« Thank you very much. That’s the first interview I’ve done since I officially joined the band » : Adam « Nolly » Getgood’s voice, at the end of the interview, was both touched and jolly. Even if the man has been a full-time member of Periphery for only a few weeks – a choice that has forced him, not without difficulty, to leave Red Seas Fire, his friends’ band -, he knows perfectly its story, being their long-time friend, live bass player and producer.
Periphery’s new album will be released on the 16th of July. Contrary to the first album, which was almost entirely written by Misha Mansoor, Periphery’s guitarist, this one is the first album truly written as a whole band. Adam Getgood explains us what this evolution means in terms of creative process. He also tells us about Periphery’s future as the band is planning to work on a concept-album called Juggernaut, a new experiment which may have a direct impact on the band’s music.
We also talked with Nolly about the emergence, not to say the huge success of mathcore for a few years, a musical style that is yet quite difficult to understand.
Radio Metal : You revealed a few days ago that you joined the band as a full-time member. You played all the bass and co-produced the new record, but did you participate to the writing process of the album?
Adam “Nolly” Getgood (bass guitar) : In terms of overall songs, not so much : my participation was mainly on the bass parts. At the start, I was mainly there to co-produce the album, but when we got started, it all changed. On all the demos, the bass parts were just rough ideas, just following the guitars, but while recording, I tried out a lot of different things and often the bass lines changed a lot. I heard all the demos, put some input there, as well in the arrangements, but most of the credit should go to the rest of the band.
Since were a long-time friend of the band, I guess this was for them the more evident choice for you, but did they actually look for other bass players ?
It’s a funny thing, really. To be honest, I don’t think they were too bothered about finding a full-time member. They were getting on really well with me filling in when I could and Jeff (Jeff Holcomb, session bass player) also helped them out for the touring, so as far as they were concerned, they were pretty set for that. I think the reason we agreed this to happened in the band was that they wanted me to be a contributing member, something that I was actually interested in.
Since you are a producer, you have the ability to have more insight on the music : do you think that this is a strength you could bring to the band ?
Yes, I’d like to think so. While I was producing this album, we weren’t aware that I was actually going to join the band, so I was very much there from an outsider perspective and this worked out very well. Next time, it will be interesting to see what’s it’s like being on the inside. I’d like to think that I will be able to step back and look at it from a producer perspective. Misha (Misha Moor, Periphery’s guitarist) is a fantastic producer as well, we did it together, and he’s very good at doing that as well : for instance, he can do it on his own stuff. But yes, it will definitely be one of my roles in the band, for sure.
Don’t you think that you could lose this insight, being a full-time member ?
It’s possible, yes, I’m not going to lie (laughs) ! We’ll see how it works out. On the next albums, we’ll probably work again with our good friend Taylor (Taylor Larson, sound engineer) so there’ll always be this outsider perspective : it will be interesting to see how things go. I will try to maintain that objectivity, but maybe you are right : I will be too much involved in it.
Your new album is entitled “Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal”. Does this mean that lyrically, this record is a more intimate one ?
You could say that and it could be true but actually the name is more a tongue in cheek. We don’t take ourselves very seriously : it is a throw-back to a kind of a very cheesy Hollywood action movie. However, for Spencer (Spencer Sotelo, Periphery’s lead vocalist), this album is much more personal : he wrote all his lyrics. On the previous records, he was drafted to do it at the last minute, and most of his parts and lyrics were written for him, so one of the big changes on this album is how much emotional connection there is for Spencer to what he’s singing. I think you could really hear that.
You’ve said that for Spencer, this album was very much personal but at the same time, the album was composed by everyone in the band : this is an interesting paradox, don’t you think so?
Yes, for sure. The first album was very much Misha’s output with a few of the others contributing to some of vocal ideas before Spencer joined. This time around, it was a real group effort. Some of the songs on the new album, like “Froggin’ Bullfish” or “Make Total Destroy” were kind of Misha’s all ideas, but the band contributed to them too. Mark (Mark Holcomb, Periphery’s guitarist) has only joined the band very recently but he instantly jumped right into the band and wrote riffs. In fact, the song “Scarlet” is entirely his, really. On the old albums, one song that was a bit of a team work was “Race Car” : that was Jake (Jake Holcomb, guitar and keyboards in Periphery) and Misha working on it. If you go back and listen to this song, you can hear Jake’s influence on this new album too.
Wasn’t it a bit frustrating form him at first to do all those compromises ?
I can understand that because since Misha wrote all the original material, people think that he wants it to stay the same, but if you actually spoke to Misha, and I know from having spoken to him about this, you would see that he’s so happy of the band’s contribution. Misha’s had a huge weight on his shoulders, and I think he’s always felt that things could be a little one-dimension if only one person does all the job. As far as he was concerned, he was really happy to have such an input from the band. He’s not worrying anymore about where the inspiration comes from, you know. It allows him to be more objective. I don’t think there was any issue about other people coming in writing.
The title of the song “Facepalm Mute” really looks like a working title for a demo song. What’s the story of that song ?
Yes, it looks like a title for a demo song ! It was actually a fan who suggested this funny title. We thought it was so funny that it had to stay. It is also a bit of a critic of all this djent movement and what we think about it and its special guitar technique. We thought it was funny. At the beginning, a lot of the songs had actually crazy working titles that didn’t stay. “Facepalm Mute” was on of them, but we kept the title.
It really looks like mathcore and, more generally, bands playing a very technical music with atypical rhythms are getting more and more popular. How do you explain the fact that such a difficult music to apprehend is getting more and more popular ?
I don’t know (laughs) ! It’s a kind of funny thing. For the listener, this music is very much based on a core of groove. Pretty much of our new album is 4/4, built upon a solid groove and backbeat : even if you don’t really understand the syncopated rhythms, you can find something to nod your head to and this is quite universal. It’s so good that so many people are now involved in technical music and push their musicianship, rather than playing just extremely simple music. I don’t say that simple music is not good, but what’s coming out of this scene is something positive. It’s a cool thing : you can see this in the kids picking up their instruments to take them to the next level.
At festivals, when we see stoner bands like Down on stage, we see all the other bands from this particular scene watching the show on the side of the stage. Does this kind of friendship exist between the bands from this mathcore-djent scene like Tesseract, Protest The Hero, Between The Buried me and you?
Yes, very much so. This genre came out of the Internet culture : a lot of us know the other bands or the people in these bands just through the Internet. We don’t really get to meet each other in person but when we do play on the same line-up, it is always very cool to go over and actually meet these people we’ve been talking to for a long time and see how they put it across live. It’s a very good atmosphere : whenever you see a band doing the same thing as you, you’re aware and it’s natural to watch it from the side of the stage. What’s really cool is that everyone seems to be extremely nice : we’ve got many friends in these bands.
There is a song called “The Gods Must Be Crazy !”. Is it a way to say that the world has gone so mad that the only explanation is that the gods themselves have god crazy ?
It’s not us necessarily saying that, but it is quite a good theme for the song, yes.
In the video clip you made for the song “Make Total Destroy”, we see giant robots rising from the earth and destroying everything. Is this a future you predict for our civilization?
I think that more than anything else, it’s just a concept that we think is really cool. We’re all into sci-fi and that kind of things. We didn’t actually come out with the concept: The excellent Wes Richardson, who produced and directed the video, came up with it and put it to us. We saw what we could do out of it and we definitely went through with that, because we thought it was cool. It fits also with the theme of the song : if you read the lyrics, it is evident that the song is about being controlled by unknown forces.
A few months ago, you stated on you Facebook page that Periphery would release two full-length albums and that the second one will be a concept album called “Juggernaut”. Could you give any information on this project ?
Yes, sure. The plan, when this update came out, was to go into the studio and record the album. But we got the great opportunity to go on tour with Dream Theater and we decided to do that instead. The “Juggernaut” album hasn’t been recorded yet, but it’s pretty much alive in terms of what we want to do. We’re putting a lot of efforts into it. In September I’ll be flying out to the USA, because I live in the UK, for writing sessions and all that. It’s built upon a theme that we set by a song of the first album, “Jetpacks Was Yes !” : the responsibilities that we come with when we become immortal. There’s a video of this song also built upon that theme. It’s an interesting one : I don’t want to give too much away about it, but it’s going to be extreme in terms of the music involved. There will be some soft ambient, electro, poppy and probably the heaviest stuff that Periphery has ever done before. It’s going to be very much dictated by the story that we’re coming up with.
What is the story behind “Juggernaut”?
We’re still discussing it. We definitely want to write the story first and then write the music to that. It’s like writing music for an opera or something like that. There will be more on that when the album comes out, but I don’t want to say too much about it now.
Do you think that writing a concept-album will have an impact on the way you compose ?
I think so : it’s going to be a very interesting experiment to start with the message that needs to be delivered first, and then compose music to fit to that. It’s something that I’ve always been interested in doing, rather than just sitting with a blank page in front of you and waiting for the music to come out from somewhere. To be directed by a story, and having characters based on it is something we’ve never done : we’re looking very much forward to exploring this kind of thing. Juggernaut will be very different from all our other albums.
There are a few guest on Periphery II : this time it’s more personal, like John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan or Wes Hauch from The Faceless. How did you get the idea of having those guests on your album ?
It was more of a case of a wish list, like “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had X on our album ?” . Wes is an incredible friend of the whole band, we’ve know him for years, so it made complete sense to have him on the album. He’s an incredible but very underrated guitar player, so we wanted to give him the opportunity to show off what he can do. John Petrucci is of course a massive inspiration to us and one of the best guitarists in the world : when the opportunity came forward, during the Dream Theater tour, everyone jumped on that occasion ! It is a great honour because he hasn’t done many gusts service for other artists. Guthrie, as for me, he’s one of the best guitarists in the world. Jan, our manager, who did an excellent job : for instance, without telling the band, he managed to contact Guthrie and having him on the album. That was an amazing moment from us when we got Guthrie’s email telling us that he would play on our album !
Did they compose their parts themselves or were they already written for them ?
We entirely left it up to them. All three have got a very distinctive style and that’s what we wanted on the album. We sent Wes and Guthrie demo versions of the songs that Misha had done so that they could write and record their parts themselves. With John, Jake went actually to see him with his laptop and spent a day with him in a hotel room where John wrote the solo and recorded it. It was entirely their own input and that was exactly what we desired.
You have a band called Red Seas Fire. Will you continue to play with them since you’ve joined Periphery ?
Unfortunately, it has had an impact on it and that was one thing that made the decision difficult. The guys in Red Seas Fire are some of my best friends, and even if I’ve had a lot to do for Periphery for years, I’ve always tried to stay loyal to them. But I think it wouldn’t be fair for me to run two full-time bands at the same time, so I had to leave Red Seas Fire. However, I was extremely happy to find that this decision hasn’t seemed to worry them at all. They will be continuing as a four piece band, with one guitarist, Pete. I think they are writing a brand new set of material and that’s very good. It would have been a big thing on my conscience had things not gone so well. I’m going to continue to support them and right now, we’re rerecording the first mini album because we release it differently. Robin, the lead vocalist, will be coming around to record some vocals. Until October and Periphery’s tour, I’ll be touring with Red Seas Fire and helping them in every way that I can.
What made you decide between the two bands ?
To me, it was an obvious decision to join Periphery, having toured with them so much, having seen what they were capable of and having a part in their music. It was not like selling out for a popular band. I simply have the opportunity to turn my love for music into a career : that’s simply the way I look at it as a musician. It sounds a bit cold-hearted, but that’s the way it has to be if I don’t want to have to get a full-time job doing something else.
Interview conducted on July, 5th, 2012 by phone
Transcription : Jean Martinez – Traduction(s) net
Periphery’s Facebook Page : www.facebook.com/PeripheryBand
Album : Periphery II This Time It’s Personal, out on July, 16th, 2012 Century Media Records
This post is also available in: French