Misha Mansoor Talks "Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" and More
Tue, 05 Feb 2013 12:29:51
Periphery bridge some massive gaps on Periphery II: This Time It's Personal.
Not only do they rattle off mind-blowing technical passages that'd make any Meshuggah fans head spin, they also do it with an innate grasp of melody that rivals even some of their active rock peers. It's a delicate line, and Periphery tow it better than anyone managing to infuse a little infectiousness into unparalleled intricacy. It's also what makes them one of the most important and innovative bands in modern heavy metal.
In this exclusive interview, Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor breaks down the album and so much more.
Did you approach Periphery II: This Time It's Personal with one overarching vision or vibe in mind?
I don't know that it was a conscious decision. I think this is a generational thing, but all of us are into albums. We're from that crowd that used to buy albums before mp3s and iTunes. Now, I think people are more into songs. My favorite albums are records you listen to beginning to end. We do things to trick listeners into hearing the whole thing. On both of our albums, the sound doesn't stop. If a track ends, you're tempted to move on to the next thing. If the sound doesn't stop, you're forced to continue listening. The inertia of the song keeps you going.
You have to listen to it from beginning to end.
That's the way it was intended. We definitely wanted to put it on and listen until the end. When we were picking the songs and the arrangements, we spent a very long time working on the track order. That was definitely the part of it. The vibe was figured out after the fact.
What's the story behind "Masamune"?
That's something I demoed out a while ago. I'm always writing. I thought it had a lot of potential. We do pre-production for everything. We changed it a bit when we got to the studio. The rest of the guys weren't feeling the original arrangement, so we changed it there. When vocals were written and everything finally came together, everyone was like, "Fuck yeah!" I'm glad it came together the way it did. I always had a lot of hopes for the song. It's a personal favorite. It's part of a trilogy. The first, middle, and last song on the album are all part of a mini-concept that takes place on the album. The rest of the songs aren't related. "Muramasa", "Ragnarok", and "Masamune" are all related lyrically and thematically. They share some riffs and melodic themes. They're part of a story. Spencer [Sotelo, vocals] likes for people to figure out things for themselves though.
How do songs usually come together?
I'm constantly writing. I have my studio setup at home. Whenever I have an idea, it's easy to jot it down, if you well. I can't read or write music. I'm not trained like that. The only way I have to not forget an idea is to record it [Laughs]. Oftentimes, ideas inspire other ideas. Then, by the end of the night, I've got a song. It sort of happens, and I hope I'm near in a computer to record. Our focus isn't on being technical. It just has to sound good. I think the beauty is in the simplest parts. If you take a simple thing and make it sound unique and different from everyone else, that almost takes more skill than making a complex skill sound different from everybody else. I prefer the simple aspects of our music. It's like, "Damn, I was able to do something that sounds good and I didn't have to resort to doing some crazy shit on the guitar to make it happen". The focus is having a pulse of some kind. You want to be able to bob your head even if it's in some kind of weird timing.
What typically inspires you?
I think anything could inspire you to work harder. Sometimes, it's movies or music. Other times, it's watching other players and thinking, "Damn, I need to step it up".
Who are you listening to now?
I've come to the realization that I don't listen to that much music. When I do listen to music, I get obsessed with something and just listen to that. There aren't that many artists. As far as guitar-driven music goes, I really like Allan Holdsworth and Guthrie Govan on the fusion side of things. The new Devin Townsend album is awesome.
If your album were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
Based off of the title alone, it'd be some sort of action movie. It'd be the shitty sequel to some really good movie [Laughs]. It'd be a space fantasy movie of some kind. It'd be nerdy and dorky.
How far along are you on the new record?
We've all been writing. Our problem is we have too much material. It's a good problem to have though. Whatever ends up on the album will be the really good stuff.
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