The Devil Wears Prada Vocalist Mike Hranica Talks ‘Space’ EP, New Guitarist + Revisiting ‘Zombie’ EP
It’s going to be a big touring year for The Devil Wears Prada, as the band has been booked for this summer's Mayhem Festival trek. We caught up with singer Mike Hranica at a recent stop on the band's Zombie EP fifth anniversary tour and he dished on the band's forthcoming Space EP and the progression of new material. Hranica alsp addressed the departure of the band’s guitarist Chris Rubey and expressed his excitement of working with new guitarist Kyle Sipress and the future of the band. Check out our interview with Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada below:
This marks the five year anniversary of the Zombie EP. Looking back, what was most memorable about creating the disc?
People really liked the comic book, when we did that. Unfortunately I had the idea way too late to do another comic book for the tour which would have been great if the idea came sooner. After the release we had an app video game called Zombie Slay and that was fun. We talked about maybe doing something like that again for the Space EP coming out. I think that’s something that stands out as peculiar.
Are you a Walking Dead fan or old-school zombie enthusiast?
Not really, I think some of the guys in the band watch The Walking Dead. When we had the idea for the EP and got it going, it was mostly Max Brooks stuff but mostly it was [George A.] Romero, but that’s about the extent of my zombie knowledge.
With Chris Rubey leaving the band, how has it been bringing new guitarist Kyle Sipress into the fold?
It’s been great. Kyle and I met through an ex-girlfriend of mine; we were working on a side project together and then he started touring with us as our guitar tech. When Chris decided that he didn’t want to tour anymore, Kyle fell into the position nicely.
It was the same thing that happened with Jon [Gering], who plays keyboards with us. His brother Junior has been our drum tech for a long time, and when we kicked James [Baney] out of the band we were just like, “Oh Jon can do it.” So we’ve had tremendous, exceptional luck. It’s only two members but I know it can be rough but it’s been really good for us.
What can fans expect from the upcoming Space EP?
I can say that it’s probably not as heavy as people might anticipate. I think there’s this assumption that because it’s an EP and the Zombie EP was the heaviest think we did when we put it out – that the Space EP is going to be the same thing. It’s very thematic. When we did the Zombie EP, it was like here are five songs and we stuck a pseudo idea on each one.
On this new EP, the songs were kind of demoed out and we would sometimes start songs with the soul intention of the theme. Conceptually I feel like we stuck to whatever each song was working with. Its six songs and everything flowed together and worked together, nothing was tripping over itself or repeating itself too much, the songs are relatively short. I’m excited for people to hear it, hopefully we’ll do a music video and have a song out soon.
Where are you guys at as far as the progression of this EP?
The mixes are done. I think it’s being mastered and I’m working on art now.
Where do you usually draw inspiration from as far as the artwork goes?
Usually it feels pretty instinctual to me as far as when a record starts to when it’s finished and early demoing, themes and ideas. It usually registers as a color; when you think of that fundamental record that you love you think of that cover and that color and the emotion of it -- I usually start there. A lot of what we wanted to try to put into the Space EP was emptiness and loneliness and vastness of space and to me that immediately registers blue.
I’m working with a good friend of mine who does a lot of our artwork and we’re trying to instill that as far as the blankness within the lyric and booklet and everything. It’s usually starting with an idea and with Space, it’s so easy, I have a dozen ideas already.
Are there particular album artworks that have influenced your interest in album art?
Yeah, when I started maintaining control of the art direction a lot of it was built from what Interpol have always done. They’ve been so intentional about that identity to each album and they’re really good at it and it’s conveyed really well - that’s always been a bit of an inspiration.
Space is such a huge word and it can mean many different things, what does this title mean to you personally?
Space, we’ve talked about this and we’re already talking about the next EP as far as a theme. It’s so much fun to be so fictional. What we had talked about a couple years ago and we were talking about an EP where each song had a theme so there was a space song, there was a pirate song, a cowboy song and all this. But then when we revisited it we just though space was the one, a lot of ideas I could’ve probably worked with more. I’m excited for people to see the tracklisting so they can see what we’re working with.
I don’t know, I think accidentally we kind of hit a hot topic when we did Zombie, because of Walking Dead and it feels like it became a popular horror genre. I almost feel like it’s the same thing with Space with [the film] Interstellar and what not. It’s not us trying to be trendy or anything, maybe it’s a little bit of good luck.
I think there’s something in some of the songs which is very personal and very fictional which is kind of weird for being a non-fictional base. It’s fun to create that when space is so undiscovered, you can dramatize it and romanticize it and I definitely took some liberties in those regards, lyrically.
What can we expect from The Devil Wears Prada for the rest of 2015?
We’re going to be touring this summer [on Mayhem Festival] and we’re looking forward to it and after that just the Space EP. I think we might take some time to write. We’re putting together a tour for the very end of the year and I think it might be cool to get together and start writing again before that. Kyle did a ton for the Space EP as far as tracking and even writing on one of the songs and adding leads on other songs. I’m excited to be able to incorporate him more and have him get to write more.
Chris always took control of it and it was always his baby and that was kind of how we went. With the Space EP, Jon our keyboardist and I wrote one of the songs, Jeremy [DePoyster] wrote one and then one of the songs we’re playing in the show was a riff that Chris donated. It’s fun and it’s way more of an obligation and responsibility to not have Chris around doing so much songwriting. It’s something we’re excited to explore and continue writing. Right now its tour time and it’s going to be a tour year.
Check Out The Devil Wears Prada Zombie Tour Trailer Below: