Interview: Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada
Fresh off this summers Warped Tour and currently in the middle of a co-headlining tour with All That Remains, The Devil Wears Prada front man Mike Hranica sat down with us prior to their recent show at the Grove of Anaheim to discuss touring and their upcoming releases.
SoCalMusicToday.com: You’re currently on the road co-headlining the Napalm and Noise Tour with All That Remains. How has the tour been so far?
Mike: Just the normal. The tour started the 21st or 22nd of November.
SCMT: What was it like coming off a successful run on the Warped Tour Main stage going into this tour?
Mike: It’s been nice to be back in the US because between the Warped Tour and the current tour we’re on, we were in Europe for six weeks. The Enter Shikari dates were huge but the Europe dates that we headlined were pretty small since it was our first time headlining over there. It was pretty humbling and different for us since were used to doing all these amazing huge tours that are always sold out with thousands of fans. It’s just nice being back in the States where we know what we can do and just everything about into it here. The shows have been pretty normal and nothing out of the unusual.
SCMT: Is there anything special planned for tonight as far as the set list goes?
Mike: We’ve kept it at a relatively short set list on this tour roughly around 50 minutes. It’s actually my favorite set list we’ve ever done because with the Sweet Brag Tour earlier this year and Warped Tour we just kept doing songs we really didn’t want to play but that the fans asked for so we just did it. “Still Fly” which we recorded a few years ago we were playing but all of us hate it since the fans kept asking for it but then the reaction after we played it wasn’t that good. It was more of a novelty and we’re not a cover or novelty band so we were sick of it. It’s just good to be out on this tour and play the songs that not only the fans want but a lot we want to play and showcase to the fans. It’s accurate to what we want to display to the fans musically and it feels good.
SCMT: Are you planning on going as far back as “Pattern Of The Horizons” and “Dear Love” by chance?
Mike: We do play “Dogs Can Grow Bears All Over” but that’s the only song we play off the “Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord” record. On the Sweet Brag Tour we played “Texas Is South” and “Modify The Pronunciation.” Everyone still asks for “Texas Is South” but we really hate that song for how poorly it was along with most of that record since it’s not how we want to sound as a band anymore. It’s really something we don’t want to show people anymore. We did play them on the Sweet Brag Tour when it was a 6-7 week tour that we did with A Day To Remember but they had their chance to hear it then. We’re growing as a band and it’s not like we one of those bands who won’t play anything old because the set still has four songs of “Plagues” along with Dogs from the Dear Love record.
SCMT: The Devil Wears Prada has grown over the past three years from opening up the 2007 edition of Sounds Of The Underground to now being of the biggest bands in your genre. What’s it been like to live it along the way?
Mike: It’s a tremendous blessing because like I said, we’ve just lucked out to do one big tour after another while getting to spend time with a lot of awesome bands. We have an excellent crew and all the things that make touring awesome go right up there with the huge crowds we play for on a nightly basis. I don’t know, we’ve just lucked out to do so many good tours and having the pleasure of having simple things like touring in a bus like we’ve been doing since early 2008. I hope it’s something that we don’t take for granted since it makes everything so much easier and getting along with one another for being in a touring band while not missing home too much.
SCMT: Going back to this past summer, your band made the successful jump from the Hurley Stage in 2008 to the Main Stage this year at Warped Tour. How was it making that jump and playing in front of hundreds of kids everyday?
Mike: It wasn’t really that big of a difference since we did Hurley last year which was good. Generally you have the Smartpunk, Hurley.com, Hurley, Mainstage and then Ernie Ball at the bottom is how it works on Warped Tour. At the Hurley Stage you get such huge crowds and everyone who works there we got along with really well. It really wasn’t too much of a jump but obviously we’ll take it getting to be onstage with some of the biggest acts of the tour.
SCMT: The new record, “With Roots Above and Branches Below” has been out for a few months now. It’s your Ferret Records debut after two releases with Rise. How has the new record been received and what’s your take on it?
Mike: There hasn’t been too much of a difference being on Ferret compared to Rise. The reason we went with Ferret is because management thought it was more room to grow. We got along really well with Rise and we still do like we do with Ferret. There have been a few critics on the new material we put out but you’re always going to have the fans that prefer the older material before they ever hear the new stuff. We’re happy with it since it’s up to date. As far as AbsolutePunk and Alternative Press they wrote really good reviews and we are happy with that.
SCMT: Now that 2009 is wrapping up, what are you looking forwards to in 2010?
Mike: We just locked in a tour with Killswitch Engage which is a spring tour that will have us as direct support under them. They have always been one of those bands who we have always wanted to tour with and we’re glad that the opportunity came up. Other then that, a lot of festivals like Cornerstone and other stuff across the country. Instead of doing an eight week summer tour like Warped Tour or Mayhem, it’s just going to be one off tours and spend time at home while writing new material. Nothing locked in yet but maybe record again in the fall. We have plans for an EP prior to the summer. A lot of stuff is out there that isn’t necessarily locked in but more floating around that’s coming together.
SCMT: While on topic of the next record, are there any ideas yet about what it might sound like or a theme to it?
Mike: It’s just going to be a progression for us being a mature band from one record to the other and I wish I could say more. In every interview I do I always say that it’s going to sound different and be more mature which I said during the “Plagues” cycle. I feel like it applies to us because the new stuff is something I’m proud of compared to the older stuff. It’s not like we’re sitting on some pedestal but I feel like there’s a lot of bands that are mocking what we’ve been doing for awhile and each album just needs to step it up instead of just being that six piece metal-core band with the singer, keyboardist and rest of the band.
SCMT: Do you even have any favorite records of 2009?
Mike: Always Converge. I just got into Genghis Tron and Pelican’s new album is fantastic. Russian Circles new album “Geneva” is also really good. It’s either been hardcore not like post hardcore or any of that since I’ve been trying to find more dark instrumental bands that are new to me. I like to listen to instrumental music while I read that don’t have vocals that are confusing my thought process as I read. Converge are just the best.