Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada Talks "Dead&Alive", Favorite Live CDs, Next Album, and More
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 08:09:42
"I've been listening to Slayer since I was a kid," says Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. "I'm ready to get into it this summer."
The Devil Wears Prada will be bringing their mind-blowing live set to audiences across the United States on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and on their first-ever live CD/DVD, Dead&Alive. The band masterfully transmuted their explosive sound into Dead&Alive, and it truly slays, solidifying them alongside their tour mates Slipknot and Slayer as a top tier metal outfit.
In this exclusive interview, The Devil Wears Prada singer Mike Hranica talks to ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about Dead&Alive, some of his favorite live recordings, the band's next album, and more.
When did the idea to record this show come about? What was so special about the Palladium gig?
We really wanted to film a DVD on the Dead Throne tour. It was the highest amount of production we'd ever done as far as ramping, staging, and lighting goes. You'll see that on the DVD. We don't have the opportunity to do that too often because we'll be supporting other bands or doing something like Warped Tour and this year Mayhem. We don't always have the chance to bring out stuff like that and really make a show. That's what we put together for this Dead Throne tour, and we wanted to capture that. When it came time to pick a show, Worcester was one of the cities that popped up. We've been playing there a long time, and we always love the crowd there. It's a good stage and venue. The Palladium was a great fit for what we wanted to do.
It seems like the Massachusetts crowds go off harder than most.
Definitely! Massachusetts is a birthplace for so much hardcore, metal, and metalcore. Heavy music goes over well out there. We've been outside of Boston for six years now. That was the first time we played the New England Metal and Hardcore festival at The Palladium. It's a capital of heavy music to some extent.
What songs get the best response live?
It depends. We're all really enthused with the fact that everyone like Dead Throne. Nowadays, a lot of those songs are getting good reactions. I really like playing "Born to Lose" and "Mammoth" from that album. Otherwise, I'm a little all over the place as far as songs go. Whenever you start playing a song for years and years, it's exciting to play new stuff. I'd say the songs I'm most excited about are from Dead Throne.
It seems like the Zombie EP material works in the live setting.
Yeah! Certain parts of "Escape" and a lot of "Outnumbered", people are always stoked on. "Outnumbered" is probably going to be a song we play for very long time every set. Every time that sample at the beginning of the song kicks in, people get pretty excited.
How do you construct a set list?
We stick to a specific set list. When we start rehearsing for a tour, we sit down and put an hour or two into it. We'll write a sample that comes between songs or some jam stuff, which is on the DVD before "Assistant to the Regional Manager". That's all meticulously picked out, and we're pretty picky. We definitely don't settle or take the easy way out. That's how we always put together set lists. Some of the factors that got into it are not wanting the set slow down too much or have too many of the popular songs right in a row. Obviously, you want to come out with a boom. All of those things help decide exactly what we want to do with the set.
Do you have any favorite live records or DVDs?
Yeah, they're different. Slipknot's (Sic)Nesses Live at Download is fantastic. It's a newer one. I watched a lot of band DVDs growing up as far as Underoath and As I Lay Dying back in high school. I've always bought Jimmy Eat World and The Decemberists DVDs. The Fugazi DVD is also spectacular. If anybody who's interested in music watches that, I'd be surprised if they didn't feel inspired by it or re-evaluate the way they work or right. The year before last, Meshuggah put out a DVD which is pretty insane—as is everything they do.
Has this process been inspiring towards writing the next album?
Chris has played around with some stuff and demoed out the material. The notepad file in my phone is practically overflowing with ideas, and I definitely have a lot of strong concepts that I'd like to guide the record in as a direction as a whole. They're little bits, pieces, and ideas I'd like to throw into the record. It's not like we have six songs demoed out with vocals and everything, but a lot of thought has gotten into. Now, it's getting to the point where we're asking, "Where do we want to rehearse? Where do we want to write? Where do we want to practice? When do we want to record?" It's a ways off, but it's expanding upon the horizon. Writing Dead Throne, those lyrics were in the works and there were demos of the songs even before the Zombie EP. There's always stuff that doesn't make the cut, and then we'll go back to it and say, "This stuff is really cool!" From there, we'll put it into something new. It's like the spinning wheel of the Devil Wears Prada. We're always building something. All of those factors come into play while writing.
What are some of the concepts you're thinking of?
I'm not going to give it away just yet, but I can say by no means is it happy [Laughs]. All I want is darker and darker and darker.
What's your favorite song by The Devil Wears Prada?