Green Eggs and Slam


  • Sergeant D

Like most readers of MetalSucks, I feel like the world needs another screamy metalcore band like I need a goddamn hole in my head. Much like deathcore, though, only 99% of these bands are shit — there are a few good ones, if you’re willing to sift through all the crap. One of those gems is Dayton’s own Miss May I, a Gothenburg-core band who, I was shocked to find out, are actually not Christian. Aside from playing very competent metalcore, they’re also real nice guys who can take a joke and just want make the kids mosh it up at their shows. And if you can’t support that, you’re not only an asshole, but a poser.

Thanks to bassist Ryan Neff for taking the time to answer my questions, and catch them on tour now with The Devil Wears Prada!

Many MetalSucks readers are angry, lonely nerds who may not be familiar with your band since you don’t cater to overweight, agoraphobic shut-ins. How would you describe Miss May I to a metal fan who hasn’t heard the band?

Well I guess to most we are “that faggy Christian band that covered that rap song” or “those dumbass scene kids who play recycled metalcore riffs” haha, but I guess if I were to try and win someone over with an accurate description, we are 5 dudes who have always loved metalcore and appreciate its repetitive nature haha. We write music that we would want to listen to and draw most of our inspiration from bands like Darkest Hour and As I Lay Dying. We are NOT a christian band as popularly believed.

Fuck the haters, I’ll take Miss May I over Xasthur anyday

Out of all the Rise Records-style bands, Miss May I stands out as one of the most “metal” to me (this is where the haters will get butthurt). You also told me you were going switch things up a little on your upcoming record. Can you tell me a little about that?

We have always wanted to be a metal band. We are not fans of the keyboard, autotune trend and we do not have any of that. All our favorite bands that we draw inspiration from are dirty ass metal bands, and the formula is simple and we stick to it. On the new album we moved into a more mature direction, it was obvious to us that we had lots of room for improvement on our sound and if we wanted to tour with the metalcore bands we have always looked up to we need to clean up our sound and make it obvious as to what the fuck we are trying to play. Some of the songs on the last record are sort of “where the fuck did that come from” so we decided early in the writing process that we will make this album as metalcore as possible, because that’s what we want to do.

You objected when I included you in the “Autotune/breakdown 4 Christ” category in my recent post for MetalSucks. Clearly you have plenty of breakdowns, so what exactly was your objection? Is it that you don’t use Autotune, or that you have outgrown being a Christian band but can’t alienate your audience/embarrass yourself by vocally stepping away form it? (See also TDWP, MXPX, Blessed By A Broken Heart, The Maine, etc.)

Haha I’m glad you are asking this. We simply never EVER were a christian band. I’m a devout atheist and have been since I can remember. Some of the guys in our band are christians but we have never wanted that to be our focus. Our focus is and has always been how many kids can we cram into a room, how many kids can we get to circle pit, stage dive, beat the fuck out of each other, what ever it is that makes the concert experience as fun for them as it always was for us.

And no we’ve never used auto tune haha, and we won’t, not as long as I’m singing the cleans. I would rather be a dirty fuck up and have my voice be a little flat or sharp but be able to hear how much I am putting into it than to use the autotune stuff.

We do play breakdowns though, and we like it that way because kids dig them and so do we, so fuck it haha. So I guess that part of the description was spot on haha.

For those of us who grew up in a time when hardcore consisted mostly of basement shows with 25 people in the crowd, it’s really weird to see bands like TDWP, Attack Attack and Miss May I filling giant venues and selling a ton of records. To be clear, that’s definitely a good thing in my book, it’s just weird because I never thought I would see it happen — in your opinion, why has the genre blown up in the past 5 years or so?

Its weird to me too, and the whole band. We are not a venue filler – so when we headline its still dirty ass bar shows and constant headbanging and stage diving and that’s the way we like it, but I don’t feel that AA and TDWP are the same style as us. We are perceived to be the same thing by most but in our minds we are a different genre. We are happy to be touring with all of those bands and its a huge benefit to us I can see a huge difference in the styles when we play together. I think that with AA they have their own crowd of kids who love the mix of the dancy stuff with the breakdowns, and then the autotune singing puts them over the top. With TDWP, who I have always been a fan of, they have grown as a band. They nabbed up a huge fanbase being the “heaviest” christian band, and now that I have the pleasure of touring with them and calling them friends I see a more metal side that they are embracing, which is new for them but makes me pumped.

I think that’s why we are where we are though, we are willing to play any tour, and if there are kids we will do our best to win them over regardless of genre or musical tastes. We appreciate every fan (I know I know heard it a million times) but fuck who wouldn’t? We are lucky to be a band in an era where the fastest rising genre coincides with ours so its a great time to be metal I guess. In my eyes at least but what do I know right?

Like I mentioned to you before, I am old as shit (32). My ancient fossil friends and I always wonder about the influences are for bands like Miss May I. When I’ve interviewed bands like Of Mice & Men et al, I hear Underoath, Norma Jean, and As I Lay Dying come up a lot. Where does it start for you guys?

I used to HATE the style of music we are in haha, Silverstein used to be too heavy for me lol. My roots were Tool, Nine Inch Nails, stuff in that direction but when I joined my first local band metalcore was it for me. The simplicity and catchyness of the harmonized guitars, singing melodies made me stoked.

On our first album our inspirations were for sure everything the metalsucks fans hate haha, we were into bring me the horizon, and stuff of that nature but I think what helped us set ourselves apart on our first record “Apologies Are For The Weak” was our love for old school (to us at least haha) metalcore, like Darkest Hour – so we blended the two in a way that we thought made sense. And now on the new record we embraced the love for that metalcore style and tried to stray away from the BMTH side of things and incorporate more progressive parts into the metalcore sound.

It seems like metalcore/post-hardcore goes hand in hand with Christianity these days. How did that happen? Like I mentioned before, a lot of bands who started out as self-identified “Christian” bands stop thinking like (and more importantly acting like) Christians — what’s the right move for a band in that situation? Should they keep pretending to be Christian for the sake of the career, or be honest at the risk of their livelihood?

Dude I have no idea haha – I remember when I listened to AILD the first time … A massive Christian band and my favorite band, I was like wait a minute, this is CHRISTIAN!? I didn’t think anything that pissed sounding would or could be christian. Not being a christian I just never give a fuck about that. I like music for its sound and I can listen to any christian band the same as a non christian band. My favorite band ever is Tool haha, and then I also dig As I Lay Dying and TDWP.

I think the relationship came with the 03-06 rise of the metalcore/screamo power houses like AILD, and TDWP. I feel that its the same reason everyone thinks we are a christian band, because we are on Rise Records and they have had a lot of Christian acts.

Miss May I’s prerequisite top-40 rap cover

The genre of “metalcore” is a fairly recent phenomenon, but tons of bands refer to themselves as such. What does that term mean to you? Are you guys into hardcore at all? If so, what bands? Did you ever get into 18 Visions, Bleeding Through, Throwdown, and all those other first-generation 90s metalcore bands?

Oooooh man let me tell you about Bleeding Through haha. I was a BT “SUPER FAN” haha. They were one of the first “metalcore” bands my buddy showed me and I was so pumped as soon as I heard them. We had the pleasure of doing support for them last summer and it was completely surreal haha.

We all have a lot of respect for the history of metalcore, my introduction came in ’05 and I was immediately drawn to bands like Trvium, Darkest Hour, and Winter Solstice. Some of us are definitely into hardcore. That’s why we have so many differing styles on the last album and the new one, because we have a lot of influences, we just all draw primarily from the metalcore ones.

When I was in high school, the internet barely existed, let alone cell phones. How would you promote your band if Myspace, Twitter, Youtube, etc weren’t around? Would you kill yourself if you woke up tomorrow and groupies could no longer send you n00dz?

Haha as lame as it sounds to most dudes hoping we are “living the metal experience” we have always had girlfriends we are dedicated to so no nOOdz lol.

But as to the social networking stuff, I really have NO clue what we would do. My first local band began at the time when mypace was all the rage back in 05′ and now the way Miss May I promotes new tours, albums, or whatever it may be is 85% online. The small amount of times we have magazine promotion or interviews is always very special to me because its so much more old school but with the new generation on show goers and fans the internet is the way to go.

I also would like to say that I hate myspace lol. I think it ruined music as much as it helped. Granted that we are a band who benefited greatly from the myspace era, we also worked extremely hard honing our skills on stage, performing well and perfecting our craft to be able to write our music and play shows that capture audiences. There are tons and tons of bands now that are “touring” and are drawing no one, totally shot, yet with online hype kids would suck a dick over them. That leaves bands that actually work their asses off struggling if they don’t have the online hype.

I guess that’s just this eras changing of the guard. Everyone will adapt and things will change again I’m sure, and hopefully we are on top of it when the next thing happens.

The other night I saw Miss May I with The Devil Wears Prada. Before you played, Jerod was using the urinal next to me. He left without washing his hands. Is that how he rolls?

Hahahaha yeah probably, I too am a pretty frequent “pee and leave” kinda guy haha. My dong my germs I guess. Poop is a whole different ballgame lol.

One of the things that bums me out is that metal fans are really close-minded about accepting bands like Winds of Plague or Suicide Silence, who put out solid metal albums but apparently don’t look “metal” enough to get a pass from the metal elite. What are our thoughts on that situation?

We get that bullshit every day. Its not 2003 anymore, different things are popular ya know? I’m sure some people thought parachute pants were fucking stupid as hell in the 90’s but lots of dumbasses loved them. And hating on a band because they dress different than they did in “your era” just makes you sound like that bitchy old man that complains about “the good ol days”.

I don’t consider myself to be the most “metal” or “hard” dude around but whatever. I wear tight pants sometimes, most of the time actually and that’s cool with me. All the fans coming to see our style of music and bands tells me that that shit is not the main issue so I try to shrug that stuff off. If someone wants me to rock some jnco jeans and boots or they won’t listen to my band then fuck it, they can sit at home and secretly watch youtube videos of us and then get on lambgoat and hate on us lol.

-Sergeant D

Miss May I on MySpace and Twitter

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