Periphery's Mark Talks a Double Header of a Release and Touring Across the Plains

Experimental progressive metal rockers Periphery represents the vanguard of addictive, chaotic, challenging and cathartically inviting heavy music for the modern era. Thus they have released an array of albums, toured relentlessly, played shows on and off with plans of not stopping at all. Guitarist  Mark Holcomb discusses of their new double album "Juggernaut" along with their own headlining tour both happening in the next year!

1. Can you give those of us who aren't familiar with Periphery a brief history of the band and can you please describe your sound for those who have yet to hear your music?

Mark: Hi! We started about 6 years ago in Washington DC, and have been touring since then. If you haven’t heard our music, I would only say we’re progressive metal. We try to avoid specific labels but that’s one kind of lets us play what we want and not be pigeonholed.

2. Where does the band's name come from and represent for you guys?

Mark: Misha came up with the name years ago, and it just kind of stuck. It was a catchy one word name that didn't invoke any preconceptions about the music.

3. Has the band's songwriting process changed much over the years? How does one of your epic songs come to be?

Mark: Definitely. It used to be somewhat of a single-songwriter band, with Misha handling it one the 1st record. On Periphery II, and especially with Clear and Juggernaut, we've grown into a complete democracy songwriting, and we collaborate in every sense of the word. Our songwriting process on Juggernaut consisted of Jake, Misha and I being the principle songwriters - and we wrote the music together during a 3 month period at home. Spencer then wrote a detailed narrative to fuel the concept of Juggernaut.

4. What about musical influences, do you guys have a certain group of acts you stand by for inspiration or does the group change every so often?

Mark: Changes very often, but we all have some similar influences. Dream Theater, Metallica, Pantera, Deftones, Meshuggah. So so many more.

5. Why did you want to release two albums simultaneously?

Mark: Many reasons, but really what we wanted to say musically couldn't fit on one disc. Between the story, the sheer amount of music and the over-arcing statement, it needed to be spread across 2 discs.

6. How would you say these albums compare, differ, and have evolved from one another?

Mark: There are very deliberate similarities. They share many musical and lyrical themes, they begin and end in similar ways, they reference each other, and much more. They do differ stylistically as well - Omega is a bit more of a prog album: longer arrangements, more experimentation, and so on. It’s got an acoustic track, a thrash song, a slower, doomy-sludge song, and an 11 and a half minute song.

7. Why was Alpha and Omega chosen as title choices for these albums, what do these titles represent and relate to the album?

Mark: They basically were established to notate that Juggernaut consists of two parts. It doesn't have a literal connection to the story of Juggernaut, just kind of a cool way to break up the story in 2.

8. How does the music relate to the album's artwork for these releases?

Mark: We hired an artist named Justin Randall, specifically to match the darker, more cinematic tonalities of the music. We were very specific in our directions to him, to match the story in terms color, mood and overall content. The art is very different from a traditional release, and we thought it’d be a cool way to go further in distinguishing the Juggernaut releases as a “different” record for us.

9. Would you count these as your third and fourth albums or is that not the case?

Mark: I would say so, yes. They’re both two very different statements although they share a title and story arc.

10. You have been releasing all of your material via Sumerian Records, has the relationship with them been going well then? You don't see yourselves walking away from them?

Mark: They've been great to us. The role of a label can be a vital one with the industry the way it is, and they've always let us do exactly what we please, which is relatively unheard of for younger bands like us. I don’t see us leaving that relationship anytime soon.

11. What are your expectations for these releases?

Mark: It’s hard to say. The goal with any record for us is to say exactly what we want to say, and nothing more. It can be unfair to project record sales goals and all that, simply because at the end of the day, it’s just metal. We’re not Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars. Hopefully this grows us as a band.

12. You guys will be heading out on a headlining tour, so what do you plan to do to prepare yourselves for this tour?

Mark: Practice, practice, practice. And develop a really cool stage production for these shows.

13. When you headline do you change things up and switch songs from show to show?

Mark: Sometimes. The nature of our music makes it tough to do so since it’s very technical and we have 3 guitarists, so any material that we learn before a tour, we really have to stick to it to avoid getting rusty. That being said, we've been known to sub in and out songs at times to keep things fresh.

14. Since you have so many albums, does it keep getting more difficult to put together a setlist?

Mark: It does. We find that fan favorites change so frequently and we always have to find some balance of keeping them happy, while at the same time playing songs that keep it energetic and exciting for us.

15. What can fans expect to hear? More new songs or old songs?

Mark: Definitely new songs. We’re honestly a bit burnt out from playing some of our older songs, haha. And we’re absolutely itching to play so much of the new stuff, sine a lot of was written specifically to play live.

16. What else besides this tour and album can we expect to see from you guys?

Mark: LOTS more touring in 2015 and beyond. We've never been more proud of any release than we are of Alpha and Omega, and we’re gonna be road dogs for a while to prove it.

17. Any final words for our readers?

Mark: Thank you so much for your support. Come out and see us on tour!

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