It’s been a year since we checked in with Periphery and in that time the mighty djent machine has grown and evolved at a rapid, startling rate. In the wake of a successful tour with Dream Theater, Periphery’s place as the centrepiece of the djent movement is now firmly established. It’s a genre characterised by heavy syncopated riffs, punchy mid-heavy guitar tones, the use of extended range instruments, clean-to-scream vocals and some of the most outrageous lead guitar work ever committed to hard disc, and Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal builds on the strengths of the band’s self-titled debut in every way. It’s more melodic, yet more extreme. There are more shredding solos but more moments of guitaristic introspection too. More colourful and dramatic. I Heart Guitar caught up with Misha Mansoor and Jake Bowen to talk shop.
Last time we talked, you said you were planning two albums, one of which would be a concept album. Is this still the plan?
Misha: I think we had a lot of expectations, and I guess our gut reaction to that is to just say ‘fuck it’ and do whatever we want. What we’d originally hoped would happen was that we’d get a tonne of time off to just write. We’re at a point where there are so many ideas. All was going to plan but then we got a Dream Theater tour offer smack in the middle of that session. It kinda came to a decision. And no matter what, you never turn down a Dream Theater tour! Continue reading
A lot has happened since I Heart Guitar last interviewed Misha Mansoor. In the space of a mere year, the djent movement – of which Mansoor’s band Periphery is a central focus – has gone from metal curiosity to fully-fledged phenomenon. The Icarus Lives! Ep has further solidified Mansoor’s reputation as one of the most technically gifted metal guitarists of his generation, yet he maintains an open dialog with fans, continuing to post video and audio of random jammage – new gear, Nyan cat, the list goes on. Periphery are heading to Australia in July for the League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen tour with Tesseract, and I Heart Guitar caught up with Misha to talk about what’s happened in the past year.
Hi! We’ve talked before, haven’t we?
Yes we have, about a year ago.
Yeah! I Heart Guitar! I remember that.
Yeah, cool! So the Melbourne stop of your Aussie tour has recently been upgraded to a bigger venue because ticket sales were so good.
Yeah! That was very unexpected. I don’t know how that happened. I don’t know who we paid off to make that happen! But that is more than a pleasant surprise. Australia was one of the most fun tours – it was like a vacation to us. I don’t know what it is, but everyone was so nice and welcoming. And I’m not just saying that. Australians are like some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. It was a treat, and having some of the love come right back to us was really awesome. So seeing that the shows sold out so fast was like icing on the cake for us.
Everyone seems to know who you are and about the whole djent movement now. How are you coping with that? Does it mess with your head? Do you try not to think about it?
I try not to think about it. This whole djent movement thing is very funny and silly to me because it’s appearing out of nowhere, almost parallel to what we’re doing. I think people don’t realise that we’ve just been doing what we’ve been doing. It wasn’t cool to be playing this style of music for the majority of the time that we’ve been writing and playing the music that we do, and we write and play the music that we do because it’s the only thing that we know how to do. It’s just going for it. It’s not like we sat down one day and said “I’m gonna start a new fad or something.” It wasn’t like that at all, it was just doing what we were doing. So it’s just interesting to see how that all happens. It is very surreal. And we focus on it a bit, like we named our tour the League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen. We don’t take it all too seriously, and it’s not all that relevant to me in day to day life or anything. It just is what it is, y’know?