Miss May I; a band that I have seen countless times live, that never ceases to amaze me on reinventing their performance and sound. A new record entitled Shadows Inside (their sixth full-length to be exact) has been unleashed to the world, and it was well worth the wait. This may indeed be their best record to date.
I recently had the chance to chat with Levi Benton, lead vocalist of Miss May I, about their new record, upcoming tour, making music in our modern-day times, and so much more. He has such a positive feeling about the new release; take a listen, and you’ll understand why. They are hitting the road in support of Shadows Inside, playing dates with Upon A Burning Body, Kublai Khan, and Currents. Check it out below!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me! Where are you guys right now?
We have a day off in Nashville today!
Oh well good for you then, and thanks for taking the time on your day off especially!
No worries at all!
I wanted to start off by talking new music; you guys are gearing up to release a new record on June 2 called Shadows Inside. It’s so crazy to think this is going to be your sixth full-length release. At this point in your career, how do you know when it’s time to start working on new music?
Oh man, that’s a hard question! I feel like we’ve always been writing stuff, we’re always on tour, so we’re always doing music. But a lot of the guys record on tour, so there is already like five songs for whatever we do next. It’s just a thing that comes naturally, we’re always writing. For us to go in the studio and make it a record, it all depends what’s going on behind the scenes with the band. We tour so much that we don’t ever have studio time; that’s why I feel like we always get records done so fast and have so many! It’s always like, “OK, we have 10 months to tour but we only have two months off, so if you don’t do it now, you’re not going to do it!”
With so many ways to access music these days, and ways for artists to put out music, do you ever find it difficult to remain relevant and keep the content fresh?
No, I think the hardest thing we finally accomplished as a band was truly finding our sound. But now, actually, I rethink this question…actually, I guess you’re right! It’s hard to release something that will really get people talking, because there is so many ways to access music these days, especially with Spotify, Apple Music, etc. You don’t have to go to a record store. It’s a hard challenge because music is right at your fingertips, so finding ways to keep up can be a struggle.
You guys have dropped a few songs to get us started, including the latest single “Swallow Your Teeth”. I love this one. How do you guys choose which tracks to release to the world first?
That’s all behind the scenes stuff. Our favorite song is the last song on the record and no one has heard it yet! That’s all behind the scenes. When we release songs for a record that isn’t out, we never want to turn fans away. We want to show people what we’re doing; they’ll either freak out and run away, or end up liking it and get the whole album. So when it comes to those songs, we know what we like, but it’s always behind the scenes what the world hears first (laughs).
From a listener’s standpoint, the theme of the record that I have interpreted just from listening is almost an ode to change, good and bad, and events happening through life. Is this sort of the direction you were heading in, or am I completely feeling this wrong?
No, that is actually exactly what the record is about, so I am glad you feel that way! We went through so much change in the last few years; we had a lot of stuff behind the scenes, switching our team, a lot of good but a lot of bad. We’ve done this our whole lives on tour, and have spent so much time together over the years. I don’t think the theme even meant to come off like that, but so many changes have happened the past couple of years, signing a new record deal, all of that stuff, we sat there and thought, “Man, what is this record really about?” That’s it; all the stuff we’ve gone through in the past, and it’s really cool that it’s coming out now because I can look back in 50 years and remember and reflect on the stuff that influenced this album.
Just judging off the few songs you guys released, I think this may be my favorite Miss May I record to date. I saw that you guys recently said that you guys thought this record would push you into the headlining spot.
Yeah, that was the goal for this record. We just went for it when writing it. All the things that are over the top that we didn’t do before because we wanted to keep it safe, negative energy around us, we don’t have that now. We wanted to do like you said, make a record that turns heads. We’ve been together for 10 years now, so we ask ourselves what can we do to make our live set bigger and better than ever? This whole tour we are bringing crazy production, and it’s the biggest sounding Miss May I record we’ve ever done, so we’re hoping the fans like it as much as we do.
I love that. I am glad you just brought up the tour, that is where I was headed! You guys are about to embark on The Shadows Inside Tour with some awesome support bands, how did this lineup come together?
Thank you! It all happened quickly! We’re really close with Upon A Burning Body so we love those guys, they’re so awesome. We’re playing small rooms we haven’t played in a year. We wanted to just bring out friends that we love, and bands that we’re big fans of too. Kublai Khan are super heavy, we love them. Currents are the new guys on our label, so this is a perfect timing for them; we were once a band in their spot, and it’s hard getting a good tour, so we want to show them a good time, especially when their new record is about to drop!
Yeah and that will probably bring out a whole new fan base for you that maybe hasn’t seen Miss May I Before.
I think so, and hope so!
Well Levi, thanks so much. I wish you the best of luck and I cannot wait for this new record and tour. It’s going to be huge. I wish you the utmost success, and cheers to six more records.
We promise you it will be the craziest show we’ve ever brought! You have to come out and see it for yourself.
I will be there! Thank you for your time, Levi.
Miss May I’s new record, Shadows Inside, is available now. You can catch them at GameChangerWorld in Howell, NJ on June 18, The Marlin Room at Webster Hall in New York City on June 20, and GameChangerWorld in Allentown, PA on June 21. For more information, visit MissMayIMusic.com.