Excerpt: Periphery Discuss Their Sophomore Album, 'Periphery II: This Time It's Personal'

The following in an excerpt taken from the September 2012 issue of Guitar World. For the full story, as well as features on Steve Vai and Tosin Abasi, Rush, Meshuggah and more, pick up the issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

A lot has happened to Periphery since last year. You released an EP and replaced two band members. Then it was announced that you were releasing two albums simultaneously, but in the end you released only one.

MISHA MANSOOR: The whole point of the EP was to give people something to chew on while we recorded a new album, which we knew we would need a lot of time for.

JAKE BOWEN: We had an ungodly amount of new material, and initially we wanted to do two full-length albums. One was going to be a normal collection of songs and the other was going to be a concept album. But once we realized the magnitude of that undertaking, we realized we needed to slow down a little bit.

MANSOOR: We tried to set aside six months to work on both projects, which would’ve given us plenty of time, but then we were offered an opportunity to tour with Dream Theater. As far as we were concerned, when you get a chance to play with Dream Theater, you rearrange your plans!

What was it like touring with them?

MARK HOLCOMB: One of the things I really took away from watching a band at their level is that it takes dedication. They warm up in their dressing rooms for hours every night before they go onstage. It’s a harsh reminder that there’s work involved and there’s a reason they’re on top.

Before we talk about the new album, could you expand a little bit on the upcoming concept album?

MANSOOR: I always thought that it would be really cool to compose an album of music in the same way that you’d score a movie. In other words, the lyrics and storyline would come first and the music would be almost secondary to the plot. The arrangements are going to be very unconventional, even by our standards.

While not a concept album, Periphery II has some reoccurring themes.

BOWEN: It certainly does. The first, the seventh and the last track are the beginning, middle and end of a story. They share lyrical themes, melodies and guitar parts.

MANSOOR: It’s a little dorky, but the three songs—“Muramasa,” “Ragnarok” and “Masamune”—refer to three swords from a Final Fantasy video game. Muramasa and Masamune were Japanese legendary sword makers, and Ragnarok is a Scandinavian reference to the end of the world—Viking stuff. That’s the cool explanation…but really we just ripped off Final Fantasy!

For the full story on Periphery's blazing new album, pick up the September 2012 issue of Guitar World now in our online store.

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