Levi Benton Says Miss May I Are Like a Family Now More Than Ever
Miss May I vocalist Levi Benton was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's radio show, on-hand to talk about the group's new album, Curse of Existence and the years surrounding its conception and eventual release on Sept. 2.
The release will be the Ohio-based metalcore band's first new record since 2017's Shadows Inside and will serve as their seventh overall full length since debuting with Apologies Are for the Weak in 2009.
Every band was impacted in several ways by the pandemic and Miss May I are no exception, utilizing the extended time off to reflect on the state of the world around them and channel it into their music, which had more time to marinate and yielded new creative elements.
Bands are often viewed as families of their own nature and with Miss May I, this has taken a different shape as time goes on and the band's members continue to grow and evolve as musicians and personally since forming the group when they were in high school. In fact, Benton states that because of new developments in their own lives, they're more like a family now than ever before.
Read the full interview below.
Lockdown disrupted touring bands but also afforded them an inordinate amount of time. What's more reflected by this new record — the trauma of pandemic or heightened creativity by way of extended time?
It's a good mix of both.
I think it started from the trauma of the pandemic. That's definitely where the aggression and the writing started. But we didn't know how long it was going to be with the extended time, so it opened up a lot of creativity and gave us some time to sit and sort of soak up how we were feeling about everything and really let it resonate with us.
Aggressive music paired with a spirit of optimism is an interesting disparity. Why is angry music such a powerful driver for hope?
The resolution of having music, if it can have that [effect] is awesome because everyone feels that aggression with heavy music, but having the resolution at the end and knowing that there can be a light and an inspiration with heavy music is the best part. It's like a shot of espresso to get you through some tough times.
Curse of Existence is about lessons that come with life experience both good and bad, which is a very mindful perspective. What aspects of your creative voice are a conscious meditative philosophy?
It's about seeing the other end of the journey. I always recall and relate to past times I've been in, especially being in this band for so long and having so many albums, each album is like a bookmark of where I was in that time period. To sit back and look back — that's very meditative to me and it really reminds me of how far we've came as a band and just personally.
Miss May I, "Bleed Together" Music Video
Miss May I formed when you were in high school. What aspects of who you were then are ingrained in this band no matter how much life experience broadens your outlook?
The best part of the band and the best aspect that stuck with us this whole time is just the family aspect of everything. We've been best friends — we skateboarded together, we got our licenses together, graduated together... it's just been a big family this entire journey. We've seen couples come. We've seen weddings. We've seen babies. That's the best aspect of our band. We're more of a family than we've ever been.
You recently wrapped up a couple of months of touring with All That Remains. What's significant about interacting on a daily basis with people who motivate you?
They're our heroes. To just be rubbing shoulders with bands like that — bands that we looked up to before we even were a band or even had the thought of Miss May I... I remember playing the second Guitar Hero with the guys in the band after school, not just wanting to be in a band and start a band... [All That Remains] showed us some pointers and there's always more to learn. It was so inspirational.