Interview || The One with Mike Hranica from The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada released a beautiful album, titled "The Act", last year. We caught up with vocalist Mike Hranica who walked us through the creation of the record, the reactions the band received and the reality of TDWP.

© Sara Velez Herrero

U: You recently released your latest album, “The Act”; how's the reception been so far?

Mike Hranica: Reception has been terrific. We are quite pleased.

U: The post-hardcore nuances and overall experimentation of “The Act” sparked some controversy over the album (but then again, I think people are always complaining because you sound nothing like you did 10 years ago). My question is, what was your mindset when you started composing the new material? What factors did you take into consideration when you decided to test your boundaries?

M.H.: The mindset was to rewrite the book in terms of what TDWP can sound like. We wanted total expansion as far as stretching out what we are capable of as a band.

U: How was the writing and recording process for “The Act”?

M.H.: Rather than jamming in a space or spaces together, as we always have, this time we wrote a bit more separately and shared recordings online. We recorded for one month outside of Boston. Most rhythm tracks are live, which is a first for us.

U: The word “act” has a dual meaning; to take action and to put on a façade. Is the choice of word intentional, and what does it mean to you?

M.H.: It is intentional, yes. I wanted a title that was open to interpretation.

U: Do you ever fear that the direction of an album may cause a backfire with fans?

M.H.: No not really. We first released songs that aren’t particularly heavy (in traditional metal terms) prior to the album. I knew there’d be backfire, but that’s only temporary. I don’t think it plays any part in the bigger picture for "The Act".

U: A thing that drew me into the interpretation of the songs was the balance between the different vocals, and how clean singing tends to become more and more prevalent. Is this a conscious decision? How do you decide which approach fits better a song structurally?

M.H.: Yeah there’s much more Jeremy [DePoyster, guitars and clean vocals] on "The Act". Jon [Gering, keyboards/programming], who produced and wrote a number of the songs, hears music that way and that’s how he designs the songs. I think it’s added a bigger dimension to the songs.

U: What is passion for you? How would you define it?

M.H.: I consider passion an uncontrollable urge. Something that is capable of manipulating our thoughts and beings.

U: In all the years I've been following the band, I always felt that you had the potential to achieve greatness but you never had the support you deserved while other bands, that might have had less things to offer musically, would stir up drama to remain relevant and therefore rose to fame. Did you ever feel that you were treated as the underdogs of your scene and/or that you were deprived of opportunities because of that?

M.H.: Yeah I think making noise and drama can benefit a band. Up the whole rockstar thing. That’s never been an interest for us, though. Music comes first and if consumers want the outside flash then they can find that elsewhere.

U: If the band were members of the Spice Girls, what would be your Spice names?

M.H.: Probably synonyms of cranky and grumpy, as well as Jeremy being Spazzy. Our drummer, Giuseppe, might be Bubbly. Mason, who’s been playing bass for us, would be Unlucky.

© Sara Velez Herrero

U: If you could have a one-minute phone conversation with a younger you, what age would you call and what would you tell yourself?

M.H.: That’s an interesting question. I think I’d call me around 12-14 and encourage myself to be more confident. And also to start playing hockey again.

U: If your life had a soundtrack, other than the band, what would it be?

M.H.: Anymore I really enjoy different drone records. I find they tell stories, including mine, very well. At least in terms of relating to my feelings.

U: What do you want the band's legacy to be?

M.H.: We go about our decisions with integrity. While I know the band name is stupid, I never want to be perceived as cheap or terribly trendy.

U: Any final words?

M.H.:Thanks for having me and listening to "The Act"! Hope to visit Greece again sometime soon.

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