The Devil Wears Prada’s Mike Hranica Talks Mayhem Fest + Initial Work on Next Album
The Devil Wears Prada has perfectly timed their appearance on the Mayhem Festival this year. They’ve just issued the new ‘Dead & Alive‘ concert album, so fans can see the show and then revisit one of their past live performance at home if they like what they’ve seen.
At the recent Mayhem kickoff show, Loudwire caught up with TDWP singer Mike Hranica, who discussed the band’s new live release, their friends on Mayhem, and how soon it may be before they start working on new music.
What have you got there? [Hranica is carrying a vinyl version of the ‘Julian Plenti’ EP from Interpol’s Paul Banks]
A fan knows I’m a huge fan of Interpol, so her and I always talk Interpol and she brought me that and I’m stoked.
Nice vinyl …
Yeah, I’m a collector.
What’s the best thing you’ve got in your collection?
You know I don’t have a lot of vintage stuff, but as far as pricewise I’ve got an original press of Converge’s ‘You Fail Me’ and I know I spent $100 bucks on and I know it only gets more and more expensive as the original press, but other than that I’ve got some super old Bauhaus’ and limited pressings, like when Against Me! put out ‘White Crosses,’ I got the limited of that. Same with ‘Diamond Eyes’ from Deftones, just stuff like that. Nothing too obscure.
The reason we’re all here is the Mayhem Festival. What are you expecting from this year’s run?
This is our first time doing Mayhem and we’ve heard such awesome things about it from our friends that have gotten to do the tour and it’s really … I hear it’s just no BS, it’s just metal. On top of that, since there’s not a ton of people on the tour and whatnot, there’s no BS and it’s just the best metal bands. There’s Slayer and Slipknot, and there’s not much to say about that. It’s Slayer and Slipknot.
It’s seems like perfect synergy releasing the ‘Dead & Alive’ concert package just as you’re hitting the road. What made this the right time?
We wanted to do the DVD because the tour we did, we brought out a fair share of production, more than we usually do, and played a lot of big rooms and whatnot. And as far as the release time, we worked hard and kind of sprinted at it because we knew we wanted to make sure we had it out before the beginning of the tour. So whoever is coming out to see us for the first time, this is just something else they can check out. It’s always good to tour when you have a new product or new material, so we busted our bottoms to make sure that ‘Dead & Alive’ was good to go for Mayhem.
It’s really cool that you put up something on the website that tells you the best sound settings if you’re listening to it through your computer. Are you guys big tech-heads?
I’m probably the least. Chris [Rubey] and Jeremy [DePoyster] do a lot as far as recording. Chris writes most of our songs and he records and demos everything out. So the dude knows what he’s doing. We got the DVD, the actual physical, and we started talking with the label and the people who authored the DVD and found out how we could make it sound better. Something wasn’t hitting right. Cause like you put it in my home surround and it sounds great, but you put it in the laptop and something’s not there, so it was something where it didn’t sound how it should sound, and obviously that’s extremely important. We’re not about gimmicking everything, we just mean the things we say and the music we write, so obviously things like that are very important to us.
Going from ‘Dead Throne’ into this live album, it buys you a little time before a new record. But at this point, have you started looking ahead yet?
Yeah, I’m always working on lyrics no matter where we’re at because it just comes to me. So I just keep it in my phone and save it. And again, Chris is our songwriter and he’s got some [ideas]. We’ve had a lot of time off the past two months and we did a few shows but the rest of it was just time at home, and we were cruising out from Chicago to here out on the bus and he was playing this song for me that he’d come up with and it got me pretty excited. There’s some really cool leads on the chorus and the other stuff I’ve heard him put together is just really techy. You know, we can’t stand around anymore going [dun-dun-dun-dun-dun]. It needs to be kind of quirky and I think it’s safe to say that new Prada’s going to have some technicality to it. But we are in the very early stages.
How important is it having some time off to live a life? Do you like having the breaks in the schedule or would you rather be working all the time?
I don’t know I have a strange personality to where it’s like if I’m on tour I want to be in bed or on my couch, so when you have like two months at home it starts to get like …. well, we don’t work jobs. I live by myself. I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m not married. I have a small dog, and it does get old. So I give myself things to do – bike riding, playing guitar, running errands, whatever it is, but spending a lot of time at home, while I do enjoy it, and some members, Chris would be spending every day at home if he could. He’ll say that, but he’d change his mind. But I know every band is different and every band member is different as far as being on tour and wanting to be home. It’s a rather unusual lifestyle.
Lots of great bands on this bill. Anyone you’re close with that you’ll be happy to spend the summer with again?
Yeah, back in 2008 we did about three or four weeks with Whitechapel. We didn’t get to play with them for some reason for a really long time. Just the stars were not aligning, but they’d always be like, ‘Let’s tour together.’ So at the end of last year on the ‘Dead Throne’ North American tour, they were our direct support band and then two months ago we did two weeks in South America and Mexico with them and now, God willing, at the end of the year we’re doing five weeks in Europe with them. So we didn’t get to tour with them for a long time, but now we’re in the full swing of hanging out and it’s comical how well we get along. They’re super funny. They’re Tennessee dudes and that’s it. It’s cool to be with them. And we’ve toured with As I Lay Dying a bunch. Tim [Lambesis] is on ‘Dead Throne.’ It’ll be cool to be out with them again and I’m stoked.
So after Mayhem, what’s next?
Right now, as far as the rest of the year, we have some one-off shows in Ohio and New York and then five weeks in Europe, but not much else show-wise getting lined up. We’re looking in obviously next year of getting that put together, but other than that, it’s time to write some songs. Maybe in January or maybe we’ll get to it before then. But that’s beginning to swell up on the agenda. It’s beginning to be that time.
You’ve had some great moments on the road over the years. This may be an unfair question, but give me maybe one or two of your favorite moments on the road.
You know, yesterday I got to see Slayer rehearse. I do get these questions from time to time where they’re asking me for a surreal moment, and yes, definitely, yesterday was one. Other than that, doing Download two times, the ‘Dead Throne’ tour, certain times on that, and we’ve had the pleasure of touring with a lot of awesome bands – Killswitch, Underoath – bands we always loved, and got to play shows with, and now it’s Slipknot and Slayer. Lord have mercy and we look forward to a good summer.