Editor’s Note: It was a really cool setting up at the Skyway Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota as metalcore giants The Devil Wears Prada were getting ready to conclude their “No Sun/No Moon” tour with special guests Silent Planet, Veil Of Maya, and Thousand Below. The venue, especially the backstage area, seems like it goes down an endless tunnel and it would be easy for a person to get lost in. However, my first thought was that if a nuclear bomb went off in Minneapolis, it would be safe. It almost reminded me of an old bunker combined with a theater type of setting. Several hundred people were gathered in Minneapolis as The Devil Wears Prada was prepared to take the stage. They will be releasing their “No Sun/No Moon” documentary after the tour! In this, Mike from The Devil Wears Prada discusses walking dogs, literature, music, and philosophy. I appreciate Mike, Ben, and Amy for all setting this one up! Please Find The Devil Wears Prada at the following locations:
M.T.C.: I see you have a little friend joining us for the interview!
Mike: Yes, meet Millie, she’s like a Toto. She comes with me, the other one stays at home, this one doesn’t mind the road, she actually loves it, she’s a goofball.
M.T.C.: So are you a big animal lover? Let’s just start the interview that way!
Mike: I am! I love the animals very much so.
M.T.C.: I like animals better than people.
Mike: Me too! Not so much cats, I’m not a cat guy, but I actually walk dogs while I’m at home at this point for a side gig. It’s through an app called Wag? Have you seen that? It’s an app for dog walking, so I just walk dogs and deal with these two.
M.T.C.: What’s your craziest dog walking experience at this side gig?
Mike: Some dogs are worse that will bite or whatever, and they’re always the little tiny ones. The worst one that I walked this huge pitbull a few times, and the last time that I walked him was that he kept wanting to play with his leash and come up and bite it, but he’s a pitbull that like could take your hand off, and as you’re holding his leash, and he’s trying to bite it, and I’m like, “calm down”, and he’s just going crazy, he’s a sweet dog, but he doesn’t realize the force of himself, and I get him home and you have to put him on this indoor leash that’s in this house, and it’s weird, and he wouldn’t let me, he was cowering over in the corner, and he was coming after me, and if you see pitbulls fight, this is the pitbull, but I was able to take are of him, and whenever Simba needs a walk, I go for it, but sometimes it’s a little much. I’m also about to move up to Milwaukee from Chicago, I’ve been in Chicago for a long time, but my lady and I are moving up to Milwaukee, so I gotta move, I got a little house, and I got my quiet life in my little house.
M.T.C.: Any particular reason for the relocation or just a change of scenery?
Mike: A little bit of both, but it’s just quiet. I want some quiet, it still has a lot of Chicago culture like the lake and everything, just give a shot and try something different.
M.T.C.: So, the “No Sun/No Moon tour” has been going well?
M.T.C.: What has been the craziest memory that you’ve had on this tour?
Mike: In short, our guitar tech Pip, we like to abuse him, he likes to abuse himself, he’s gotten himself into some drinking trouble, his girlfriend has been out hanging out a few times as well and one night they both got themselves into trouble, I had already fallen asleep but I saw pictures the next day, so it’s all Pip’s fault!
M.T.C.: What can fans be able to expect from the “No Sun/No Moon” documentary?
Mike: It’s very candid, everything previously I have never been really satisfied with because it didn’t have the content that I wanted or liked as far as documentaries that we have done with little bits, like behind the scenes looks that we have done. Our guitar player does a really good job, otherwise I have never been so satisfied until now, when our light guy did the documentary with us, and it’s just very transparent, and it’s about as unedited as it can be. I think at least in video form, the best way to see how our guys are if one is curious as a fan.
M.T.C.: Do you think it’s more important for bands nowadays to be more transparent with their fans or do you think that there should still be that mystique, like back when MTV started?
Mike: I like the mystique personally, I understand that it might not be the best for my wallet, not that I care, I don’t consider myself to be an extremely private person, but I also never want to flatter myself and be online all of the time posting pictures of myself. Generally, that fluctuates between different members of the band, but I don’t think that transparency is a necessity, but bands that like to be secretive, I have a lot of admiration for.
M.T.C.: So, you don’t do a lot with social media on a personal level or?
Mike: Well, I have an Instagram because I like to use it for following friends and for a lot of guitar gear, and just friends, kind of the same with Twitter, and I’ve never had a Facebook, as much as I try not to be a millenial, I tend to stay on Instagram more than I should. It’s a cool means of following what your friends are up to, even as a news source as far as the gear world, and my buddy’s tattooing, it’s always cool to keep up.
M.T.C.: What has been the most gratifying moment in your career from the “Plagues” album to “Transit Blues”?
Mike: When we create unique opportunities outside of just making full-length records, I always get really excited. The “Zombie” EP, as much as I would love to redo a lot of it, and add a lot of sound to it, I am still proud of it, and same with the “Space” EP. One thing that I always look back on is when we had a collaboration with Vans, and we had our own shoe, not as an entire materialistic thing, but it kind of felt like it was something that I could have never imagined, when I first joined the band Rise Against did Vans, they were these velcro Vans, and I was so stoked on them, and I never expected to have our own, and since then, I still try to get with more sneakers, Converse won’t work with us, apparently we just need to hound them consistently forever, I remember when we did a coffee collaboration, that was also a really proud moment for me, and for those that are so generous and enjoy our means of entertainment and enjoy our band and our means of expression, I just try to not take their money and try to do things that I want, so with our meet and greet for this tour, you get a slip mat for your turntable and a hockey puck, as I am also a huge hockey fan.
M.T.C.: Who is your favorite hockey team?
Mike: I’m a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, through and through everything besides Penn State, my old man went to Penn State. I started playing about a year ago again, I played in high school, and I am a sports nut, and apparently I was just talking to a dude and he wants hockey jerseys, so if people actually want hockey jerseys, we’ll make hockey jerseys.
M.T.C.: I am a Colorado Avalanche fan, don’t laugh!
Mike: I was born in ’88, so as long as I can remember it was Avs vs. Wings, that rivalry, and how hot that always was. Adam Foote, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, that was a real legacy team, a real body of talent.
M.T.C.: Absolutely, it was so much fun to watch! Let’s say you’re creating a new record, and your motivation is shot, what is the writing process and how do you get motivated?
Mike: Someone asked about this at our meet and greet, its really entirely worthwhile and productive to take a break and not force things, and that was something we really wanted to sort of imply or inject into the last record that we made. Don’t force it, that’s something that’s really important for us as well. I read, listen to other music, read lyrics, learn lyrics from songs that you never knew existed, just that certain one-two hit noun that feels inspiring to you, the only museum that they did in the States was in Chicago, but the David Bowie museum at the Museum of Contemporary Art, part of it was when he wrote that software that takes just random nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verbs from the Internet, and make a phrase, this was pre-Internet, it was so cool, I also bought a book about that that is also suppose to try to inspire you like that, but it turned out to be a total hoax. I also wrote a song about how it was a total hoax from the band, and stuff like that is so cool to me.
M.T.C.: Seems like you’re fascinated with languages and philosophy and the art of thinking.
Mike: I like literature and I like fiction.
M.T.C.: What’s your favorite pieces of fiction?
Mike: My favorite piece of fiction would have to be “Nausea” by Jean-Paul Sartre, otherwise “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov, as far as American, I love Chuck Bukowski, I love Nelson Algren as a Chicagoan. I like to read.
M.T.C.: Let’s talk about the “Worldwide” video, seems to be a segue in to this conversation.
Mike: The conception of the song is a joke between the keyboardist and me. Last time when we were in Tokyo, we played two shows and we were there for three days. They put us in a really nice hotel in Shibuya, we just had the best time, we would just go out and eat noodles and go drinking. The chorus of the song, him and I would just start singing the Tokyo part, and I go, “I’m going to make that into a song”, and we’ve done this before and we’re like, “no you won’t”, and sure enough, we wrote that into a song, with most of the guitars and everything, which John, and just to me, when I think about that song visually, I didn’t want it to be so literal at all, like it would be really stupid to just have some shots of Tokyo, and for it to be a very geographical song, I didn’t want to do that, I wanted something to feel so modern. Casey Pierce, who directed it, we’ve worked with for the past three years, just made this really post-modern, basically this woman loses her brother, and she recreates him through a robot, and then it takes off, the technology and whatnot landed to Earth. We wanted something very, very modern, and to me when I hear that song, I think of neon lights, that’s when we started to recognize the treatment. It’s a bit abstract I would say.
“Worldwide” The Devil Wears Prada
M.T.C.: Is there anything else that you would like to add in terms of what fans can expect for the rest of the year out of The Devil Wears Prada or a message to the fans?
Mike: We are gonna keep quiet for a bit. We are going to start writing and really take our time and see what comes about in 2018, play some shows here and there, see if any other bands want to take us out. We like supporting bands rather than just headlining. I mainly run the TWDP Instagram, so we try to curate it enough to where the fans aren’t being run down with spam and with bullshit sales and promos all the time, I mean we’ll have cool shots of the show to let people know that we’re coming here or there. Whomever was listening and was a part of it, it’s been really fun, and now we are going to put that documentary online now that the tour is over, should probably talk to management about that! *laughs* Put it on YouTube that way people can see our idiot band functioning.
M.T.C.: Thank you so much man!
Mike: It was a pleasure!
And there you have it! Go pick up a copy of “Transit Blues” if you have not done so! It’ll be interesting to see where The Devil Wears Prada is in 2018. I see them playing a few shows here and there, but it sounded like to me that they’re going to take a bit of a break. Again, special thanks to Mike and Amy for setting this up!!