THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA may very well be the best metalcore outfit operating today with an American passport. While the Prada-faithful are waiting for the band’s stint on this year’s Rockstar Mayhem Festival, they can get even more stoked gearing up for the June 26 release of DEAD&ALIVE, a live CD/DVD set recorded in Massachusetts during the touring campaign behind Prada’s last album, 2011’s Dead Throne. The set will be issued by Ferret Music, with the band’s webstore offering special pre-sales beginning Tuesday, May 22. While Prada frontman MIKE HRANICA was waiting for his parents to visit him in Chicago, Jason Pettigrew chatted him up about the making of the DVD and who the best badminton players are in the Mayhem lineup.
What is so awesome about DEAD&ALIVE if you’re a sorry individual who’s never seen Prada?
MIKE HRANICA: It really tries to capture everything. We couldn’t have been more stoked about that first Dead Throne U.S. tour we did with Whitechapel. We had a lot of awesome shows and we put a lot of time into the rehearsals, set list and the production. So much of the elements that we focus on when we go on tour are captured well in DEAD&ALIVE. I wouldn’t say “buy the DVD” over coming to a show—I think a fan should do both, preferably—but we’ve spent so much time on everything from the editing to the audio quality to make sure everything was dialed in. The band, our manager and myself were going back and forth over the edits; we were going to start pulling our hair out. There’s a lot of effort and heart going into it, which I think people can come to expect from the Devil Wears Prada. Even the listeners that have seen us 20 times can pick this up and say, “Yeah, this is the band I always go to.”
The clip of “Vengeance” that’s up on your YouTube channel is pretty sweet, with the arena-rock-worthy crane shots and cameras at multiple angles. What kind of production crew did you have?
I think there were eight cameras, plus the people running the crane and the swivel shots over the crowd and whatnot. There were cameras that were mounted right on Dan’s [Williams, drummer] cymbal stands. All of us—the band, our techs, our manager—were stressed out. But the people who were part of the video production team were just great.
We’ve all been subjected to the ride-a-long DVDs that appear in new or bonus editions of CD releases. What makes DEAD&ALIVE different from that realm?
I had that in mind when we took on the whole project. On the last couple records, Chris [Rubey, guitarist] and I worked on the art direction together. Really, when I look at something like art direction, I realize that the ideas can’t be coming from leftfield, some super-obscure off-the-wall type stuff, but I don’t want things to look like a typical DVD. That [focus] really went into all the stuff that we worked on. Obviously, I’m not the one behind the monitor editing this hour-long live show, but I know that nothing should be run-of-the-mill or another brick in a wall. When we make a record, I don’t see Devil Wears Prada as this envelope-pushing, progressive godsend to the world of music. But there needs to be a wholeheartedness and a sincerity and a certain level of originality in the things that we do. That’s a very fundamental principle what we’re trying to do with this band. I want people to know that we don’t take these things lightly. I find it completely astonishing when I hear about bands that have no say in their album artwork or the very important characteristics of a project. The stuff we release is important to us; we wouldn’t put out DEAD&ALIVE if we didn’t fully support it.