US metalcore giants Miss May I have recently signed to Sharptone Records (Nuclear Blast) and their brand new album Shadows Inside is out now. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles had the chance to speak to front man Levi Benton about the album and whether their tour plans include Australia.
It must be a good feeling to be able to start talking about your new album Shadows Inside knowing that it is done and dusted now?
Yeah, it’s crazy! We’re just anxious about getting the record out and I think everything in the band is the best that it has ever been. It’s just awesome!
What do you put the happiness down to in the band?
Um, yeah, we made a lot of big changes before this album cycle. For some reason before when we were together we moved away from a lot of people that weren’t really helping us or holding us back a bit. I think having a lot of that change everything has been refreshed and having a new team feels like we’ve hit the restart button. We’re very excited!
On reflection do feel satisfied with what you achieved on Shadows Inside?
Oh yeah, I think it is one of the best albums we’ve done. We have put so much time in to this album, more than what we have on any other record. I don’t want to be saying that every time but it really does make a huge difference having two producers this time around was a really big deal. These people brought a lot to the table and we really stepped it up. Both producers together really made this album and take it to the next level which is where it needed to go.
When you talk about more effort is that something that comes from experience or just improving processes each time?
Yeah, yeah except we’re finding each time more time is needed. Every time we go with a record, we sit on it and listening to it for a while before decide to do this or change that up. Actually, putting that together in a record with the studio in mind I think is reason, like you said, why more and more time is just learning about the process.
What is the biggest learning you have taken from making this album?
I think the biggest thing for me really was stepping out of my comfort zone and that brings a lot of honesty and a lot of cool parts of me as a musician out of me that I didn’t really know I had in me. Someone pushed me and showed me that I could do it and I went in to the record with that mindset.
A lot people see metalcore as really angry but interestingly from what I’ve read about Miss May I you’re trying to make your music inspirational. Is that how you see it?
Yeah, I feel like that is part of our sound. We’re aiming for that quote unquote epic sound we try and shoot for. Having that positive vibe is not only something we want as a band but so important that it is a part of our sound and what makes us Miss May I.
Were all your ideas fairly well consolidated before going in to the studio or is there some scope to be able to change things up?
Oh yeah, I think that’s one of the biggest things that everything is open to everyone’s input. With that we usually let those changes happen and a lot of great things come from that. A lot of our influences come from bands such as Parkway Drive, In Flames and those bands that are bigger than the average above and beyond. That’s where I feel we’re trying to channel on this record and what we wanted everything around this record to be like. I think we did a pretty good job mixing up guitar and vocal parts.
What are your favourite tracks on the album?
Oh man, I have a lot of favs! I think my all time favourite is the last track My Sorrow. There’s so much honesty and such an emotion that comes out in that song. I really love that we got to do that, it is so honest and so much sadness you hear from it but it is still driving that inspirational riff. I could play it all day when I hear it.
Where did the idea for the artwork come from?
We did a whole bunch of different drafts before we got to the one we finally wanted. The idea of the mask was something we wanted to do but wanted to find an artist who could execute that. It came off which lead to a lot of ideas about the life of the mask and what the mask is representing. It is really cool because there is a story behind it and happy with it.
Are there any tour plans for Australia?
Oh yeah! There has already been some talks right now, it will be a thing!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Miss May I’s album Shadows Inside is out now through Sharptone Records (Nuclear Blast)