Interview: Levi Benton of Miss May I
Miss May I is a Metalcore band from Troy, Ohio. The term up-and-coming is a common description of this band. Their 5th record, “Rise Of The Lion”, was released on April 25th of this year and the album was produced by Terry Date who has produced such acts as Dream Theatre, Soundgarden, Pantera, Deftones and Slipknot. The band performed on day 1 of the Louder Than Life Festival on October 4th. The weather was the talk of many due to a dramatic drop in temperature and windy conditions by daybreak on Saturday. As I filed into the venue, I was pleased by the size of crowd waiting for the gates to open at 11:00 AM. I could tell that this festival was going to rock. I was looking forward to one band in particular this day and Miss May I was that band. After walking around and checking out the venue, I headed to the the media area to have a chat with Miss May I’s dynamic frontman, Levi Benton.
ONSTAGE MAGAZINE: Levi, how did you like working with Terry Date on your latest album, Rise Of The Lion?
LEVI BENTON: It was awesome. It was cool to work with a legend like that because not only did we get to record with him, but we were always bugging him for stories about Pantera, Deftones and the other greats he has worked with.
ONSTAGE: There is definitely a lot of history there and the album sounds great by the way. You guys have some really devoted fans, how have you seen the fans change over the last seven years that you guys have been around?
LB: It’s crazy. The biggest thing is the tattoos. We sort of promoted that on our record and it’s sort of just crazy to me. To us, we’re just dudes who got a record deal that were playing in basements and now people really like our band. It’s weird to me because we are playing the same music we played in basements and we haven’t changed at all.
ONSTAGE: How has the band evolved since things got going? You have made the statement that the new album is a conscious effort to be a little different.
LB: Our biggest thing is that we want to be diverse. We don’t want to get stuck. At the end of the day we are just a long-haired thrash metal band. We’re just a heavy band. But we don’t want to get monotonous and boring. You can only be heavy for so long. So that’s our biggest thing is that we try to change it up a little bit but stay with our sound and not lose our fans and everyone think that we got mushy and soft.
ONSTAGE: That sounds like a good formula. How have the fans responded to the new album?
LB: They are cool. It’s diverse. So obviously there are songs we get backlash on and then there are songs people like. I think people weren’t ready for us to do a diverse record up and down. Everyone is used to 110% the whole way through. But for us, we wanted to change it up. You can’t make everyone happy. If we had made a full-on heavy record, people would say we wrote the same record again and if it’s different, people would say to write it again.
ONSTAGE: What’s your favorite song to perform live?
LB: Oh man. Hey Mister. The crowd goes crazy and that’s usually our last song and I can like give it all and just break everything on stage and be like, “Okay. We’re done.”
ONSTAGE: How does your voice feel after a performance?
LB: It’s actually not bad. I feel like it’s sort of a callous now. Back when we first started touring, I would just get wrecked. But today, I’ll play and then go party and watch all of the bands.
ONSTAGE: What was the intent with Rise Of The Lion?
LB: Just wanting to be diverse. Even the lyrical content we changed up. I feel I over-think stuff, but I didn’t want to write the same record about me like the previous four times. This one was like letters back to fans. It’s more of a fan-based record.
ONSTAGE: What do you see on the horizon for Miss May I?
LB: A lot of touring and a lot of writing. Now we have it set up so when we are off tour, we just write non-stop. Even though we just released a record, we are writing for the next record.
I had my schedule laid out for the afternoon. Miss May I would be playing at 4:15 and I made sure to work around that. Look for photos from the show.
You can follow Levi on Twitter. @levibenton
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