PropertyOfZack had the chance to speak with Levi Benton from Miss May I a few weeks ago for a great interview. Levi and I discussed the band’s new album, the recording process for the record, working The Machine, not incorporating now-popular styles into their metal music, and much more. Read up below!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Miss May I?
I’m Levi Benton. I’m the vocalist from Miss May I.
At Heart comes out on June 12th, so we’re less than a week away now. How are your nerves and the anticipation leading up to the release?
I’m just nervous. I’m always really nervous before a record comes out. It’s always like a flip of a coin. It’s either kids really like it, or they don’t. There’s usually not a second coming back in the metal scene, so you don’t mess it up.
You guys have released a few songs at this point. How’s has the reception to them been so far?
Everyone really likes them. We haven’t really had any bad complaints about it. Which is good because with our other albums, well… we had some complaints after that. This is the longest we’ve worked on an album so we’re really excited for it.
I think fans have been excited with the new music, the change, and this follow up to Monument. Did you guys intentionally go into the studio with hopes to develop in sound? More so than the last album? Did you guys make intentional changes?
No, we actually went about it as having no boundaries. That was our big thing that I think made a huge difference in the whole thing.
With this sort of metal scene, there can be a lot of boundaries. Bands often feel that they have to sound the same. Was it important for you guys to break away from that?
No, our biggest thing is that we’re all about being oldschool. We don’t like the keyboards or the dubstep or that crazy stuff. Our biggest thing was to step away and tone it down some; to play our instruments and be and oldschool thrash metal band.
You guys recorded with The Machine, who is such an esteemed producer. How was it working with him?
Oh it was awesome. He definitely made us all better musicians. He works really hard. Basically, he wanted us to change the idea of putting music on a CD. He wanted us to have feeling when we recorded it. Whether we recorded it once or one hundred times, he wouldn’t take the take unless he thought that we actually felt it. So that was pretty cool.
Did you learn things from working with him? Things that you can take away from the process in the future?
Oh yeah. He definitely made us good musicians. Especially now, even playing shows. Everything he taught us, we do now, especially live.
You guys are continuing to develop as a band and getting a lot larger. Like we mentioned, fans are into these new songs. Do you see this release and what you have set up for the rest of the year in terms of touring as the one of the biggest steps yet?
Yes. This is our big game changer year. We hope it definitely changes as a plus for us. We want to separate and take some of our scene with us to the metal realm. We know some of our fans are getting old where we are. Our fans are getting older so we’re trying to get a head start on it. With the new album, we really went out of our way to get with a new producer, and get away from the norm. The artwork and everything we did… We took a lot of big leaps. We’re swinging for the fences and we’re hoping to hit a home run and they’ll like it.
You are trying to transition into a fan base where you can hopefully grow a lot while keeping your current fans. Is that nerve wracking to make that leap now? Even if you feel prepared to do it?
It is definitely nerve wracking. I’m definitely really nervous and scared, but we think it’s going to pay off in the end. Really hoping it will all work out and that we’ll view this as a career and not just a little fluke in our lives.
You guys recently had a spring tour with Whitechapel, how was that? Leading up to the record?
It was good, it was nice to play. We played a lot of markets, a lot of C and D markets; a lot of people we haven’t seen or played for in a long time. It was nice to get all of those guys out of the way. Especially since we’re about to jump into Warped Tour. You know everyone’s going to be out there, whether it’s A or F market. Everyone’s going to come out to Warped Tour.
So within the next week, you guys are kicking off world touring with Japan, Warped, and South America. Is this part of the process of trying to make this as big as you guys can possibly be right now?
We definitely like to work hard so whether it’s being on the road eleven months out of the year or whatever we have to do. As long as we’re making this a career and we’re having fun doing it, we’ll do whatever it takes. All the kids and our fans are coming along with us. Record sales are good, kids are coming out to shows, it’s been good. As long as they’re having fun and we’re having fun, that’s all that matters.
What are you looking forward to most about Warped Tour? It should be great this year.
I’m excited to see The Used, because when I was 15 I bawled my eyes out meeting those guys. It’s pretty crazy, six years later, to be playing on the same stage as them.
You guys also just released a music video for “Hey Mister.” Have fans been into that so far?
Yeah everyone loves it. I can’t believe how good the actual response was. We were expecting a good response but not as good as it was. So we’re pretty excited.
After Warped, you guys have South America and then should we just keep looking forward to more US touring after that? Or Europe?
Yeah. We have a lot of touring to be booked. I’m not allowed to say anything, but keep an eye out for them.