The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world








Mark: Hi, Ryan, thanks for talking to us today. It’s great to see you guys coming over to play Soundwave, early next year. I have heard you have been described as all sorts of different genres, and all different kinds of sounds, I just prefer to refer to you as Metal, what do you think?



Ryan: That’s what we’re saying too!! We are inspired by a lot of different bands from different genres and I think it’s like that for every band. I think the common theme that bonds us, is our love of Metal, and for us being called “Metal’ is plenty!



Mark: That’s right, and I think this whole genre thing is completely overblown these days. I listen to all these names that people call different bands, and I have no idea what they sound like. But, when I listen to them, I think “it’s a Metal band!”



Ryan: Yeah, the internet plays a big part; every thing has to be broken down in to a category! When I’m trying to buy something on i-tunes, and it’s like rock/pop, I’m like what the hell, this is a Metal band!!



Mark: I have been watching you guys for a while now, so it’s great to get the chance to talk to you, and I’ve seen that you go down well, particularly live. I’ve seen videos from the Vans tours that you’ve been playing; tell us a little bit about the live shows and why they work so well.



Ryan: When you are a local band we always thought we were the worst band around!! If you had seen us at a local show, we are always trying to be the noble guys who try to do everything the hard way, and pay for everything on our own, and we will never beg for money, never have a Kickstarter, that’s not how we wanted to do things. Early on, seeing us live, was what won people over for us and that’s always been our thing. Then when we stepped up to the touring world we weren’t a local band anymore, we were big leaguers!! After being out for a while you have to keep learning and keep getting better, we get embarrassed if we play bad!! We don’t want to perform badly for anyone who wants to see us; we have to perform to the best of our ability.



Mark: That’s great. One thing the Australian crowds are noted for is their over the top antics at shows, I was in the US in May and I went to see Hellyeah, at a festival, and not one single person was crowd surfing, three months earlier at Soundwave, the same band with the same size crowd, everyone was going over the top, so I think the reaction you guys will get over here will be absolutely fantastic!



Ryan: Yeah, when we were there with Parkway (Drive), I can definitely say the crowd reactions were unbelievable! In some places in America, you can call for all the crowd surfing you want, but if the crowd’s too timid to do it, they will not do it. Whereas in Australia, if we would even mention the word crowd surf, everyone was at it, it was amazing!






Mark: I think you are right, I think it’s just a different audience. Have you had chance to look at the line up for Soundwave, and is there anyone you are particularly looking forward to playing with?



Ryan: Oh, Yeah! Oh yeah! I have always been a huge A Perfect Circle and Tool fan, so A Perfect Circle is the big one for me. Anybody who loves metal has got to be excited about seeing Metallica and Slayer, and then you’ve got Stone Sour: now there is not a vocalist I look up to more, from his work in Slipknot to his work in Stone Sour, he is an unbelievable singer, and neither band is one I’ve seen live and so I cant wait for that! Just being in Australia and being on the bill with such fantastic bands, playing in a festival and experiencing all that is great!



Mark: Your new album, “At Heart” has got a massive sound to it. Tell us a little bit about the recording of that, I believe Machine was producing, is that right?



Ryan: Basically, after “Monument”, we felt like we had put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we wrote that, we were nervous about it, and about doing a bad job for our fans, and we weren’t focusing on being a metal band. So, when we went in with Machine, we were like we want to write what we want to write, and we want you to help us make it the best it can be. That’s what we wanted out of our production, we didn’t want things written for us, and we didn’t want to be too stressed out about doing this and doing that. We wanted someone who we looked up to, to give us a professional critique, and take what we had and make it even better!



Mark: It’s interesting as some of the lyrics on there are quite personal and heartfelt, was that your intention to open up to the fans, or was that just the way it came out?



Ryan: Yeah, Levi, told us what he wanted the title to be well before we entered the studio. Levi and I always bounce lyrics off of each other and he’ll write most of the frameworks for the songs, and then my main thing is with the chorus, I try to encompass the meaning of the song in that short chorus. What we would do was, Levi, would tell me what the song was about, for example having a father who was never there, and I would take the lyric and I would try and encompass everything he was feeling in a short burst and it was different to the record before because every time I would go to write for it there was so much meaning behind the songs, we were on the same page. It was all stuff we had gone through between “Monument” and “At Heart”, the relationships on tour and friends in other bands who screwed you over and that you can’t stand anymore! Bands that have all the success and you just don’t feel they are improving ever because of the way they speak to people, it’s such miniscule things like that, that are a big thing in our world, that we felt we could connect to a lot of our fans with, so that’s what we wrote about, exactly how we were feeling. We weren’t trying to make an abstract record with all these weird meanings behind everything, it was as straight forward as we could get!






Mark: It really does stand out and our favourites are probably, we love “Hey, Mister’, “Ballad of a Broken Man”, “Opening Wounds”, are ones that immediately spring to mind. What are your favourites on there?



Ryan: If I had to pick one, riff wise, I like playing “Second To No One”. It never stops and it’s super fast, there’s lots of intricate picking and lots of fret work, but for me “Day by Day” is definitely my favourite song because it has a lot of influence from the band, we weren’t brave enough to show our influences on the other record. We are huge Rob Zombie fans, and that doesn’t come across in a lot of our early stuff, you wouldn’t necessarily think that when you listen to “Day by Day”, but just the tempo in that song and the riffs, it’s a song we went out on a limb on, and we made it our own. It’s a Miss May I song that comes out of bands that we didn’t necessarily think we could use in our style of music, but I think we pull it off and it’s definitely my favourite song.



Mark: Where does the name Miss May I come from?



Ryan: I wish we had a good story! The embarrassing real story is, and this happened before I joined, the band were playing locally, and were a cover band and they were into bands like Taking Back Sunday and Underoath: bands we loved when we were in high school, and they are still bands we listen to and love now. The name Miss May I really came from trying to sound like that style of band!



Mark: I did sort of read that Levi’s inspiration for his vocals came from Under Oath, so I knew that there was that.



Ryan: That’s right: then the band sort of morphed in to the Metal band that we are now, and we just have that name, so, no really good story to tell!






Mark: I was convinced there was going to be an amazing story behind it!! Maybe when you write the biography in a few years time you can have a look at that one again! You mentioned some of your biggest influences there, is there anyone else you’d like to throw in to the hat?



Ryan: It’s so hard; it’s an eclectic mix from all the guys in the band. We’ve got Levi, who’s in to tonnes of metal, and another guy who’s in to rap. I’m in to Pantera, White Zombie, Rob Zombie, Justin’s in to Testament, Slipknot, so a big mix of bands for everybody.






Mark: It’s great that young bands like yourselves have all these years of music to draw on, and the fact that everything is so accessible on line now, it makes for some interesting bands. If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?



Ryan: There’s two ways to answer that! There’s the realistic answer and there’s the awful long answer! I would say that a kick ass tour that we could totally do would be ‘Killswitch Engage’, ‘As I Lay Dying’ or ‘All That Remains’, all those bands are of our genre and bands that we love. But if I was to go out of the box, and choose anybody I would want to tour with Rob or White Zombie, absolutely, I would love to tour with Marilyn Manson and I would love the chance to play with Tool. I’m a metal guy at heart! I’m just gonna keep naming bigger and bigger metal bands!



Mark: I can see you guys doing that one day, you really are one of the bright young bands out there, and it will be fantastic to see you at the Soundwave festival, later in the year. My final question, quickly, what is the meaning of life?



Ryan: Have a good time! Be cool to the people that are cool to you!



Mark: Thank you for speaking to the Rockpit, Ryan, and catch you later in Australia.



Ryan: Yeah see you there buddy, we’ll catch up!






By Mark Diggins