On the face of it Periphery’s music sounds awfully complex, all polymetric grooves and whatnot, but on listening what you notice is how easily the band translate musicianship into something wholly engaging. This isn’t about alienating those less-versed in theory, but rattling modern metal’s cage a bit with melodies that soar but retain a sting in the tail. In speaking to guitarist Jake Bowen it becomes apparent that like their music, Periphery cut the crap and march to their own tune, which may be simpler than many expect…
Starting off then, how do you feel about the term ‘djent’ and the fact that some people label Periphery in that way?
Jake Bowen – To us it’s whatever, we don’t call the music we write Djent, but if people want a cute little designation for us like Djent, more power to them.
Are you conscious of the different genre labels, or do you just write music as it comes, regardless of influences?
Jake – We just write stuff we think sounds cool, it’s really easy for us to write together because we all like the same sounds. Personally I find it irritating to have to describe new or lesser known genres to people, so I just call our type of music metal or heavy music.
Obviously the big news is the new album, the full title of which is Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal – does that second part reflect what the album is about for you?
Jake – Not really, we’re always joking around and coming up with silly album titles and that one got the most laughs. It doesn’t mean anything other than it’s our second album and it sounds like an 80’s action movie tag line.
There’s some interesting song titles on the album – is it underpinned by a particular theme?
Jake – The song titles usually have nothing to do with the songs themselves, but that is not always the case. The only criteria for naming a song in Periphery is that it has to “pop” when you see or say it.
Most excitingly you’ve had a couple of guests play solos on the album including the great John Petrucci – what was it like hearing they’d be working on the album?
Jake – We couldn’t believe that we got 3 amazing guest guitarist to contribute solos. It still seems surreal and we’re very honored and grateful to have them be a part of the record.
Is there anyone else that you’d really like to work with in the future?
Jake – Trent Reznor and Paul “Chimp Spanner” Ortiz.
As well as Periphery II, earlier this year you re-released your first album – was this as a pre-cursor to the new album?
Jake – We just wanted to give fans in certain regions a chance to get the album digitally with the added bonus track of Passenger.
You’ve also recently announced the official appointment of Adam Getgood as full-time bassist – you must be feeling pretty pleased with that?
Jake – Yeah, Nolly is an exceptional musician and producer, having him on board with the band officially means great things for the future with his contributions. I’d like to make a special shout out to Jeff Holcomb who has been covering bass duties while we figured out our situation. Jeff rules.
Did you always know he was the right man for the job? I assume the relationships between you all have become quite strong over the last 8 months or so?
Jake – Nolly has always been an honorary member of Periphery, he’s always been there to work with us and help us. So asking him to join officially is more of a formality since we’ve always considered him family.
The video for ‘Make Total Destroy’ is quite epic and almost cinematic in places – was there any particular atmosphere you were aiming for?
Jake – Game nerds. Sci-fi. Robots.
Were you involved in deciding on the concept for the video?
Jake – We received a treatment from Wes Richardson, the director. Just by listening to the music he conceived the concepts you see in the video, we loved his ideas and let him do his thing.
Do you think that in today’s Youtube age you have to put more into a music video than perhaps just a straight-forward performance?
Jake – Absolutely, if a video is not engaging immediately people will just switch to a video that is. This short attention span is common these days.
You played a number of festivals this summer – which ones stood out most for you?
Jake – Rock am Ring was Incredible because we don’t normally do well in Germany but many people stood in the rain to watch us and we were the first band to play on the last day.
Going back to the band’s name then, is there anything that you feel you are on the periphery of, or do you very much feel that you’ve penetrated to the heart of where you want to be?
Jake – Periphery is cool because it doesn’t sound metal, if you try to explain a cool band to someone but their name is something dark and/or negative the person might not check it out. Periphery is just a nice neutral name to bear.