually care!

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