Writing With New Eyes- Levi Benton of Miss May I

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Ohio metalcore stalwarts Miss May I spent this past summer on the Rockstar Mayhem Tour, and vocalist Levi Benton shared his thoughts on completing Day One at Devore, CA’s San Manuel Amphitheatre.

 

Day one was awesome! We had the prep day yesterday, which was very helpful. We made it on stage. We played all of our songs. The crowd was great. Now we’re winding down doing our press. I’m gonna get some food soon. Overall day was great.”

 

Playing on the Rockstar Mayhem Fest placed Miss May I in front of a varied crowd largely made up of fans of harder and heavier styles of metal. Benton said this was the most metal crowd the band has played in front of.

 

In America, yeah. I really think so which is really cool for us. We’ve done the outdoor festival thing but it’s a lot different to do the outdoor festival thing with this kind of lineup. It’s really exciting and a lot fewer bands so you have a lot more of the crowd funneled in to watch you when you play. [It is] really high exposure for you. The set went over better than we could ever expect today. [It] makes me excited to do this again tomorrow.”

 

During the signing we saw a lot of mix in our fanbase. We really enjoy this tour already. It’s day one and we’re pumped about the rest of it. Beating under the sun or not, it will be a great time.”

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They got used to being the heavier band on most bills they previously played on. But having the tables turned became a bit of a challenge they were up for. Regardless, Benton was excited to play for new people who previously had not experienced Miss May I.

 

We feel the same way being the lighter band on a tour like this. We’re used to being the heavier band on a lot of the stuff we do. It was scary but the first day went over very well. I think the touring we’ve been doing the last year has been starting to win the fan base over. I’m looking forward to the rest of Mayhem – converting the metal kids while keeping the scene kids. They’re coming over and hearing about new metal bands and new scene bands. We’re just trying to bridge the gap. We want everybody that’s a fan of metal to enjoy our band. It doesn’t matter to us. We just want you to like our band.”

 

Miss May previously ventured on the Vans Warped Tour and US festivals was nothing new to the band. “These outdoor festivals in America are huge for you. They expose you to so many people every single day and as long as you’re performing well, you’re giving back to your fans, doing your signings, hitting up your merch table and meeting everybody – you’re only going to benefit from the tour.”

 

They are currently touring behind Rise of the Lion, Miss May I’s fourth record overall. Produced by Terry Date (Deftones, Pantera), the songs on this record took a different angle and included their fans for inspiration.

 

We wanted to do a little more of a fan base record where we used topics given to us by fans in letters and by meeting them and behind the scenes stuff by getting to know them,” said Benton. “We took those topics and that allowed us to write the songs from a different perspective instead of being our personal problems. We were writing through the eyes of someone else, which was different for us, but it made it a personal record for our fans.”

 

He shared the band’s writing process behind Rise of the Lion, and how their approach differed from past records.

 

The way we wrote the songs this time was a lot different this time as well. There wasn’t as much of the record written on the computer or demoed out like that. This record we wrote this record in a live group.”

 

We did a live recording of the album before we went in to track it. Every song was written in a tempo that we wanted to play it live, and any part that was overly aggressive and didn’t feel right. Sometimes when you write songs the other way and you go to play them, it doesn’t translate the same way. I think this time writing live as a group this time changed things for us. It definitely changed the tempo of things a bit. We like to do things different each record. We felt the last record was extremely aggressive, so we dialed it back a bit on this one in some ways. Other tracks are more aggressive than anything we’ve done. I think you can expect to hear another drastic change on the next record. For us, you only get so many shots to write a record. We want to do as many of the cool things that we can while we have all of these great fans.”

 

Miss May I has been signed to Rise Records, one of the fastest rising recording labels on the scene today. Benton shared his thoughts of being part of a company who has shaped their careers.

 

We saw friends from our area start on that label and do great things. When we started working with them, we told them we were in it for the long haul. They were in it for the long haul as well. Because of that we had a good relationship. We’re on our fourth record with them with another one coming. We get along with them great. I think that’s the big thing. They trust us. When we get bent out of shape about something, we trust them enough for them to come back to us with a reasoning why we’re [either] doing something or not. Since we trust each other, we could go back and forth and really make a difference when we need to make big decisions. We’re not working against each other, which is an unfortunate thing that happens to a lot of bands out there.”

 

 

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REI NISHIMOTO