Formed back in 2005, it’s safe to say that Maryland metallers Periphery have been killing it since the release of their debut album last year. With the League of Extraordinary Djentlemen Tour coming up next month with English progressive metallers Tesseract, we caught up with guitarist Jake Bowen to talk everything Periphery in 2011.
For the sake of our readers, please start out by telling us your name, what you play in Periphery and your favourite album so far this year?
My name is Jake and I play guitar in Periphery, and not really sure, not sure what I’m listening to right now. I mostly just listen to Pandora radio and I don’t really look at it (laughs). Let’s come back to that one. That’s too hard for me to think about right now.
Can you quickly tell us a bit about the band’s history so far?
The band was actually started in 2005 by Misha and the original singer. It was just put together on the internet, you know we got players from Craigslist, Myspace. I met Misha on Soundclick or something like that, some website, and we just all got together and all moved to the same area. It took us a while to get started touring and everything but we do everything ourselves for the most part as far as recording goes. I’d say that’s the most crucial aspect of the band’s history, just being able to record ourselves.
Since the release of your self-titled album last year, Periphery has been gaining huge amounts of praise in the media. How does it feel as a relatively young band to be creating such a buzz?
Well it feels really good because we started this from scratch, having really no prior experience, to making a serious band work. For all of us this is our first serious band so it’s cool that like it’s finally paid off. We’re nowhere near where we want to be but it’s building and we can see that.
Can I ask where you do want to be?
Hopefully just touring and writing full time. We all have other things outside of the band to make money, but the ultimate goal is just to make it a sustainable career.
The “Icarus” EP was released in April, featuring some rehashed old songs, remixes of “Icarus Lives” as well as a couple of new tracks. What made the band choose to put out that sort of release?
Like I mentioned earlier, we had this Soundclick page where we would release stuff. It was mostly Mischa that was releasing it but whenever we would write we would also put our songs up there too. We had this consistent fashion in which we put out music, but as soon as we got into a record deal we had to curtail the amount of music we put out because that’s product for the record company, essentially, so we can’t just give it away all the time. So we thought that by releasing something in between both full length albums, we might or might not continue to do that, but it’s nice to release something to hold fans over until the next official release.
What has the response to the new material been like so far from critics or fans?
It’s been great, I mean, it’s not on the level that the debut was but it’s doing as good as it can for an EP. That’s good and makes us feel like we did the right thing.
Periphery was last in Australia in 2010 alongside The Dillinger Escape Plan, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and local boys The Red Shore. What were the highlights of that tour for you?
Just being able to see Australia for us has been a dream for everybody in the band. Tom our bass player has been to Australia, he lived there for a while. Alex our guitar player is actually from Australia, as well. But just being able to tour with these two bands that have such a presence, it was an honour that we were picked to do that. There’s not any one aspect of it other than just actually having the opportunity to do it.
You dudes will return to our shores next month alongside Tesseract on the “League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen” tour. What are you expecting from those dates?
I’m totally stoked to hear that the tickets are selling really well for all of them. They actually bumped one venue to a bigger club. I’m sure a lot of people are going to come out and it’s going to be great, there’s been a lot of requests for us to come back.
The venues that you’re playing this time are slightly more intimate than in the past. Do you generally prefer to play more in a more intimate setting or to larger crowds?
It really doesn’t matter to me as long as people are there enjoying it. I’ve played to a room of two people and I’ve played to a room of a thousand people. It doesn’t really make a difference to me as long as whoever’s there is enjoying it because we were just playing to nobody before!
What can fans expect from your performances on these upcoming dates?
They can expect a lot longer set than the last time we were there. Obviously we’re headlining so we’re going to have to be playing a lot more material this time around. Definitely expect to hear a lot more songs.
The band has announced that next year’s “Juggernaut” will be a concept album. Are you able to tell us any more than that?
I can’t just yet, but I can say it’s based on a concept that we touched on for our “Jetpacks” video. Actually the song “Jetpacks” is about what’s going on in the video. It’s about an immortal, but it’s not quite what you’d think a story about an immortal might be like. It’s kind of like this other side of it. Since the story is so important to this whole project as much as the music is, we’re making sure everything is written before we start telling people what it’s going to be about. We might want to change things, you know.
How do you feel the new material compares? Do you feel you’ve progressed a lot?
I do. The thing about the first record is that a lot of the songs that went on it people already knew in their finished form already, so it lacked the element of surprise when it came to actually releasing it. Still that’s fine, I’m very proud of that record. I think it’s a great record. Now there’s all this unknown territory for the band musically, so I think it’s going to be a much different experience and also a much more mature experience.
You already alluded to the fact that the band has quite a large internet presence, as Periphery uses a lot of social media to promote yourselves. Do you think that that is really important for new bands coming out nowadays?
I think it’s important to know what social media to use, and it’s just as important to know how to use it. There’s a certain etiquette that comes with posting your band online and getting your band’s name out there. I see so many bands posting in this particular manner and just spamming everything, but they don’t really have the product to back it up. They’re just kinda endlessly spamming in the hope that they’ll get people to stay, but it really doesn’t work that way. Getting to know how to communicate with the tool is just as important as knowing which tools to use, social media wise.
Going by the eclectic nature of your music, you must have very eclectic influences. What artists have inspired you most over the course of your career?
Yeah for sure. I don’t listen to a lot of metal, I listen to some metal but I mostly listen to a lot of electronic music. I say this in every interview but there’s this group called Telefon Tel Aviv, and they’re like this electronic duo. It’s really ambient, there are a lot of cool textures. That’s mostly what I listen to, just ambient music. Going back to the first question … it’s unforunate, I haven’t really bought any new albums that came out this year so I’ve got to play a little bit of catch up.
What sort of music gets the most play time on your bus stereo when Periphery are on the road?
It’s a lot of everything. Like you said, the word eclectic just fits really well. The band is very stoked on this band called The Dear Hunter. There’s two Deerhunters – one of them is d-e-a-r and one’s d-e-e-r, and the d-e-a-r is the one that everybody really likes. I listen to a lot of He Is Legend, Nine Inch Nails, and stuff like that. It’s kind of all over the place.
After touring Australia, what does the rest of 2011 hold for Periphery?
We’re going to go back home for a little while and record. Hopefully we get one of the records done, because we’re going to put out two. Whether they’re released at the same time or separately, it’s too early to tell. We’re just going to be writing at home and then we go on a headliner in the fall.
Thanks so much for your time man, any last thoughts or comments?
Ah no, I’m tired (laughs). I’m tired.
No worries! Cheers for your time dude, see you next month.
Yeah will do man. Thanks for the interview.