Renowned progressive metallers (no, never djent), Periphery are now tackling the concept album, or rather albums with ‘Juggernaut: Alpha’ and ‘Juggernaut: Omega’. The sextet’s dual albums are two sides of the same coin and are yet another showcase of the band’s superb musical ability. But, now they’re also telling a story – one of birth, trials, and tribulations. Before Periphery drop their two new records; we hit up seven-stringer Jake Bowen to talk about Periphery in 2015.
Hey Jake, Alex from KYS here.
Hey there man, Whats going on?
Nothing much man, yourself?
I am just sitting at the back of the tour bus right in a very strange town.
(Laughs) too easy man. Why the two separate albums and not just one big record this time around?
Just because of the amount of music we had. We thought that if it was on one album it’d be a lot to digest. We could also have a lot more graphics for the physical copies, and so we just wanted to make it more digestible for everyone.
Who in the band came up with the idea for the concept album?
It originally started with Misha [Mansoor, guitar], he’s wanted to do a concept album called Juggernaut for a really long time now. We had various ideas about what it was gonna be about, eventually the whole band took on the responsibility of developing the story and Spencer did the narrative with the vocals. So it kind of morphed from one smaller idea into a far bigger one.
Do you think it’s more effective to have the albums come out together? As opposed to what, say, Stone Sour did with their last two albums – release the first album one year, and the second one the following?
Well, it was written together as one continuous piece. We are hoping that everyone will listen to each individual track chronologically as that’s how it as originally intended.
Do you think that other bands and artists should try doing concept albums more often?
Yeah, though I think bands should try things that just work for them. For us it seemed like a really fun project to do. We feel that we did a pretty good job putting one together.
Right on, man. Did Spencer’s time in From First To Last mess with any of the plans you had for the album?
…I hope not (laughs).
(Laughs) Well, are you guys cool with Spencer working in both bands?
As long as Periphery remains the main priority, then I don’t think any one has problem with anyone else’s side-projects. I don’t think that that’s a full time gig for Spencer, and I think he understands that Periphery is the priority, and that it’s a different type of thing all together. We all have our side-projects that we work on around Periphery so as long as it doesn’t interfere, we’re all okay with it.
On the topic of side-projects, I know that you have one going and have plans for an album to be released soon.
Yeah man, I have an electronic music album coming out very soon.
How long have you been working on that for?
I’ve just been doing tracks for a while now. I have somewhat of an EP on Soundcloud, but it’s not anything too serious but this will be the first serious release. It took me about a year or so to work on.
Sounds good dude. With the production of the albums, is it easier having one of your band members at the producer’s helm?
Definitely. When you have people involved with a record, they need to understand the sound you’re going for. When you have someone who can record and produce, and they’re in the band and can contribute material, I do think that this is a lot easier.
With the ‘Clear’ EP last year, I was wondering if you’d try your hand at doing something like that again?
If the right idea comes along, then I don’t see why we wouldn’t do something like that on another EP or even an album. We just get together and figure out what sort of projects we want to do. When we did the ‘Clear’ EP and then followed it up with a concept record, it’ll be whatever we can come up with next really.
I remember watching some of the Gear Gods videos last year with you talking about your Ibanez JBM 100, is it a weird or fulfilling feeling to have a guitar that people will want to own outright or emulate in tone and design?
It’s definitely a weird feeling. I didn’t set out to have signature gear – it was just about being in a band and writing music with these guys. This band has enabled me to have things like signature products. I just wish I could take total credit for getting a deal with Ibanez but it’s all due to the band, so I’m appreciative of that.
Would you say it’s like the industry acknowledging and respecting what you and Periphery do?
That’s a very interesting question because I think that people eventually get it. I feel like as more people hear it [the music], like the top tier musicians or people, they’re waiting to see how we develop. We’re still a young band and we’re still developing our sound, and whatever image comes with that, but the sound is the most important thing. I think as we mature and prove ourselves, I think we’ll change the minds of people who wrote us off and saw us as a fad. To succeed you have to reach out to influential people in the industry, so hopefully they get it, or eventually will.
Good insight there man. At the start of 2014, you guys made your way out here with Animals As Leaders, how was that?
Oh, that was a wonderful tour. That was like a vacation for us from all the grinding we do elsewhere. The crowds are very grateful to have bands from abroad come out. Just being able to play with Animals As Leaders, who are really good friends of ours, was great. They’re probably some of the sickest musicians we know. It was a great tour man.
In terms of your own music, would I be right in saying that you guys prefer to not be labeled as djent?
I wouldn’t say that any of us like or dislike it. It’s just that we don’t understand it. We all come from different backgrounds musically, and we would label it as ‘progressive’. So to have others call it something is rather weird. I think it’s kind of cool that there is a sub-culture for it. I know some people just write it off as bedroom bands, but there’s a lot of cool bands coming out of the scene and it’s getting more and more attention.
As you said, there’s a lot of bands coming out with that sound, do you feel good or even a bit weird knowing that Periphery would have been a big influence on them?
Oh man, I only hope so. I think its great that when you do something, other people take influence from that. It’s a really great feeling. I hope a lot of people explore more too and maybe have a fraction of our influence, but to draw other influences into the pot. But I’m honoured to be a part of it for sure.
With you, Misha and Mark [Holcomb, guitar], do you guys ever butt heads when writing and recording, or is it all pretty chilled?
It’s really chilled out. We all have really good chemistry when writing together. Whenever one of us is writing something really cool, it’s usually no effort for someone to write something to accompany it. It’s not a hard thing to do, at least with us.
Now, do you have any recent favourite albums?
You know, not really, sorry. I haven’t explored enough to know what’s coming out this year. I know that’s really lame but I’ve been so into guitar and video games that I haven’t really thought of any to be honest. Ask me in a couple of months if we come to Australia (laughs).
Oh, so you’re a big gamer?
Yeah man, we recently got a PS4 for our tour bus so we’ve been playing a lot of Destiny, and I bought The Last Of Us and Grand Theft Auto V.
Do you have a favourite out of those?
Oh, definitely Grand Theft Auto. What other game can you do whatever you want in? It’s fun just staring at the T.V. slack-jawed while you’re driving around. It’s like when you were six or seven and you’d crash toy cars, and this is like a video version of that, except worse (laughs).
Do you listen to your own music while playing it?
(Laughs) Oh no, never man I just listen to the radio stations in the game when I’m driving around.
The radio stations have some sick music for sure. Well, I’ve taken enough of your time today Jake, thanks a lot man.
Hey take it easy man, thank you.
‘Juggernaut: Alpha’ and ‘Juggernaut: Omega’ are out this Friday (23/1) via Roadrunner Records Australia.