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  • The Devil Wears Prada Talk "Dead Throne", Zombie Slay App, and More

    Mon, 07 Nov 2011 14:42:23

    The Devil Wears Prada Talk "Dead Throne", Zombie Slay App, and More - In this exclusive ARTISTdirect.com interview

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    The Devil Wears Prada erect a new paradigm for modern metal with Dead Throne.

    It's a beautifully brutal collection of polyrhythmic pummeling and entrancing melodies. However, over this decidedly deadly musical backdrop, vocalist Mike Hrancia examines the dangers of idol worship.

    He doesn't limit idols to people we look up to either. Rather, he shows that anything from a material possession to a relationship can serve as an idol. It's Hrancia's prescient perspective that helps separate The Devil Wears Prada and ultimately gives listeners a lot to think about. That's why the album is ultimately a masterpiece in its own right for the band.

    In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino, The Devil Wears Prada mainman Mike Hrancia discusses Dead Throne, the band's Zombie Slay App, and so much more…

    Do you feel like Dead Throne is your most connected album?

    A record should definitely retain that aspect. If an album doesn't, then who on earth is going to listen to it for 40 minutes to an hour? I'd have to attribute it to cohesive songwriting. That's one of the biggest things. [Producer] Adam D. had a big part in that as far as rearranging and making sure things really flowed together. The songs needed a level of "understandability" without being simply verse-chorus, verse-chorus. We'd never do that anyway though. They're not four-chord songs by any means. Trying to work within the same aesthetic for each song makes everything easy to follow and creates cohesion.

    Where were you coming from lyrically?

    I wanted to write about idols since shortly after With Roots Above and Branches Below came out. On the song "Ben Has a Kid", I even mentioned idolatry. I felt like it just blew over everyone's head though. I didn't think anyone noticed. I was like, "I mean this! I'm standing up here and I'm not trying to be your hero. I'm not trying to be your idol. I can write a record about that, and that's what I'm going to do". From then on out, it was very clear that it was something God wanted to see in the music. I had so many ideas as far as idolatry goes. I felt like it was very natural to write about and embrace. Throughout the course of my own life, I realized I had idols—primarily in terms of a relationship. Obviously, love lost has a big part of the record, which I don't need to describe in detail because it's pretty clear what happened. It was a blessing in a way because I realized something.

    What was the realization?

    When I first started writing of idolatry after With Roots Above and Branches Below, having an idol was like picking a hero and trying to rip-off that hero. You're putting all of your emotional investment and reverence into someone who is eventually going to let you down. Through the course of my own life and my own mistakes, I realized that idols don't have to be simply a hero you imitate. An idol can be anything that you hold higher than something that's intrinsically so much more. In my case, God would be the most important thing and the number one priority. Coming from that perspective, anything I put above God, whether it's a relationship, money, or my new home is an idol. With that in mind, it had this part in transforming and transitioning the perspective on idols to where it wasn't just an entire record saying, "I'm not your hero". Instead, there are the love lost songs. There are songs like "Constance", which is about insomnia. It's totally different than love lost or idolatry. "Pretender" is about bad bands that aren't doing anything. The idolatry songs are cool because it has that element showing, "These are my mistakes. These are my self-loathings". It looks at the issue at hand through different sorts of perceptions.

    You reveal your own humanity via the art.

    Oh, absolutely. That's exactly what art is. If I ever wrote anything that wasn't truthful and honest, then it would be completely worthless. The reason I write these lyrics or anything in- or outside of the band is to express whatever it is on my mind honestly. Even though I may be able to write better lyrics now, I can look back at anything I've written and say, "That was 110 percent sincere, entirely". It seems like on Dead Throne, that truthfulness was more evident than before. I'm excited about that. To me, that's a bit of progression as a lyricist and more importantly a member of The Devil Wears Prada.

    What's the central message?

    Whether God's the most important thing in your life or not, the most important thing in your life shouldn't be money, and it shouldn't be something that's going to pass away when you die like possessions or the empty symbolism which we find in them. Those are the principles that I'm trying to express, whether you're a Christian or not. I think that that is something that's really good for fans to hear. If I didn't think it was good for fans to hear, I wouldn't write a record about it and talk about it at the shows. It's something to learn about.

    How did the Zombie Slay App come about?

    Most of the credit for the game goes to Dan Williams who plays drums. Dan and James Baney are the two oldest in the band. When the other four of us were still in high school graduating, Dan was already working a full-time job. It was a technical, computer job of some sort [Laughs]. He's always been savvy with online, and he loves Twitter and Facebook. He has a lot of creative ideas when it comes to marketing promotion. I think part of that perspective is what allowed Dan to be like, "App!" That's what made it happen. The game is been in the works forever. We brought up the idea when we put out the EP in August, and it didn't materialize. Due to some backend changes for the band, we actually started on the app at the beginning of this year. It turned into something! I don't think we ever would've expected to make an iPhone game. The future of the music industry is obviously way up in the air. It's so fickle, and it always changes. It went from Myspace to Facebook and Twitter. Now tumblr is coming up. It's hard to tell where it's going. In the app world and gaming, it's a very unexplored market. We all have iPhones, iPads, and iMacs. We're Apple kids. To us doing the game was the perfect thing. I think it's a cool way to get into unexplored territory if you will.

    Did you have any favorite video games growing up?

    The only video game console I had growing up was a Nintendo 64. If I were going to say something off of that, it would definitely be Mario Kart or Goldeneye. They were obviously highly influential games. Those games are priceless [Laughs].

    Buy Dead Throne

    Check out Zombie Slay

    Rick Florino

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