just listening to the guitars and hearing what they were saying

Miss May I

Hey, how are you!

Good, how are you?

I’m good! We’re just starting our headline tour at home.

Alright! So, things in your world are pretty good at the moment?

Oh yeah, they’ve been awesome!

How is the tour going so far, you’ve just started, right?

Yup. Yeah, it’s been great. It’s the biggest production we’ve ever brought on tour. We really got to see it come alive last night, it was awesome.

So, how is the reaction from the crowd to the new stuff?

Oh, it’s crazy. It’s just awesome to see them sing along. Last night we played two new songs, and people went pretty crazy. That’s always a good things with new songs. People can either sit there and listen to it, not doing anything, or they like it enough and they go crazy.

*laughs* yeah. This year you celebrate your ten year anniversary! Can you believe it’s already been a decade?

I know. I totally forgot until the press was telling us that it’s been ten years. I was like, oh my god, we’re getting old! Just putting two and two together. Yeah it’s crazy. I feel like we’re just getting started too, so that’s the craziest feeling.

Time flies when you’re having fun, you could say!

Yeah, exactly.

You guys started out as teenagers, while you were still in highschool. I guess that means right now you are living the dreams you had back then?

Oh yeah. It’s pretty crazy to have that. It’s the only thing we really know. We went straight from school, straight to this. It definitely is wild. I think we forget about it until we really sit back and think about it, because we’re so used to it, but yeah. We got to do what we always dreamed of doing.

In what ways would you say that the rockstar reality is different from the dream?

I don’t know. It’s not all glamour. Some of the traveling definitely kicks your butt. It’s a lot of hard work that you don’t really think about when you’re a local just playing in the weekends. When you play ten months a year you know like, yeah, this kicks my ass a little bit.

Yeah, it’s far from a regular life I think. Being on the road a lot might add a lot of pressure.

Oh yeah.

Your career so far has been a real rollercoaster, and a fast one. Five albums in ten years! Where do you find the creative energy for such a high production rate?

Basically we just love putting new content out. It’s always content, content, content. We always want the fans to have more and more content, because we want to be in their face. You know, nowadays everyone has music at their fingertips. It’s so easy to get music and discover new bands. For us, we just want to make sure they don’t forget us. We go and go.

I agree that music has been placed a lot more at the center of our society these days. It even seems more important perhaps.

Oh yeah. You can’t just put out a record and settle in for a few years. You have to be in people’s faces.

If I listen to your music, there seems to be a lot of attention to details as well. It doesn’t feel rushed at all. Does that mean you don’t have much going on in your life outside of the music?

Yeah. It’s like really all we know. We tour so much, we don’t really have side jobs or anything, so I think it’s like what you said. Us doing this all the time, we don’t really have a life outside of this, we live and breath Miss May I. The nine months we had off, I think that’s what made us go so crazy. We knew we were in the studio and we were writing, but we’re just so used to doing shows and just doing this forever. It definitely has gotten to a point that this is all we do.

So you could say that what we see as fans and as press, that it’s one big reality show for you?

That’s true! Yeah. Every time a record comes it’s like okay, here we go!

Very cool. So, the new album is about to drop: “Shadows Inside”. Where does the title come from, and what is the album about?

The title of the record was about changes. It’s about everything that people go through, throughout their lives. With that being said, we know everyone has a past, whether it’s good or bad. The reason I started writing about that this time around was, we had so many changes happen to us within this band, and we didn’t want it to be the topic in the beginning, it sort of turned into that. We were just like okay, this is the common thing, we’re just really talking about changes and stuff happening so differently in our lives. When we came to “Shadows Inside” we knew we sort of wanted a cool way to say it. What shadows inside means, is there’s shadows behind everyone, everyone has that inside of them. Everyone has like, a past, whether they share it or not. It felt like a good time to write that, because we just got out of a huge legal thing with our manager, we got a new label, and I moved halfway across the country. There are just so many changes in our lives, that just became what the record is really about.

Right. But if it about your own changes, if I hear shadows, I think darkness. Does that also mean you have a lot of darkness in your life?

Yeah, yeah. And that’s why, on the chorus where it talks about catching fire, it just talks about how the future can be so much better than your past. You just have to like, give it a chance.

How do you usually deal with darkness yourself? Are you optimistic people, for instance?

Oh yeah. I think that Miss May I as a whole is very optimistic. I don’t think we would have gotten where we are, this far, through all these hard times. It’s really been a pleasure working with a bunch of guys that think about the cup half full all the time, being optimistic.

That’s absolutely the best way to look at things. How do you usually land on themes and lyrics, where do you draw your inspiration from?

It’s really weird, it seems a little backwards. We first listen to an entire record with just instruments. What we did on this record was really weird, we listened to it for weeks with no vocals and wrote like paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptions of what the songs were about, without even having any lyrics to them. So that was really weird, because everyone was on the same page, and we all felt a vibe, and then we started writing the lyrics. I think it came out really honest that way. We got a lot of inspiration from just listening to the guitars and hearing what they were saying through the music.

It makes that the lyrics are really close to what the music makes you feel. That’s a beautiful thing!

Yeah, yeah.

On this album cover we once again see your iconic lion image. Where did this image originally come from, and what’s your draw to lions? You’re not secretly Lannisters, right? *laughs*

No, the lion, it came from us. There’s no meaning really behind our name, we sort of got stuck with it. And not having a meaning behind our name, we wanted to go out and give something back to our fans, really let them be attached to something, not just a name that meant nothing. So we sat down and made the lion. I don’t know. We were just sitting and thinking of different symbols, and with our first record sort of having the lion aspect to it, that’s where it originally came from. What the lion meant to us was how they are like these most fierce, king of the jungle sorta superior animals, we thought that’s how we wanted to feel through music, through everything we’re doing. We wanted our fans to grab hold of that sort of feeling, inspired by an animal like that, something they can really relate to and be a part of.

To be the king of the wild, that’s a great thing.

Exactly.

What does the artwork symbolize this time, and who made it?

Marco Martinez made it, he’s an amazing illustrator. The artwork for this one, we wanted to make the lion something physical for the first time. It’s always been a 2d shape, and now we finally made it like something you can touch. And it being a mask, not only is it cool for the artwork, we also made it a pre-order, so you can actually pre-order and get a mask that you can actually have, and be a part of it. I think from here on out it’s going to live as the mask in the symbol, because now it’s a part of real life. We got to bring it to life with this record, which was fun.

That’s very cool. Do you also plan on making it part of your stage show in some way?

We already have surprises, I can’t tell you!

*laughs* So we have to come and see!

Yeah, yeah.

Your music seems to have picked up a lot of influences over the last decade. How do you look at the band’s musical progression over the years?

I think, obviously we got better as musicians, but I think just being in the studio so many times, we’ve learned so much from different producers. We’ve learned from every time we had a different producer, they always had different knowledge. I think soaking that in over time, really sort of evolved the band and got us where we are now.

So you really learned by doing and listening to what others have to say about your music as well.

Yes, whether it’s good or bad. It’s not always the best advice, but you sort of learn from everything.

That’s very true. That’s pretty much how life works as well *laughs*.

*laughs* Yeah.

If I listen to a song like “Never Let Me Stay” and compare it to your earlier work like “Apologies Are For The Weak”, it almost seems like two completely different bands!

Yeah, it’s definitely crazy. That just comes with time, and us sort of experimenting more with musicianship and what we can do as a band.

Right. Just experimenting with your growing toolkit.

Exactly, yeah.

What, other than the members, do you feel is still the same after all these years where it comes to Miss May I?

I think the positive ideas in the band are still the same. I think it still has that same vibe that we’ve always had since the beginning. I’ve always thought that was very special. It’s not like we ever went through mass changes, to where we lost our identity in what we were trying to do. It’s always just been the same guys, trying to just be a metal band and be good at what we do.

I Agree, absolutely. An awesome video by the way for your song “Lost In The Grey”!

Thank you!

Is it a bit of a coming of age story that’s being told there?

Yeah, it’s about, we wanted a video of someone that was content, just living their normal life, and sort of go further. With the video treatment, the kid sort of lost all hope at the beginning, and found hope through the mask, as I was saying earlier. It’s an actual physical object now, so him finding the mask and the Miss May I symbol sort of represents hope. It helps him get out of there and sort of go to the next level. I think it worked out pretty awesome in the video.

Yeah, I loved how it became part of his chest as well in the visual imagery there.

Oh yeah.

Is there a special meaning to that as well, instead of him just putting it on his face?

No, *laughs* not really.

It just does that *laughs* After four albums, you left Rise Records for SharpTone Records. What triggered that change?

Nothing really big happened there, other than we just wanted to try something new. We’ve been with the same label since we began in high school and with that it’s always been great, but we thought what could be different, you know, the grass is always greener on the other side. It was a different kind of team, and it’s a little more world-wide. They are really strong in Europe, where we always really wanted to thrive. We met with SharpTone, they signed us up, and it’s been great. I’ve actually had the best time with them. It’s really just refreshing after being there for so long, to just have a new team, and hear other people's ideas and how things work. It sort of gives you like a second wind. It’s been great.

So just stretching your wings a bit and getting a bit of fresh air then!

Yeah, exactly.

I get that. It reminds me of a song by Kreator by the way, off their latest album. “Lion WIth Eagle Wings” *laughs*

Oh? Okay! Hell yeah.

So, A milestone like a decade of music deserves a look back. What are your favorite tour memories so far?

I think my favorite tour memory would be when we toured Japan. We did the whole country, from the south to the north and got to see some amazing places that we were really lucky to see. And the shows were just amazing. It was crazy that we have fans in all those little cities. I think that was probably the most special.

It’s on many bucket lists, to play in Japan. I hear that a lot *laughs*

Oh yeah. It was awesome.

Is there a song in your catalog that you will never tire of playing live?

“Hey Mister”, that never gets old.

It never gets old, you can play that until you’re old and grey?

Hell yeah.

Alright! And if you look at the road so far, would you have changed anything if you had the chance?

No. I don’t think so.

That’s the best answer. No regrets! And speaking of bucket lists, are there any places you still would love to play?

Yeah, we would love to play in Africa! Like, South-Africa.

Africa? That should be interesting!

Yeah!

Final lookback question: If time travel was real, and you could visit your old self after class, at your old high school. What would you tell that kid?

I’d tell him to be a lot more tougher, to have a thicker skin and not say yes to everything *laughs*.

*laughs* Yeah, at that age, that’s probably great advice. What’s your year going to look like?

Oh man, it’s just tour, tour, tour. We have a lot of really cool headlining surprises coming up. We will be back in Europe in August for festivals and some other shows. Yeah, it just began. It’s not going to stop, it’s pretty crazy.

I’m really looking forward to seeing you out on tour somewhere, the new stuff really rocks.

Thank you very much, I appreciate it!

That leaves me one last question and that’s, do you have any last words for our readers?

Yes! Check out the new record, it comes out June 2nd, Shadows Inside, check out missmayimusic.com, stay metal!

Stay metal, and Metal On Loud! *laughs* Enjoy your tour man!

Any time, thank you!

Randy Gerritse