The Devil Wears Prada’s Mayhem Experience - Interview

I was supposed to attend this years Tinley Park, IL stop on the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem tour, but a family situation arose that prevented me from making the trip out. Fortunately for me Mike Hranica from The Devil Wears Prada was still interested in doing an interview with me, so we talked about the tour, Slayer, Slipknot, Internet Trolls and Zombies.

 You can listen to the entire extended interview here:

 Zoiks!: The Mayhem tour is winding down, how has your experience been and how would you compare it other tours you’ve been on?

 Mike Hranica: The experience has been fantastic, we’re happy to have been a part of the tour. It’s really come together very very nicely. It’s got its parallels with other tours. It is comparable to like Warped Tour. The people here know what they’re doing; the people here are professional and for the most part very dialed in. People here are generous, even between the people that work for Mayhem or the people that work for Slayer or Slipknot. Really it just makes for very comfortable accommodations and a lot of generous professional people. Unfortunately you can’t say that about every festival tour like this, but Mayhem is great and we are very thankful to have been a part of it this year.

Z!: You’re sharing the stage with some veteran bands in the metal world, Slipknot, Slayer, Anthrax, Motorhead. Did any of those bands have an influence on you as a musician?

 MH: When we were all in middle school everybody listened to Slipknot. It was the heaviest thing the radio knew. That’s where we were at as young teenagers or whatever. Slipknot has always been that super heavy band. I’ve always liked Slayer a lot. They’ve always been one of my fundamental metal bands from when I was younger, always going fast…for how many years now, writing metal and thrash songs that are better than most metal songs today, years before I was born. Both those bands have definitely played a role in my life with metal. 

Z!: The metal world can be very stubborn. We all have different definitions of what’s metal and what’s not. Slayer and Slipknot have two of the more stubborn fans. Has it been challenging playing before some of those legendary bands or is it such a big tour that there are enough different fan bases to go around?

 MH: It actually wasn’t. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit nervous and anxious coming into this, a little bit worried as to what the reception would be, but it’s been great. We spent the first third of the tour on the main stage and really the reaction was awesome. It’s a little bit quieter than the side stage where it feels more like what we usually play. Main stage, everyone is there ready to see the headliners, but it was always a very intriguing crowd as they would watch and decide what they thought of the band. We didn’t do anything to compromise us to come into this tour. We didn’t have to change anything to be more accessible to the Mayhem crowd, because we hadn’t exactly done this before. We just came in as The Devil Wears Prada as always and people appreciated that.

 Z!: I don’t know why, but I’ve always been fascinated by the negativity on the internet. When this lineup was announced I went to the message boards to see if I could figure out who that special guest was going to be which ended up being Motorhead. The amount of negativity back and forth was almost comical. How do you deal with not just the negativity, but also those that are overly positive as well? 

MH: I just ignore it anymore. I had spent a little more time on the Internet looking at that kind of thing earlier in my career with the band. Now a days it’s worthless. A lot of times people just lack the knowledge. The people that sit online and complain about these thing really have no…they’re very clueless and naïve as to where the music industry is at. For example, you have people who probably got on and said Motorhead should be headlining this or Slayer should be headlining this. You have to understand that Motorhead and Slayer walked in, they weren’t forced into this tour. No matter who you think the greatest band in the world is, and this goes for any tour, not just Mayhem, it’s only your opinion and honestly nobody really cares much about your opinion on the internet.

 Z!: I had one last question and I know it’s been out for while but you released the “Zombie Slay” game on the iPhone and Android markets. Where did that idea come from and why are we so fascinated with Zombies?

 MH: I believe the AP was Dan’s idea. Really we just wanted to do as much as we could with the “Zombie” EP, the comic book, the ap, stuff like that. The fact that people are so turned onto Zombies is one of the reasons why we thought we could write songs that represent running from the living dead. I could write lyrics for this fictional theme. I don’t know, Zombies just seem to be this perfect blend of genres to where it’s just very accessible. A lot of people can identify to that specifically. Maybe we’ll do Vampires next.

 BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.
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