Periphery

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“It’s very hard to make something as fragile as a band work if one cog in the machine is slightly off”, Mark Holcomb.

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“They always say to get success is hard, but to maintain it is twice as hard,” declared one of Periphery’s three guitarists, Mark Holcomb. “For us, I think success just happened by accident. I never expected Periphery to be successful. I got into it in the first place just by loving the people and loving the music, and I think that those are the two main pre-requisites going into it. Not thinking about success and not thinking about any achievements. Nobody ever once said ‘I wanna sell 1000 records, that’s my goal’, nobody thought like that, but to stay where we are and not regress I think it’s just a matter of putting our heads down and keep doing what we know is best to do, and what we know is diligent. For instance, if our goal, at this time in 2016, is to not record another album but to tour our asses off then we have to go out and make sure that our next Australian tour or our next Asian tour is the best it possibly can be and after that we have to make sure our next U.S tour or our next European tour are the best  ones we’ve ever done. It’s just a matter of putting our heads down and focusing on the task at hand – whether you’re talking about touring or printing merchandise, or booking flights or whatever, all sorts of menial tasks, just make sure your head is down, and you are doing the absolute best you can. In my opinion, unless there’s something poisonous in your band or something you are doing that’s inherently wrong, you have to realise you are doing something good and will hopefully have a successful career in one year, two years, five years. That’s the goal.”

 

Early on in their career, Periphery found it difficult to maintain a steady line up with an almost revolving door of members at times. It wasn’t until 2011 when Mark joined as the third guitarist that the band began to find stability and sustained success; a point Mark feels is more of a reflection of the difficulty in progressing without stability more so than his ability.

 

“It’s been vital,” he said of the parallels between musical output and band stability. “I think what’s more important, is that you have the right pieces in place and that’s the reason you saw there be some personnel changes back then, because the lineup wasn’t right and I don’t think you can continue forward in a band or as a musical project or ANY project – be it in the workplace or wherever it is, unless you have the right people. It’s very hard to make something as fragile as a band work if one cog in the machine is slightly off. If you have the diligence and the patience to go through those personnel changes, then you’re probably going to come out stronger on the other side if you do it right.”

 

Mark has fond memories of his period as the new member of the band, particularly here in Australia where Periphery will be touring in February.

 

“It was fun,” he remembered of those early days with the band. “It’s kind of hard to think about that now because it’s been head down, keep working, keep working since but when I think back about 2011 my first ever show was actually in Australia! My first ever time playing a musical note live with Periphery was in 2011, and I think we’d just released Periphery I. I was kind of a nervous wreck (laughs) before my first show in Brisbane. Man, I was sweating like you wouldn’t believe. It’s fun to think about that actually.”

Periphery has never been afraid to experiment with their sound, as far as to include a few surprise instruments on their latest album Periphery III, but according to Mark these subtle changes are not something that the band discusses before implementing but are rather a sign of where the members heads are musically, at the time of conception.

 

 

 

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“It’s accidental,” he said quite simply, shrugging off the musical diversity. “It’s completely circumstantial and accidental which is born out of what we like at the time. There’s never any intent to say ‘hey, this album should have more jazz parts or more classical parts’, it is just about going with how we happen to feel in that moment and at that point of time. I think it’s more a reflection of who we are as artists and what kind of things we like. Objectively you could say that Periphery III has way more orchestra and strings on it in a classical sense than Juggernaut or any of those albums before because that just happens to be the stuff we like these days. We happen to be captivated by that kind of sound, so we ran with it. Who knows, when we sit down to do Periphery IV we’ll see what kind of things we like at that point in time but it’s changing and evolving, and that’s the beauty of doing this.”

One aspect that sets Periphery apart from many of their contemporaries is having three guitarists which is a massive part of their sound. While Mark concedes having that extra player could be fraught with danger, he also believes that with Periphery, they have found a uniquely perfect balance.

“I can say there’s a likelihood that having a third guitarist could be a lot harder if you don’t know how to handle that kind of dynamic,” he admitted, “and it’s all a learning process for us but luckily myself, Jake (Bowen) and Misha (Mansoor) have always had this excellent camaraderie in terms of friendship and being around each other. We’ve also always been musical siblings and have seen eye to eye on so many things creatively, so that’s always been a gift but I do sometimes wonder how hard it would be if we didn’t see eye to eye. It would be tough, especially when you start to talk about egos and how you deal with rejection if one of your band mates doesn’t like what you’ve written. We endure all of that stuff but thankfully because we are such good friends and see eye to eye on everything stylistically we don’t run into any issues.”

 

Periphery has self-produced all of their albums since their self-titled debut in 2010, with Mark saying the reasons for this and the benefits of it make it a no brainer as an option.

 

“It gives us utter flexibility and total creative control,” he said. “It’s about not feeling like we have to satisfy anyone’s vision but our own and I think collectively and individually our vision of what our music is supposed to be is so specific and hard headed and stubborn and I think once you start to talk about having a third party involved we all get a bit nervous on the inside because that would lead to us having to compromise a little bit on our vision – which we don’t mind doing for one another. There’s definitely been concessions I’ve made in the past where I know if I leave this part out or I do something different with a song it is going to make me less happy but it’s going to make two or three other people more happy with the song and the arrangement and the part so I do that but I think we’re all a bit stubborn when it comes to working with outside parties creatively. That’s not to say we wouldn’t try it one day, I don’t know. We are always looking to grow and evolve as musicians and as professionals so who knows? Maybe one day we will try but again, that needs to be the right person. It can’t be somebody who can just fill out an application and record our band. It needs to be somebody with years of experience with us as friends and professionals.”

 

Written by Kris Peters

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PERIFERY TOUR DATES

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2 FEB ’17

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Brisbane
The Triffid

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9 FEB ’17

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Perth
Capitol

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3 FEB ’17

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Sydney
The Metro

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5 FEB ’17

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Sydney
Enmore Theatre

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7 FEB ’17

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Adelaide
Fowlers Live

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