Periphery: The Complete Oral History From ‘Periphery I’ to ‘Hail Stan’
You can’t be as dynamic as this Washington, D.C. prog-metal outfit by cutting corners. That’s why this is APTV’s most incisive oral history yet.February 10, 2020
Washington, D.C.-based prog-metal outfit Periphery have packed a lot of playing into their 15-year existence. The complexity of their musicianship and their writing skills aren’t for the casual listener. At a time when it feels like most artistic junctures seem to be missing a few ventricles (read: “half-hearted”), the sextet triple down on their vision.
That’s why this APTV clip of Periphery’s oral history is an extension of the band. Director Bobby Makar got guitarists Mark Holcomb and Jake Bowen in front of the APTV cameras, and the two were quite forthcoming. That might be the first major understatement of the year. Clocking in around 38 minutes, this clip is the longest oral history in AltPress history.
Unless you’re driving them around between gigs, this is definitely the most detailed conversation we’ve had with any band. Holcomb and Bowen discuss the early days of band founder Misha Mansoor’s various riff-sharing forays on SoundClick and Myspace. There’s the crucial song “Far Out,” which Bowen explains was key to the band’s evolution and the creation of the term “djent.”
“Whenever a band releases a new album, you’ll have these…What’s the nice way to say something mean about someone?” Bowen asks rhetorically. “You’ll get these kids who think, ‘Periphery changed their sound. It’s so different.’ It’s like, ‘What are you talking about?’ A lot of these riffs have been sitting in the boneyard for over a decade.”
Holcomb and Bowen casually dish on some of the more tertiary Periphery minutiae. Do you know how many times they recorded their first album? How hard Spencer Sotelo had to step up writing vocal parts? The culture change surrounding the writing process for their Juggernaut: Alpha? Which album fostered self-administered therapy sessions? Which album did Holcomb write entirely in his pajamas?
“There’s something you learn about yourself or the band that you’re in,” Bowen resigns. “Your comfort and the personal comfort of those around you is paramount.”
Attention guitar fanatics, home-recording nerds or people who just like their music slightly more than trigonometry: It’s APTV’s oral history of Periphery. Good dudes, great chat, stellar music. You need nothing else, barring a cold beverage.