EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: PERIPHERY’S ALEX BOIS AND TOM MURPHY
Vince and Axl double-teamed Periphery guitarist Alex Bois and bassist Tom Murphy prior to their show with Scale the Summit and Fair to Midland in New York City on April 6th. A special guest interviewer joined in at the end for some added lulz. The Periphery boys told us about the success of their current tour (this was before they mysteriously dropped off the final week), their new Icarus EP, the progress of the next full album, and user feedback about MetalSucks (thanks guys!). Our fun-time chat after the break.
How’s the tour going so far?
Alex Bois: It’s good, man. I guess we’re a month in now with Fair to Midland. It’s a bit of a different tour for us. We’re used to touring with more strictly metal bands, and these guys are a bit more rock orientated, but they’re awesome. We weren’t too knowledgeable on their material before the tour, but now [we know] their new album (which no one has heard) [and it’s] awesome. Their old stuff is awesome and we’re digging that. Scale the Summit we’ve known for a long time. They’re very prog orientated and very guitar orientated, so we really like that. It’s been a lot of fun. Everyone is really cool and gets along really well, and I think that’s the basis for a good tour. The basis, not the bassist. [laughs]
Tom Murphy: At the end of the day, as long as you get along with everybody, it’s pretty bad ass. The shows have been great too. When Fair to Midland’s album drops, I think it just got pushed back to July, but whenever it does, it’s going to be incredible. It’s amazing. It’s not metal, but at the same time, I think it’s going to blow up the radio stations. Personally, I’ll listen to anything, so I dig it. Seeing Scale the Summit live is amazing. They’re such phenomenal musicians. I honestly dig on their live sound a lot more than on the records, although I haven’t heard their new album The Collective yet.
AB: It’s awesome.
AB: It makes me want to put my guitar down and not pick it up.
They’re so subtle about it too. They’re not like a mile a minute.
AB: They get up onstage and say “we’re Scale the Summit”.
TM: They’re like half stage voice and half not.
AB: They’re saying that right now as I said it.
Are you guys getting along with everyone and having a good time?
TM: Of course.
AB: Yeah, man.
TM: I get to bond with those kids because both of the bands are from Texas. I’m from D.C., but I went to UMT in Denton which is like a . . .
Oh, I’m sorry.
TM: You should be. It sucks, man. It’s like a weird hippie, meth town north of Dallas. It’s a big college town as well. It’s cool, man. I can tell those guys that I’m “fixing” to do stuff without them getting mad, so it’s cool.
What are you “fixing” to do?
TM: I’m fixing to be badass.
AB: To cook bacon.
TM: To cook bacon and to eat bacon. My favorite thing is bacon.
AB: We all had one big bowling day. It was awesome and it got real competitive. We had 16 people bowling at once. Everyone from Scale the Summit and everyone from Fair to Midland and most of us.
TM: I stayed at home at this kid’s house all day. Spencer devastates me every time. I’ll get better eventually.
Who was the best bowler?
TM [to Alex]: I think your team won.
AB: What we did was we made the top 4 scorers out of the gate be the team captains, and they got to pick round-robin style where the 4th highest scorer picked 1st to try and even it out. My team won.
TM: You’re the leader? The leader guy?
AB: It was 2 parts . . . it was me, Alex Markides (our sound guy), one guy from Scale the Summit (Chris Letchford) and one guy from Fair to Midland (Jon Dicken a.k.a “Dickencider”). It was good. We dominated.
TM: That’s his personal drink that he created.
AB: We had cash on the table and everything, man. It got serious.
Somebody bought somebody a PBR at the end of the night?
AB: Yeah, it was like a $4 buy in.
TM: I’ve had more than enough free PBR on this tour, let me tell you.
AB: It has been a PBR tour.
TM: It’s the go-to drink ticket beer, I think.
AB: On previous tours it hasn’t been as much drinking as this one. Fair to Midland brings the party.
Metal guys don’t party? Or what is it?
AB: I just think that . . .
Even Darkest Hour parties. Those guys are fucking madmen.
TM: We don’t party quite as much, but we have our moments. It depends on who you’re around obviously. Fair to Midland throw down pretty hard. They maintain. They don’t do anything crazy or fuck up.
AB: The drinking planets aligned on this tour.
TM: Exactly. I still remember that tour we did with Kittie and God Forbid. God Forbid had a bottle of Crown every night or two and maybe a bottle of Knob Creek as well.
With some grape soda?
Both: Ohhh hoooo. [laughter]
I wouldn’t have said that if they didn’t make the joke first.
TM: You know Doc? Doc bartends up the street from here. I’m going to call him and tell him what you said.
Go ahead, be my guest. They threw a ghetto party at Mayhem Fest a couple of years ago, and it was all grape drink with lots of alcohol thrown into it.
TM: Really? Crown thrown in.
Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. Every band had a night to do a party and that was theirs.
AB: I’m glad it worked out for them. Not that they’re ghetto by any means. I’m sure it all worked out. They’re great dudes too. They definitely party.
You’re wearing their hoodie right now.
AB: Shit! I didn’t even think about that. That’s good. Nice observation.
I have the same hoodie.
AB: Oh okay. It’s a good one. It’s nice and simple. Not too flashy.
They don’t know what it is even if you do. People on the street don’t know what it is. It’s not like a Metallica hoodie.
AB: Everyone knows that logo. We’re playing with Metallica this summer. Kind of.
AB: We’re doing the Sonisphere Festival where they headline on Friday, and we play probably a little itty bitty stage on Saturday. I’m still saying that we’re playing with Metallica.
That’s what your publicist will tell everyone.
TM: I’d say Weezer, honestly. We’re on the same day as Weezer, whatever that means. [Rivers Cuomo is] pretty metal if you’re watching him from the side of the stage.
AB: Didn’t he just do a Statefarm Insurance commercial or something?
God, I hope not.
TM: That’s metal.
Is that what you’re waiting for? The Periphery Statefarm commercial?
AB: I’d rather do Allstate. Nationwide, Allstate or . . .
Statefarm? Like a good neighbor?
AB: That’s what I’m saying. I haven’t seen the commercial; I just heard about it. Is he actually singing it? I’m going to have to watch it. I don’t watch TV. I need to watch TV so I’ll know these references.
Anyway, this tour has more of a rock crowd, you said. Are they reacting? Are they digging you guys?
AB: Yeah. We’ve had a lot of our crowd coming out on this tour. It’s been really flattering to see the U.S. crowds. We were over in Europe before we came out on this tour, and we had an excellent reception over there. We’ve never been there, and we were selling shows out as a headliner. There were loads of kids screaming all of our lyrics and all of this good stuff to where we’re starting to see that now in the U.S. a bit more which is awesome. As far as the Fair to Midland fans, yeah, I think people tend to bandwagon a little bit if they see a whole bunch of our fans there and they go “yeah, this is cool.” We found that we’re selling more CDs on this tour than we ever have. I don’t know what it is about the crowd.
Not t-shirts, CDs.
TM: I think we still sell more t-shirts honestly, but more CDs than usual because we’re playing in front of more kids. We played Thrash and Burn last year. If you remember that lineup, there were a lot of scene bands, like hardcore bands. I feel that we did not reach out to as many of them.
You guys were like the 1st band up on that, right?
AB: We were 3rd this time. The year before. We’re not doing Thrash and Burn this year.
There is a Thrash and Burn this year?
TM: I don’t think there is. We need the haircut. If we get the haircut maybe we can appeal to that crowd.
You should do it.
AB: Thinking about it.
TM: It’s like if we wear space helmets or space suits then somebody would like it.
AB: Haircuts or space suits, we’re going diamond. I don’t know if those kids were as receptive, but I guess . . . I don’t know how to describe Fair to Midland. They’re alternative really, but I consider them post-grunge art rock. That’s my little niche that I put them in, but I guess some of their fans dig our stuff.
Because there’s a lot post-grunge art rock?
TM: Exactly, man. There’s so many crossovers.
AB: They’re a great band. Their singer is phenominal. Every night they put in 110%.
TM: Yeah. Listen to the guitar tones. I know I’m getting nerdy here, but it’s awesome. I can’t remember the [mixer] guy’s name, he’s out of NYC actually…
AB: [Tool’s] 10.000 Days?
TM: Yeah, he did 10,000 Days.
Oh, uh Costey? Rich Costey?
TM: Yeah. You can kind of hear, like I feel that guitar tone is an evolution from the guitar tone on 10,000 Days and made it better.
… It wasn’t Rich Costey. David Bottrill?
TM: No. He’s Italian. Can’t remember.
[It was Joe Barresi! -Ed.]
We’ll figure it out. Anyway, are you guys working on new music yet?
TM: We’re always working on new music.
AB: Yep. We have an EP coming out in a couple of weeks. April 19th.
Oh yeah of course. We premiered a track.
AB: Thank you very much. We appreciate it. Not to plug you guys, but I was like “we got to have it on MetalSucks because the thing I love about your site is that you put the player right on the page. So often when I go to the page, I sit there and press play even if I don’t know the band or whatever, and I’ll scroll down and continue to read the articles and listen to it. If I had to go to another page to listen to it, I wouldn’t do that. That’s some user feedback.
What you’re saying is we should put it on a different page?
It must be cool for you guys to be working on this new album because the old one was mostly Misha doing his thing. Are you guys a little bit more involved?
TM: I was going to say that I don’t know what it’s going to end up being because I would say that this summer we’ll be sitting down and working out the vast majority of it. I know that Misha’s back catalogue is going to end up on the album because there’s so much of it, and we’re trying to do something pretty hefty for the second album in terms of actual material. I don’t want to go into exactly what it’s going to be, but we’re trying to do a lot for the second record. We know that we have to throw down and put a bunch of writing in ourselves as well. Spencer actually already wrote an entire track with drums, guitars and everything. That’s awesome, and I can’t wait to do that. It’s funny, he hasn’t written the vocals for it yet. [Laughs]
That’s cool. So everyone is participating?
TM: Yeah, as soon as I get home I hope I’m going to get a vocal booth setup and get my recording setup at home so I can do some stuff there and not take the Metro up [to Misha’s].
Are you going to be involved in this Sumerian Nation thing that we know nothing about yet?
TM: Uh, no.
AB: Sumerian Nation?
So that’s news to everybody.
TM: Is that like a tour or is that like an album compilation thing?
It’s like an album compilation thing, but we don’t know very much about it. I was just fishing.
TM: Well. Hmm.
TM: I don’t know. I’ll ask about it.
We’ll scratch that from the record.
TM: I’m sure that some of us . . .
Exclusive: Periphery is not involved . . .
AB: Not involved.
Not involved with Sumerian Nation.
TM: They dropped us from the label.
TM: I’m just kidding.
Should we expect the new Periphery record at the end of the year maybe?
AB: I was thinking about it. April 20th was when our album came out in 2010. April 19th this year is our EP, so naturally it’ll be April 18th if you follow the calendar like that. I don’t know if that’ll happen.
TM: What if it’s a leap year?
AB: It doesn’t matter. We’ll force record companies to release on a Monday or a Wednesday or whatever.
TM: Is that a Tuesday?
AB: It is usually a Tuesday, but if it’s a leap year it’s going to throw it all off.
TM: Oh yep.
AB: I think it is a leap year next year.
It is because it’s a presidential year, so it’s a leap year.
AB: Oh right on.
Yeah. There you go.
TM: Well people don’t really have that much of an attention span these days, so we try to get out material quickly.
AB: We might put out some tracks here and there just to keep people’s interest and be like “hey, we’re still here”. People need a little taste of what will be coming up on the record because it’s going to evolve and change and the band’s going to be different. I hope the people who liked every step of Periphery’s evolvement will like it. We’ll see.
Random Passer-By Guy: Can you tell us about the EP that’s coming out with the remixes?
AB: We’re doing an interview about that.
What’s your name?
CF: My name is Collin.
You got a last name, Collin?
CF: Friend. Collin Friend.
Okay, we’re not going to tell you what this is for. You’re going to find out later.
AB: It’s for Spin.
CF: Just because I’m excited.
AB: Basically we have an EP coming out on April 19th, and I think it has nine tracks on it. We got an intro track that we’re actually going to play live tonight. It’s kind of instrumental. We have “Icarus Lives” which was one of our singles with re-recorded vocals. We also have “Icarus Lives” with 3 separate mixes: one done by Misha, one done by Zedd who is a DJ out of Germany and one done by one of our buddy Pete Graves who plays in a band Red Seas Fire out of the UK. They’re all different, and they’re all awesome. Not all the metal kids are going to get it and like it, but we like electronica. Then we have the version of “Jetpacks 2.0” that came out with our video, and that’s going to be on there. Then we have “Eureka” and “Captain On” which were both B-sides for our first album. They were available online in Europe for only a little bit. They have re-recorded vocals on them as well. Finally “Frak the Gods” which is a new track and a taste of what’s to come in terms of at least the vocal style, being that it was one of Misha’s tracks as well.
Cool. Any further thoughts before you guys bid adieu and we go and watch Scale the Summit?
TM: It’s Santo’s Party House so let’s party.
AB: Yeah! Whoa!
Where’s Santo? You guys know that Andrew W.K. owns this place?
TM: Somebody was saying that earlier that if the owner showed up that it’s really going to be a party. I didn’t know who owned it so I was like “Santo?”
TM: And everyone started laughing at me.
Also known as Rich Hall.
AB: Richie Rich. Thanks for the interview, man.
AB: Want an infected mushroom?
AB: Infected mushroom.
-VN & AR