The Devil Wears Prada Interview

By Mario Trevizo

Published on Monday, February 22, 2010

The Devil Wears Prada has only been around for a handful of years, but they have already managed to generate a huge fan base and have put out album on both Rise Records and Ferret Music. When the group played in Baltimore Mario Trevizo had the chance to speak with vocalist Mike Hranica and asked the band questions about their music, fan interaction, and more.

Hello Mike, so how are you doing today?

Doing pretty good, not too bad.

What actually led you to name yourself “The Devil Wears Prada?”

It just seemed like something clever I guess, we just started out without really anything super serious except going out to play shows. There was actually only three members in the band at the time, so that was something to work with I guess.

How long were you guys actually a band before you got noticed? Who found you?

We started playing shows in October of 2005, and then got signed early in 2006. So things took off pretty quickly. We just played shows outside of Ohio, and pushed on MySpace and stuff, which is a little different nowadays. It seems that it’s so over saturated the fact that it [Myspace] was not as popular at the time. It was a pretty easy to use as far as promoting goes. So we just kinda went with it, and then ended up playing shows in other places and stuff. Just putting on an energetic live show helped us out. When we tried to get a label, it was actually just an email of curiosity to Rise Records, and they were interested so they signed us, and we got our manager and such.

When you released “Dear Love” there were a lot of growls on the record, and now with the latest release, [With Roots Above and Branches Below] it seems like you have taken that away and gone more towards a deeper scream. Is there any reason why you went that way?

It’s really always been the same for me. It’s just a matter of being comfortable recording, because compared to the first time, like when we did our first E.P as to compared to going now, its totally different. For me, as I was learning to record songs it’s just something that’s like a comfort level. When we first started, I couldn’t capture it the way I wanted it to be, you know? And just growing, and really finding what we want to be in our sound. So I don’t know, it’s not like it was something where it was like “Let’s change it” or “I’m going to change it”. It was more like getting it to exactly what I wanted it to be.

So you have been looking for this sound for a while, and you just finally figured it out.

Yeah I just found a way to record it how I wanted it.

Since your latest release, you have gotten a very strong crowd response. Is it stronger than you expected it to be?

Yeah, for sure. Like I said, when we started, [our music] was never meant to get us signed or toured off of or anything. It was just supposed to be something fun you know? And just play shows. Putting out three full lengths and touring the US countless times, and overseas and stuff; it’s all not what we were planning, so, it’s all a bit of a surprise. It’s all a blessing, to get an opportunity one after another.

Now that you have toured all over the place, do you have any specific countries that you like playing the most?

The US. It’s not so much that the shows are absolutely better here, its just being in that comfort zone you know? And it’s cool doing new places and everything, but we like having everything the U.S. has available. As far as cell phones, money, food and stuff. You are more in your element back here. It’s nice being home.

In terms of festivals, are there any festivals you really like playing? I know that you played the Download Festival in 2008 (UK) and that’s a pretty huge festival.

We would like to do some of those worldly festivals again. I don’t know when it’s actually going to come together, but Download was pretty wild. We do a lot of Christian festivals back here in the states like: Cornerstone, Rev Gen, and did Purple Door once. I Matter fest I remember doing. We do a lot of those back here, but we haven’t done many of those big oversea festivals or anything. We were supposed to do Soundwave Fest this year, but we ended up doing this tour instead (Killswitch Engage). We haven’t had too much experience with out-of-country festivals, but it’s definitely something we are interested in. Hopefully when we have that proper opening, something will be able to lock in.

I’ve noticed that over your last two tours, you have teamed up with bands like All That Remains & Killswitch Engage. Are you looking to pick up more metal fans out of it?

Yeah, exactly. Being a band that is relatively young, we are really trying to grow out of it. Especially with the new record. The intentions of it were to show that we were sticking around. It wasn’t something where we came out as some little novelty band; where it’s like “Oh I’ve heard some of their songs, I really like it. Ok. Time to move on to something new.” You know? We are really trying to grow out of that, and that means touring with older more experienced musicians. Which are sweet bands like All That Remains & Killswitch. We are still going to tour with the bands that are young you know. But as far as going under bands; this is exactly what we would like to be doing. So far it has been real successful, as far as Killswitch shows and picking up fans that are like “Oh I’ve never listened to you before, but now I am totally interested”. That’s why we like to do stuff like this. We’d like to progress more towards a heavy direction compared to a young whinier scream sound. That’s just where we are growing, and doing tours like this is what makes that happen.

Is there any song you have played to this specific crowd that has received a stronger response than when you play it to your normal crowd?

We are playing songs we have never played before on this tour, while trying to maintain a certain balance of not too “old” and not too “new”. We are trying to go with that. Basically what we just tried to do when we put the set list together was… we just wanted something that was “fast”. We picked out songs that we thought would work well for the tour. More importantly, and something a lot of bands don’t put a lot of thought into, is we organized it well to where it flows from one end to the other pretty well pretty fast; compared to just standing around yapping and crap. Also being a 40-minute set we tried to cram as many songs as possible in there.

For sure, were you guys able to get Texas Is South in there? Because I know it’s your long song so its normally only included on your headlining tours.

Right. That’s how it always is, and the fact that we hate playing Texas.

Really?

Not Texas the state, the song. Definitely not very proud of that song, but uh, we’ll probably end up playing it again at sometime or another. Not on this tour, though.

Is there any song that you really like to play? Not necessarily because of the crowd response but because you personally like it the most.

This tour I really like playing “Sassafras” for some reason. When we put out the new album and played the [Vans] Warped tour, our European stuff that we did after Warped Tour, and the All That Remains tour; we started the set with “Sassafras” just because that’s how the new album opens. Instead of doing that again…we’re not. We’re not playing “Sassafras” at the beginning. But for some reason, not playing it right off the bat, I really like playing it. I’d have to say that’s probably my favorite song to perform on this tour. “Danger [Wildman]” is a lot of fun too, and getting the crowd in the beginning of that song too. I’m happy with the set list and like I was saying; how it runs from one end to another. I think “Danger” has a nice spot within the set.

So do you guys plan on getting more tours like this?

Yeah, as far as touring, it’s hard to really predict what tours you will be doing. ‘Cuz like, in a year from now I don’t know what big bands will be touring that we’d like to go out with. But with Killswitch [Engage], we heard about this tour. It was something where like our management just knows we are like “Please just please let us do this tour. Just bug Killswitch.” And they had us out which is awesome you know. It’s hard to say what tour we’ll be doing. We’re definitely stoked on doing tours like this. On a side note, I like playing shows where fans can see bands not necessarily that are like a better influence but are older. And bands that are more about the music as compared to the look. When younger bands like 16 or 17 year old dudes are thinking about starting a band, they are probably thinking about a look more than music. That’s not how it is with older bands. That’s something that I like being on tour with, and that’s a direction that we would like to follow. But still, I have so many friends that are the same age as us or younger than us that are writing just “heavy” songs. It’s definitely something we will continue to support.

So when you guys aren’t playing music, what is the main hobby you would be caught doing off the stage?

On tour it’s always Call Of Duty, especially this tour and the last tour. But I like to play guitar, Chris writes songs, Jeremy writes songs, Reed tends to play a lot of online video games. I like to go shopping at better cities.

Where it’s not so scary to walk around.

(Smirks) Yeah…Well, I’m not going to say that I like Baltimore…but cities that have a little more to offer.

Haha, yeah for sure, I think we all feel that way. If you guys could get a discount at any place that you eat, where would it be?

Chipotle. I think that any of our real rabid fans would know that. Because we all love Chipotle and generally it’s something that every member of the band and crew can eat. We all eat a lot of Chipotle. I ate some Chipotle earlier today actually.

Haha luckily we have a Chipotle right down the street. Before you guys got bigger and you were in a van, what was the snack that you had to have on tour?

A lot of peanut butter and jelly; and there still is today because it’s the easiest friggen’ thing in the world to make. Our first tour ever, since we weren’t making money or like getting pay like “here’s your $10 a day, this is what you live off of.” We didn’t even get that. It was like, whatever money we had in our bank account; you had to make that run through the summer, which was how our first three tours were. Our parents would fill up bins for us of food, and it was really gross. I’ve said this in interviews before and I think it was getting kind of popular on the Internet for a little bit. We would fill up bins with jars of like grape jelly and something, and bread and soda. It’s all going to get smashed and mushy. So I would say on the early van tours peanut butter and jelly is what we would eat a lot, and it was never turning out very good…but you’ve got to make due you know?

Yeah man for sure, whatever it takes. Last question I really have for you guys is: Do you guys prefer more of Hi-5’s or hugs? Like when a fan comes up to you to give you a big hi-5 or a nice big hug.

You know what, this is going to sound silly but I probably would say hug, even if the dude’s sweaty, which happens often. I’ll tell you a story about my childhood: one time a friend of mine, he was a cool dude, and I wanted to be cool like him…and he put his hand up to hi-5 and I hit him in the eye. And I hurt him pretty bad. Ever since then I’m just a little skeptical to give hi-5’s. Doing the hug I’m also skeptical of too because if you are going in for a hug, (gets up, goes for an imaginary hug) and you go like this, (hug imitation) and then they go the same way…then your faces hit. And that’s one of the most awkward things ever…that’s about as awkward as hi-5’ing somebody’s eye. Both are risky situations but I’m going to go with hug. It’s something personal, and I’m not all about the free hug hippy crap…but uh, I’m down for a hug I guess.

Well that’s all I have, thanks for your time.

Thanks for having me.

For more information on The Devil Wears Prada visit their Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/tdwp.

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