Man, this cadre of Sumerian bands keep coming Ďatcha, donít they? Once past the labelís initial front with The Faceless, Born of Osiris, and Veil of Maya, probably the next band in line is Washington D.C.ís Periphery. The brainchild of emerging producer/guitarist Misha Mansoor, the band employ the staccato grooves of Meshuggah (no surprise there), along with a melodic dynamic and three guitar front that ultimately sets them apart from their Sumerian contemporaries, especially in the clean vocal department, where singer Spencer Sotelo gets a lot more operating room than most singerís of this ilk.
Looking to capitalize on the success last yearís self-titled album, the band has released (as a stop-gap before their next full-length), the Icarus Lives EP, a collection of a new songs, along with several remixes of the song, ďIcarus Lives!Ē Figuring it as nigh time Blistering figured out what all the fuss was about with Periphery, we snagged Mansoor for a quick round of email Qís. Here's how the guitarist responded...
Blistering.com: A few years before you did the self-titled album, the band was primarily known in Internet circles, so to you, how did it feel to finally have something tangible to show for the band?
Misha Mansoor: It was a relief, to be honest. Itís something that we had been working on for a while and for various reasons, had gotten delayed and postponed time and time again. It was very fulfilling to finally have something to show for all our hard work!
Blistering.com: Describe all of the leg-work you did in terms of promo and touring you did to build the band up before the self-titled album came out.
Mansoor: I really just posted on forums and kept up with fans via MySpace (remember that ol' site?) and chat. That combined with posting free material consistently seemed to do the trick for us, I think we just got lucky! As far as touring, we did two separate one week tours, one of which was self-booked.
Blistering.com: Now that youíre about a year removed from the release of Periphery ,what kind of doors has it opened for the band?
Mansoor: It has completely changed everything for us. Now itís almost like we exist and have a serious shot at making this our career. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but it is good to see progress, and the album definitely made a lot of progress for us.
Blistering.com: The Icarus Lives EP is the second recording with Spencer [Sotelo]. Are you finding new ways to use his voice? It feels like his actual singing voice is stronger than his screams.
Mansoor: He is the one who is constantly finding new tricks! He is so obsessed with improving and taking things to the next level. All he does when he goes home is record, and thatís great because not only is it good practice, but it means we are always writing as well! I think that he has so much untapped potential at the moment, and itís very exciting to work with someone who is so ambitious because you can watch them develop and improve in front of you.
Blistering.com: ďFrak the GodsĒ is easily the heaviest thing youíve done to date. Was this a leftover from the last album or a new song?
Mansoor: It was a newer song that Spencer had taken a liking to and wrote vocals for just to see what he could come up with. We all loved the way it sounded with his vocal ideas and we figured we could put it on the EP!
Blistering.com: Much ado about the fact you have three guitarists. Is it a struggle to make it all come together in the live setting?
Mansoor: Not really because we have nice gear that we dial in to not be overbearing, an awesome sound guy who can bring everything in together, and the three guitarists are essential to our sound. If we didnít need them, we wouldnít have them, so as long as we all practice and play tight, it only works to improve the sound.
Blistering.com: Obviously, Meshuggah is an influence on not yourself, but your Sumerian contemporaries. What types of tricks/ideas have you taken away from them?
Mansoor: They just groove so hard. I think that is the biggest thing I have taken from them, is the ability to write riffs that just make you want to bob your head to them. Thatís a good feeling!
Blistering.com: Word on the street is that youíre planning a double-album. What do you have in mind for it?
Mansoor: One-part regular album one part concept album. We are just starting to work on it now, but Iíll say that overall, the regular album will feature more songs and will be generally a bit more upbeat and playful, and the concept album will be dark, moody and groovy and will not be as song-oriented so much as being thematically-driven.
Blistering.com: Do you think because your sound is more spacious and atmospheric, you have more possibilities for material, thus allowing you to pull off a double album?
Mansoor: Perhaps, I havenít really thought of it that way. Itís really just trying to expand on every angle of our sound, just trying to take everything to the next level. The double album isnít so much about length as it is about trying to separate the two entities of music. It would be on two albums even if they could technically fit on one disc.
Blistering.com: Clearly, the band is into more than just metal, so it would be fair to label the Periphery ďopen-minded metal?Ē
Mansoor: You can label it whatever makes sense to you because at this point lord knows that nobody can agree on what to call us. I always just stick to "progressive metal" because it seems that if you are progressive, you can do whatever you want, and we donít like limitations!
Blistering.com: Finally, whatís on the agenda for the rest of 2011?
Mansoor: We are playing Sonisphere UK in early July which is incredibly exciting, and we are doing our first US headliner in September with the US leg of our "League of Extraordinary Djentlemen" tour which has such an exciting lineup! In the time off, we will be writing for album #2 and taking all the time we need on that to ensure that it is quality through and through. So everything will kinda focus around recording until that is done!