The Devil Wears Prada is about to embark on an epic journey as they join metal legends Anthrax and Killswitch Engage on the KillThrax tour. The 27-date North American tour, presented by SiriusXM, kicks off at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ on March 29 and will zig-zag the continent, culminating in Boston on May 7.
This tour won’t be the first time that TDWP – Mike Hranica (vocals), Jeremy DePoyster (rhythm guitar, vocals), Andy Trick (bass), and Kyle Sipress (lead guitar) – have crossed paths with either band. Prada toured the U.S. with KsE in 2010, and played with Anthrax on the 2012 Mayhem tour. Additionally, Adam D., KsE’s lead guitarist, produced two of Prada’s albums – Dead Throne (2011) and 8:18 (2013).
The Devil Wears Prada will be putting together a special set list for this tour that will include songs from their latest release Transit Blues as well as songs that showcase their ten plus years in the music business. I caught up with Andy Trick while he was “laying low” at home in Chicago last week until the band heads back out on tour.
Thanks for talking to me tonight. I want to talk a little bit about Transit Blues and your upcoming KillThrax tour. Start with telling me a little bit about this album – Transit Blues, your sixth album. How do you think The Devil Wears Prada has evolved since the first album (Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord)?
Andy: Oh, well it’s been almost 12 years now I think. And maybe the first few albums we were just throwing stuff at the wall – not really putting a lot of intention to it. Of course we were trying to always do the best we could, but several years ago, I mean maybe like, I don’t know, around Dead Throne time, we started to put a lot of intention into where we were going and what exactly we wanted to do with albums. And that, I think, has progressed a little more especially as we have gotten older. Mike’s really great about finding a direction he wants to take an album and focusing it. He does that very much lyrically, but also musically in just putting an entire concept behind things. It’s just always about trying to evolve and doing the best music we can and trying to keep it true to what we enjoy and what we like.
And I know he (Mike Hranica) gets a lot of influence from literature and things like that, where do you get your influence when you are working on the music? What’s your muse so to speak?
Andy: (laughs) Uh, I personally think there’s a lot to be said with how you work with the other guys that you are working with and how you can collaborate together – especially with bass. A lot of that just comes down to keeping everything together with the rhythm. And as far as inspiration, musically I grew up pretty much all through high school and beyond – punk, and I think it translates well to this musically and mentally. I think that I focus on just the idea of “just do it and do it well and don’t try to conform to or put yourself in too many different pockets.”
So let’s talk about that idea of being in certain “pockets”. You guys have been called a “Christian” band sometimes. Do you think that that label has in any way put you in a box or constricted you in any way in terms of the people you work with or the songs you write or the fans in general?
Andy: Uh, I don’t think so. It’s an interesting one because it definitely opens up other different avenues that a lot of metal bands may not see like a lot of Christian festivals and things like that. But beyond that I don’t think there’s too many people that would set us aside for such a label. And I haven’t seen anything like that or dealt with anything negative from it.
Has anyone ever questioned you touring with bands like Anthrax or Killswitch Engage or Slayer? Does that ever feel awkward?
Andy: No, I don’t think so. I will say I thought it was funny on the Mayhem Fest, a few days before Slayer was doing their check of everything and checking their production and we see giant amps and upside down crosses they were lighting on fire from the stage. (laughs) But honestly that’s a cool show right there. I will say I love Slayer. I grew up a bit on that as well.
I love the lyrics to the songs on your new CD Transit Blues. There’s so much meaning there. I love “Lock & Load”. That’s probably my favorite. It really hits hard (on the subject of gun violence). Do you ever get any feedback from people on your songs that are so vocal about social justice or controversial social problems?
Andy: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. I’ve seen this argument so much lately – especially given the political climate that we are in – of people attacking celebrities or actors or musicians for giving a view of how they feel about things. And on one hand every person is a person and everyone is going to have a view or an idea on something. On the other hand, I think people in the arts a lot of times are some of the first people to bring to light important areas that we need to have some conversations about. And I don’t think we ever necessarily get too political or anything like that in our songs, but in like “Lock & Load” we definitely brought to light the idea of gun violence and how it is a very dangerous problem – especially here in Chicago. We all think something needs to be done, and I don’t think it’s necessarily written as just take away all guns. There’s several different solutions that could help, which unfortunately a lot of them are not being executed. But as far as seeing flack from that, there’s always people – especially online – who will hate a bit on different things you have to say, but it’s never too bad, it’s never too much. I personally won’t let any online hate get to me.
So with Transit Blues you all decided to work together AND live together. How do you think that helped or hindered or made the end product different than previous albums?
Andy: Oh I think it was great. We’ve kind of been slowing drifting to it over the years. We initially started – well, we were in high school at the time 12 years ago – with just a few hours a day getting together and that slowly transformed to when a few of us lived in Chicago and a few other places, and people would fly in and we’d spend three weeks here working on it. But this was definitely different as we all rented an Air B&B – two different times actually – one in Wisconsin and one in Michigan…
Wait…why did you choose Watertown, WI and Sawyer, MI?
Andy: (laughs) I know…pretty much in the winter too! It was great! It was not necessarily the idea to seclude ourselves – well maybe a little to seclude ourselves – but it put a nice environment on things. We were able to make family dinners together, go out to the bar at night, and pretty much it gave us opportunity from morning to night to the middle of the night – if any time someone had an idea and wanted to jam or wanted to try and work on a song or finish something up we had the option just to go to the practice room and get together – even if it wasn’t all of us – just a handful of us – and work on it whenever something came up. I think that freed us up and kinda took some of the restrictions of that “we’re only here for a few hours we have to get something done or this day was a waste.”
Plus you were someplace cold so you couldn’t be tempted and distracted by outdoor fun.
Andy: Well, Mike had his pups there so we had a lot of fun running around and being idiots at times.
So what is your favorite track on Transit Blues?
Andy: Whoa…that’s a very difficult one. I feel like there’s a lot of different types of songs on it, but if I had to pick one I’d pick “Praise Poison” I think. “Praise Poison” or “To The Key of Evergreen”. I love “Evergreen”. It’s just an entire ebb and flow I feel, but “Praise Poison” I feel is direct. It’s to the point. It gets the job done. I get a little sense of more of a punk vibe to it, and I don’t know, I just for some reason always pick weird songs off the albums to be my favorite. A few years ago we were asked that and I got a lot of shit for picking “Dead Throne” as my favorite off that album.
Tell me about the book (a beautiful 13 X 13 inch, 60-plus page hard-back book with full page photos that chronicle the band’s writing, rehearsing and recording sessions for Transit Blues packaged with a vinyl copy of the album). How did that go and how did that come about?
Andy: Well the photographer, Anthony Barlich, we’ve been friends with him for years. He’s amazing. He actually shot my wife and I’s wedding a year and a half ago.
Congratulations! You’re still a newlywed!
Andy: Thank you! Well, for a little bit still I guess depending on how long the newlywed period is. (laughs)
But, as far as the book, he came in and we gave him free reign on shots. We trust him a lot, which I think is important with something like this. He, in his way, was able to grab the vibe and the atmosphere of what it was like putting ourselves in these places in the middle of nowhere to just write music and then at the studio for part of it as well he was there. I think it kind of, in an interesting way, highlights some of the vibes throughout that entire process. He caught a lot of shots. He used lighting and just angles that obviously I’m not a photographer so I never would have thought of – he definitely uses them to bring out that feeling of what that entire situation was like.
So let’s talk about KillThrax. Are you excited about this tour?
Andy: OH! I’m so excited. I just this morning I was texting Kyle. We were going back and forth about how we’ve been home way too long and we’re itching to get back out. And Killswitch and Anthrax – you can’t get better than that. Two amazing bands. We toured with Killswitch several years ago, but never Anthrax and I’m excited. It’s going to be fun.
How did it come about that you were asked to be part of this tour?
Andy: We haven’t supported a tour in a very long time actually – which never crossed my mind until Mike pointed it out a little bit ago. But it’s been several years now which is absurd I think. But it was just able to work out. I mean we’ve been trying to support something bigger like this for a while, and I can’t say for certain, but I’d like to think past experience with Killswitch helped out with that. Adam D has worked with us for a record or two before. It’s going to be a great time, a great tour, and it’s going to be fun to actually get out and play songs again.
What will we see from you guys live? Mostly songs from Transit Blues? A lot of old stuff?
Andy: Quite a few from Transit. We’re still getting the complete set list together, but we have a pretty good idea. We always try to incorporate most of the albums throughout. We have a bit of a limited set since we’re not headlining this time around so we cut a good portion out, but a little from everything still.
It’s going to be so epic. I can’t wait to see it. I’m so excited.
Andy: Thank you. I’m excited. Supporting a tour like this hopefully we can get a few more people into it that may not have heard us before.
One last question…where do you see The Devil Wears Prada in five years?
Andy: Oooooh. Uh, hopefully just bigger and better things throughout and just keep on going. I mean I’m stoked every day we can play a show and get people to come out. I’ll be happy with that in five years. And every time we have a new album I am still surprised at how we can work together and get something cool that I never would have expected.
KILLTHRAX TOUR DATES
29 The Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ
30 Express Live, Columbus, OH
31 The International, Knoxville, TN (KsE headline date)
1 The NorVa, Norfolk, VA (KsE headline date)
3 The Fillmore, Silver Springs, MD
4 The Dome at Oakdale, Wallingford, CT
5 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
7 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI
8 The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
9 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
11 The Ritz, Raleigh, NC
12 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
13 House of Blues, Orlando, FL
15 Texas Independence Festival @ Grizzly Hall, Austin, TX
16 Boggus Ford Events Center, Pharr, TX
17 House of Blues, Houston, TX
18 House of Blues, Dallas, TX
20 The Marquee, Phoenix, AZ
22 The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
23 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
25 Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA
26 Roseland Theatre, Portland, OR
28 The Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
29 Sokol Auditorium, Omaha, NE
30 Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO
1 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO
3 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON CANADA
5 Paramount Theatre, Huntington, NY
6 Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, NY
7 House of Blues, Boston, MA
Official website: http://www.tdwpband.com/