I’ll be honest; I used to hate Periphey because of Spencer’s vocals on their debut self-titled. After their 2011 release of the Icarus EP, I quickly changed my stance. Having a chance to catch them on their headline tour with The Human Abstract, I was blown away by Spencer’s ability to hit high notes live. The band is currently in Europe in a support slot for Dream Theater and took time to answer some questions.
How do you go about writing vocal melodies and hooks over such intricate progressions, timings, etc. I can imagine approaching instrumentals with lyrics to fit into them can be quite daunting. Is it just yourself writing them or do the rest of the band have a say?
For the new album, I wrote all of the vocal melodies and lyrics. ive just gotten used to the band’s sound over the past 2 years and have adapted to writing over the complexity of the music.
How do you ensure that your influences simply “influence” the writing on your albums and not affect the uniqueness of your sound? With that said, do you feel that you’ve stayed true to your own unique sound as much as possible on the last album?
Since I didn’t have much of a hand in writing the vocals for the last album due to time constraints, you can expect to hear a different approach to all the singing and screaming on this next record.
In your live performances, as soon as your start screaming or growling, you have a much harder time singing more demanding vocal parts. Eventually by the end of the set it sounds like you find it almost impossible to sing higher notes. What impact has this had on how you arrange your set list, and how you take care of your voice outside of your performance?
You may be watching videos where my voice is suffering from not having enough rest or I may have been sick. Screaming has never hindered me being able to hit higher notes.
What made you decide that you would do two records in one year as most bands would simply ride the tide on the one album?
We are starting on the next record after completing this one we are currently working on. We are not making any promises about when the second one will be out. If it is finished this year then we will release it, but we are definitely not rushing it by any means.
State your name and profession please.
Misha Mansoor, Dark Mage
What’s your view on the whole “djent” label/genre? It’s doing really well as it has spawned a lot of bands. (even though it’s just a guitar sound)
I think that people aren’t entirely sure what it is, and neither am I. I write music the same way I always have, and if people want to call it that, then that’s fine by me. It has grouped us with a lot of really cool upcoming bands, so that’s definitely a perk, but our approach has always been progressive: do whatever you want, so long as it sounds good.
How do you build the songs for what finally makes the album? Do you come up with a story that allows you to imagine a soundtrack to it or does something you play just inspire you?
It’s just ideas that come out of nowhere, sometimes they become songs, sometimes they dont. I dont really have much control over the creative process, when it happens, it happens!
How has it been with the label for you guys? A lot of bands have been saying very positive things about the label, but some bands have also spoken negatively of it. Ash himself is very outspoken. How has it been working with Sumerian for you guys?
We work great with them. Ash and Shawn are excellent and innovative businessmen and i think Sumerian are one of the few labels who are looking at ways to work with the current music industry and getting creative with it.
Have there ever been any incidents in the studio where you felt you couldn’t work with the band? (ex. fighting over every little detail?
We all actually get along quite well in the studio, if there are issues we discuss things and find a compromise where everyone is happy.
What are your thoughts on the continual volume increases in the industry, where music has just gotten louder, or more crushed, at the expense of dynamic range?
I think that there should be no general rule about anything when it comes to music. If people want to make louder music, they should be allowed to do so, if they want to keep it soft, they can do that too. I think it’s silly to force opinions on things that are so subjective.
How was it working with Veil of Maya on their upcoming release?
They are good friends of mine and it was just like hanging out, watching movies, having a good time while making an album. The vibe was awesome and the whole thing went by so fast somehow even though we pretty much wrote the album at my place, really proud of that album!
Last question; Will we ever see a full band version of my favorite Bulb track, Heliovice? How many Bulb tracks have turned into Periphery songs?
Perhaps, the best Bulb tracks become Periphery tracks, it just has to fit the vibe and make the cut.