Periphery is a band unlike many others. With each member of the band being deeply adept in the areas of both musical performance and musical production, they are always sounding and playing at a whole other level when compared with many of their peers. And their latest offering of Periphery III: Select Difficulty (which I personally scored a 90/100 as its fucking great) is no exception. Filled to the brim with tight grooves, slick guitar riffs and soaring melodies across the board, it once again proved that this is a band to be reckoned with, and not just within the metal community. So much so in fact that the band are even nominated for a Grammy award. That’s right, ‘The Price Is Wrong’ is up for one of the most prestigious awards in music! Last month, I got to chat with drummer Matt Halpern about this next chapter in the band’s career, the Grammys his drum sample library and of course, burgers. Everyone loves burgers, right?
Hey Matt, how you going?
I’m good man, how are you?
I’m well, thanks. So, whereabouts are you in the world and what are you up to today?
Well, I’m in Baltimore, Maryland and I’ve been doing a TONNE of work, getting the word out about [Periphery’s] Grammy Nomination! Apart from that, I had a really good session with my personal trainer so today has been nothing but Periphery and exercise!
Sounds like a rad day! And hey, great job on getting that Grammy nomination for ‘The Price Is Wrong’! You guys must be so stoked.
Thank you so much! Yeah, we’re really excited that we’re at a point now where we can have this opportunity so we’re just working hard on getting the word out to as many Grammy voters as possible so they get a feel for who we are and our personalities. We don’t want this opportunity to go to waste and leave this to chance. We’re a bunch of go-getters in this band so yeah, that what I’ve been doing today.
I don’t know exactly how it all works, do you have like a list of who the voters are or is it all in the dark a bit?
It’s a combination of both actually. There’s a lot of people I know who are on the Grammy Board and can vote. Like, Misha and I and a few other guys in the band can vote and what not. But it really is just about getting the word out there as much as possible and educating as many people as possible who may vote in our direction. We want them to vote for us because they like us, they like the music and they like what we’re doing. All in all, there’s no harm in this outreach and this sort of education about the band so we’re excited to do it.
That’s fantastic man. You know last year we had August Burns Red nominated for a Grammy and now we have you guys. Do you think this is a sign of the times that the scene is sort of shifting and now bands like yourselves are starting to take the helm of the genre?
I think it’s a sign of where the scene is trying to be. I know of a lot of great people on the Grammy Board who do a lot of hard work there and go to a lot of meetings and work with bands like August Burns Red and Gojira and I think because of that, that is where the genre is pushing to. We’ve had this conversation in the band actually. At some point, the big headline acts of “now” aren’t going to be as active and it’s a really exciting question as a punter of “who is going to take those spots?” You’re seeing these new sorts of bands like Bring Me The Horizon, Of Mice & Men, Beartooth and what not that are iconic in their own way are starting to take it to that forefront. And if we can be a part of that then that’s awesome. But it’s just exciting as a lover of the genre that there are acts coming out who are doing it all in their own way. I do think that these bands will be the mainstream of the genre someday.
You know, the Grammy’s get a lot of shit. A lot of people complain that it’s just a bunch of old white men in a room making decisions. You seem quite impassioned about it and you’re on the board yourself so why do you think it cops the flak it does?
I think it has a negative take in certain genres. Like, the people who are into our sort of music often view the Grammy’s as a negative thing. The mainstream is not metal and hard-rock. The mainstream is pop and rock and rap and EDM and country. So when the awards are on TV, that’s the awards that the general public wants to see and what the majority of people care about. So things like the metal category get announced off-screen and people resent that. I don’t however. It makes sense from a practical standpoint. That being said, there hasn’t been a lot of representation from the metal genre on the Grammy board in the past few years. This year, however, there’s a lot younger people who are more in-tune with the genres we care about and they’re really inciteful people to become members of the Grammy board and are trying to incite others to go out and vote. I think that awesome. It’s something we have to actively get out and change. You can’t sit on your ass and complain about it. It’s about what’s in the mainstream. If enough people realise that they have control over who gets nominated and who gets voted then I really do think people will get out there and change it so we have these genres at the forefront. I don’t look at it as a negative, I look at it as a challenge. Periphery and Gojira and Baroness getting nominated, that’s huge! So let’s keep pushing that!
That’s fantastic man. It’s pretty crazy that you’re at this point now as a band. It’s also crazy that you alone as a drummer get to not only travel the world in your band but also just doing drum shows and what not. When did it sort of click for you that you could do that just on the merit of drumming alone?
It’s sort of been a bunch of things really that’s gotten me to this point. I’ve worked really hard, been in a bunch of bands and put myself out there and said yes to so many opportunities. All because I knew that this career was possible. I was seeing all my idols doing that and never thought that this was out of reach. I always just believed in myself. Every day I’m reminded of how lucky I am because of how I get so spend my days and what I get to work on. It’s a combination of getting to do something awesome every single day.
It’s really something, man! What sort of things have you got lined up for this new year in terms of gear or business endeavours? Anything you can talk about?
Well, one thing I am really excited to talk about is my drum sample company, Get Good Drums, which I started with two of my bandmates. It’s a sample library that works within a program called Kontakt. We pretty much recorded the drum samples really extensively and put them all into the library so that both drummers and people who don’t play drums could have the best possible drum samples they could get. We put out my signature library in June and now that we’ve had our feedback from everyone we’re working on some future updates and libraries that we’re really excited about. It really has been incredible in and of itself with passing all our business goals by quite some numbers and I think that’s a testament to our fans and customers being so forthcoming with what we can do to improve it and better it.
One last sort of “fun” thing before you go that I wanted to touch on, was that it seems like from your Instagram that you’re a big burger lover.
Yes! I’m a big burger, chicken sandwich, BBQ guy. It’s really bad for me but it’s my guilty pleasure and I love that stuff!
What would you say is the best burger you’ve had in your travels?
Oh man… You know, I would have to say this place in Sydney called Bar Luca. I stayed in the Three Hills area in Sydney and it was a mile walk from my hotel but it was awesome! You can follow them on Instagram at @barlucasydney. Dude, you gotta see what they make their food is incredible! That was by far the best the place in Australia.
Awesome man, I’ll check it out and drop a link in. You know, I was thinking that you should have your own burger out there called “The Matt Halpurger”.
You know, if there are any burger joints out there that want to do something like that, I would love to take on this challenge, I would be more than happy to design my own burger! [Laughs] That would be excellent!
[Laughs] Fingers crossed! Well, thanks so much, Matt for your time today, was a good chat.
Yeah, thank you so much, Matty! Great talking to you.
Periphery will make their way to our shorelines next month with Polaris & Circles. Pick up your tickets here and get ready for one hell of a show!