A Very Personal Interview with Periphery: This Time It’s Heavy!

Few current day bands seem to divide the heavy music community, let alone Heavy Blog’s readers and contributors, like Periphery, and few musicians are as controversial and as outspoken as the band’s mastermind, Misha Mansoor.  So when the band was recently in Melbourne for the Soundwave festival, I jumped at the chance to sit down with Misha and vocalist Spencer Sotelo for an extended chat regarding, amongst other things, their views on their expansive social media footprint and the utility of modern production techniques, as well as a world first exclusive insight into the definitive meaning behind their recently released video to ‘Scarlet‘. To be warned, this interview clocks in at around 6000 words, so if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, check out our interview below!

Okay dudes, while it’s a tradition in Australian interviews to ask people whether they’ve cuddled koalas, surfed Bell’s Beach or eaten Vegemite, please rest assured, I am not going to ask you any of those sorts of questions –

SS: That’s good becuase I hate kangaroos!

MM: And my answer would be ‘no’, because I had to do interviews!

Now you’re out here for the Soundwave festival, which last week was afflicted by a pretty severe case of the drummers’ curse, and I just wanted to start by making sure Matt is okay.

MM: This is like one of the first times that Matt IS okay.

SS: Yeah he’s in pretty good form right now.

So no mystery illnesses or new-found phobias?

SS: Only his phobia of vagina.  He’s gone over to cock!

MM: But that isn’t stopping him from having sex with women.

SS: No, that’s scaring US!  It has nothing to do with him being able to play!

MM: He can still hit the drums.

SS: I just have to watch my bum on stage –

MM: He has a very simple job.  If it’s round, hit it, and if it’s not round, don’t hit it.  He can handle that.

I suppose then the problem is that if a butt’s kind of round, then I imagine he wants to hit that.

MM: Well you have to be very specific about it being perfectly round, because a butt’s not perfectly round, it just has rounded parts.  I mean, a cymbal is perfectly round, a drum is perfectly round, and those are the things he is allowed to hit.  Everything else he is not allowed to hit, and if he does, then he has some time in the booboo box.

So, you played in Brisbane two days ago and in Sydney yesterday.  How’s the tour going so far?

SS: Well for both of those shows, our crowd area has been completely full, so it’s been amazing man.

MM: It’s weird because we saw when we were playing, and we were like, that’s going to be the nose bleed time –

At 12pm or so –

MM: Yeah, which in America sucks – you don’t want to be at that time – and we didn’t know any better, so we were like, well, we must not be a very big band in Australia.  Then we thought, well, all these other bands are pretty big, and we don’t know how we stack up to them, so whatever, it’s good promotion, and even if we don’t play to a big crowd, at least we’re in Australia having a good time.  But my God, it’s crazy!  I mean, you guys must really like to walk around festival grounds because it’s packed when we play, and it’s only 12 o’clock.

Well you know, people are hanging out for this festival, so they want to get there early and they want to see as many bands as they can.

SS: Man, I’ll play at six in the morning if I have to.  I don’t give a shit!

MM: I’ve been honestly surprised, because it has not affected us, and the band that has played before us on our stage is Memphis May Fire, and they’re opening it, and you would think that they have a terrible slot, but no, they have an absolutely packed crowd in the palm of their hand, and they absolutely destroy it.  So, it’s just different here.

Are there any particular bands on the bill that you’ve been looking forward to playing with, and hanging out with?

SS: The Dear Hunter

MM: Yeah, The Dear Hunter, A Perfect Circle

SS: Puscifer

MM: Metallica.  It’s so hard though, because the line up is so eclectic, and I just forget all the bands –

SS: Tomahawk, Stone Sour, Lucero –

And what about Australian bands? I know you guys are pretty tight with Twelve Foot Ninja, and I want to speak about them a little bit in a moment, but the Australian heavy music scene has really taken off over the last couple of years.  Are there any particular Aussie bands that you’re into or you’d like to check out while you’re here?

SS: Karnivool.

MM: Yeah, Karnivool. I wish they were playing Soundwave this year.  What’s up with that?

I don’t think they’ve ever played Soundwave.

SS: I think they are recording –

They ARE recording.  They’re in Byron Bay as we speak.

MM: That is such a bummer man.  I was really looking forward to seeing them.

Well getting back to Twelve Foot Ninja. You are both bands that seem to appreciate the more humerous side of things, and I have a strong suspicion that you guys might be joining them in a film clip either today or tomorrow, and making a bit of a cameo.  Is that right?

MM: Well, part of that was filmed earlier today, but some of our instruments didn’t arrive when they were supposed to, so we had to improvise.

SS: We air banded on stage.  I mean, it’s retarded, but –

So any chance we’re going to see you doing some parkour, or are you just playing the condiment wielding bad guys?

MM: The problem with the parkour thing is that none of us can actually do that.

SS: We’ve all got fat asses!  We’re not are very athletic.

MM: We could do the parkour fail edition where you just see us get hurt really badly, but apart from that we would need them to be our body doubles or something.

SS: I could parkour my face into somebodies vagina, but that’s about it! (Much laughter)

So are you guys playing their song, or what’s the deal with that?  Can you give us a bit of an insight?

MM: There wasn’t even any music!

SS: Yeah, you know what we did? (Claps) There was a guy clapping and we rocked out to the tempo!

MM: Yeah we rocked out to some clapping.

Speaking of film clips, tell us about the clip to ‘Scarlet’. Obviously there’s been a fair bit of discussion over the past couple of weeks as to what the meaning or the basis behind the clip is –

MM: There’s no meaning, there’s no meaning.  It’s ketchup versus mustard.

SS: What do you think the meaning is?

I’ve been thinking that ketchup is a scarlet colour, and maybe there’s something there –

SS: Clearly the mustard bottle is Jesus and the ketchup bottle is Satan.

MM: Way to spell it out for everyone!

SS: Because –

MM: Wait! No, you know what? We talked about this.  I’m sorry.  Can we just, off the record –

Sure, I can pause…I’m just joking –

MM: We talked about this, alright!  Off the record, we did talk about this, and we’re not mentioning anything, because we can’t have people knowing that –

SS: Yes, that they’re religious figures.  I’m sorry.

MM: I just said, if people find out about the mustard being Jesus, it’s over man.

(Matt Halpern: It doesn’t matter to me though, because I’m Jewish.  So fuck it!)

MM: I’m Jewish too, and we still believe in Jesus, we just think that he’s more of a ketchup bottle, and they think he’s mustard, and that’s the fucking problem man!

I think that the lesson from this story Spencer is that just because  a lawyer asks you a question, doesn’t mean you should fucking answer the question.

MM: Yeah, exactly, I told you –

SS: I stand corrected.

And when it’s a lawyer and a music journalist rolled into one, there’s a double whammy man, so, rookie mistake man.

MM:  It’s about ketchup versus mustard and nothing more.  It’s not about Jesus at all!

Alright, well, I think it’s fair to say that the metal community, or the heavy music community, takes itself pretty seriously, and some might say a bit too seriously at times, but you guys seem to maintain a pretty lighthearted approach –

MM: I think the music speaks for itself.

SS: The music, there’s nothing funny about it, and we’re very proud of what we do, but we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously, so we put out a video –

MM: How could you do that?  How could you be serious all the time?  It would be so boring and lame.  Bands aren’t like that all, and some bands don’t mind showing it in some aspects, whereas some bands do,  but I can guarantee you that when you go on the road with a band you have a good time, because, the music’s always very serious, and therefore, nothing else really has to be.  I mean, we’ve done serious music videos before, and it’s not that we necessarily wanted to do a non-serious one, but it was an idea that was suggested by our director, Wes Richardson, who also did ‘MAKE TOTAL DESTROY’.  I went to him with two criteria and I was like, number one, I want a concept that doesn’t look like anything our peers have done, and number two, that you can watch from beginning to end and enjoy, even if it is muted.

SS: And number three, make it metaphorically about Jesus! (More laughter)

So then, is the image that you guys have important to you?  I mean, it’s always been my view, Misha, that you and the band appear to be fairly calculated and considered.  So, do you think that your image or your persona is something that you’ve cultivated deliberately, or is it something that has occurred organically?

MM: I think it is something that has occurred organically, and I also think it is something that we’ve had to discover, because the very nature of image now is very different to what it was pre-internet.  Back then, bands could be a lot more mysterious, but now everyone’s accessible.  Everyone’s on Facebook, everyone’s on Twitter, and everyone feels like they’re just a step away from you.

Not everyone’s out there as much as you are though.

MM:  Sure, and it’s worked.  I mean, we exist because of that and we have to cater to it to some degree.

But is there a balance? 

MM: There is a balance, but it’s a completely different dynamic than what it was before, because before there were meet and greets, and you could watch bands on TV, and that was about it.  Now you can interact with your favourite bands and you can ask them questions, and I think that creates a different dynamic, such that I think some of these kids feel entitled to make decisions for us, and that is where we draw the line.  We are still doing what we want to do, and we are lucky enough to be on lables that are prepared to let us do what we want to do, and that say we can put out whatever music we want, whatever t-shirts we want and whatever music videos we want, and if we are going to have the freedom to do that, then we should take advantage of it.  And if you hadn’t noticed, even within the ranks of Heavy Blog, ours is a very polarising band, and I think that is a very big part of our success, because people talk about us.  People love us and people love to hate us, and the video to ‘Scarlet’ is no exception to that as you’ve seen, and so we couldn’t ever possibly listen to the fans about anything, because we’d never get anywhere.  We can only really trust ourselves, which is what we set out to do in the beginning.  So that’s how I think the dynamic has changed and that’s where I think the line is drawn now.

SS: That’s why we do what we do.  We do it for ourselves.  We don’t do it for anyone else but ourselves.

MM: And if you don’t like it, that’s totally cool, and we can still be friends.  There’s a lot of people who I am friends with who probably hate my music and think I am a retard for doing this, but that doesn’t mean I think they are bad people.  That would be like saying, ‘you don’t like chocolate, and I love it, so you suck now,’ and this is the kind of attitude you see now because of everyone getting so butthurt and so attached, and music is of course a very personal thing, but I think the thing to remember is that we would be doing this now even if no-one gave a shit, and we were in fact doing this back when no-one gave a shit, back before djent was a thing, and back when djent was still just what I called a power chord.  No-one gave a shit and no-one understood, and we would play shows and people would give us the finger, but we were still stoked to be doing that because we were playing music that makes us happy.

But once you’ve had a bit of success, I imagine you don’t want to go back.

MM: I think I can honestly say that if we have to stop doing what we love to do to maintain fame, then it’s not worth it.

SS: That is true.

MM: It’s not fucking worth it.

SS: But that’s not to say we want to go back to doing what we were doing before all of this.

So it does matter to you then that people like what you do.

SS: Absolutely, but we would never change what we want to be doing to achieve more success.

MM: Look at it this way, we have been very fortunate to have put out two albums that were exactly what we wanted.  Maybe not what everyone else wanted, or maybe exactly what they wanted too, but that never entered the equation.  This is music that makes us happy.  We put it out and it does good, and if it stops doing good, then that sucks for the band, but we’ll still be happy.  If it gets to a point where we can’t afford to be a band anymore, then that’s just the way it is and we’ll move on to other things.  We’ll enjoy the ride while we’re on it because we’re really fortunate to be in this position.  I think that if you’re going to be an artist you really have two choices.  I mean you can always work in the middle but then you’re at risk of not giving your all.  You can either say, I want to make money in this industry, and do what you’ve got to do, suck all the dicks you have to suck, play in whatever bands you’ve got to play in, and play for the money –

Burn bright, burn fast.

MM: Not necessarily.  You could have a very long and fruitful career doing that, but you won’t likely be playing the music you love, although there are always exceptions, and you’ll be doing it with money as your end goal.  So, change what you do to make money.  Or you can be an artist, and you can say well fuck it, and you may not make any money.  I mean, while it might look like we’re getting somewhere, really we’re just a speck.  We’re not a big band and we don’t make a lot of money.  We’re lucky to break even with this band and to support our lifestyles, but we do it for the love, so we wouldn’t compromise any aspect of that to make just a bit more money, which really wouldn’t be that much more money anyway.  We might as well just stick to what we do and be proud of what we put out, even if we don’t make a ton of money doing it, and if that gets to the point where it’s not worth it then we’ll do something else.  I would never hold it against someone if they said ‘Look, I’ve now got some opportunities to make money and that’s now a priority for me’, and as we approach thirty –

With increasing responsibilities and so on –

MM: …these are important discussions to have, and that we have had.  So I would never hold that against anyone because being in a band and touring is very hard.  It’s very rewarding, but it is also very hard.

So looking at it from a musical perspective then, where to from here for you guys, because the way I see it, ‘This is Personal’ is a far more cohesive effort than the first album –

MM:  Well it literally is –

But it sounds and feels that way as well –

MM: Right.

…and I’m therefore interested in ‘Juggernaut’ for a number reasons.  Firstly, because I know that to some extent you’ve been working on it during the process of writing and recording ‘II’, and so I’m wondering whether we’re likely to hear any evolution in your style or sound.

MM: Spencer, would you agree that it’s darker?

SS: It’s darker, but it’s also whatever we want to be doing at the time and we’re not trying to fit any one vibe –

But what IS that?

SS: Whatever the fuck we want to do, man.

MM: It really is, because you get inspiration to write, and you get inspiration from whatever.  I think people think it’s the other way around, like, ‘I want to write something dark!’

Sure, but I’m not suggesting that it’s calculated, or that you’re saying, ‘I want to write something like x’.  What I want to know is, when it’s happening organically and you guys are all firing as a group, what’s coming out from that?     

MM: If there is one word I’d use it’s cinematic.  It’s almost like a score to a story or something, and the arrangements sort of reflect that in the way that they flow, as opposed to Periphery I and II, on which the songs a lot more direct –

More confined.

MM: Exactly. Each song on those albums is like its own little world, but Juggernaut is lot more expansive in its themes, and that’s the only approach we are conscious of having because that’s the fun of it, and that’s the challenge.  It’s something that we haven’t done.  I mean, we kind of touched on that approach on the last album with the trilogy, being the first, seventh and last songs, but that’s more of the direction in which we’re heading.  Having themes, movements and moods that are created and build on a much more grandiose scale, rather than being just confined to one song.

And now that this line-up has been together for some time, are you finding that the influence of Spencer and the other guys is becoming more prevalent or obvious, and can you tell me from your point of view Misha – but please chime in also Spencer – what each of the members contributes.

MM: Spencer has an incredible compositional sense, and writes really epic, just totally sounding epic stuff, and I think alot of people don’t realise that.  He has a very strong compositional and melodic sense, which I love, and is very different from what I would do, and I appreciate that.

SS:  Every member has a different aspect that they bring to the writing style –

MM: But it all kind of works together.  Mark’s got this melodic style that I wish I understood, but I don’t, because the way his notes jump around is different to the way my notes do, but I love the way his do, and I’m like, ‘ Why didn’t I think of that!’  And Jake, well I don’t really know how to put it, but firstly, he’s probably written more riffs than anyone –

SS: In like the last six months.

MM:  He just hasn’t recorded any.  He’s just committed them all to memory, and I’m kind of scared, because I think they are going to be just incredible.  He has this melodic sense that is literally unlike anyone I’ve ever heard – unlike ANYONE I’ve ever heard – and it’s always one step ahead of where I’m at, to the point that I feel like the stuff that I’m contributing now is the most boring.  Matt’s always had the beats on lockdown, to the point where I’ve gotten lazier with programming, because there’s not really much point.  Now it’s kind of like, here’s the idea, but I know Matt’s going to make it way cooler, so I won’t invest too much time on it.

So do you now see your role as being more a facilitator then, as opposed to –

MM: A lot of the time, yes, I’m just producing the ideas and getting the ideas together.  Nolly of course is an incredible guitarist, and while he isn’t the most prolific writer, he’s the equivalent of that guy who doesn’t talk too much, but when he does, you listen, because the stuff he does contribute is killer.

You always have to watch out for the quiet ones.

MM: Right! I mean, he does have dead bodies in his basement, but he writes great riffs so it’s all good.  So he, Spencer and I are really on the production team.  I mean, Spencer has the vocals on a complete lockdown, and has great layering and orchestral ideas.  Jake’s got the electronic side of things, and Nolly and I focus on guitar, bass and drums.  So we really have this approach from the engineering and production side of things too, as opposed to just the songwriting, and I think that’s really important because people like albums that sound good.  A lot of times, the production can deter people from listening, and there have been albums that I haven’t been able to get into because it hasn’t sounded that good, but there have been bands that I wouldn’t otherwise have given a chance except for the high quality of the mix

It’s interesting though, because I reckon one of the attractions of heavy music, metal and extreme music is its authenticity.  You can hear that it’s four or five or six guys who are actually playing their instruments as opposed to it being wholly produced as you might hear in pop and some other styles of modern music.  So recently, there’s been some controversies about the use of so-called studio wizardry or production trickery, and I know that Misha you’ve had a lot to say on this issue in the past and are an unashamed user of some of these techniques, but where do you think the line is?

MM: I don’t think there is a line in the studio.

SS: I think the line is when you’re using something as a crutch.  If you’re using something for an effect –

So in terms of half-speed recording then, if you can actually play it and perform it fast, then it’s okay to record it slower.

MM:   Sure, and if you can’t play it fast then you just work to the point where you can.  I’ve recorded demos at half-speed because I couldn’t nail the parts, but then practiced my arse off so I could record the final version at full speed.    I’ve also used half-speed recording as an engineering trick because when you’re playing fast runs with the kind of attack that our guitars have, the pick attack is most of what you hear at speed, whereas the nature of playing things slower is that there is almost no attack, which is why most producers can tell instantly when something has been recorded at half-speed.  It has a very distinct sound, a pure fundamental where you have these very notey runs that pop out at you in a very beautiful way.  Now, we didn’t use any half speed tricks when recording the last album, but when recording demos, I like to fuck around and try shit out, and I also did this a bit on the first album, and that is to record one at half speed and one at full speed, and then level it out so that you have one that is attack and one that is fundamental, and you can control how much of each you use.  That has a very specific end, and has nothing to do with whether you can play your instruments.

It’s for an effect.

MM: That’s right, but if you’re using it as a crutch because you can’t play your material, and you’re just reading three notes at a time from Guitar Pro because you can’t play your own riffs, then that’s a problem.

SS: Another one is pitch correction, which I know is a bit of a dirty term for some people, but it can actually be used to build and stack some crazy sounding harmonies.

MM: Like Melodyne.

SS: Like Melodyne, which is an awesome tool to compose harmonies or to get a robotic effect if you want it, but it is a double edged sword, because a lot of people have fallen victim to using it as a crutch as opposed to learning how to sing properly and to nail their parts, thinking that they’ll just use Melodyne or auto-tune to fix it.  I have seen so many singers go into the studio and after one take are like, ‘I’m done’, and I’m there thinking, ‘Okay…’.

MM: Spencer produces vocals so he has to see that stuff too.

SS: They’re just like, ‘Have auto-tune fix it’, and it’s just bullshit, man.

And when it comes to a gig there’s nowhere to hide, is there.

MM: No.

SS: A lot of people even use it live now, and it’s to the point where we now have the technology to do that.

MM: It’s funny when people use it live –

Well what about that then, when people use it live, because there was another controversy about that recently too.

MM: Well if a singer’s not good enough and you’re trying to put on a show, then I would say that that’s up to you, just like it’s up to you if you want to have a lap top doubling your parts and that is louder than you are because you can’t play your guitar.  It’s your choice, and people are going to call you out on it, and you can’t be mad when they do.

SS: I would rather just go out on stage and fail trying than use pitch correction.

Because it’s disengenuous.

SS: Yeah! Absolutely.

MM It’s the same thing for me.  I wouldn’t have my guitar parts playing on a backing track just because I hadn’t learned or practiced my parts.  I would practice them up or I wouldn’t play them at all.  I would say, ‘Alright, I’m not good enough to play these parts, I aimed too high, I used it as a crutch, and now I can’t play them.’  Or, I’d just practice my arse off, and a lot of our music has been like that, you know –

But that’s okay, because that’s pushing yourself to where you want to be.

MM: I’ve never really taken lessons, so that’s how I’ve gotten better at guitar; by writing stuff in a computer environment so you can record sections at a time, and then the fun part is piecing it all together, and when you nail it for the first time, it’s like, ‘Yes!’

It’s funny because we were talking about the half-speed thing before, and I think practicing at slow speed is really effective. I used to be a violinist when I was younger and what my teacher always said was not to practice fast runs fast, but to practice them slowly so you can work on each note, and then to build it up.

MM: That’s because at speed you’ll take shortcuts that you never notice, but when you slow it down you realise, ‘Oh I’m missing some notes there!’  So absolutely, and I would say even more so recording.  Recording will make you a better guitarist for two reasons; firstly, you’re recording to a click, and I’ve always been pretty good at playing to a click because I’ve always been recording with clicks, and I didn’t even realise that that was training, so it comes very naturally now as a result –

That’s not a new thing, though, in the sense that classical musicians  practice to a metronome.

MM: Yeah, but practicing to a metronome sucks, and I used to take piano lessons and practice to a metronome, and I hated it.  When you’re recording, you have to play to a metronome, and when you’re double tracking guitars you have instant feedback –

You can hear how badly you’ve played it.

MM: When you’re just playing to a metronome, you might think you’ve nailed, but you won’t know if you haven’t recorded it, or if you’re a vocalist and you think you’ve nailed it, you might listen to it back and be like, ‘Ooohh…’  So I think that is a tool that is very useful.  Spencer was a very green singer when he joined the band, and there was a lot of stuff that he couldn’t do and he couldn’t pull off live, but through recording he has improved his voice a lot because he’s had that instant feedback.  There’s no boosting of the ego there, because when you suck, you suck, it’s very plain, and there’s no hiding that.  If you’re not playing on the beat and you’re not double tracking tight, you’ll know instantly, so I think these are tools that can make guitarists better, if you use them wisely.  If you use them as a crutch, then it will only cause you to not advance, and to plateau right where you are.

I’m not sure if our time’s up but –

MM: Who cares, we’re having fun, man.

Well until we’re interrupted I’ll keep asking questions, because this is interesting stuff, so getting back to ‘Juggernaut’, I heard Jake talking recently about the concept behind the album, and he was mentioning something about an immortal, and it all sounded pretty cerebral.  Can you tell me a little bit about what you understand the concept to be? 

MM: It was one of those things that we were talking about, but in the end, Spencer’s the one who decides the lyrics, and Spencer, as I understand it, doesn’t even want to tell us about it, although I think we ditched that idea –

SS:  There have been a lot of things that have changed, a lot more things will probably change as the album goes on –

And I know you don’t want to give too much away, and you probably shouldn’t.

SS: Yeah, there are some things I’ve been thinking about, but we’ll see what happens.

When should we expect to hear  it?

MM:  We’re still demoing.  We have no clue, and if there’s one lesson that we’ve learned, it’s not to set deadlines.  There’s no need for them, and we’ve always delivered our albums late because we weren’t happy with where they were at on our deadline, and to us quality is the most important thing.

As it should be.

MM: So these are arbitrary deadlines that have no negative effect on us when we break them.  All they do is cause stress, because we’re like, ‘Fuck, we need to do that!’, and we’re racing, and we’re pulling 15 hour days in the studio.

SS: Periphery III: This Time There’s No Deadline!

MM: Yeah, but that really is the way forward because we’re also still really early in the album cycle, and I think some people are forgetting that the last album only came out –

Like six months ago.

MM: So we have plenty of time, and we are writing now, but it’s going to happen very organically –

And you’re still really touring the last album as well.

MM: But we can all write and record so easily, so when we’re at home, we just record, and if it’s appropriate, it will get appropriated.  We might have too much material, but it’s about finding the best and the most appropriate material for what the album is going to be about.  When that comes together, we’ll take time off and record it, but I don’t know when that’s going to be.

It’s probably another one of those things that comes with updates and so on, because people are seeing that process at work and it builds their anticipation.

MM: I think it’s important to keep that going and to let people know that we’re working on it.  It’s to keep it relevant, it’s important nowadays, and it’s one of those things that has done very well for us.  So that’s why we do that, not because it’s rolling around the corner.

Alright, last question.  Firstly to you Spencer, the five albums that have shaped you as a musician and why.

SS: This is tough on the spot! One would definitely be Slipknot‘s Iowa, for the fact that Corey Taylor’s vocals on that album are more insane than the vocals on any other album I have ever heard.  They are so in your face and angry, and they have influenced me a lot in the screaming department and the way I use screaming.

MM:  There’s got to be a Devin album in there somewhere.

SS: Oh, Deconstruction, that as well is just so angry and in your face.  I mean, I don’t even really listen to that much metal, but those are two albums that I just love.

What about non-metal then, if that has been more influential on your vocal style?

SS: Yeah…mmm…this is hard…

That’s cool, I’ll switch to Misha and come back to you.

MM: A big one for me is Around The Fur by Deftones.  That was a real game changer for me.

It blew my fucking mind!

MM: At the time I was playing drums and guitar, and it was when I was like, ‘I want to do this and I want to try and write music like this.’  Then Meshuggah with Chaosphere, and obviously they are a huge influence on us, but you no what is probably even bigger than that, and that is Special Defects, which is Frederik Thordendal’s solo album, and that has probably had a greater influence on us than any Meshuggah album.

In what way has it influenced you?

MM: In the approach to rhythmic structures and arrangements, and the vibes that you can get.  I think Special Defects is one of THE best albums, and it is just so out there.  It’s so hard to pick a Devin album but there has to be a Devin album in there.  I don’t know if it would be Synchestra or Alien, but one of those albums.

SS:  I would definitely say Binary Universe by BT, and I would also say both Angel Dust and The Real Thing by Faith No More, just because Mike Patton is a fucking boss, and he’s probably one of the most influential vocalists of our time and I’ve taken a lot of influence from him.’

MM: Calculating Infinity by Dillinger, but I can’t just do five, I mean, these are just the first five that popped up, and there are some very seminal albums, but the one’s I’ve said are all very important.

(Lucy from Warner Music enters the room and signals that our time is up)

So are we going out to get fucked up tonight?

MM: No, we’re jet lagged as fuck dude!

Fair enough!  Well alright then dudes, thanks for your time!

– GS

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