EXPECT IT: TBA 2011 via Ferret
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA traveled to Westfield, Massachusetts, this past March to record a new album with producer/Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz at his Zing Studios. According to TDWP vocalist Mike Hranica, they “got along well” with Dutkiewicz when their two bands toured together in early 2010. These positive interactions reassured Hranica that making their first album without longtime producer/engineer Joey Sturgis would go smoothly.
“We love Joey,” he says. “We knew what we could expect. But I knew that from an engineering perspective, we could find someone that could make [the music] sound heavier-and make it sound more organically heavier, which is what I strive for. That’s something we really got from Adam. Just taking the sound, the tone, the drums and everything, that plays a huge role in making [the new album] sound beefier and thicker.”
The enthusiastic reception to last year’s Zombie EP was also a contributing factor to the heavier sound on this new album, although Hranica stresses that “as much as I think these songs are fast and relentless, I don’t think they’re going to be as brutal as the EP. I hope that what people take from [the album] is the heaviness from the Zombie EP with more emotion and melody that you would usually see in our full-length records.”
Overall, however, Hranica can’t say enough positive things about Dutkiewicz and his influence on TDWP’s new music. In particular, the producer focused on “trimming the fat” from the band’s songs--which amounted to some minor arrangement advice, but mostly involved speeding up parts or cutting others in half. “Every part has so much personality and character, and I think that’s a step above some of the With Roots Above [And Branches Below] stuff,” Hranica says. “The [parts are] defined, and they’ve got something special about all of ’em.
“Mockingly [Adam will] start to yawn if a part is too slow or if he’s bored,” he adds. “He takes that, and he forces it out of the music. And he does so in a way that none of us are like, ‘Why did he do that? What’s wrong with him? Why did he have to change our part?’ He does it, and we’re all like, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ That’s incredible chemistry to have with a producer.
While one of Hranica’s favorite new songs is, paradoxically, an instrumental called “Kansas,” fans can expect interesting vocal progressions. Lead guitarist Chris Rubey contributes screams for the first time since the band’s first album, Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord, while A Day To Remember vocalist Jeremy McKinnon helped Hranica out with a few songs. “The way that McKinnon writes screaming vocals is that you should be able to sing ’em as well,” Hranica notes. “I do that a little bit, but not very much–and that was something that he really forced into me. It didn’t make me sound like a different person; it didn’t make me sound like I’m doing A Day To Remember songs [in] Devil Wears Prada [style]. But I think it really helps out.
Most important, Dutkiewicz encouraged Hranica to do more “Thursday yells-because I guess they kind of sound like something Geoff [Rickly] from Thursday, or Thursday in general, would do,” he says. “It’s more of a post-hardcore influence type thing. It’s really emotional. You can really feel something from it, and there’s certain passion in it.”
Mum’s the word so far on the album’s title, although Hranica says the name sums up the lyrical concepts addressed in “a third of the songs, maybe. It’s just this message of anti-idolatry, which has always been in our music, but this record really focuses on it.” This runs in parallel–and even intertwines–with another main concept: losing love. “Some of the songs, like the title track, are like, ‘Don’t hold these things up, don’t put these things on a pedestal,’” Hranica says. “And then there’s the songs like, ‘Oh, you know, these songs of heartbreak,’ and then there’s the songs of being, like, ‘My heartbreak was because I put things up on a pedestal, I put this person on a pedestal.’”
The band are finishing up a U.K. tour this week, and then have a break before Warped Tour starts in mid-June. There’s no word yet on when exactly the new album’s due, but Hranica is confident that fans will love the results: “If you take the raw elements of what this band is, and if that’s what you enjoy, I think you’ll enjoy this new record.” alt (Photo: Jeremy DePoyster)