With progressive metal act Periphery ready to release sixth full-length ‘Periphery IV: Hail Stan’, the band have not only taken a new approach to its recording, they’re also self-releasing it through their own label, 3DOT Recordings.
A group that has been known to push their own boundaries with each release, the intrigue as to how they will manage it this time around has been building. With the recent release of lead single ‘Blood Eagle’ giving a taste of what’s to come, the record looks to be as eclectic as ever.
We caught up with frontman Spencer Sotelo to see how the change in process has influenced the record alongside the group’s plans for the album cycle.
DP!: It looks like you’ve had a busy twelve months with Nik Mystery, working on ‘Hail Stan’, and self-releasing it. I was wondering how has that been for you?
SS: It’s actually been a really good experience, not just for me but also for everybody in the band. Getting to take a year off from touring and having the luxury of having so much time to write and record. Having the time to make sure everything is perfectly the way we want it. No loose ends this time around, it was really cool that we were able to afford ourselves this luxury.
DP!: I listened to ‘Hail Stan’ last night, brilliant record, it sounds very diverse and I was wondering what additional influences did you guys look at this time around compared to previous releases?
SS: I don’t think it was necessarily any influences that we had in mind whilst writing the songs. I think it was just a culmination of where everybody’s at and their headspace right now. Just letting the song go where it wants to go and not trying to force anything. For example, the first track, ‘Reptile’, that could’ve easily been turned into as shorter song, but the song feels like it needs to be that long. It needed more parts and it turned into this beast that we didn’t set out to create, but ultimately that’s where it ended up.
DP!: That brings me straight to my next question. Opening up with ‘Reptile’, did you guys feel confident going in with it, or were there moments that were slightly daunting as it flows seamlessly from section to section?
SS: It wasn’t super easy to get it to flow like that, but a lot of the sections that the guys wrote they felt like they all belonged to each other. It was just a matter of figuring out how to fit everything together, and I think they did a really good job of doing that.
DP!: Most definitely/ As you said earlier, having a year to work on a record, how has it been compared to working on other albums? Did you feel like you could nit-pick and experiment more?
SS: Yeah, definitely. Having the time to do that and not settling on certain ideas because there’s a deadline or anything, really getting to mull things over, and maybe there were things that I liked personally at first I did but after sitting on it for a couple of weeks or a months or so, then it was like no, I need to re-work this part or do this line a little bit differently, or maybe just the character on something. That’s something that I’ve never had the time to do before and not having any loose ends on this record. I’m pretty sure that everybody feels the same way, but I can’t speak for everybody, but from myself I can confidently say because of that year I don’t have any regrets about the record, and at this point in time there’s nothing I would have done differently.
DP!: With your vocal technique, especially on this album, it’s so varied and it’s dense and cohesive. How did you approach that? Did it come over time, or did you set out to really put it into that album?
SS: Every time I go into a record, I’m like, “How I can one up myself from last time?” It’s always going to be better for myself at least. I’ve got to feel good and that I’m progressing. I’m always trying to better myself as a singer and have varied character and all these sorts of things, and with this record I listened to the songs and thought, “What does this part need? What does this song need? What is it telling me?” And it goes back to not trying to force anything, but really give it a 100% of the character that we believe this part needs and just owning that.
DP!: So, after the record’s release, what are the plans for this year? What’s on the horizon?
SS: We have a tour coming up in the US, starting at the end of March going into the third week of April. We’re going to be touring with Dance Gavin Dance, and another band on that tour is from over here in the UK, Don Broco. That’s going to be a really cool tour.
DP!: That sounds like a good line-up.
SS: A very diverse line-up. It’s really cool that there’s also some other bands on the tour and no-one really sounds like anyone else. It’s actually a breath of fresh air, I think. Like, it’s going to be nice to not just hear metal bands or the same kind of rock or anything like that on the tour.
DP!: A varied line-up is the best way for a live show. Final question, what would you want people to take away from this record?
SS: Smoke beer and Hail Stan.
The band’s sixth studio album, ‘Periphery IV: Hail Stan’, is available on April 4th 2019 via 3DOT Recordings.