Interview: The Devil Wears Prada’s Daniel Williams
By Natalie Perez
I recently spoke to drummer Daniel Williams from The Devil Wears Prada about his band, this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and Dead & Alive, the band’s new live CD/DVD, which was released last month.
REVOLVER: You’ve been around for seven years with your original lineup intact. How does that make you feel?
The only change is our keyboard player [James Baney, who left the band this year] — parting ways with him. But I’m blessed to be able to play with my best friends and able to play some awesome shows as well.
How does it feel to have recorded and shot for your first ever live CD/DVD, Dead & Alive? Are you happy with the results?
I am definitely happy with the results. We had a few hiccups along the way; Jeremy [DePoyster, rhythm guitar] does all of the behind-the-scenes stuff and editing for it. But it was kind of an issue. We had gone overseas and had all of this stuff made for the DVD, and our deadline was coming up. As soon as we got back, our manager hit us up for the content and Jeremy had gone to export all of that content and his hard drive crashed. So we lost everything we had, so he had to — last minute — make a new video, throw all of the information off his backup hard drive to get it all set up. It was a huge hassle but it came out really well. But the actual DVD looks amazing. The editing was done well, the sound is great, I’m happy with how we played, can’t say I played everything right, but we’ll see what people say in the review of the DVD. I’m really happy and stoked about it, just as everyone else, is because it was a fun experience for us.
Where was the DVD filmed and why?
It was filmed in Massachusetts at The Palladium. We’ve played there numerous times before, so we knew what to expect — the venue size, how many people would show up, the stage. Every time we’d play, the crowds are awesome so we thought it’d be the perfect place to be. We’ve had the same production throughout the whole tour. We wanted to show everyone exactly what we did on tour and get everybody excited for the next tour.
Why did keyboardist James Baney leave the band, and are you looking for a replacement?
We split ways because it’s hard to work with certain people in general. It’s sometimes hard to work creatively, and he’s married and such, so there were some reasons we decided to split. No, we’re not looking for another keyboard player. Both of our guitarists are going to be writing the keys for future releases. We have someone playing the keyboard parts, but we are not going to be looking for a sixth member for The Devil Wears Prada.
How does it feel to be on this year’s Mayhem Festival? What do you have planned afterwards?
Very excited. It feels great. I can’t even believe our name is next to the bands we’re playing with. The acts are massive, and I never imagined playing with bands like Slipknot or Slayer. Getting up there to play with them or meet them is awesome. After Mayhem I think we’re going to be doing some overseas touring with August Burns Red and Whitechapel. We’ve already did our headliner then did and overseas tour already this year, so being able to do Mayhem and another tour with Whitchapel is awesome. I love those guys.
Does time stand still or fly by when you’re performing?
The first 20 minutes or so flies by. If I was playing a 30-minute set, the set flies by. But if there’s an issue or my kick drum pedal breaks, that set feels like forever. I don’t know why, but it breaks that rush of adrenaline. It’s so hard to get back in and longer sets are tougher and make it feel like a longer time.
What is one special effect you’d want to use or see during your shows?
Hmmm … special effects … pyro. I want to blow stuff up on stage, but at the moment I don’t think that’s possible for our band. I think we might blow ourselves up first. But I think it would be awesome to do it one day or have enough money to be able to blow stuff up and not catch the venue on fire.
What about stage props what items would you want to use?
We had on our Death Throne Tour, which can also be seen on the DVD, a logo made of LED lights that was our first kind of prop — along with the stage lights and stuff like that. But I don’t know. I think something Gwar-style like a T-Rex eating someone out of the audience would be cool. But as far as my imagination goes on props, that’s all I can think of right now.
What has been the biggest banner you’ve used during your tours?
We had one overseas and played the Download festival, and I think it was 30-by-40 feet. It was massive. We brought it over there for a two-week tour before but only used it once.
Have you ever thought about playing a prank or joke on the audience? For example, since you’re a metal band, you come on stage with acoustic guitars — and then break them?
We’ve never pranked the audience but we have pranked other bands, throwing ping-pong balls at them. We took a smoke machine one time and let the fog machine going on as this band was playing. When they were done it was so foggy, you couldn’t see your own hand.
Do you think talking about spirituality in music is becoming more popular and accepted in music?
To me it’s weird because some people get bent out of shape and feel music has always been an outlet of a feeling or emotion or an idea out there. Every band out there, like a punk band talking about politics or a pop singer, talks about love or a boyfriend or girlfriend — or a metal band talking about our beliefs. Why does it matter? Music is always getting a point across, even if it’s just to play the music, and people should understand that. It’s an outlet for the artists and what the fans can enjoy. I think it should be accepted.
Does the band ever get criticized for not being Christian enough? How do you respond to those people?
Yes, actually. Sometimes people would be like, “You said damn” or “You’re drinking a beer.” I think nowadays people are more traditional than before and the Christians don’t care about the old ways. We’ve definitely gotten a lot of flack for not doing things the way someone else does them. But my response to that is, we stay true to ourselves. There are hundreds of ideas people say, but we do our own thing. I hope our fans can be more understanding of us. Not everyone is the same. Believe in different things and just the general idea of Christianity. That’s the important part.
Anything else you’d like to say or add?
I would like to add a shout out to my friends in a band called Danger Kids. They just started and sound like Linkin Park. They’re super-rad dudes. Go check them out if you can. Also go pick up our new CD/DVD!
Keep up with The Devil Wears Prada at their Facebook page.
Southern Californian Natalie Perez has a fiery passion for music, writing and photography. Dying to know more? Connect with her via her own reality she calls Natalie’s World.