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Misha Mansoor Interview – Periphery (2015)

Misha Mansoor Interview – Periphery (2015)

April 29th, 2015 by

The past five years of Misha Mansoor’s career with progressive metal pioneers Periphery have been filled with exciting landmarks: tours with  legendary bands like Dream Theater and Deftones, four varieties of a signature Jackson guitar, and now, a pair of high-charting albums on the Billboard Top 200.  The band’s third full-length, the cinematic double-disc concept album Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega, is actually their fifth release since 2010’s debut, Periphery. Filling out their lineup of material are 2011’s Icarus EP and the songwriting experiment Clear, which displayed the diverse talents of the entire band by giving each member a chance to be the sole creative director of their own song.

In the beginning, Periphery’s music was anchored by Misha’s intricate, crushing riffs, but the darker, more brooding Juggernaut highlights the efforts of a writing team that has learned to focus their best individual efforts into a seamlessly unified whole. When Periphery came through Fort Lauderdale in January, we honored our tradition of catching up with Misha at each major album release by joining him on the band’s tour bus for a few questions.

Hit play above to watch the video of this interview.

IC: The big thing with Juggernaut is that the story came first and you guys wrote a lot of the music around the story – which is the opposite of the previous albums that you’ve put out.

MM: Yeah, everything before was very much approached from an instrumental standpoint. Maybe even a little bit unfairly so given that we have a singer, but you live and you learn. We were basically arranging songs to be instrumental and then kind of handing them off to Spencer [Sotelo, vocalist] to figure it out, which sucks because no other person in the band has to work with that. We kind of took a look at that and were like, ‘That’s not right.’

A lot of people, I think, when we say that we’re making vocals more of a priority, they think that we allow them to take center stage, but the way we were all looking at it was that it should be treated as an equal, rather than an afterthought. That was especially needed given that we were going to be working with a concept this time. Because if it’s going to be lyrically and vocally driving and a big part of the release, then it absolutely needs to at least be an equal in terms of the instrumentation. We approached everything together; we might have come up with the initial ideas individually or with smaller groups, but when it came to actually arranging everything and making sure that everything worked with vocals – and any aspect, really – it was all done as a group.

IC: I remember you made a comment once that you felt the need in the past to put vocals in more places than you now feel that should have been? Do you think you got that balance right this time around?

Ask FM Misha
Excerpt from Misha’s Ask.FM page

MM: I hope what I meant was just, ‘I wanted to have more space for the vocals.’ If I look back at our old material, that’s one of the criticisms. As proud as I am of it, I always like to see where we kind of fell short, and sometimes I feel like that stuff was really crowded. It’s almost maybe a symptom of you’re there and you’re like, ‘Look at what we can do.’ But at the same time, it’s just too much.

It’s a lot to process and it kind of doesn’t let any one thing breathe or be. If you have this crazy riff underneath a vocal line, and then there’s layers, and then there’s crazy drums going over it… I guess if you break it all down it’s really cool, but then all together it’s almost too much. I think everything having its right place is something that maybe was even a challenge for us, because that’s not something that, I guess, came too naturally at first.

IC: Your writing styles, especially with Mark [Holcomb, guitar] and Jake [Bowen, guitar] are more intertwined than they have been before. It was easier in the past to point out, ‘That’s a Misha riff, or that’s a Mark or Jake riff,’ whereas now they’re all kind of blending together more. What is the process like when somebody brings a riff or an idea to the table? How do you guys treat it from there?

Misha Mansoor - by Ivan ChopikMM: We like to work together. Historically, I’ve always been sort of the producer, at least in a writing and pre-production sense of things. I guess, what I’m good at is taking people’s riffs and crafting songs with them. I do that with them and we work really well together, whether it’s one-on-one with Mark and Jake or whether it’s all three of us together. We’ve got a good thing going, and we just bounce ideas off of each other, and it’s really fun. What you noticed about it being more difficult to tell our riffs apart is actually interesting, too, because these are two guys who I think are extremely talented musicians, who I really am inspired by, as well.

They joined being inspired by my sound, but then went and turned it into their own thing, which now is like, ‘Whoa. How are they coming up with this?’ That is in turn inspiring me to be like, ‘Man, I got to step up my game.’ There is so much cross-pollination going on, and there’s all these cool little approaches and tricks, especially when we learn each other’s riffs. It’s like, ‘Whoa, that’s how you’re doing that? That’s crazy. I never would have thought to do that.’ It yields a sound that I really like, because we’re all kind of on the same wavelength.

I think that’s definitely a result of that – we are being an influence on each other, and it’s just kind of bouncing back and forth. Working together, writing together as a result is a very easy process. And the other thing is… we discussed this as a band: we’re all on the same team. We’re just trying to create the best song, the best album. I think a lot of times you can get a lot of butting heads when there are ulterior motives like, ‘I want my solo to be heard. I want my riff to be heard. I want my voice to be heard.’

IC: Right. When ego comes in the equation.

MM: Right, and I think all three of us – we tend to not be like that. We’ve all worked very hard to be less emotionally attached to the stuff we put forth, because a lot of it gets cut and we know that. It’s difficult, but we’ve sort of trained ourselves to deal with it, so that it’s not something that we get emotionally upset about. We all remember we are on the same team. No one is trying to take anyone else down a notch.

If we make a suggestion about something being added or being cut, it’s because that person truly believes that that benefits the song. That’s always a healthier place to start a discussion about how it should go, rather than, ‘Oh well, he just doesn’t want my riff or whatever.’ I think because we all kind of understand that, it makes the whole process very smooth.

IC: You mentioned how smooth the process is, but I feel like in every group writing environment, at some point friction comes up. What is that like for you guys and how does that usually manifest itself?

MM: It’s just an extension of what I was talking about, because everyone in the band is so opinionated and everyone has a vision. Luckily, we are all on the same wavelength, but it might be in the specifics or the minutiae that we’re passionate about the differences. Again, it will be coming from the right place, but it’s about understanding where the other person is coming from.

Sometimes, it’s something that can’t be directly reconciled, because it’s just one person’s opinion that this part makes it sound more epic or more appropriate, or that this flows better, and people disagree. We have a lot of material, so there were some songs that we couldn’t get to work to where everyone is happy, and we don’t put those on the album. We have enough material where everyone is happy to where we focus on that stuff. We don’t try to force stuff, either. The songs that didn’t make it – there are some that are really cool, but just the vibe was wrong. It didn’t fit the story, it didn’t really fit what we needed.

There are other ones that were a really cool fit in every way, but we just couldn’t get the arrangement right. No one felt 100% about it. We felt way better about other songs. As long as we’re writing, and as long we’re working together and communicating and being honest, and ready to take the criticism, ready to give the criticism constructively… which means in our band: we don’t identify problems, we identify solutions.

You don’t say, ‘This part sucks.’ You say, ‘How about we try this?’ Anyone can criticize something and be like, ‘I don’t like this.’ If you’re like, ‘Hey, why don’t we try to do this instead.’ Then at least we have an option. Sometimes, it’s like something that no one is thinking of, and it’s like ‘Whoa, that totally fixed that part and now everyone loves it.’ It kind of serves two purposes. It not only allows us to communicate better, but it also actively speeds up the process in a lot of cases.

Periphery – Alpha (Official Music Video)

IC: How far do you take [the pre-production process]? When do you know to step away and gain some perspective, or stop tweaking it and making it into the final version?

MM: There’s that saying, ‘Art is never finished. It’s abandoned.’ We definitely feel that way with all of our releases. Eventually timelines come into play, and you’re just like, ‘All right. I hope this is a good thing.’ We took a lot of time off on this one. It took about six months, which I guess we’ve earned the right to tell our management and label, ‘Look, we’re doing this.’ We knew we wanted the time not just to work on it, but for the perspective, as you say. The other thing is, we demoed the whole thing, the whole album[s], the whole collection of songs. We demoed all that in my room in advance. There’s a whole demo version of the albums that no one will ever hear, but it’s pretty much complete. There are a few little tweaks that got done in between the recording, but it’s 99% the same.

IC: Do you actually go through and mix all them and do all the edits on the pre-production as well?

MM: Yeah, but not as strictly as Nolly [Adam Getgood, bass] would do it. Nolly handles the engineering and mixing side of things, and since I know that it’s not the final version, it just needs to be good enough to get a semblance of what it’s going to sound like. Yeah, we try to get the takes tight. We try to edit it in sort of a shorthand way just to see that what we’re doing is possible. The tuning – it has to be relatively in tune, but it’s not like what we do when we’re doing it for real. Not even close. I wanted it to be mixed so that we could hear things in context, because a lot of these parts work with a certain kind of mix. They wouldn’t necessarily have the same impact with a different kind of mix or aesthetic. In a lot of ways, the aesthetic of the demos is similar, but in other ways it’s actually very different, too, because we got kind of more out of the real thing.

It’s an interesting process, but that allowed us to kind of be a little bit more objective – recording it twice and spending some time with it in the studio. I guess between the time that the first demo was done and the final one was done was probably about three or four months. You definitely have a completely different perspective. And even then it’s not the same as spending time away, which was what would have been nice, because honestly by the end of recording we just hated everything. The mix was terrible, all the songs were horrible. Now with the time off – as soon as we were done, I just didn’t listen to it at all. Now I can look back and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m really proud of this. This is awesome.’

IC: With regards to the [Fractal Audio] Axe-Fx, you’ve used it in all possible variations known today, from going direct on the first album, then using it as a preamp with a tube power amp and cab setup on the second one. This time around, you tone-matched your Zilla cab and used that a cab block. Is the tone quest over then?

Periphery - Zilla

Instagram: Periphery’s Zilla cab setup for Juggernaut.

MM: I’d say certain aspects of it are over. I actually love amps and pedals, just as a thing. I love a ton of pedals. I have a bunch of amps, which really at this point in time just get used mostly for jamming or just recording the odd thing at the studio. The Axe-Fx is so convenient and so all- encompassing that yeah, it’s kind of like the quest has just been relocated to inside the machine. But at the same time, we’re not the kind of band that will like say, ‘This is what we have to use.’ It really just comes down to shooting things out and seeing what works best.

So we brought all our amps, all our pedals, everything, all our cabs to the studio and just shot stuff out. Like, seriously, for about four or five days just shooting stuff out, just trying different things. I would have been just as ready to go traditional amp and cab setup. We rented a studio that had a really nice live room, so that was very well suited for guitars. So we were like, ‘If that’s the route we go, that’s the route we go.’ We wanted to capture DI’s for everything, but Nolly and I agreed that the best philosophy was, just because of the nature of how long this project was, how many layers there are, and how tedious the re-amping process is…

IC: Committing to the sound right away?

MM: We wanted to take the DI’s as a last resort, but we wanted to come up with a tone that we thought we’d be able to commit to. Luckily, we didn’t really end up having to re-amp very much stuff. When we did it was like leads or layers, or things that were like more effect based, because we wanted to re-amp with certain pedals, rather than like the rhythm tone. The rhythm tone we ended up going with, and it kind of showed that that’s a healthy way to go about it for us, where you kind of commit to a sound. Because we also are all of the philosophy that if the source tone is good, it’s really up to the user to make it work. Pardon the language, but you can’t polish a turd. But if you end up with a good source tone, then you can shape it to the mix.

What you don’t want to do is end up with something that’s not appropriate or aesthetically pleasing, and then shape it from there and hope that it works. That kind of proved that sort of philosophy and theory to us, so that ended up being the rhythm tone that we used. We used three mics, an Shure SM57 as the main one, a Neumann KM184, and a Heil PR-30, which Nolly got wonderfully phase-matched. We captured the Zilla going through a QSC PLD4.3 power amp, which is very flat – just getting the sound of a cab, and then we put that on the Axe-Fx. We also shot out that versus the actual miced up rig, and in the mix you would never be able to tell which one is which. That’s all that matters, and it’s much better to have it quieter in the other room.

IC: I guess the other thing with Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal was consistency. I think you mentioned every single day the tone would change just a little bit and it would take you a second to find it.

MM: Yeah, that was the most frustrating thing in the world. There were days wasted where we were halfway through a song and we got all the takes, and the tuning especially, which people don’t realize takes forever – getting everything intonated. And it’s like… we have a different tone, and it’s audible. It’s like, ‘Oh my God, what do we do? Do we redo the first half?’ It was so frustrating. That was in a studio where there was a lot more moving stuff, so we actually said that if we went with the amp route, that no one would ever be allowed in the live room ever. We would block it off. That was the agreement. If that did sound the best, then we absolutely were going to go that route. But thankfully, there was no audible difference between doing that and the tone match, so the tone matching made it so that we never had to worry about that problem.

Periphery – The Bad Thing (Live Music Video)

IC: I think it can be a little bit of a mystery for people to know how big a progressive metal band has to be these days for them to truly focus on their music 100%, without having to rely on outside work. In your opinion, how much, beyond the quality of the product itself, is it required for a band to get creative about alternative sources of income?

MM: We don’t make enough to survive off this band. We still don’t. Maybe partially a little bit by choice. What I mean is, if we did absolutely no production, used house lights, and scaled everything about the aspect of our headliner down just to be about money, yeah we could probably make a fair bit of money. But I always remember going to shows and being blown away by the shows and production and making it an experience. Half the show is the show itself.

IC:  It’s kind of an investment in that sense.

MM: It absolutely is. We have a pretty insane light rig and Jeff Holcomb, Mark’s brother, is manning that and operating it, basically jamming live with us on that. When we were talking about what we wanted to do, our business manager, whose responsibility is to tell us that, ‘Hey, we’re going to lose money if we do this.’ We’re like, ‘Look, we’ll make it back up in merch, I guess.’ That was important to us. We wanted to have a nice production. We want to have things be a certain way. We make money creatively outside of the band, so that the band can be what we want it to be.

IC: Beyond the traditional album sales, merch sales, and ticket sales, for you as individuals to sustain careers, is it integral to have those outside projects connected to the band?

MM: Absolutely. I think anyone will tell you that  – anyone at this level or even above will tell you that there has to be outside income. But I’d say what the band has done for us, is that it has allowed us to create opportunities for ourselves. It doesn’t create them for us, but it allows us to pursue these opportunities and to have the influence. For example, signature gear and things like that. That wouldn’t really be relevant if our band wasn’t around. But at the same time that’s like one possible way that you can make some extra, passive income which you can only get from being in a band, essentially, with a certain amount of influence.

So it’s just about being creative, it’s about being pro-active, but it is necessary. Unless you make your band entirely about the money, it will be very hard… and you’d [have to] tour non-stop, I guess, all the time, and never live at home. It would be very, very hard to make a living just off being in a band.

IC: Periphery sold 4,500 copies in its first week, Periphery II sold a little under 12,000. How well do you think Juggernaut is going to do? 

MM: I’m terrible with these, because both of those albums sold way more than I thought. I tend to be more pessimistic with these numbers.

Misha Mansoor - by Ivan ChopikIC: I think that’s a healthy approach, though. [laughter]

MM: Yeah, it is. Manage your expectations. I don’t know, I honestly don’t even want to throw a number out there, because the thing about the numbers now is that the sales are down so much just in general. A good example is if you look at how similar records have charted. Let’s say an album does 5,000 in its first week versus 5,000 maybe even a few years ago. The charting point off the same album sales would be much higher. It’s almost showing you how album sales are hurting, because the numbers… You can’t compare. It’s like a currency that’s just losing value.

IC: Speaking of that currency, though, it’s also the way that your place in the industry is determined in a lot of ways. I remember you mentioned that first week of sales are partially about the actual sales, but more so about where your guarantee is, where you get placed on the bill. Is that still as relevant, or is that kind of shifting because the sales are off?

MM: I’d say it’s probably becoming more of a situational basis. What I would say is this… and maybe you can put yourself in the shoes of a promoter or someone who’s booking a tour: if you have to make a decision between a few bands, and if you’re a band that has a lot of peers that you compete with… I’d say like we tend to be kind of lucky, because we’re always the weird band and we don’t have direct competition, so maybe it applies a little less to us. If there are bands that are objectively similar and kind of in the same spot, then you could be like, ‘Well, these guys did more first week.’ What I would do responsibly now, would be to actually look at the charting position, because that would almost be more relevant.

Because if you look at the raw numbers… it’s like the currency has changed. It’s actually worth more now to have 5,000 than it was worth a few years ago, so if you look strictly at the charting positions, that might give you a better sense. But even then, that’s incomplete because you’ve got all the social media influence, you’ve got YouTube, Instagram…

IC: Which is also getting more complicated, because with people buying Facebook likes left and right, you don’t know who’s who anymore.

MM: And the reach on Facebook is getting so bad that a lot of people are ditching it all together. There’s no thing yet, but there needs to be some sort of aggregate of all this information including the torrent downloads, even, because those are still relevant. As much as those are people not paying, they’re people who will pay for shirts and go to shows and things like that. Definitely tough, I think that the smart people are the ones who realize that there isn’t necessarily a definitive answer just yet, but that probably all those things should be factored in.

IC: The interesting stuff happens when somebody goes and does something completely differently from everyone else, and figures out a new way of looking at things. 

MM: Absolutely. With new forms of social media popping up every now and then, that’s also another thing that certain people take advantage of. It’s like, ‘Oh, wow. I never thought of doing it like that.’ And then before you know it everyone else is following suit. Even Instagram, which is a relatively new social media tool, is now ubiquitous with bands. We’re posting on it. We have a photographer on this tour, and a videographer specifically to create content for sites like that and future content for the band, because it’s such an important thing, investing in your future.

It does get a bit more complicated now, and there’s no real definitive answer and I’d say it’s up to a lot of people’s interpretation. It is important, because at the end of the day, people need a way to gauge where you’re at, and where your band would be on a bill. The show attendance and stuff can tell you a bit, but it also is dated to when that was. It could be up or down from then. So all these things kind of together really do affect how your band is perceived, so I really do hope we do well first week. I hope we get some good first week sales, I hope we chart well, because it will absolutely determined where we sort of get gauged in the industry and what our guarantees will look like over the next few years.

IC: I’ve got a good feeling for you guys.

MM: I hope so man. Knock on wood. [Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega ended up charting #15 and #16 on the Billboard Top 200, respectively. Combined, the Juggernaut albums sold over 35,000 copies in the first week since their release!]

IC: There’s such a great stress put on creating content and being active on your social media, and you’ll see with some newer bands that before you know it, they have complete playthroughs of everything, tabs available, etc… . Is there value in holding back on some of that? Do you think there’s ever a situation where it’s too much?

MM: I think with anything, you can go to the point of excess. I think that we’re seeing is sort of a reaction right now. I actually think it’s people trying to be creative about a less-than-stellar situation. The fact is, the traditional methods aren’t working. The smarter people have realized, ‘Well, that means you’ve gotta do something else.’ So some people are doing the playthroughs, some people are doing the social media stuff, but I think it’s all important to remember that this is all as a support role to a good product. I say that in the subjective sense, because there’s no objectively good product, but if people like it, if it’s something that you don’t have too much trouble marketing and selling, that’s a good product. And then from there, that’s where the social media and whatever you can do comes in to support.

Having management, that’s where they will help you get a lot more strategic. That’s where they help us get a lot more strategic, because sometimes marketing that stuff is a bit counter-intuitive if you don’t sort of take a step back and look at it and plan your moves in maybe album cycles as opposed to the next few weeks, then yeah, you could definitely end up overcrowding with information. A lot of the stuff that we do is definitely calculated and strategized with our management, without a doubt.

IC: Yeah, I can tell. It seemed like there was a strategic release schedule for all the studio videos, and now you guys have the Juggernaut documentary on top of that.

MM: Oh, yeah. The release schedule was something we discussed with management. Everyone signed off on it like months in advance. I know exactly when everything is coming out. We’ve always known when everything’s coming out, and that way we can plan. For example, the days that those things are getting planned, we’re not posting about other things to cannibalize the eventual post that’s coming at noon or whatever. So all these things, absolutely, and most bands at our level, and most of our peers who are doing this kind of thing probably are doing the exact same thing. It’s not an accident, it’s all very much part of a plan.

Periphery - Juggernaut

Juggernaut Alpha & Omega album covers side by side.

IC: You’ve met a bunch of personal and professional goals over the years. How have they changed for you? What is something that would get you excited now?

MM: That’s a good question. The goals that I have set for myself – and sometimes I set unrealistic ones, I have the whole slew of them, and there’s some very attainable ones, but really the fun for them is the journey. It’s not ever getting them. As soon as you achieve the goal, it’s almost like a day of like, ‘Yay! Whoo!’ And then the next day it’s like, ‘All right, what’s the next step? Where do we go from here?’ This band has gone so much further… if you asked me in our first interview we ever did, I would never have imagine that we’d be here now doing this. This is what I’d call the icing on the cake part, and what I would say my goal is, is really just to see how far it goes. So it’s more of an abstract thing than in five years I’d like to be selling this many records or playing to this many crowds. Maybe in a more straightforward manner, I’d say there are some bands that I would love to be able to tour with. Probably some very unrealistic, but the huge ones, like Metallica.

IC: Is that what you mean by the unrealistic goals on the list?

MM: Sure, absolutely. Those are things that are really bucket list items, but I think I’d be able to sleep at night knowing that they never happen, too… they’re not going to ruin me. But it would be amazing if we could tour with Metallica or someone like that, with the legendary bands that are just on a completely different level: Slipknot, Tool, A Perfect Circle…

IC: Actually, there’s a festival coming up that I believe accomplishes a couple of those goals.

MM: Well, that’s a little different. The festival is cool, but I mean a full tour.

IC: I see what you mean. Like with Deftones.

MM: Right, exactly. That was one that I honestly thought was an unrealistic goal, so we got lucky with that one. Yeah, it’s more so just, ‘All right, we made it this far.’ I’m not saying I don’t appreciate it, I definitely appreciate it, but I’m not going to rest on that fact. I want to think about, ‘Well, how far can we take this?’ Because this ride has gone so much further than I thought it would go, and if it ends tomorrow, it will be amazing that we got this far, and I don’t know. I really don’t know what to expect in the next five years, ten years. Maybe it will just completely disappear, maybe it will kind of plateau out, or maybe it will get bigger. Who knows?

IC: I guess that’s part of what makes it all interesting.

MM: Exactly! It’s the journey, as I said.

IC: You guys are no longer newcomers to the scene; you’re a well established band now with three full lengths and some releases in-between. Are there any newcomers to the scene that you’ve kind of had your eye on, that maybe remind you of yourself coming up back in 2004, 2005, 2006?

MM: I wouldn’t say that they necessarily remind [me of myself]… I feel like a lot of these bands are way better than we are. Like The Contortionist, I think they’ve been absolutely killing it. They’re just a favorite with our band; just really sweet dudes, but the music is like a breathe of fresh air, I think. It’s very adventurous, it’s very daring music, even to their own fans and it’s the kind of stuff I respect, because it even took me a while to really get into their latest album. But once I really sunk my teeth into it, I realized it’s brilliant music. It’s very provocative and keeps you on your toes. It inspires me in the way that it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got to step my game up a little bit.’

Misha Mansoor - by Alex WohleberI remember seeing Chon live with Animals [As Leaders] – I heard their stuff and I saw them jamming and I was like, ‘These kids are monsters.’ But then seeing them live and it’s like, ‘Damn.’ I think I haven’t been that impressed since I saw Dream Theater for the first time. I was like, ‘There’s no way they could play that.’ They just completely nail it and I was really blown away by them. They seem like really sweet kids. I’d love to be able to take them out sometime, schedules permitting. Again, it’s like I can’t say that I see us in them or vice versa, because they’re each doing their own thing, but I really foresee great things for both of those bands as long as they just keep at it. They’re doing some really unique, genuine stuff that I feel like isn’t coming from any place other than they want to make some cool music.

IC: I have a feeling that [even though] this album is about to drop, you already have other stuff in the works, or you’ve thought about some new material.

MM: Yeah, very much in the sense of what I talked about. It’s like when you’re done with your accomplishment… it’s like the journey of Juggernaut is over. We’re not thinking about the next album, but we’re already ready to write. Especially, when you consider the fact that the album was really written in the summer, and we spent the rest of the time recording it and marketing it. So we are kind of ready to write a new album already, but obviously there’s no rush because this album cycle is hopefully going to be a couple of years, at least.

We’re going to just keep on writing for nothing in particular. Mark and I have Haunted Shores, which we do for fun, I have OMNOM which I do with my friend Elliot [Coleman] for fun, and I have talked about doing a solo album, which with our touring schedule, God knows when that’s going to happen. These are things which I do for fun, and they need to be just that. Who knows when those releases will come out, but those are some outlets I have, and of course we’re all writing with the band in mind, and whatever the band wants they get first pick on. Yeah, we’re already back in the grind of that stuff.

IC: Are there more Bulb riffs kicking around from the old days that you guys are looking to use, or is it all fresh material now – all new materials?

MM: That stuff always has to kind of come in the right context. It’s always in this pool of ideas that’s there, but usually we’re more excited about the new stuff that we’re creating. But who knows? What I really wanted to with the Bulb stuff was use a lot of my favorite stuff from that, and stuff that I was kind of bummed never saw the light of day, just because it wasn’t really appropriate for vocals or Periphery in general… and to have that be on the solo album. So that’s why I would want to put it out, so that I know it’s out there. It’s not really for any other goal, it’s not really to make money, or to have something out, or for ego, or anything. It’s just so that it’s kind of spoken for and I don’t have to think about it anymore, if that makes sense.

So a lot of that stuff will be on there. The new stuff – I can already tell you we’re in a different mood. Juggernaut was very much a reaction to Periphery II’s upbeat, optimistic, playful, notey vibe. We were going for the slower, cinematic, theatrical vibe with the Juggernaut albums. And now since we’ve spent so much time, like years, in that vibe and that mentality, I know that everyone is ready for something different. I think this will be a lot faster now, just because we’re ready to switch gears again.

IC: If the next album is called Periphery III, what’s the subtitle?

MM: Someone made a suggestion, Periphery III: Now It’s Serious, because then it would say P3NIS, which I think is great. Periphery Can’t Polish A Third… I think that was Mark’s suggestion.

IC: You guys have clearly thought about this. [laughter]

MM: Oh, yeah. We joke about it. I was saying that we should just call it Periphery VI: Periphery III In Japan or something, which ten people who are watching this get… but I love Final Fantasy. Or we could just skip straight to Periphery IV and be weird. And if we did Periphery IV, we’re just going to put this out there right now – it should totally be called Periphery IV: Skin, because skin is, like, the biggest organ on your body… That’s how we’d sell it, because we wouldn’t be able to pull the foreskin joke, but it would be Periphery IV: Skin.

IC: I guess we will have to wait and find out.

MM: There will definitely be a penis joke in there somewhere, obviously.

Misha’s excerpt from the Juggernaut documentary.

[Special thanks to camera operator Brandon Epling and Chris Dingman for his editing assistance!]

Misha Mansoor Interview – Periphery (2015)

About Ivan Chopik

Ivan Chopik founded Guitar Messenger in the Fall of 2007 and is currently running the online magazine as Editor-in-Chief, webmaster, and writer. He is also a guitarist, composer, and audio engineer who graduated from Berklee College of Music in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance, Music Business & Management, and Music Production/Engineering.

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  • Mongoose

    Good interview, just found this site and its pretty good