Since AP readers voted THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA 2009’s “Band Of The Year,” they haven’t been on cruise control. Instead, they’re going out of their way to please their fans even further with the Back To The Roots club tour during which they’ll play early material at smaller venues than they’ve played in years. On top of that, vocalist MIKE HRANICA reveals that you might not have to wait quite as long as you think for new TDWP songs.

INTERVIEW: Lucy Albers

What have you guys been up to since finishing your tour with Killswitch Engage?
Everybody’s just kind of chilling. We just confirmed [that we’re playing] the Bamboozle, so we have that in the books, too. We’ve played it twice before, but we didn’t play it last year. We’re very excited. The last time we played it, it left a horrible taste in our mouths. It was extremely freezing cold and it was so hectic. But we’re excited to be doing it this year. It’s definitely a huge crowd and everything, so I’m sure it’ll be a good show.

It’s just one of many festivals you’ll be hitting up this summer.
Correct. Our booking agent worked [our headlining summer tour] around all the festivals that we already confirmed. As we make our way through the tour, we hit up the Christian festivals and whatever else along the way.

The Back To The Roots tour will take you back to smaller venues and crowds. What was the motivation behind that?
It’s this thing we’ve been working on for a while. It’s pretty much half the size of the rooms we’d do on a regular run. We basically just want to create a real experience for the fans so they have something to remember from us. They’ll be like, “Yeah, I remember that [show]. It was frickin’ 140 degrees in the venue and it was right in our face with no barrier in front of the stage. The sound was chaotic and it was awesome.” We just really want to be that sort of band, you know? At this point, the venues we’ve been doing the past couple years have been 1,000 to, like, 2,500-capacity rooms, so [that] might get boring for the fans. We wanted to do something back to the roots for the fans.

Why did you decide to do more songs from 2006’s Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord on the tour?
When we do tours like [the Killswitch Engage tour], we like to show off new material because we know that’s what we’re most proud of and is best musically. For the past [couple years], we’ve been playing new material. One of the things we’re doing is playing more Dear Love songs, not because we want to play them–because we definitely don’t–but because we know a lot of people want to hear them. I don’t want people to think we’ll just be playing Dear Love songs, because it definitely isn’t [what we’ll be doing]. But it’s going to be two or three songs that we haven’t played in a long time, and it’ll be one of the last times. The tour is really for the fans and something they don’t always get at every House Of Blues show.

Is there a difference in the way you guys play smaller shows compared to the big ones?
Yeah, definitely. It’s a lot sloppier in smaller venues. You know, when there are fans flying toward the stage and falling in front of you and you’re on a small stage running into each other and the sound is just crazy–it all plays into different factors. If there are a ton of people [in a small space], they’re just going nuts and it’s going to just let the music speak. That’s opposed to doing a show on a huge stage and you try really hard to play really tight. With the smaller venues, I don’t think they’re going to be the tightest shows we’ve ever played, but it’s still going to be the same band and everything you know. It’s just going to be chaos, I guess.

A lot of the festivals you have coming up are Christian festivals. Is there anything different about doing them from, say, Warped Tour?
Um, I don’t know. Honestly, a show is a show whether it’s Christian or secular. We don’t really pick out our shows whether it’s booked through a church or not, you know? So we pretty much go into it all the same. We’re the same band. We’re not going to talk about God more at Christian shows or anything like that. We’re not going to pretend or fake what we usually do. We go into it just about the same as anything else. The reason we play so many [Christian festivals] is because we do really well, and we just get asked back a lot. It works out really well.

You’re also touring outside of the country, right?
Correct. In about a month, we venture down to South America for a headlining tour. It’ll be our first time playing there. Then we go over to Japan. I went there as a child for my dad’s job for like a year and I didn’t really like it then. But now it’s obviously a totally different time in my life. Andy [Trick, bass] was just over there for his girlfriend’s dad’s job. He was there over New Year’s, so he’s already a little more accustomed to it than the rest of us. But we’re definitely excited to go.

You also just premiered the video for “Assistant To The Regional Manager,” which is a little more surreal than most of your videos. What was the idea behind the concept?
We wanted something different from anything else we’d ever done because other stuff is so monotonous. This video is still something you would sort of expect from us, but along different lines. It’s something that’s not close to what we’ve done before. It doesn’t have a specific story. Our first three videos have these sort of metaphorical deals within the video. and they’re really hard to follow. We were like, “Man, that’s stupid. Let’s just do something with strong imagery and let the viewer make up their mind [about it].” It’s definitely our favorite video to date. It’s nothing that’s too controversial, but it’s a little weird, which is what we wanted.

Is it true you’ll be in the studio again soon?
Yes, we have about two weeks to do an EP. We haven’t really told anyone about it, so I’m not going to give away what the concept is, but it’s going to be something really fun. A lot of bands do cover albums just for fans to enjoy and kind of laugh at, and it’s going to be something kind of like that-fun, but not covers. It’s not going to be a lot of full-length material, like what our next full-length will be. It’s going to be… I hate to use the word “brutal,” but maybe something along those lines.

Will it be released this summer?
Yeah, I think we’re going to do an August release, and then I think we hope to record another full-length this year. I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. I know if we don’t record it, we’ll definitely have a lot written for it. alt