The Devil Wears Prada Talk "Dead Throne", Warped Tour, "Shawshank Redemption" and More
Fri, 08 Jul 2011 08:47:16
The Devil Wears Prada Videos
"We write what comes from our hearts", declares The Devil Wears Prada vocalist Mike Hrancia.
The Devil Wears Prada have been honest since day one, and they proudly continue that tradition on their forthcoming fourth full-length album, Dead Throne [Due out September 13]. With the album's first single, "Born To Lose", The Devil Wears Prada unleash a unique and uncontainable fury as a gnashing guitar groove crashes into a precise, pummeling hook. Hrancia's voice rises and falls like a guillotine, cutting through the rhythmic blast brilliantly. The Devil Wears Prada are at their best on "Born To Lose", and Dead Throne stands out as one of the most important, intriguing, and infectious heavy music releases of 2011.
While in the middle of Warped Tour, The Devil Wears Prada mainman Mike Hrancia spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about the themes at the heart of Dead Throne, the story behind "Born to Lose", The Shawshank Redemption, and so much more in this exclusive interview.
What's the story behind "Born to Lose"?
We had a really tough time picking what song we wanted to put out first. We wanted it to be relatable to Zombie EP to some extent, but we wanted it to be characteristic of the new record as well. We also wanted to showcase all of the Prada elements in the first song such as singing and the usual stuff. "Born to Lose" felt like it was the right song to go with first. It's really difficult to put out a song that expresses the record when a lot of the songs have very different vibes.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
The record is mostly based on idolatry. There's a lot of different lyrical content. It's not a concept record, but a lot of it has to do with anti-idolatry. It's a theme that I've always written about. We always put it in our songs, and it's like we're saying, "We're not your heroes. We're not meant to be put up on this pedestal. We're not meant to be looked up to" or anything like that. A lot of Dead Throne is based upon that including "Born to Lose". Some songs have a different take on that theme than others do. "Born to Lose" is a very bitter outlook, and it's bitter towards those at fault. As a lyric writer, I'm sort of putting myself down. A lot of the record has self-hateful lyrics, and "Born to Lose" has some of that. It works from that perspective as well.
Do you continue the storytelling tradition from Zombie EP on Dead Throne?
Not in the same way as Zombie EP....Zombie EP was a lot of fun for me as the lyric writer because it had to have a horror theme, but it couldn't be cheesy. Most horror themes, by definition, are cheesy. It was really fun to make it original but also still relatable to the common zombie genre. On the new record, the lyrics aren't as descriptive. There isn't so much imagery. When I write, I have very strong imagery that comes to mind, but I also like to write very metaphorically and generally. People can make up their own minds about it, but there's a very definitive meaning as far as where I was coming from. A lot of my lyrics aren't too detailed or descriptive. If they are, they're very descriptive in an off-topic manner. They describe things that aren't usually described. That's how I go about it. It's in-your-face, but it doesn't tell you it's in-your-face.
The vibe comes across, but it's not overwhelmingly blatant.
Exactly! There are a lot of lyrics out there that will tell you exactly what they mean. That works for some people, but it's not what I'd like The Devil Wears Prada to be. I like blatancy, but I don't like to announce that it's blatant.
Does the title "Dead Throne" figure into the anti-idolatry message?
"Dead Throne" is the title track, and it opens the record. It's the idea of putting up our idols, heroes, and entities we worship onto a figurative throne. Those things won't stay up there, and they're not meant to be up there. That idea behind Dead Throne is making kings out of things that shouldn't be kings.
Did you have one cohesive vision for Dead Throne from the outset?
Not exactly…we wanted the EP to be relentless and sinister the whole way through. With the new record, we never sat down and said, "This record needs to sound a certain way throughout". Lyrically, it has a certain vibe that carries the whole way through, as far as being very dark. We have an instrumental track. We went into that knowing it was going to be different. It's never anything too intentional; we write songs that sound like The Devil Wears Prada. We wanted the heavy aspect to be very prominent on the new record because everyone seemed to admire that on the EP. Other than that, it was the same way of going about songwriting. We know what the fans like, so that's what we do. At the same time, if we want to change anything up, we do. We're very uncompromising. We would never make anything we didn't like for the sake of other people liking it.
What do you feel makes Dead Throne different?
There are a bunch of songs with no singing. That was never touched upon. Usually, our songs have the one chord progression with singing or a small bit. On Dead Throne, there are full-blown choruses where there isn't any. I did a bunch of different stuff on the album as far as a yelling-type thing. I toyed around with a post hardcore sound that I really enjoy. "Kansas" is our first ever instrumental song. It's a more modern "Caspian"-like song. There's a song called "Chicago" that I think is going to take a lot of people by storm. It's a depressing, mellow guitar song until it really kicks in. There's a wavering gloomy feel. That's something we haven't really done before.
If you were to compare Dead Throne to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
I used to write a lot of lyrics off of The Shawshank Redemption. We actually have a line in one of our songs that's from Shawshank. I always liked the darkness of that movie with the strong, underlying aspect of hope. Years ago, I would've said Shawshank. However, that feels more like it would be a dark folk record as compared to a metal record [Laughs]. I don't know what movie Dead Throne would be.
What was your first Warped Tour experience?
The first time I ever went to Warped Tour was the first time we played in 2008. A few of the other guys, Dan, James, and Jeremy used to go. They actually went to some of the same shows and saw some of the same bands before they were in The Devil Wears Prada together [Laughs].
Are you excited for Dead Throne?