The Devil Wears Prada’s Mike Hranica on Zombies, Comic Books, and a Guy Married to a Pork Chop
Christian metalcore sextet the Devil Wears Prada have proven over the past couple of years—with tours opening for Killswitch Engage and All That Remains, earning them a nomination as Best Live Band at the Revolver Golden Gods alongside Slayer and Metallica—that they can play nice with the sinners as well as the saints. But if anything will separate them from the rest of the Bible-thumping crowd, it’s their latest project, Zombie EP (Ferret), entirely focused on the undead. A limited-edition version of the release, available at Hot Topic, comes bundled with a 14-page comic book penned by J.L. Bourne, author of Day by Day Armageddon: A Zombie Novel and illustrated by GearHead artist Kevin Mellon. It features the band—in comic form—on a secret mission battling a world overrun with flesh-hungry zombies.
The carnage isn’t just in the artwork, though, as the band has focused the EP on containing some of their heaviest music yet. Frontman Mike Hranica has cited Slayer and Hatebreed as big influences on the new material. “It’s always been natural for us to do heavy stuff,” he says. “I think it’s something we’ve always had in us… Now we just had a chance to really get a focus on thrash songs for the EP.” To promote it, the band kicked off their Back to the Roots Tour this past June, when it played some of its biggest—as well as some of the smallest—venues to date.
REVOLVER The band is currently in the middle of the Back to the Roots Tour. How have fans reacted to the smaller show sizes?
MIKE HRANICA Really well. The whole idea was a super personal feel and an in-your-face feel. I don’t know, almost like a swampy, chaotic mess. And I think the fans have really enjoyed it. It has definitely been awesome. I think the fans have appreciated what we’ve been trying to do on the tour.
Has there been any one show or tour moment yet that really sticks out in your mind?
There’s been a bunch with Your Demise. Their guitarist Oz [Porkchop] is crazy. If you pretty much tell him to do anything twice, he’ll do it. They have a long list of things he’s supposed to do, most of which I shouldn’t really speak of. They’re rather explicit. For example, right now he’s had no eyebrows for the past couple of weeks. Last night he was married to a pork chop.
The Zombie EP is scheduled to come out on August 24. Why did the band decide to go in a heavier direction for this project?
It’s just something we really enjoy. We never wanted to become a lighter band. We just put the focus on trying to be as heavy as possible for the EP. It was just an opportunity to really focus on being able to write the most evil-sounding stuff we could.
The EP is more serious than past material. Zombie movies can usually be funny, so why are the lyrics so serious?
Yeah, most zombie movies can have that comical, satirical feel to it. The whole focus of being really serious with the lyrics was to not be cheesy. I think if I tried to write something that was a little bit funny, it probably would have come off that way and that was the last thing I wanted. The whole zombie idea has a satirical feel to it, because it’s the living dead; it’s fictional. I think it’s kind of funny on its own.
The EP is being released with a full-length comic book, written by JL Bourne, where the band is depicted as super heroes. Whose idea was it to turn the band members into comic book characters?
I don’t even remember whose idea it was to do a comic book. It just seemed natural to do it, because comic books are rad. I wanted to do a preorder package that was more than just your typical T-shirt. We had the idea to do the comic book where we’re the military dudes with uniforms and we’re basically blasting zombies. We just saw the finalized PDF last night. It’s awesome. It’s meant to be a full-fledged, no-holds-bar comic.
Are you happy with the comic book version of yourself?
Yeah, we look pretty crazy. It’s just kind of funny to see us in military outfits and our eyes are all squinted and really angry. It’s awesome. We’re all really stoked about it.
Interview by Cody Thomas