The Devil Wears Prada

Interview: The Devil Wears Prada

With recording, mixing and mastering all complete, American metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada are now waiting to unleash their fourth full length studio album to the world, the follow up to 2009’s ‘With Roots Above And Branches Below’.

The Devil Wears Prada’s third studio album ‘With Roots Above and Branches Below’ debuted at No 11 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. For most bands, going the concept record route can be a tricky proposition. There’s always the potential you’ll get bogged down by that one idea and end up taking the whole thing way too seriously. You risk coming across as trite when you churn out epic full-lengths with a dozen tracks about unicorns and minotaurs but leave it to a band like The Devil Wears Prada to take the concept album model and raze it.

Having been voted “Band Of The Year” by Alternative Press readers in 2009 after the release of ‘With Roots Above and Branches Below’, the band moved forward and upwards as they grew to new heights. The 2010 release of their EP ‘Zombie’ struck a chord with fans and critics that The Devil Wears Prada are a major force to be reckoned with.

Now in 2011 the band have been hard at work on their new album, which is now officially complete, with Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage, Times Of Grace). After a successful tour in the UK supporting Bring Me The Horizon, the band will this weekend challenge themselves by opening the main stage at this year’s Download Festival, on the day that System Of A Down mark their return to the UK on their official reunion tour.

I recently had the opportunity to submit some questions to the band while they were hard at work on the new album and lead vocalist Mike Hranica took some time out of his day to respond.

Be sure to follow the band on Twitter, like them on Facebook and check out their merchandise over at their store.

Outnumbered

EP: Zombie

Danger: Wildman

Album: With Roots Above and Branches Below

How is the album coming along? I saw an update you released at the end of April saying the first mixes had come in so is it close to being finished now that we’re a month on from then?

The album is all wrapped up, mixed, and mastered. I couldn’t be much happier with how everything turned out.

Musically you have grown so much over the years and now that this is your fourth studio album, how do you look at this album compared to everything that has come before it? Do you see, hear and feel the progression of your music or to you does it still just feel like the same foundation of what TDWP has always been built upon?

It truly is the same foundation, but yeah there’s also been so much room to grow. We started with the modest intentions one could imagine, so as we’ve made more and more records and have participated in more and more tours, there’s been a big revolution in our band.

I think for a lot of fans they are hoping for this album to build upon the ‘Zombie’ EP with that sort of aggression so have you followed on from that or have you changed things and looked at a new direction?

We did keep the Zombie EP in mind as we created the new full length. The response and reviews from the EP were all great, way better than we anticipated, so it was obvious we had to keep that in mind as we came up with the new record. I’d say going heavier is a natural direction for us anyways, though.

The producing and mixing of this album has changed a little from the previous releases as you have brought in Adam Dutkiewicz to handle the main production this time instead of Joey Sturgis but Joey is still involved with the album. Why did you decide to bring in Adam in place of Joey for the main production?

We’ve wanted to try something new for a while now, but things just weren’t coming together correctly. This fourth LP was the best time to put it in motion and we’re very grateful that we did. We got along with Adam really well when we toured with KSE, so working with him professionally on a record seemed like it had fantastic potential (which it did). We’ve all wanted to work with Adam prior to even touring with him, though.

The Devil Wears Prada BandDid Adam’s experience and knowledge help the band at all for ideas or encouraging you to explore your music?

Absolutely, Adam brought a lot of good ideas to the songs; and much to our surprise, we were really into the changes he made.

Jeremy McKinnon (A Day to Remember) was also brought in for vocal production and other wee bits so what was it like working with him and in general all three of them trying to get this album together? Were there ever a clash of heads with on any parts of the recording or did it go smoothly?

There was a little bit of clashing, but ultimately it’s our album and Adam is THE producer. Overall it was cool to work with Jeremy, seeing that we’ve gotten along with A Day to Remember so well over the past four years. Chris co-produced Homesick, so it was cool to have someone from their camp come in and work on our songs with us.

Coming off Jeremy doing the vocal production, Chris is also noted as adding screams to this album again since he contributed to ‘Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord’. How did it come around to Chris adding in vocals again after a break of two albums and an EP?

I’m really into it. It gives a bit of character to parts and keeps things from getting monotonous between verses and whatnot. Chris did a great job.

With those changes on the production side, were there any changes to your creative process knowing that ‘Zombie’ set somewhat of a new level in the minds of some people as to what TDWP can do?

Creatively it wasn’t too different. We definitely worked on it a lot more together, and spent weeks and weeks together building songs. The ‘Zombie’ EP was different in that it was really all on Chris’ shoulders (musically).

In your studio video there was the mention of the almighty tiger blood so should be expect a brutal album then to go with that or at least a credit in the booklet to Charlie Sheen for fuelling the band?

Haha no, the whole Charlie Sheen gimmick will have no part in the album.

From what I’ve read in little updates is that this won’t follow the ‘Zombie’ EP in terms of concept, you’re binning the concept idea for this album but focussing more on a theme which is anti-idolatry. That is something that you have touched one before but this time it is sort of taking hold of the album so what makes the band want to cover this theme?

It’s always had a bit of weight on me, so when it was time for this album to come about, it really felt like something I could write about and build off of. We aren’t trying to make a name for ourselves or achieve fame: we’re trying to spread a message and create something positive for heavy music listeners.

While the album title is being kept secret for the time being, is there a key song from the album fans should keep an eye out for when the album is released and what is it about that song you decided to pick it?

There is a self-titled song, which actually opens the album, that breaks down the album name. There’s also a hand full of others that run with the same theme.

With so many bands popping here and there, what do you think makes you different or stand out from all the others?

We’ve really been blessed to be able to keep making records and keep touring. I think it breaks down to just having serious content and substance to our band. We like to have fun, but we aren’t built off of gimmicks or trends. Whether your band stands on stage in the name of a God or not, I think bands that really mean what they say and contain conviction are the ones to last longest.

The Devil Wears Prada BandTouring is one thing you guys do a lot of, always on the road and recently you were over here in the UK supporting Bring Me The Horizon with Parkway Drive and Architects. How was the tour? Any good stories or highlights from the tour?

It was great! We’ve toured with all three of those bands previously, and it’s always been smooth sailing. No particular tour stories come to mind, though there were a number of dudes on the tour that liked to get loose. We shared a bus with Architects so it was cool to get to hang out with them and goof off. UK vs. US.

You will be on stage at this year’s Download Festival opening up the main stage on the Saturday night for System of a Down who will be headlining. Are you looking forward to appearing at the festival?

Yeah we’re stoked. This will be our second time at Download, but first time on the main stage. We’ll see how it goes.

Fan support is of course what it is all about and just the other day you passed one million fans on Facebook and still growing as I type these questions so if you had this chance to speak to them what would you say to them?

Thanks for the undying support and keep an eye out for whatever we’re working on. We’re always trying to crank out new content for fans to get a hold of and enjoy, and we’re incredibly grateful to have so many listeners stick with us year after year.

I would like to thank you for answering these questions, please feel free to add anything you wish below and I wish you guys the best of the luck with the album and hope to see you back in the UK touring sometime soon!

Yeah thanks for having me!

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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