The Devil Wears Prada’s Mike Hranica: “I Need To Keep Seeing What We Can Do In Terms Of Our Songwriting”

“Until there is something in my life that deters me from wanting to make metalcore songs with The Devil Wears Prada, we are just going to keep on going.”

The Devil Wears Prada recently released ‘Color Decay’, their latest full-length and home to some of their finest example of songwriting to date.

A collection of tracks that harnesses every aspect of the band’s sound from across the years, both beautiful and brutal, and produces some of the deeply affecting and densely layered results, it is an example of how evolution should take place. It is a testament to TWDP in terms of how far they are willing to push whilst still sticking to the intense, intricate and inspiring core of what has made them a legendary name for almost 20 years.

To find out more about how this record came to be, we sat down with vocalist Mike Hranica…

Where did this album start its life? Was this something always in the works, or did it come off the back of ‘ZII’?
“Some moments on ‘Color Decay’ come from pretty old instrumentals, but I think it was momentum off of ‘ZII’ that kept us writing. I think there was a lot more communication between Jeremy and John in terms of what they were both creating. This is John’s baby in writing and producing, and he saw this album as an avenue to continue developing after what ‘ZII’ was. It feels like one big fluid thing because of that, finishing up one before jumping into another.”

Is it an interesting place for you to be personally when John and Jeremy keep the creative cogs turning even if they aren’t directly involved?
“I couldn’t be happier with it as a process. The collaboration I take part in between John and myself when the time arises is exactly what I want. In terms of this record coming together compared to others in the past, this one was a lot less democratic process. Everyone can get a vote, but John’s vote is the vote. It’s a conducive and positive thing to have fewer cooks in the kitchen, but at the same time, I don’t feel like I have been reduced within my creative input. I now am able to hone in on the parts where I feel I have the most creative value. I feel like I am rolling better on all cylinders because of it as well. We all trust John fully, and our understanding of the process is such a huge positive.”

It’s been a case of going from strength to strength over the years for the band, and a lot of that comes with you being comfortable with the changes you want and need to make. That trust allows the perception of Prada to be a positive one…
“I think that the positivity of lineup changes plays a part in that. So many people perceive it as a plague, watching a band fall off of a cliff and begin their downfall. But after COVID and getting the clarity that came with not being on the road so often, I now see how positive Giuseoppi and Mason are within this band as it is now. Guys that genuinely want to be here and have worked their asses off to play tunes and go on tour. This run we have just finished, where we have been playing 90 minutes a night six nights a week, which has left me the most tired I’ve been in ages for one, but getting back into that flow and knowing the people around you love it with you is so important. The thing that feels good for us is people actively saying that they think this is our best lineup. You never hear that, ever. There’s always a nostalgia for how things used to be even though the people they are thinking of are happy doing the things they are in their lives now. But seeing the pillars that have been built underneath the band as it is now and the stronghold it has become is just so great.”

And in terms of the songs you are churning out, there’s a sense of emotional depth that has been unlocked, a depth that seems to be resonating with people in unique ways. Where do you feel as though that has come from this time around?
“When we did ‘Dead Throne’ forever ago in 2011, that was my first time being deeply intentional in each song having its own deeper character. At that time, I looked at the previous albums, and it was a hodge podge of lyrics all saying the same time. From there, things have become so intentional, but even with this album, something has heightened it even more. From ‘The Act’ to this album, I will bring things to the table, and John will want to dig deeper into what I am trying to say. Adding further critique to each individual line, telling me to go further, questioning what I mean, and finding out how we connect the dots that little bit further. It’s all about striving to make better songs.”

So what does ‘Color Decay’ as a term to umbrella all of this mean?
“It was all very intentional not to have any colour on the cover, but I think the actual songs are extremely colourful. We’re not a minimal band by any stretch. There are layers and layers of everything, creating something very vibrant. With every album we have done, I have always gone with and associated each one with colour. When I think of ‘Dead Throne’, I think of green. When I think of ‘Transient Blues’, I think of white. This one almost feels like everything under a sketchy uncomfortable image. It’s there to be scratched away. That comes from hitting what we have been trying to do for so long and nailing the ebbs and flows of what a full-length should be. We have been so intentional and directed towards making records that are like a wave.”

So with this album under your belt, how does it feel looking towards the future? As you enter Prada’s 18th year of existence, what does it feel like to still be able to explore in the way that you are?
“I wouldn’t say we have been standing on top of a mountain wholly fulfilled at any time. There are moments I look at now and think, ‘That was pretty questionable, but I got through it’. This is something I have to take care of. This tour didn’t do too well. There’s no money. There’s something else going on. There are always days that you wake up and think, ‘How the hell are we going to get through this?’. But through the struggles, we are still here. What is there left for us to do now? I don’t know. I’m pretty ignorant of it because we just keep on going in whatever feels right. Because this is what we do. I’ve been writing songs about wanting to quit the band since ‘Plagues’. Even the early days had their challenges and doubts. But I don’t want to do anything else. I never have. What drives me and makes me still want to do this is that I need to keep seeing what Prada can do in terms of our songwriting. If I quit or we had called it a day, some of these songs we have written over the last few years would never have come to be. I can’t bear the thought of that. Until there is something in my life, who knows what that may be, that deters me from wanting to make metalcore songs with The Devil Wears Prada, we are just going to keep on going.”

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