Most musicians in the world toil in obscurity – hoping that anyone at all will find and resonate with their music.

For those select few who do achieve some level of success via their music, they quickly become part of a machine focused on touring, album cycles, support acts, and management companies.

So, for the established artist, they long to be creative without restrictions and baggage from expectations from their fans and the music business that sustains them.

I discuss this dichotomy with Mike Hranica, the lead vocalist (“screamer” lol) from The Devil Wears Prada (a band with a lot of fans, and thus a lot of expectations) and God Alone (a band that purposefully defies expectations). We also discuss how he views discipline – or lack thereof – in his creative process, and how he scratches various creative itches through different outlets.

Check out the full conversation with Mike to learn:

  • How he balances “consuming” content and art vs “creating” – and finding the right balance between seeking out new art, digging into the classics, and making your own work
  • How he balances the demands of various stakeholders in the music industry and fan expectations in The Devil Wears Prada – and why it’s a relief to operate without expectations in God Alone
  • How he decides which relationships to maintain and which opportunities to pursue – and the resentment that builds from the shallowness of a lot of contemporary relationships and art

Check out the episode at the links below. If you enjoyed the episode, the best way to support the show is to share with your friends, so send them a link.

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Show Notes

  • [02:01] Establishing rules in creativity and having obsessive tendencies – and finding the appropriate balance in sticking to the record and improvising live
  • [20:39] Balancing a breadth and depth of music consumption, and finding the right amount of focus to kickstart creativity
  • [33:00] The process of maturing creatively and developing better songwriting skills – and which influences still hold up as an adult.
  • [45:15] The ridiculousness of backing tracks in contemporary metalcore and the real-life consequences of selling out (or not selling out)
  • [50:59] Finding a creative outlet with no expectations in God Alone and a censored YouTube video
  • [01:00:09] Do writing lyrics and writing prose scratch the same creative itch? And how do lyrics “fit in” with God Alone or The Devil Wears Prada?
  • [01:12:09] The opportunity cost of maintaining relationships – and how to decide which relationships are worth maintaining
  • [01:18:24] Starting a coffee company – and what people mean when they say a coffee is “bright” or “fruity”
  • [01:31:54] Getting in touch with your sensory experiences via things like appreciating coffee, appreciating guitar tones, and meditation. And the physical toll that touring takes on the body.

Links and Resources Mentioned