‘It’s been the week of my life man’ is how The Devil Wears Prada vocalists and guitarist Jeremy DePoyster greets me for our chat out his bands fresh out of the wrapper contender for album of the year Color Decay. It’s the band eighth album in seventeen years – with a couple of EP’s thrown in too – which is an impressive strike rate, how does the band stay so creative to the point they’ve just dropped a banger of a record?
‘Honestly for this record, I’ll give the credit to Johnathan Gering, our keyboard player. He produced the record, he wrote most of the songs on the record alongside with Mike Hranica on the lyrics. He’s just such a driven dude, he just loves music. He consumes it all the time. He went to school for music and he’s worked on everything from Papa Roach, A Day To Remember, One Ok Rock. He does production, keyboard layers for those kinda bands.
The first record he produced for us was our last record ‘The Act’ but this record is the first thing he totally spearheaded all on his own. It’s just a testament to what someone who is that insanely creative can do. It always feels unlucky when it’s happening but it’s sorta lucky that we lose and gain so many band members because that just means there are fresh ideas and perspectives. Mike and I are pretty open minded with working with all kinds people.’
In my review of the album before launch I touted the album as one of the contenders for album of the year, surely I’m not alone in this thinking?
‘That’s honestly been it, that’s why it’s been so overwhelming. I’ve been getting these songs from John – blasting in my truck here – for probably a year and a half now and I’ve been describing to him that on a lot of the songs this is my favourite genre of music. It’s really aggressive, heavy at times but it’s mostly just moody and really honest emotionally. I think for some reason we seem to have really tapped into the way we’ve been feeling for the past five years of our lives and just expressing that, with what a lot of people in their 20’s and 30’s are really connected too. It’s awesome.’
‘It’s definitely what I would consider to be John’s masterpiece at this point that I was lucky to be part off.’
As a key vocalist of a emotional charged album, how does DePoyster relate to those songs even if John and Mike have written them?
‘There are somethings on there in particular that have been directly influenced by things I tell them or emotions I’m getting from the song that we will adjust to the meaning. Even more beyond that, if the song resonates with what I’m feeling, and the only way to be authentic is I’m alone in the booth with no glass window. We just built these little rooms and I’d be recording by myself. I’d go into a state where I’d be really honest and resonate with where the lyrics are meant to be and really dark personal moments I’ve had. The really emotional things I try to interject into the songs and when I got really honest John would be like ‘yes that it! Keep doing more of that! It’s painful but it feels good to release that kinda stuff in a healthy format.’
Which songs are the cathartic personal journeys?
‘Broken’ is personal to me, ‘Trapped’, ‘Cancer’ is incredibly personal. I lost my mom a couple of years ago and that was a rough 4/5 years to get to that point as I was touring for most of it, then I’d get off tour and try to deal with that stuff. So I had a lot of pain to really put into it by the time we got to this stuff. I was pretty honest with a lot of those emotions and on those songs in particular I feel it comes through’.
Tracks like Trapped and Sacrifice are big, dynamic and catchy yet the lyrical context is sombre, the fine line between honesty and entertainment delicately balanced. Was that planned?
‘Yes it was planned, John doesn’t usually send me something unless he has a pretty good idea of what the baseline of the song should be about. Then him and Mike dig in and craft around it. I think some of our favourite music is of a super depressing subject but the music itself is bright and grabs you. It’s hooky. Most of the music we grew up on like My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday and all of these bands are super brutally honest about how they are feeling, like you know the song because it’s so good, catchy and poppy but so depressing in context, so yeah it was planned I guess.’
The albums tracks such as Watchtower and Time instantly jump out as favourites live, has the band performed the new tracks yet?
‘Yeah, on our last tour in the states with Zombie we played ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Salt’, ‘Watchtower’ and ‘Time’. ‘Watchtower’ was a highlight of the set. It’s explosive from start to finish and by the time it hits that breakdown and that riff, the whole crowd is singing it back at us and we just looked around at each other like ‘A new song? When was the last time a new song went off like this?’
The Devil Wears Parada have often been lazily lumped in as a metalcore band, how would an original member of the band describe the band now, and especially this album?
‘We have obnoxiously always used that moniker because so many people have given us crap for it since the beginning when we started this band. It feels kinda cheeky to insist that everything we do is metalcore when it’s really obviously isn’t. I guess to me I would describe it as a rock record in the instant that its influences are all over the place which is kinda what makes rock music rock. Whether it’s Limp Bizkit, Sum 41, Nirvana or Pink Floyd to me rock music is just more aggressive leaning from the other side of pop music. We started to hear things during the pandemic that the rock record is dead. Pop had already moved on, hip hop had already moved on and rock musicians needed to stop making full albums and we really took offence to that as people who really like making albums and swore that we were going to make an album that you just can’t listen to the singles, you have to listen to whole thing. It’s meant to be digested in that format.’
Interview By Iain McCallum