Back in 2005, Miss May I was a bunch of friends just hanging out in a garage and playing instruments together.
Jump forward over a decade later and you’ll find out that there’s a lot more to Miss May I than just that; over the years they’ve played on big stages such as Warped 2011/12/15, Soundwave 2013 and Mayhem Festival. They’ve also toured globally, travelling to South America in 2012, the UK in 2012, 2013 AND 2016, as well as Europe in 2014. Lastly, they’ve also released 5 albums but are still not taking a step back to relax; not only are they about to drop their 6th album BUT it’s also the first on a new label to mix things up a little bit!
Whilst discussing the change of labels from Rise Records to SharpTone Records and the opportunities it will bring, Frontman Levi Benton stated “We’re excited; we feel we’re delivering the best album we’ve done as a band. Also being on SharpTone is a huge huge plus; it’s a whole new family for us. We’ve been together since we were 15 so we didn’t want to do anything different, plus working with new people is super refreshing.” Benton also added how “we have such a big international support now that we’ve never had before; people like you, you know, we’ve never really had Australian phoners a lot or get a lot of stuff like this, which is just great to just have that kind of support; we’ve toured internationally but never really had a record label there and it’s just so promising now to have that.”
In the name of true professionalism, Benton explains how he was quick in making sure it was known that there was no bad blood between Rise Records and Miss May I. “There was nothing soiled with Rise [Record] when we made the change; we just wanted something fresh and as a metal band we see that metal is obviously bigger everywhere but America, which is always weird to say that but it really is. Knowing that growing up on tours, that not only do we want a change but what if we tried something with more of an international label and see what’s out there and what can happen.”
“We’re still best friends with Rise; I mean I still text those guys two or three times a week. It’s just for the growth of the band. It’s funny; every press outlet is asking us questions about it and thought there was all this dirt and everything. Even our friends think it’s weird that we’re still friends with our old label but we grew up with those guys; there was really no beef.”
Benton was absolutely blown away when it came to working with Drew Fulk and how the whole experience of working with a vocal coach has completely altered his perspective and his approach to writing lyrics.
“Having someone working with me and focusing on just my vocals morning, afternoon or night without having to wait for guitars to be tracked or drums; every single day was wake up and work on every single word, every single line of the record. I’ve never focused on it that much and it has completely changed my mind about how I’m going to write music; there’s so much more focus and depth that goes into it than I’ve ever put into it before and he really showed me that.” Benton also adds that “we’re just dudes from Ohio who play in a basement, we just hit record, we’re not used to above and beyond that. But now we know about that above and beyond area, I was totally dumbfounded; you mean this whole time I could have totally had this?”
However, with Benton away in LA with Fulk whilst the rest of Miss May I are stationed back home in Michigan, there was going to be more than a fair share of problems which would arise throughout the process; “It was a little bit of a headache at first with the time difference (California is three hours behind Michigan where the rest of the band was located during recording) but I feel after the first week it just meshed and made sense. It was such a relief though to have Drew and Nick Sampson (who worked with the instrumental members of Miss May I) get on together as everyone was in it to win it!”
Benton also mentioned “they [Nick and the other members of Miss May I] were a little bit closer to home; their whole camp was based in Dayton, Ohio so it’s right down the road. I think they were about three hours away from home but they were still in a hotel for a couple of months.”, as well as how “I came to LA right before the record started. It ended up that the guys who were doing my record were basically my neighbours; I walked to the studio literally every single day, it was crazy!”
Along the way as well, Miss May I made it clear that they wanted to challenge each other and push each other out of their comfort zone to get the best out of each other for the new album. Apart from the challenge of working with Benton being based in California, Miss May I “really wanted to make their songs sorta over the top; there was always guitar solos and vocal parts that we’ve written in the past that we’ve always scratched because it wasn’t the safe way to go. However on this record we decided we’re not scratching anything; if it sounds great and it’s going along comfortable than it means it’s good and it should go on the record and that’s what we did; that’s why there’s a lot of songs that sound outside of out the box. This time we said we’ve given it a great try and that’s why we put it on the record.”
And the one thing all Miss May I fans want to know; when will they be gracing our shores and stages with their presence?
“Last time (we were in Australia) was 2013 on Soundwave with Metallica; we do love coming down and have been spoilt every time. We can’t wait to come back!”