Interview: The Devil Wears Prada's Mike Hranica on 'Dead Throne' Tour and 'Zombie Slay' Game
Metalcore heavyweights the Devil Wears Prada are all set to head out on the road in support of their new record, Dead Throne, beginning next month (see the tour dates here). Before they depart, though, the Ohio natives have found time to release a new mobile video game that acts as a accompaniment to their Zombie EP, released last year. Zombie Slay allows gamers to dispose of the undead, while simultaneously rocking out to some brutal TDWP tunes. Sounds like the perfect combination to us. Frontman Mike Hranica recently gave Revolver the lowdown on the game and what fans can expect on the upcoming tour.
REVOLVER Are you getting excited about getting back out there again and playing for the fans?
MIKE HRANICA I'm actually really, really excited. It's been out longest break in I don’t know how long, without playing shows or recording or anything. Yeah, looking back now feels like it kind of went quick, but then I also feel like it’s been absolutely forever since I've gotten to play.
Are you someone that almost, now, feels at home when you're on the road?
I never really thought that way. I never thought myself to be one of those people, but actually nowadays I actually feel like I might be transforming into someone like that. Because I definitely do enjoy being out on the road and getting to play. It’s weird being home because I just feel like I'm not like, I'm just totally like irrelevant. I'm just very non-fruitful. So, yeah, I'm ready to play.
Are you planning on anything special, production-wise, on the tour?
We haven’t done, like, a proper U.S. headline tour really since the beginning of 2009, right before we put out With Roots Above. We've been really excited to be able to do a tour with production for a long time. So when we had the opportunity come up for Dead Throne we've been very excited and were definitely putting a lot of effort into building a pretty strong live show.
Anything in particular you can reveal?
I think I can say that our logo will be present. [Laughs] Yes, it should be. Oh, yeah, there’s a flame.
How did the the idea for Zombie Slay come up?
Since we made the EP, Dan [Williams], our drummer, has been talking about wanting to make an app. Dan grew up in a very computer background. He and [keyboardist] James [Baney] are the oldest and before we started touring full time Dan was a, like, a computer technician, so he has a very strong and educated background in that. And he always has a lot of ideas and he’s very internet savvy, very social-media driven, so he always has a lot of ideas, online based for different marketing for records and what not. And when we did the Zombie EP he, you know, since we did it, he’s been talking about wanting to make a game and wanting to make an app.
Was the game, like the comic book you put out, always in your mind when working on the EP?
We didn’t have the idea for a game, but there was definitely the idea for some outside of the box, I don’t know, toys I guess, you know? Like, the big thing off the bat was the comic book. But when we did write the EP and we had the idea it was definitely ideas like that that came to mind as far as, like, Wow, you know? With a concept and a theme like this it definitely lends a lot of ability to do projects like this which was, you know, the comic book and now the game.
Are these kind of auxiliary projects to the music going to become more common place for yourselves and other bands?
Yeah, absolutely. The music industry is very much like an online game to me, the way I see it now, as far as a guessing game really, you know? What’s gonna be the next Twitter? What’s gonna be the next Facebook? Where do you wanna lend attention to? The idea of the game was that you didn’t have to know the Zombie EP, or you didn’t have to know the Devil Wears Prada to enjoy killing zombies, which was intentional.
The Zombie EP was a big step for us as far as trying to do something where, you know, if the fans preordered it or they bought it, it wasn’t just gonna be what you get out of every preorder, you know? And we've taken relative sort of characteristics of that theme into Dead Throne and definitely trying to make Dead Throne last a while with other ideas we’re working on for it now. But I think games like this are definitely a step forward for bands and for music. I think it’s something that has endless potential to really pull fans into, really secure fans loyalty and give something back. That’s what we always try to do, that’s why we did the EP, was to make sure that the fans had something to enjoy from us and not forget about us, you know, and just move along to another band.
Do you have something already in mind to accompany Dead Throne?
Something I'm working on is just something that I've never seen from another band and does the exact same thing as far as really give the fans something and give them more to relate to. It’s a lot more serious than killing zombies on your iPhone.
Have you gotten competitive within the band playing the game?
We could very much make that happen. We have a very competitive touring crew with us, so I'm sure they would love to get involved and try to beat us. But, if we did have something like that, I’ll just say now that [bassist] Andy [Trick] will probably win.
Andy's the video game king in the band?
Yeah, he’s good at video games. And I don’t mean to give him credit for that because that seems like the stupidest thing to be good at, in my opinion. But Andy does pick up games and just be extraordinary at them, I suppose.
Is the game gonna keep you occupied during your downtime on the road?
I could definitely see the game keeping us busy on tour, especially European tours. In the U.S., like, we always have our phones and we have like a certain level of familiarity. On European tours, a lot of it comes down to gaming, at least for me. That is the one time where I’ll be playing iPhone games for disgusting amounts of time. So, our Australian tour is coming up before the U.S. tour; I remember the last time I was in Australia, I played iPhone games incessantly, so I can definitely, definitely see this happening again And also we have 19-hour flight on the way home, so...I’ll probably be hitting the zombie game pretty hard then.