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I’ve been lucky enough to interview several bands, celebrities and cutting-edge innovators in the entertainment space for the past decade, but when the opportunity arose to interview Miss May I’s vocalist Levi Benton, I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely moved at first.
But then I did the interview and what started out as a typical run-of-the-mill conversation led into an intense discussion about shark cage diving, Myspace and Levi’s personal take on As I Lay Dying’s reformation.
“We’ve had a lot of our friends tell us how amazing South Africa is! They’ve mentioned that the shows are huge and the crowds are beautiful. There’s also been a lot of talking about sightseeing and doing cool things,” Levi begins. “All the tourist-y stuff I will definitely sign up for. I’m so keen to go shark cage diving.”
From adrenaline underwater to adrenaline on the stage, Miss May I, have been entertaining crowds since 2007. So what keeps them going? “There’s two things that keeps us going forward. The first one I behind-the-scenes, we still have so much fun as five best friends! And the second is our loyal fans,” Levi beams.
Ten years ago, Miss May I were just another band with no other reason but to jam. Things took off for the then 15-year-old members and suddenly everything revolved around the band. “It’s still crazy to think that this is my first band! Everything is because of Miss May I. From the house we live in, to my wife’s work and so on was all determined because of the band,” he explains.
“We were discovered on MySpace by a record label and I still remember we didn’t even have a press kit.”
MySpace? Miss May I are probably one of the last bands that got discovered on MySpace. It’s a good thing that the band evolved and caught up with the times. As Levi explains, “Shadow Inside – we were changing everything behind-the-scenes when we did that record. That’s what that record was about. Change. It’s always a good thing. Our songs have a very optimistic outlook and we wanted to keep that sense of positivity going. We want to empower people and give them a sense of motivation. Metal is a place of heaviness – death or gore and while that’s cool, we want to do something totally different.”
For Miss May I, that positivity often boxes them into the Christian metal genre, which they’re not really apart of. They get lumped into the As I Lay Dying camp which Levi didn’t shy away from talking about. “I can separate the art from the artist – especially for that band because that band has a special place in my heart. I don’t really want to touch too much base on this because it’s a very fragile subject but I can say that we’re excited that they’re back. We know, Tim [Lambesis] did his thing and did his time and paid for what he did. We know that all those guys coming back together is a huge step forward and that alone, is a big deal for everyone.”
And the hugest deal is that Krank’d Up Festival is just a few days away! “We all know about Sikth but we’ve never seen them play live before so I’m hoping that we don’t get pre-occupied with signing or something so we can actually watch them. We love them!”
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