Periphery Drummer Explains Working With Former Member as Producer
Periphery's Matt Halpern was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The band has just released their new album, Periphery IV: Hail Stan, on their own label, 3DOT Recordings. The drummer discussed the record, explaining why Periphery elected to open their new record with a 17-minute long track. He also discussed the significance of releasing music on their own label and how working with a former member as their producer and studio bassist has affected the group.
Check out the chat below.
Opening with a track that is nearly seventeen minutes long is kind of an unconventional way to sequence an album. How does "Reptile" establish the album as a whole?
Well, you know, I think we purposefully put it as the first song for a couple of reasons. One, I think it’s safe to say that it’s everyone's favorite track in the band, I know it's our manager's favorite track too. We all really loved how it turned out and how it sort of came to be.
It really showcases every aspect of the album as well. There’s a part in that song that's relative to every other song on the album. Not like exactly linked up by any means, there’s no theming involved, but I think it showcases pretty much every different kind of sound, and feel, and vibe and energy that you’re going to get on the rest of the record, for sure.
Adam "Nolly" Getgood left the band a year and a half ago but he produced and mixed this latest record and played bass on it. Creatively, what changed as a result of what might seem to be an unorthodox band dynamic?
To be honest, nothing really changed. I mean, Adam is very much a family member still. When he left the band, it wasn’t an abrupt thing, it was something that we knew about for a long time. He really wanted to go follow his passions as a producer and a mixer, and we would never hold him back from that. But he’s been very involved in the creative process from the get-go.
One, we’ve been very clear to tell him that we want him involved in the mixing, and we always want him to play bass and add his sound to it - to our music.
Two, I don’t think just because he doesn’t tour with us and because he’s not in the band anymore that that changes anything. We’re not looking to replace him or his sound. We’re happy as the five of us and when the five of us write, we have a great working dynamic together. So adding him to the mix really doesn’t change much, and we’re all such working with each other it's just very easy and very familiar. So as far as the creative process goes, I think it’s pretty status quo.
It isn't a Sumerian Records release, it's an independent on your own 3DOT label. Why is that autonomy necessary at this point in your career?
We knew for a very long time that we wanted to be able to put music out ourselves. It was definitely something we’d been talking about and dreaming about for a very long time. I think if you talk to anybody who works with us they would tell you that we’re probably difficult to work with. But I would argue that we just very much like to be involved in every aspect of what we do.
It’s not just the creative side, we’re very much involved in the business, we’re very much involved in other businesses that are sort of outside the Periphery lines. And, I think we all just want to really be in control of how we put music out there, when we put music out there, not having any restrictions or time frames that don’t really work out with the creative process.
So, for us, it was a necessary thing, and we’re very, very happy. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be since we haven’t actually released the record yet [at the time of the interview], but we’re all very optimistic and we’ve been putting in a lot of work alongside our manager to really get this record out there without a hitch.
People shouldn’t feel any sort of difference between it coming out on a label we used to be on versus coming out on our own label. It’s more so that now we can really control it. So, I guess In that sense, it would essentially be even better.
You were able to devote more time to making this record than any of your previous albums. How did that longer process become an opportunity to be more musically more adventurous?
Without any sort of restraints we could all just take a nice deep breath and feel like, "Okay, let's really go far with this. Let's explore every aspect of our capabilities and the music that we want to write."
One of the sayings that was said a lot when we were making this record was, "Let's get weird." So maybe this show will get weird. I think that was definitely an aspect of it. With no real deadline with no real constraints in terms of what people were in our ear saying, "Hey, make this" or, "Hey, make that," we could just explore.
A true testament of that exploration is opening the album with a 17-minute song. I don't think that's something that would have really been perceived or received by anybody that we've worked with previously in the same way that it does with us having the freedom to not only put music out ourselves but creatively feel completely unchained. I think it just pushed us all into the furthest places that we could go and I'm really happy with the result because of that.
Periphery are heavy, it's progressive — where do the different sides of the band come from in terms of the music you've listened to throughout your lives?
We listen collectively to so much music, to so many different styles of music. I don’t know where I would begin, but I think because everybody has such a vast background of music that they've grown up on, it definitely comes through in our own music. I don't think it's a purposeful thing.
We've never really sat down and had a conversation and said, "Hey let's write a song like this other song or let's use this sort of inspiration from this artist or this record." It's never been deliberate like that.
But I do think everyone's pretty big background of different styles of music, just sort of comes together when we're all together. What's funny is, we don't really all have the same taste in music. Jake really likes electronic music, which I do too, I really like pop music and not everybody in the band is into as much pop or songwriting style music as me. And other guys really like death metal and black metal and I never grew up listening to that stuff in the same way. It's just cool because it all comes together and coalesce and we end up with the result that allows us to be boundless, I suppose.
Thanks to Matt Halpern for the interview. Get your copy of Periphery's new album, 'Periphery IV: Hail Stan,' here and follow the band on Facebook. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show here.
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