10 minutes of Mayhem with Levi Benton
Troy, Ohio’s Miss May I was founded before its members had even finished high school. EPs and demos led to a deal with Rise Records who released the band’s debut album, Apologies Are for The Weak, in 2009. This was followed up in 2010, with Monument, which hit #10 on the US Hard Rock charts. The band’s following grew quickly, and the fans are fiercely loyal.
Miss May I was started by vocalist Levi Benton, drummer Jerod Boyd, and guitarists BJ Stead and Justin Aufdemkampe. Bassist and clean vocalist, Ryan Neff has been in the mix since the beginning, but took a short hiatus before the release of the debut album.
Over the last few years, Miss May I has been a band in transition. The group’s debut and sophomore albums showcased a heavy standard of metalcore, but of late they have pushing themselves to expand upon their core sound. Given the youthfulness of the band, it’s not surprising to see such growth this early, as they are still discovering who they are as people and as songwriters.
The quintet’s third album, At Heart, showed the first significant signs of the band’s evolution and gave the band a #3 entry on the US Hard Rock charts. However, it is Miss May I’s latest effort, Rise of the Lion, which points toward a more intriguing future. The album landed at #2 on the US Hard Rock charts and finds Benton and Neff continuing to challenge themselves vocally. They have even taken vocals lessons to continue their growth. There is more groove in the song performances, and more guitar solos. The band is edging away from its metalcore label, yet remaining true to the nature of its signature sound.
In discussing this evolution Benton told Metalholic:
“The biggest thing was, we felt we could do more. We weren’t really in a rut, but we got new instruments. We didn’t want to hold back, and we didn’t want to release the same record twice. That was the main thing, to just be diverse and to change it up. It’s been great. I feel that if we didn’t do that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play Mayhem and do other festivals.”
This summer the band is enjoying its first run on Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, as one of the main draws on the Coldcock Whiskey Stage. Metalholic and AXS Entertainment sat down with Benton to discuss the band’s new album, its progression, working with iconic producer Terry Date (Pantera, Bring Me the Horizon), and what he sees as the biggest misconception about the band. Benton also shares his favorite tracks on the Rise of the Lion, which tracks fans respond to most in concert, and he shares the stories of his first and favorite tattoos. Watch the full interview below.
All photos © 2014 Suzette Mansfield
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