MEB Staffer Austin Gordon got to briefly catch up with lead vocalist Levi Benton from metalcore outfit Miss May I on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour. They talk about their recent experiences on the tour, their new record At Heart, the music industry, and more.
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MEB: So first tell me, how has your Warped Tour experience been so far?
Levi: It’s been awesome. It’s our first year on main stage, and we’re just excited to be here. It’s crazy playing in front of this many kids every day. It’s a dream come true.
I can definitely agree with that; it’s been my dream as well. Have the crowds been ridiculous?
Yeah. Last year we definitely had crazy crowds, especially for the stage we were on. This year, they gave us more power to make the kids go go crazy, so it’s been awesome.
How did things follow-up with At Heart now that you guys have released it and are playing it to thousands?
Actually, the best reactions we’ve ever had for our band have been with At Heart. We’re real excited. Everyone’s really liking it, and nine times out of ten it’s been positive feedback. We’ve never had any release like that, so it’s been nice.
Any bands you guys want to see play on the tour that you haven’t yet?
I wanna see Every Time I Die, I haven’t seen them yet. I haven’t seen a whole Impending Doom set, and today’s their last day so I’m going to watch them. Who else? Oh, and I haven’t seen a whole Taking Back Sunday set either. I need to watch them.
I need to see Taking Back Sunday. (laughs)
Any ridiculous shenanigans that you guys have been a part of so far on the tour?
We’re the video game band. Behind our bus we have a road case with a TV in it and an N64. So at night, we have a bunch of people over outside, and everyone plays N64. It’s pretty crazy.
What direction were you guys trying to go in with At Heart?
We were trying to do the whole “old school” metalcore thing. We’ve always been trying to do that, but this was our big swing for the fence to really try to be like an old-school metal band, and I really think kids are liking it.
Let’s talk about the metal scene real quick. Now you guys have mentioned that you aren’t necessarily trying to reinvent the wheel, just trying to write great music and keep the metal going. Expanding on that thought, how have things worked out to that approach? People are catching on to that idea.
It’s definitely a lot more slow and steady than a lot of other bands. We knew it was going to be like that getting into it because although a lot of bands are growing faster than us and what not, they’re doing their new things and niches – which definitely attracts a lot of people – which is awesome. For us, we never really wanted to do that, so we knew it was going to be slow for us to just play like old-school metal stuff and try to be the best that we can at it. It’s been slow, but it’s been awesome. It’s a lot more solid than any other fan-base we’ve seen.
Moving on to the music industry, where do you think it is headed in the next few years? More backwards or forwards in layman’s terms?
I think it’s going forward. There’s a lot of cool new things coming out, especially with piracy and stuff. I get my internet shut off like once a month. Like somehow Time Warner has this new department that shuts you off when you download stuff. I’m always having to call them and turn my stuff back on and apologize. I’m happy there’s people doing that. Then there’s that whole new Spotify world of things, which is awesome; because even for me, I’m finding a bunch of new bands that I never would have found because of that. There’s always the “recommended” new albums, it tells you everything that’s going on. It’s really cool, because you pay a monthly fee, and if you listen to that artist, then that artist will get their money and everything. So you’re still helping out the music industry; it’s a lot slower money-wise, but it’s cool because at least the money’s going somewhere.
Yeah, and it’s not just a total fruitless endeavor. You know? There’s still a circle of flow going around. Bands are still getting paid, things like that.
Give a shout-out to any band on the tour!
Oh, a shout-out. (laughs) I’ll give a shout-out to The Used. They’re probably one of the main reasons I’m in a band. They were like my “poster on the wall” teenage band. It’s crazy to play with them, and we met them and they’re awesome guys; it’s just crazy to be friends with them and stuff now.
So tell me a little bit about Miss May I’s future plans. Any upcoming tours?
Yeah! We’re off for a little bit. Then we go to South America with Asking Alexandria and Chelsea Grin. It’s our first time in South America. Then we plan on doing a headliner, fall-ish. Then we fly over to Europe in December and headline in Europe. It should be awesome.
Should be awesome man. Any last words you want to give to your fans and supporters?
Simple. Stay metal.