By MIKE CHAIKEN
“Star Trek” may have espoused that space is the final frontier.
But “Space” is also the latest release from Ohio’s The Devil Wears Prada, which has set its launch pad up on the main stage of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer.
The tour stops into Hartford on July 19.
The band’s lead singer Mike Hranica explained that in 2010, the band released an EP built around a single theme, 2010’s “Zombies.”
Mike said the band had so much fun with that record, and fans had so much fun with it, The Devil Wears Prada spoke about doing something similar at a future date.
When the group started thinking a year ago about recording some new material, Mike said the time seemed to be right for an EP follow up for “Zombies.”
And the idea came about this time to center the EP around the theme of space. The songs began to develop with different musical manifestations of the theme.
Press materials for the EP explain: “The very metal ‘Space’ EP features some of the most sophisticated lyrics, arrangements, and musicianship The Devil Wears Prada has produced, depicting the emptiness, loneliness and vastness of space. ‘Planet A,’ tells the story of an interplanetary ship’s commander; ‘Alien’ is straightforward and brutal, leaving no hope for the survival of mankind. Fear, arrogance and a near-incantation of what’s really important in life are at the center of ‘Asteroids.’”
The EP also provided the band with its first opportunity to record since it parted ways with its chief songwriter Chris Rubey. Rubey left the group after its last album, “8:18.”
Rubey’s absence left The Devil Wears Prada without a songwriter. So Hranica, Jeremy DePoyster (rhythm guitar, clean vocals), Andy Trick (bass), and Daniel Williams (drums) began to work as a unit on new songs.
“Different tastes, different writing styles, different influences. It creates a different product,” said Mike
Mike said an EP was the perfect opportunity to give this new songwriting approach a dry run before worrying about a new full-length effort.
Thus far on the Mayhem Festival tour, said Mike, the band is playing one song from the EP, “Supernova.” “It really felt really good,” said Mike of playing the song live.
The Devil Wears Prada is not a newcomer to the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Back in 2012, the band made an occasional appearance on the Main Stage although its primary home was the outdoor Jagermeister stage.
For 2015, The Devil Wears Prada now is firmly rooted as the first act on the indoor Main Stage at Mayhem Festival. The band now sets the tone for Hellyeah, King Diamond, and headliners Slayer.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” said Mike.
However, Mike said 2012 “broke us in and showed us what to expect (at Mayhem).” But since the band wasn’t locked in to the Main Stage, it was a different experience (albeit a beneficial one).
Mike said he attends a lot of rock concerts. And he knows, from an audience perspective, what fans want from a band – and what they will expect from The Devil Wears Prada— as they wait for the headliners at Mayhem Festival. “I empathize with the crowd… coming out to see Slayer.”
For The Devil Wears Prada, to win those fans over, Mike said, “You have to put on t he best set possible.”
In general, said Mike of the festival tour, “I love Mayhem… 2012 was one of the best summers and we’re off to a great summer again. It’s run well. There’s a good vibe. There’s less drama.”
Beyond Mayhem Festival, Mike said The Devil Wears Prada would like to begin songwriting for its next full-length album. But there will be a few events intervening. August will mark the 10th anniversary for the band so he expects there will be some celebratory performances. Andy Trick also will be getting married this year. So the songwriting and new album will likely have to hold off until next year.
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, with headliners Slayer, plays the Xfinity Theater in Hartford on July 19. Doors open at 1 p.m. For more information, go to LiveNation.com, RockstarMayhemFest.com, or TWDPband.com
By MIKE CHAIKEN