Burn baby, burn! Left, right and centre Miss May I have been through the ringer. The biggest change for the metalcore group was their leaving former record label Rise Records because of varying harrowing reasons, a major issue for Miss May I that caused them a great deal of anxiety at the time. But with new album Shadows Inside, they’re just throwing all those bad vibes right back to the haters. Vocalist Levi Benton isn’t whiney about the negative situations that previously surrounded the band, nor the doubt that loomed over their future, rather he’s taken all that negativity and quelled his experiences in to one epic and powerful release.
New album, wahey! I’ve listened to it twice and I only got it tonight!
It’s some of your best work to-date I think, I really do.
Thank you very much.
The title track, ‘Shadows Inside’, some ball-grabbing brutality right there [Levi Laughs] It’s true though! Then there’s some wonderful chorus work – was that the intention, to make people sit up and stand up?
Yeah, I think with this record, we’ve always done really well but never been solidified as a headline band. I think going in to this record we wanted to go overboard and sort of above and beyond, and I think songs like ‘Shadows Inside’, there’s so many songs that are so over the top guitar-wise, sing-along-wise, that maybe we were pushing the envelope too much but when we finished the record and sat back and listened to it, we were like ‘Okay, this is the real deal. This sounds awesome.’
There is a lot of darkness in the names of the new material – words like ‘shadow’, ‘fire’, ‘death’, ‘grey’ [Levi giggles] – you laugh, but I feel like there’s a dark side lurking. Lyrically, similar things are happening and you don’t really gloss over anything. Is there a darkness surrounding you that you’re addressing here?
Yeah, I think a lot of it is about changes and stuff and the place Miss May I was in when we wrote this record. We were really getting burned real bad by our old team and it sort of put me in the mindset that I wasn’t enjoying Miss May I anymore, and that really sucked because this is all I know – there was a lot of like, self-doubt, self-fighting I guess.
It just sucked. I don’t know, I would get on a call every day and I knew I was getting burned by all these people, getting screwed [over] by certain people and it just sucks because at the end of the day, I started this with my friends and we’re doing it to have fun. So when other people mess it up it really puts you in a weird headspace.
I think we let it all out in this record. It’s sort of like our middle finger to make this record awesome and telling everyone to suck it.
'Lost In The Grey'
Yeah, there’s like ten middle fingers going up there which is awesome [Levi laughs]. That negativity, you said it affected your headspace but do you feel that maybe it had an impact on your relationship as a band as well? Not enough to break you up or anything, because in fact, you came back on top.
I think if anything it brought us closer. I know we dabbled on our last record [2015’s Deathless] that list and we sort of said the same thing, that we were being screwed over but I think… with this record we made the changes of sort of just getting all the, like, everything that was broken out of the way, and everything that was bringing us down out of the way. We sort of just cut it off, which was hard for us because we’re not those sort of guys. So to cut people off like that was definitely not our character but it was something that had to be done.
If anything I think going through these hard times as a band brings us closer together which is crazy because most bands, this is when they break up. It’s really cool to have these phone calls with the guys, like, ‘Okay we’re gonna take nine months off to do this record but it’s gonna be hard because we make a living off touring’. You have that call and it could go both ways – everyone flips out and says ‘screw you, I’m out,’ or they say ‘Okay let’s dig in and make this awesome.’ Thankfully for us everyone just replied with ‘Let’s do it, let’s dig in, take the time off and really make something that changes the game for us.’
Definitely. I mean, ‘Swallow Your Teeth’ that one is great, my personal favourite – what’s the story behind that one?
[Chuckles] That one is directly towards those people!
That’s what I thought! [Mutual laughter]
Yeah, we’ve been tricked and persuaded with so many things, I don’t think it’s just the music industry, I think it’s all industries. Everyone, with people that have so much power and so much charm, everyone gets talked in to a lot of things – and that’s obviously their job, to talk you in to things – so we’ve been gullible, we got signed when we were kids and had a lot of stuff taken from us and this was sort of our song to say like, ‘We’re not doing that anymore..’ And it’s really cool that we have a whole new team because we set up everything, sort of put our foot down saying we went through the ringer so this time around, we’re not assholes but I’m just letting you know, we’re gonna be very hands on [laughs]. ‘We’re not trying to be mean but we will be very hands on.’ Songs like that solidify that and it’s fun for us to put that out publically because we know that people are going to hear it and know it’s about that them, so it’s nice to be able to do that.
MISS MAY I's 'Shadows Inside' hits stores on 2nd June 2017
The sound and fury of MISS MAY I is deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of a legion of fans. These are people from different backgrounds, of different ages, with diverse life experience, who all come together and connect with MISS MAY I’s combination of brutal proficiency and impassioned delivery. The five-piece powerhouse, from the fertile metalcore grounds of America’s heartland, have become an integral part of the worldwide heavy music community, transcending boundaries and limitations, galvanizing crowds, and energizing each person they encounter.
The band’s brand new album, 'Shadows Inside', doubles as monster riff-fest and forcefully vocal driven statement shaped by changes both within and without. Make no mistake this isn’t an about-face album full of contrived sentiment or glossy emptiness. It’s a record where the band challenged each other to work from outside of their comfort zone, to really hone in on what makes MISS MAY I vital, and deliver something fully authentic and raw.
On the road with friends and peers like AUGUST BURNS RED, PARKWAY DRIVE, BLESSTHEFALL, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE, WE CAME AS ROMANS, and WHITECHAPEL, MISS MAY I bring devastating fury onstage and good natured charm offstage. They’ve held their own as support for rock radio hit makers FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and as headliners on the Alternative Press Tour.
This is a band with diverse appeal; they fine-tune their punishing metallic assault with an almost “pop” sensibility when it comes to catchy memorability. The official music videos for MISS MAY I singles including ‘Death less’, ‘Echoes’, ‘Relentless Chaos’, ‘Forgive and Forget’, ‘Hey Mister’, ‘Masses of a Dying Breed’ and ‘Day By Day’ account for roughly 50 million views on YouTube, to say nothing of the fan made videos, live clips, cover versions, and audio streams. Those same anthems have been played millions of times more across streaming services and social media, embedded in the musical DNA of a generation of contemporaries and fans.
Nick Sampson (ASKING ALEXANDRIA, BORN OF OSIRIS, IN FEAR AND FAITH), who worked alongside Sturgis on 'Deathless', took the reigns of the instrumental section of MISS MAY I’s new album with the instrumental members in the Midwest. Benton collaborated with producer Drew Fulk (MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, EMMURE, CROWN THE EMPIRE), who brought out the best vocal performances of the young singer’s career thus far. Working in California, the pair was able to communicate ideas to the band back in their Michigan studio, where they’d reshape and refine the songs, until they were perfect. This process, unlike anything MISS MAY I had attempted before, resulted in their most fully realized album yet. Mixed by Andrew Wade (A DAY TO REMEMBER, THE WORLD ALIVE, NECK DEEP), the band’s first record for SharpTone is truly the best of everything before, with new ambition and confidence.
'Shadows Inside' is a monster of an album and a long time coming. MISS MAY I celebrates a decade of savage metalcore and soaring melodic refrains, newly revitalized, and poised for an insurgent career renaissance; armed with unmistakable power, road hardened experience, a steadily building catalogue, and unrelenting spirit, supported by a diehard community.