Metalcore band Miss May I may have struck a goldmine with the name of their last album, Rise Of The Lion. The quintet from Troy, OH have been fighting and clawing their way to the top of the game, steadily releasing one album after another, each doing better than its predecessor. They’ve also toured relentlessly, sharing the stage with acts such as Whitechapel, Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, Pierce The Veil, and more, not to mention appearances at Rock On The Range and the Rockstar Mayhem Festival.
Horror fans might know their music from Saw VI, which saw their song “Forgive And Forget” appear on the soundtrack.
The band is currently on tour with August Burns Red and Northlane and we caught up with drummer Jerod Boyd to discuss the future plans for MMI, including details on their upcoming fifth album, as well as his love of gaming.
Bloody-Disgusting: How are you doing?
I’m good man! How are you?
BD: I’m doing really well! I hear tonight is gonna be a blast. A lot of people have been telling me that the shows and the setlist for each band has been spot on.
Yeah, we’re having a blast! The shows have been really awesome, better than expected. We’ve been doing a lot of these radio festivals and nu-metal sorta tours lately, which I guess would be the best way to describe it. You know, like Five Finger Death Punch and we did Mayhem Festival.
Now that we’re doing this tour, we’re back to the fanbase that we had in the very beginning. Not younger fans, I guess, but now that we’ve done all those other tours we have these older fans that come out rather than the typical, and I hate to say it this way, the “scene crowd”, you know what I mean? We wanted to touch based with them and tell them, “We’re still here. We’re not going anywhere.” We were out there picking up new fans and doing things like that rather than sticking in the same place and staying there forever. We needed to break out and become part of the actual metal community.
BD: You said that it was like coming back to the fans at the beginning. What were their reactions after that period?
It was mainly just last year because we did a lot of overseas stuff as well, doing those other festivals like Download Festival, Graspop, Rock Am Ring, all over. So, it was a bunch of out of the country stuff and that obviously required us to not be touring in the States. Now that we’re back here again, I can’t really remember our fist tour State tour, besides Mayhem, which is silly.
It seems like the fans are totally okay with it because it’s been a year and they still remembered us and enjoyed the new stuff. The set brings new songs, and old songs, and we’ve got songs from every album. Yesterday, we were finally just like, “Cool, this is the set we need to keep doing.” We’d been changing the set every day, testing things to see which would work best and the original idea seems to be the good one [laughs].
BD: You spoke about a lot of festivals you were on, both foreign and domestic. Do you see that happening again this year in the summer?
It really just depends on what we get offered for this summer. I can say that we have things planned but I can’t exactly say anything right now. But we are definitely staying busy. I can say that it will be something within the States, although that’s not saying that we can’t go to Europe or something like that. We just have to see what’s offered.
BD: Do you see a difference in the audiences in Europe versus the ones in the States?
Well, a regular show and a festival show have almost a completely different feel. I mean, when you’re at a festival it seems like almost everyone is there just to have a blast. Sometimes when you play a venue show, let’s say you’re headlining, maybe half the crowd might know who you are and half the crowd might now. That’s when you think, “Aw, darnit!” But when you go play a festival, everyone just seems to want to see music and experience it and have a blast. Most of the time, they’re drunk anyways [laughs], which is fun! Why not go to an outdoor festival with your buddies, get drunk, and then slam around and crowdsurf!
BD: You stated that there are plans that you can’t go into detail about yet. What future plans can you state openly?
Well, we’re going to be going in to record our fifth album and I can’t say who with or anything like that. However, we’re really excited, we have probably over 20 songs written for this album. We may not put all 20 on there but we always like to create more music all the time. Let’s say we write a song that we all think is really good and then next month write a song that we all think is even better. Then we go back to the other one and think, “Man, it’s not as good as this one here.” This way we have options and can say we wrote a ton and we get to pick out the best of the best stuff.
Those are our plans coming up. We’re still writing every single day and throwing out ideas. But how we are is that we like to work together as a team, so a lot of our writing gets done when we’re not on tour. A hint of that is after Mayhem we took a three month break. We did play Knotfest in California and Japan and then we did a little run and that’s all we’ve done besides write write write write write. So people might have thought, “What happened to Miss May I?” But it’s us trying to prepare for the next album, the next chapter of Miss May I.
BD: What do you think that next chapter is going to sound like? What should fans expect?
We’re definitely going back a little more to the heavier sound like from our first album. But on top of that we’re going to try and incorporate larger choruses, like “Dawn” off of our new album and also “Refuse To Believe”. And maybe “Hey Mister”, off of At Heart. We’re really just trying to get the real “raw” and “brutal” feel back into it, maybe some breakdowns that people will be able to pit and dance to. We’ll definitely have some nice some circle pit style riffs. We want people to be having fun the whole time.
BD: So it’s writing for the whole audience? The entire Miss May I crowd?
Exactly! And always how Miss May I have written is that we like to pretend that we’re playing live on the CD. Sometimes we don’t like to overproduce things. Sometimes we like to just go in there and say, “This would be sweet live! Whatever’s coming next is going to be super fun!”
BD: I’ve heard a rumor that you are a fan of horror video games! Is there any merit to this?
Of course! I’m a huge fan of horror games! I’m a fan of games in general but I do really enjoy some horror games.
BD: Tell me some of the ones that stand out to you.
If we wanna really go back, the first one that I played was Resident Evil for Playstation 1. It was amazing and it got me hooked. I was super scared of it, actually. My dad bought it and I was so scared because of the opening cinematic. I was maybe 7 or 8 when he was playing it. I wanted to see more, even though I was scared. Always been a fan of those games.
Now, with the new generation, I have a Playstation 4, I’ve been playing this game called Outlast. I thought I’ll try it out and it’s one of the most terrifying games I’ve ever played. That game is really fun just because they took a whole new spin on it. Your guy doesn’t have any weapons. All you have is a camera, which has a light, but that light will run your battery and you’ll be stuck in pitch black. So you’re in this insane asylum with all these monsters and you have to find things and run and hide under beds and in closets and lockers and stuff like that until these guys leave, so that you don’t alert them. All this while trying to find out how to get out of this insane asylum, because all these doors are somehow locked up.
I remember playing it in pitch black because I wanted the full experience. I remember, right at the beginning, there’s a guy in a wheelchair and he’s all messed up. So I slid against the wall thinking, “Okay, I’ve played enough horror games. This guy’s gonna hop out.” I walked by and I was thinking that it’s coming, it’s coming, any second now, and there was nothing. I walked into the next room and there’s a TV with static and a bunch of crazy guys sitting watching it. I saw a button that I had to push, or something like that, and I thought, “Duh! I’m going to push this and they’re going to freak out. Classic scenario!”
So I push the button and hide in the back. I start to come out and they’re all still watching the TV. So I keep hugging the back wall and go out the door, thinking to myself, “Okay! I guess I’m fine!” Totally forgot about the guy in the wheelchair. Tried to run past him and he suddenly jumped on me, screaming “Help me!”. That was the only time while playing a horror game that I actually screamed. I was just so scared! [laughs]
Then there’s The Evil Within, which is a great game. I haven’t beaten it yet, but I’ve been really enjoying playing it here and there.
Then, I don’t know if you can count it or not but Diablo III has been one of my favorite games. I always played Diablo when I was younger and then when III was coming out I was counting the days until its release. I love it. I don’t know if you can count it as a full horror game. I know that it takes place, at times, in a sort of hell environment but it’s a little gruesome persay but it’s not like The Evil Within or Outlast, where anything could pop out at any second and I’ll scream.
BD: I remember when Diablo II came out and my friends came over with their computers and we had a LAN party. By the end, there were pizza boxes stacked to the ceiling!
[laughs] We did the same thing! My neighbor got me into it. He brought his computer over with his buddy and we’d all play around. I played a Paladin and it was awesome. Until everyone started hacking.
BD: Jerod, thanks so much for talking!
It was a pleasure! You be safe and have a good one!
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