• Charlotte Claber

Miss May I Talk 'Shadows Inside'

With a change from Rise to Sharptone and less than 2 years since their last release, Levi Benton and Ryan Neff of Miss May I sit down and discuss upcoming release ‘Shadows Inside’ and their jam-packed summer of touring!

Less than two years since ‘Deathless’, you’ve announced and will be releasing ‘Shadows Inside’, as a band you’re known for a quick schedule, why do you feel it’s necessary to do that?

Levi: I think now, having a quick schedule is pretty smart. Everyone’s attention spans are so short, and especially with sites like Spotify and SoundCloud making everything so at reach when it comes to records. People find new favourite bands everyday. So I feel bands always have to put stuff out to stay relevant. Ryan: Unless you release something like Sempiternal or something like that, that turns every head in the nation, you’re not really gonna keep selling tickets because people will just move on. People may not find just one band, they may find 5. It did feel like this took a lot longer than ‘Deathless’ though because we weren’t on the road, so even though on paper it looks like we turned this around quickly, we were really bored. We did the studio for a long time then didn’t bother going back on tour till forever. Every other record we spend like one or two months in the studio, this was about four months and a lot of off time.

How have fans reacted to ‘Lost In The Grey’?

It’s been crazy. We’ve had very few negative tweets, it’s been a great response and it’s better than we thought it would’ve been. We actually wanted a different single, the label said this was the best starting single though. I didn’t believe them until it came out but now I’m cool with it!

The video was a whole other level to what you’ve created in the past, what inspired this?

Early in our career we were known for having very innovating and exciting videos, especially with the first two album cycles. Then they seemed to slow down and the videos felt more bang for the buck. We were doing so much international touring that the money had to be spent other places just to be able to afford to do the crazy touring and other things we wanted. This time with a new label we really just wanted to set the bar high. The more exciting things we do, the more excited people are going to be about the record. We also did it in a real studio this time, they built a set for us. It snowed, it was freaking crazy! There was a lot of next level stuff!

Once you’ve finished this set of shows, you’re back to the US to practice and then onto the US headliner, will the set feature a load of the new material?

It’s definitely got a lot more new stuff. But we also haven’t headlined since 2012 in the US, so there’ll be a lot of equal balance. I’m sort of glad we hadn’t headlined because it’s given us time to save up. It means we can focus on some elements of production this time and not just show up with cabs. We have a load of bells and whistles for this hour now. The longest set we’ve played has been 45 minutes since 2012 because we’ve been doing supports and festivals so it’ll be cool to have that full hour to hour and a half if we want. We’re gonna need that time just to make everyone happy. It’ll be cool to fit some more obscure old songs in though and not worry about kicking some newer songs out.

Do you think the change from Rise to Sharptone has affected anything in terms of the writing/recording process?

The recording a bit, I don’t think its really affected the writing though. They were very hands off with the writing, allowed us to choose our own producers but with the recording we were on a very strict schedule. A lot of that had to do with us not wanting to be off the road either, but this time we pretty much told them we want unlimited time within budget, we want to stretch it out as long as possible and we also don’t want to move our schedule around. In previous years it’d be like you have a tour in January and another in March and if you don’t get the whole album done in those 30 days in February, you just aren’t going to get it done. It’s also really stressful writing like that! This time it was 9 months that we took off, 4 months were spent recording and then the rest we had off. It then gave us time to reflect off of stuff too!

I.H.E stands for I Hate Everything, what does that as a song stand for?

That whole record and the place we were at, stands for how we felt. We were pushed in a corner, no way out of a lot of things we were doing, it sounds so dumb to say it but that’s where our attitudes were at. We really weren’t happy about anything, even being in the band, we hated everything, we were burnt out. It sounds so stupid to say because it’s so over the top but we just really were, even hanging out with each other there wasn’t really a good vibe. That was 7 years of; 8 months of touring, 1 month of recording every year/year and a half. Not enjoying a few of our business partners, and that’s always tough when you work with someone for so long, you become close so you’ve got to find a way to break apart that you don’t hurt that friendship you built and that was all new for us. We were in the studio wanting to write songs about certain things and not being able to say what they were actually about was sort of stressful. It’s a small industry, so you’ve really got to be respectful of it all. A lot of songs had to be more vague than we wanted because we didn’t want to get specific about certain things. When I was recording I thought maybe IHE was a bit over the top and didn’t know what the guys would think but everyone responded really well and agreed. They all knew the feeling.

You celebrate the tenth anniversary of the band this year, are you planning anything special?

Tour a lot. I mean we could make a ten year anniversary shirt for that headline tour! The funny thing is 2019 is a decade of touring. The decade of being in a band we always forget about because there were 2 years of being a local band, being in High School and having our odd jobs. ‘09 was when it really happened. We’ll do something crazy. Maybe a t-shirt…