‘Every night is awesome to me’: Meet The Devil Wears Prada’s Jeremy DePoyster
blog by Ben Kirst • March 22, 2013 @ 7:00am
For a guy who shreds his way through cities around the globe as part of the Christian metalcore outfit The Devil Wears Prada, rhythm guitarist / vocalist Jeremy DePoyster seems shockingly…normal. He loves his wife. He’s into sports. He has a dog. He likes to mess around on the computer. Oh, and he’s part of one of the heaviest bands ever to chart in the top ten of the Billboard 200. Just another dude from Ohio!
DePoyster and The Devil Wears Prada will be in Buffalo tonight as part of the Marathon Metalcore tour, co-headlining with their friends As I Lay Dying in a 7 p.m. show at Town Ballroom (681 Main St., Buffalo). For Today and The Chariot are also on the bill. Tickets are available online. The show is presented by After Dark Entertainment and Buffalo.com.
On the eve of the show, DePoyster checked in from Poughkeepsie to discuss success, their new label, the band’s next album and his memories of the Queen City.
Buffalo.com: How’s the tour going?
Jeremy DePoyster: It’s really awesome, actually. We’re really enjoying it. We really love all of the bands that are on tour with us right now, and I’m not just saying that—we really do like all these guys, the music that they play and all of that fun stuff. It’s increasingly difficult to put together a tour with cool bands that’s also going to sell well—that’s only mildly important (laughs). We got lucky that we could do that, so we’re truly happy.
BDC: Have you toured with these bands before?
JDP: We’ve done several tours with As I Lay Dying, but those have all been big festivals, like Warped Tour and stuff like that. For Today, we’ve toured several times with them.
BDC: You’ve actually picked up For Today’s guitarist, Sam Pellum, for this tour.
JDP: Yes, our guitar player, Chris (Rubey), just had a baby right before the tour. So he’s chilling and one of the guys is filling in for him. I mean, he just had a baby—we were like, “You know what, man, you should probably sit this one out.”
BDC: You guys also parted ways with keyboardist James Baney last year, and now Chris is out for a while—is it weird to look around and see different guys onstage?
JDP: It’s weird without Chris, but it’s totally different, because it’s literally a one-time thing. If (Chris’ baby) had been born even a month earlier, I think he would be out here right now—but that’s such a temporary thing. But yeah, it seems a little weird, and it is a little weird. We keep saying every day how weird it is. I’ve talked to him probably every single day of this tour, texting him, calling him, stuff like that.
BDC: In a recent interview, you were quoted as saying that “...we don’t have any interest in being a pretty boy band.” At the same time, you guys have managed to have a good deal of success without changing what you’re about. How do you balance success with an unwillingness to compromise?
JDP: One thing we’ve always believed is that the whole mainstream thing just never works out. There’s always a lot of heavy music out there, and people don’t want to touch it, and we’re fine with that because we really don’t care. How many people throughout history have said or done things that they really believed in, and nobody really cared about until they were dead? At the end of the day, you just have to do what you think is right. If we wanted to, probably overnight we could change this band into some b.s. mainstream act, but it’s really just not what we’re interested in doing.
We never had any sort of plan for mainstream success at all. All we ever wanted to do was write the best songs we could and try to get better as we go along. Chris writes the majority of our songs just sitting at a laptop, and then we kind of take those songs and jam on them as a band before we even get to the studio. At no point are there talks about, like, “maybe, these guys were the ones who did this song, so we should do it like this…” It’s just a super-intimate thing. Just a bunch of dudes jamming. That makes it easier, I guess.
BDC: That being said, are you comfortable in your niche? Or are you trying to take the band to new levels, do bigger things?
JDP: I’m never comfortable. As soon as you feel a little bit of comfortability, there’s always something more you want to do. I just want to keep doing this as long as I can. I love playing music, I love being in a band, I love being able to meet people and talk to people and—more than anything—play shows. That’s what we love doing.
You know, every single night is awesome to me. The longer we’re able to do that, the happier I’m going to be. We do our own media and video and design, and I’m just starting out doing a lot of that kind of stuff. We’re getting better and better at that stuff. Every day, there’s more stuff that I want to do, put out there and share.
So no, we never really get comfortable. There’s bigger shows we want to do. I wish we could bring, like, four semis’ worth of production out on the road and put on the craziest show. We say it over and over again, to the point where it’s like beating a dead horse—but we are a live band, we really are. The better we can make the live show, the happier we’ll be in the end.
BDC: You guys just signed with Roadrunner, a label that’s been big in the metal community for years. How did that relationship come to be?
JDP: We actually were just hanging out with those guys (from Roadrunner) last night on Long Island, so that’s kind of funny. We were in kind of a weird situation with everything that went down with Ferret (Records)...we kind of got tossed around back and forth between all these different teams of people and it was always kind of a mess. We just worked a little harder to get the record put out, I guess.
But those guys (at Roadrunner), I guess have been interested for years in picking the band up, and it’s finally working out. I grew up going to Roadrunner’s website, I listened to like Killswitch (Engage) demos back when (vocalist) Jesse (Leach) was in the band, and Slipknot stuff—I listened to Slipknot every single day of my life when I was a kid. We’re very very familiar with the label.
We love metal. We love the label. We’re just interested in making loud, heavy music, and those guys are really cool. They really like the band, they really want to help do some cool stuff, which just makes it all that much easier to be able to do what you want, rather than saying we have to compromise here, and here, and here.
BDC: Given the success of your recent records (2011’s Dead Throne and 2009’s With Roots Above and Branches Below), do you feel any added pressure to make your next album great?
JDP: I think you do, and I think some dudes probably think about that more than others, but I think we’re just interested in making a really good record. Sales don’t really matter, the money doesn’t really matter, the reviews and stuff like that—you just want to have something that you’re really proud to say, “This is what we did, this is the best that we could do, these are songs and emotions and that we really believe in.” That’s probably the most pressure, and because Dead Throne was so well received, you know—I just try not to think about that stuff too much.
Because so many people have told me, “I never cared about the band, I never liked the band, but when I heard this record, I really enjoyed it,” that’s kind of where the pressure comes from. I’m 25 now, 17 when I joined the band, so things are a lot different now. We really do believe in the music that we’re making, so I guess that’s more of the pressure. Every single song, not settling for a part, not being comfortable in it, but making it the absolute best thing we can do. I think we can do that, and hopefully people will respond to that.
BDC: Despite your heavy, brutal sound, you guys really do seem to have a sense of humor. What’s it like hanging out with you guys?
JDP: We’re a really, really weird group of people, because most of our us have known each other for so long now. We have literally grown up together in this band. But we’re really just funny guys—all the guys are hilarious, its just stupid. Stupid inside jokes, like any group of people, but we’ve been together almost double what your college experience is, and cooped up in little buses or hotel rooms. We just like to have fun. We love sports—we watch NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, everything. We just made out March Madness charts right now. We’re just five guys who want to have fun.
BDC: Any memories of your previous visits to Buffalo?
JDP: We used to play this old skating rink place (Xtreme Wheels), it was just crazy. I always liked Every Time I Die and those guys, so I always kind of associated (Buffalo) with those guys. We’ve always have great shows there, crazy shows there. Town Ballroom, its one of those places that comes up and you’re not like, “oh, what is that place again?” You remember it. You get excited about it.
Photo by jlopez87 / flickr.