Think big, aim high – leave little time for the paint to dry. In their decade-long existence, US metal act Miss May I has spared little time for chill. Since 2007, the Ohio originators have supported nearly every band under that fiery star in the sky, putting out six records in that time. After grinding away on small stages, shitty riders and minimal production, the time has come to step into the next weight division. With their first Australian headline tour imminent, Levi Benton, the band’s longhaired, fast talking vocalist explains why it’s time the band starts punching above its weight.
Benton’s excitement about their transition from support to headliner is fair dinkum – aspirations, plans and ideas roll off his tongue in clusters. The dude genuinely loves his job, and this is a promotion that’s got his blood flowing. “We’ve supported bands, played on tiny stages and had one case of water as a rider for so many years; we’re going to have some fun now,” he says. “It’s a little nerve-racking, but we’re really excited for Australia, because it’s one of our best fan bases. This new record has been received so well and I can’t wait.”
The album in question, Shadows Inside, dropped June this year. Its lyrical content falls under the broad theme of change. “We’ve always had this boundary as a band and within ourselves. We just kind of didn’t have the confidence. This time around we didn’t have that. Anything that was big and over the top, which we would have scrapped back in the day, we went for this time. We felt like it was exactly what this record needed to make the difference, and make us a bigger act when we tour.”
It’s not only the music that’s been proliferated by the band’s new level of ambition. The ever-increasing fan base, one that’s outgrown pubs and clubs, has plunged the band into stages befitting a headline act.
“We’re not playing 100 cap rooms where there’s a guitar cab on a bar next to some t-shirts and people are jumping off stuff. We’re playing big theatres where there is a lot more to it. So we’re trying to grow along with that too,” Benton. “It’s weird, the older I get the more conscious I get. I see the bands with backdrops and stage props, like being on tour with Motionless In White – they’ve got dancers and monsters and all this stuff going on stage. It’s cool, it’s a show and it’s exciting. As a headliner, the sky’s the limit. You can just get creative and do some stupid stuff.”
Benton is careful not to reveal what kind of ‘stupid stuff’ will be on board for the November tour, but assures us it will leave fans with something to remember. “We’ve never really been a band that gave people a show and gave them something to go home and talk about and be like, ‘Wow, I want to see them next time.’ That’s something we’ve really got down as a band, and we’re having heaps of fun doing it. We’ve done little headliners here and there, but we’re really putting all our effort into taking it to the next level for this one.”
Joining Miss May I on their visit down under will be New York up-and-comers Sylar. The self-described ‘nu metal revivalists’ are a mish-mash of metal, hip hop and unapologetic use of DJ scratching. At the very least, it will provide for a mosh-worthy night of sub-genre metal indulgence.
Shadows Inside is out now via SharpTone Records. Miss May I are touring Australia from Monday November 20.