Miss May I has a new album Shadows Inside set to release on June 2, 2017 via Sharptone Records. I had a chance to chat with vocalist Levi Benton today about the new album and the kick off to the official start of their USA tour tonight with Upon A Burning Body, Kublai Khan and Currents.
Take a look at the first video release, the self titled single “Shadows Inside”, then check out the interview and tour info below.
Interview with Levi Benton:
YesterdazeNews: You have a new album “Shadows Inside” coming out on June 2. What was the concept behind this album?
Levi Benton: This whole record is about the past and changes with the band. We’ve been doing this for almost 10 years and there have been so many ups and downs. Especially the last few years, we just parted ways with a huge burden we’ve had over the years and that was great. I moved halfway around the world. The guys… there have been marriages and divorces. It’s just been so much stuff and we had a lot of time off and we didn’t really have a theme at the beginning but once the record was done we sat back and looked at it and were like, wow this is about the past and changes we’ve gone through. The good and the bad. It’s cool to document and praise those things and to show people it’s cool to have those shadows whether they are good or bad. It’s what we wanted the whole record to be about.
Who did you guys work with on this album?
We had 2 producers. We had Nick Sampson do the instruments and then Drew Fulk did the vocals.
How long did it take for this album, the writing, recording and production?
Man….. We were off for 9 months and it took us 7 months to do this record. It was a long time to do this record, it was insane. I almost forgot I was in a band. We were in the studio everyday and hadn’t played a show in so long. The reason it was so hard was the instruments were recorded in Michigan and all the vocals were recorded in Los Angeles so we did everything over email. I never even got to see the guys until the record was done.
Did you guys learn anything new about your sound or yourselves going through the process or after going back and listening to the new album?
Yea, I think the big thing we learned was to just focus. We’ve never had this much time in the studio, we’ve always turned records around in 1-2 months which to us felt like forever. To work with producers who really wanted something crazy and wanted something that was going to turn heads we had to sit down and focus, so that’s why it took so long. We went over each word, each part and rewrote, I almost thought it was too much time and then you sit back and listen to it and it’s like, WOW. Every little word, every little focus and hour we spent was worth it. Another thing we learned on this album is to believe in ourselves more. We didn’t really delete stuff, there was stuff we were too scared before to put on a record. This entire album is made up of stuff we were terrified of. There are all the parts we would have deleted back in the day because we didn’t feel it was safe to have on an album. Being with a new label and new team we were like let’s just give it everything we’ve got, not delete crazy stuff and let’s not try to be safe but to sort of be on the edge of our seats riding it and to feel comfortable. It brought the best out in us.
Would you say this is Miss May I’s most honest album to date?
Oh yea, for sure. I think the fans will hear it and that’s the magical thing with the fans we have, they can call your bluff a mile away and you don’t even know your own bluff and that’s awesome.
Miss May I is back out on tour, you had a few solo gigs that started this past Saturday, May 20th.
Yes and today is the first official day of our tour.
How have the fans reacted to the new music during the first few shows?
It’s crazy and I think that’s what’s making us all so anxious. Obviously with new songs you want them to go over well and we’ve had so many records and we’ve seen good songs go over well. With this record it’s way different, something very special because when we play the old songs it’s like we are turning down, it’s not as crazy as the new songs. Which is always great, especially for a band that’s been together as long as we have and it’s exactly what you want. Now it’s finally all happening.
What are you looking most forward to out on tour this time around?
I’m looking forward to giving the crowd a real show. I feel like we’ve always been performers and gave good performances. This time around we want to really give the fans a show. This tour will be our biggest production so far. We’ve got the craziest show we’ve ever had and we’ve added songs to the show that are not on our records. We want to give the fans who come to our shows something unique that they say, wow that was worth the wait for them headlining after so many years. We’ve done some warm up shows in Canada already and I can not wait to bring this show to the USA.
I see this tour goes through June 30th. What’s planned after this?
We have Rock USA Festival in July and a few others. In August we are heading to Europe to do some festivals and some headline shows. It’s pretty much going to be non-stop touring for the new album.
Has there been a location that you guys have not been to on tour yet that you will be adding in this year?
Um, yes. It’s not announced yet, so it’s still all tentative, but I think this year we might be hitting South Africa for the first time. Which I am really excited about. The music scene is supposed to be really crazy there.
My last question for you today is, for the fans who listen to your music and are wanting to go into music themselves. What advice would you give them?
The biggest thing, which I’ve just learned that I wish I would have learned a long time ago is to not always sort of say yes. Don’t just go with what people tell you. With that, you lose your identity and nobody knows you better than you. Nobody knows how to do you better than you. I think if you stick with what you are trying to do and what you want to be and stay in control of that and not just say yes to everything that comes your way and no just play every show just because you can really make some waves and really make a difference. We just started doing that the last 6 months and I feel like a kid again and this is how it’s supposed to be. When you’re a kid in a band and stuffs all happening you don’t have managers, you don’t have labels, press and all these people telling you how things should go or what works and doesn’t work. You just want to play good songs. We let go of that after all these years and just wanted to play good songs again and not worry about all the noise around it really made a huge difference. Not only as a band and the growth of the band but personally. It’s such a big weight off our shoulders. We are doing what we want to do and not have someone tell us what to do. I think local bands and bands that are up and coming should definitely keep that in mind. Everyone is always going to try and sell them and everything’s always going to look nice, but you have to focus.
Great advice! Levi, thank you for your time and this great interview. Best wishes with the tour and the new album.
Miss May I is kicking off their USA tour tonight in Houston, Texas at the White Oak Music Hall. Check out their tour dates below and grab your tickets. Don’t forget to pre-order a copy of Shadows Inside releasing on June 2, 2017.
Friday, May 26th – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Saturday, May 27th – Dallas, TX @ The Door
Sunday, May 28th – Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
Wednesday, May 31st – Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
Thursday, June 1st – Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto
Friday, June 2nd – Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
Saturday, June 3rd – West Hollywood, CA @ The Whisky
Sunday, June 4th – Fresno, CA @ Strummers
Wednesday, June 7th – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Thursday, June 8th – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
Friday, June 9th – Merriam, KS @ Aftershock
Saturday, June 10th – Green Bay, WI @ The Sandlot
Sunday, June 11th – Minneapolis, MN @ Cabooze
Tuesday, June 13th – Berwyn, IL @ The Wire
Wednesday, June 14th – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Thursday, June 15th – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
Friday, June 16th – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
Saturday, June 17th – Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
Sunday, June 18th – Freehold, NJ @ GameChanger World
Tuesday, June 20th – New York, NY @ Webster Hall (Marlin Room)
Wednesday, June 21st – Allentown, PA @ GameChanger World – Allentown
Thursday, June 22nd – Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
Friday, June 23rd – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
Saturday, June 24th – Webster, NY @ Harmony House
Sunday, June 25th – Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room
Tuesday, June 27th – Detroit, MI @ The Magic Stick
Wednesday, June 28th – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom
Thursday, June 29th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
Friday, June 30th – Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon