Nathan Percy

Interview: Dan Williams – The Devil Wears Prada

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SoCalMusicToday.com recently caught up with Dan Williams, drummer for The Devil Wears Prada, while enjoying some time off at his home in San Diego. Discussions include the group’s excitement for it’s debut on the Mayhem Fest, the group maturing with it’s latest album Dead Throne and the release of a live CD/DVD combo Dead & Alive due out June 26th.

How are you doing, enjoying time off in between tours?

I’m good, enjoying the San Diego weather. We have the All-State Festival here in a week, but the next major thing we’re doing is Mayhem, but we’ve had a chance to be home for a bit, I’ve been surfing, riding my motorcycle and all that good stuff, so I’m enjoying all my home time.

You’re featured on the Mayhem Fest this year, which is a bit of a step up for the band after proving your worth on the Warped Tour over the last few years, what’s the feeling like with the band?

I really think that when we’re up there on the tour, I think our fans are going to feel a different vibe from us and that’s not because we’ve had any bad shows in the past, I just think that this time we are so stoked to be playing with the bands that we’re playing with, and it’s such a big tour that it’s definitely a step up so that will kind of translate into our show on stage. It’s definitely a lot to get excited for.

Does this tour feel a little more at home with you guys because of your style of music?

You know, the Warped Tour does have some of those heavy bands on it, Acacia Strain and WhiteChapel were on it last year as well as a couple others, but the overall vibe of the fans that go to Warped Tour and the age of the people is maybe a bit lower. I think the fact that we’re playing with such big bands that we probably don’t share much fan base at all with, it’s going to be awesome because we’re going to be playing to all these fans that don’t know The Devil Wears Prada, whereas on the Warped Tour, which maybe a lot of the people coming are coming for us, there aren’t too many super similar bands on Mayhem.

Asking Alexandria is also making the leap from Warped to Mayhem, does it give you a little more confidence know that another band is making this leap with you?

I don’t think we sound too much like that band, I think we have a little more of an advantage coming into this tour just because we did have that Warped Tour fan base, but we’ve toured with bands like Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying that have more of an adult fan base, but it is nice that there is another band from that same world, but I think maybe they’re even more so from that world, so they may be crossing over a little harder, but definitely best of luck to them.

You guys have a CD/DVD combo coming out on June 26th called Dead & Alive, which is right before the Mayhem Fest, talk about that if you will.

Yeah, it was a performance at the Paladium in Worcester, MA. It was one of the shows on our headlining tour, we did the same set pretty much the entire tour, maybe a few different songs on different days, but the production was the same. We wanted to have something to show everyone who has seen us, but maybe not that tour because we’ve been touring for quite a while, six years now, so a lot of people have seen us so many times, but maybe they don’t have the money to see us anymore, whatever the case may be, and they haven’t seen us recently and I think it will be cool when they see this because of how big the tour was, how much production we had and I think the set was a little more mature for our band. I think it will give people a chance to see what The Devil Wears Prada is now as opposed to what we may have been a few years ago. I think it’s an updated version of our band today, the best representation of ourselves.

Speaking of that album Dead Throne, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said there was a maturation and it is noticeable, talk about the album and how it’s maybe set itself apart with you guys.

I definitely think that Dead Throne has it’s own kind of sound, but it’s definitely much more aggressive than our old stuff. And, not simpler because the riffs and the musicianship is still there, but a little easier to swallow, maybe. The song-writing itself, which I think came about a lot because of Adam (Dutkiewicz) from Killswitch Engage, he trimmed the fat that didn’t necessarily need to be there and I think it came out much more comprehensible.

Now you have a chance to promote The Devil Wears Prada to a whole new audience, now you’re a little older, a little wiser, but with this new set of experienced bands, who are you excited to see and maybe get a few pointers from?

I really do think we’ll take a lot in from this tour, Slipknot is an insane band, we’ve always looked up to the band and I can’t wait to see how they run their production because it’s really hard to get that much stuff going on at once and just to smooth it out and have everyone do what they need to do, which is really cool and I’m really excited to see where their focus comes from. As far as Slayer goes, they’ve been playing for years and years, so I can’t wait to see a band that’s been through it all and see them play their songs the way they’re supposed to be played and I actually met Kerry King at the Golden Gods, told him I loved his band and took a picture with him, so it’s really funny how it’s all coming full circle.

What do you anticipate the backstage atmosphere to be like when the tour gets started on June 30th?

(Laughs) I expect a lot of beer drinking backstage, I mean to be honest I can only assume that the musician rider for this tour is going to be ridiculous with the alcohol. I’m excited to hang with the WhiteChapel guys because they’ve been on this tour before and are back again, but we’ve toured with them and become really good friends, so I’m excited for that, but from what they’ve told us about the tour, they basically said it’s really chill and all the musicians hang out with each other as opposed to the Warped Tour where there’s a disconnect because there are so many bands, you can’t possibly remember that many names, haha. But on this tour, from what I’m told, there’s only 12 bands so everyone gets to know each other and it becomes a small metal community which sounds pretty cool to me…If I can share a beer with Kerry King, I’d be down. Maybe Joey Jordison too, haha, that’d be cool.

One of the great things about The Devil Wears Prada is that all its members have been together since the formation of the band about six years ago, you guys have stayed true to yourselves in being a Christian band, what are you going to bring to the stage from Day 1 on this tour?

To be honest, I really think this is the culmination of our career here, this tour is what we’ve always been working for, it’s the ultimate goal almost, but luckily it’s not the end. I think when we get up there we’re going to do the same thing we always do, we do it for a reason and playing music with my four best friends is one of the best things on earth, so playing in front of thousands of people with 12 other amazing bands is a dream come true and we’re going to go all out.

In terms of the metal world, do you think this could be the breakthrough for The Devil Wears Prada?

I certainly hope so, I think a lot of people look at our band and they think “safe” first and it bums people out because they don’t necessarily agree with our beliefs, but I’ve never understood that because there are bands like As I Lay Dying that don’t have the same problem with their fan base, but they are a Christian band, so it will be nice that they are on the same tour and maybe we’ll get taken a little more seriously, or with a grain of salt a little more.

Well we know you will turn heads, that’s for sure, thank you so much for the time and we’re looking forward to seeing you on June 30th.

No problem, thank you. We’ll see you soon.

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