| September 1, 2012 | Comments (450)

Misha Mansoor, one of Periphery’s guitarists took some time to have a chat with me on Saturday afternoon of Heavy MTL.  The band is heavily influenced by Dream Theater, and they were lucky enough to have a featured solo from John Petrucci (amongst others!) on their most recent album, “Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal”.  Misha spoke with me about this and their new album in its entirety along with some other things.


Erin: Welcome to Heavy MTL!

Misha: Thank you!


Erin: How have you been enjoying thus far? 

Misha: Well, I had a pretty cracked out morning, I just crossed the border, and your border is an absolute nightmare, as usual, I mean, well, it used to be pretty easy, but then it just tightened up all of a sudden, and I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I woke up kind of disoriented, and I didn’t know what was going on until shortly after.  And then I didn’t know what to expect but then our show was awesome, and now I’m feelin’ pretty good!


Erin: Yeah, the show was awesome, I only caught the last half but it was pretty fabulous.

Misha: Well, thank you very much, I will take fabulous!


Erin: Any acts you plan on catching while you’re here?

Misha: Um, I caught a little bit of Job for a Cowboy’s set, cause they were right before us, and they killed it, as always.  I definitely plan… actually… I think Fleshgod is going on right now, or they might have just gone on, but I wanted to catch them, definitely wanna catch Killswitch and Deftones.


Erin: Yeah, those are big ones for me as well.

Misha: Must see, right?


Erin:  Yeah! You’ve just released your newest album, which was great work by the way,

Misha: Thank you very much!  It’s “Periphery II: This Time its Personal”.  THIS TIME it’s personal.



Misha: That’s right!  You gotta point like you got a gun and stuff!


Erin: So how was all that?

Misha: Um, the response has really been surprising, it was really an album that took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to put together, so we were kind of over it by the time we put it out, and uh, it was exactly what we wanted it to be, and not what anyone else really wanted necessarily, so we were like, “eh, I wouldn’t be surprised if it flops” , but it wouldn’t really matter because we’re doin what we wanna do and we’re stubborn like that, but it’s a treat to see that people are enjoying it, cause we’re really proud of it.


Erin: I can imagine!  Can you explain the title?

Misha: It’s like… well I’m born in ’84, so I can appreciate shitty action sequels, the ones with the crappy tag line, some shitty album sequel… like “Periphery II: THIS TIME ITS PERSONAL”.  You know what I’m sayin’?  It’s stupid!  But it’s hilarious to us, and once again, everyone on our team kinda hated us, but we’re stubborn, so that’s the album title.


Erin: Perfect.  So the album featured (among others), a guest solo from John Petrucci. 

Misha: Yes


Erin: That’s pretty huge, how did you line that up?

Misha: Well, we toured with Dream Theatre earlier in the year in Europe, and thanks to modern technology, even in our library, we use this gear… we don’t use amps or anything like that, we can record, we can play live, whatever, so we actually recorded it in a hotel room… like… on tour.


Erin: Amazing!

Misha: So yeah, you can do things like that now.  And yeah, that’s where that was done.


Erin: That’s pretty incredible… How was touring with Dream Theatre?  Those guys are like… legends.  That must have been a total honor.

Misha: I mean like… they… first off, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those guys.  They are a huge influence.  John Petrucci specifically is like… kind of the guy that I tried to model myself after when I started taking guitar seriously.  So, just to be able to meet the guy was crazy enough, but you know, touring with them and hanging out with them… I still have to remind myself it happened!  It doesn’t process as being real.  And they’re the sweetest dudes!  Them and their crew, they’re so nice to us!  It was an awesome time.  They are a band from another era, like way back, you know grandfathered in from an era where you could make money like that and you could do big productions, and play like… esoteric music, like, progressive metal, and things like that, so I mean it was cool to see that, because I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get to that level.


Erin: You never know!

Misha: I’m not even saying that fishing for compliments or whatever, I’m saying like, realistically, looking at it, the money just isn’t there.  And I mean, we never did this to ever get to that level, but it’s kind of cool to see and experience that at least once in your life, and say like “Wow!  That’s what their life is like…”


Erin: How was working with Petrucci?  Cool guy?

Misha: Oh my god yes!  You know I think that’s what taught me, the bands that are pretty huge, I’d say nine times out of ten are like the nicest guys ever.  It’s got a lot to do with like… being a genuinely good person.  Not like faking it and seeming nice, but like, the bands that are…. [glances at tape recorder] is that even picking this up?


Erin: Oh yeah, it’s fine, it’s old but it definitely works better than you think it would. 

Misha: Okay cool, I just thought about that sorry


Erin: All good, no worries!

Misha: But yeah… bands that are genuinely nice people… and not just trying to put on an air so that you report back that they were super cool, but like, I’ve seen them in all sorts of situations, and they’re just really chill dudes.  Really cool.  So you know, they always say don’t meet your heros, but definitely meet them.  Because they will make you very happy.


Erin: Yeah, that’s really great to hear!  So yeah, I would guess that Dream Theater are one of your influences…

Misha: Huge influences.


Erin: Who else do you feel like has that kind of influence on you?

Misha: Um… the Deftones… and they will be playing tonight of course, so that’s pretty cool, like I said, I have to see them, another one of my alltime favorite bands, like umm… And like video game composers!  Final fantasy series, are you familiar with that?


Erin: Yessir, loves it!

Misha: Oh really!  High five!  Yeah!  Well like I was playing those video games and I would get those songs stuck in my head when I was like twelve or thirteen years old, and that music just stuck with me, and are a huge influence.


Erin: For sure.  I have friends at home who have played in video game cover bands, and it’s pretty lovely stuff. 

Misha: You know, it’s crazy, that music is legitimately awesome.  The one thing is that it’s like… weird in these old consoles, but then you reinterpret them with modern instruments, like we’ve done… it’s amazing.  Like I do covers of Final Fantasy stuff sometimes, and it’s just a tonne of fun.  It’s a good exercise for my ear and it just comes out sounding great.


Erin: Yeah!  So you formed as a band in 2005, but did not start touring until 2009 and didn’t release an album until 2010.  That’s a little odd, can you explain this?

Misha: Well I went to U of T, and I was like… school’s not for me, and I basically told my parents that I’d rather work trying to get a project off the ground, and when I was in Toronto I had a band, and we had a classic thing of I wanna go in one direction and the other guys wanna go in another direction, and then I split from them and like well… sometimes you gotta just do it yourself sometimes.  So I went home and did that, and yeah.  It was very, very tough, and although this kinda music is a little more popular now, but everyone I showed it to were just like, I don’t understand how to do this.  And it was very tough to try to find people who were on my wavelength.  Nowadays I would imagine that it is a lot easier.  But yeah, it was a while, we went through quite a few lineup changes, a lot of singers, cause you know, we wanted to have the right person, and the second singer kind of raised the bar for what we wanna do.  It wasn’t until we found Spencer that we felt like we had the right guy.  So that’s been happening, yeah, it’s a tough industry.  You know, here we are.


Erin: How did you find breaking the news to your parents?

Misha: My dad is very much a work hard, go to school and study hard… My dad was like… a straight A student, went to London School of Economics, he went to Harvard, and just aced everything and got a great job, so, that’s very much what he was raising me to do, y’know?  I remember like.. when I was young I was like “why do I have to go to school?” and he was like you know, you gotta go to a good school so you can go to a good middle school, so you can go to a good highschool, so you can get into a good college, so you can get a good job… and it was all like planned out for me when I was like five years old, so needless to say, when I came to him saying like “hey Dad, I wanna kinda ditch all that and do music”, and they were like… “well you realize that you like… don’t have a chance to make it…”, and I was like “yeah, but I gotta try”, and they were supportive, and my dad is now very proud of me for following my dreams and stuff, you know?  And I’m glad I did, too.


Erin: And I bet a lot of other people are, too! 

Misha: Ha, thanks!


Erin: Ok, so how do you guys find writing for three guitars?  That’s got to be quite the challenge.

Misha: Well, it’s actually the other way around!  I told you that it was like a project, right?  And when I was trying to find members, I found that I was writing with a lot of layers, so I was just writing, and I write very compositionally, not really with any regard of how it’s going to be pulled off live, and what we found was like, there were a lot of parts that had to be cut with two guitars, and like, we could commit to backing tracks, but we didn’t have anything back then to do it.  And that would suck because a lot of the really cool riffs… no one would be playing that, so were like yeah we gotta have three guitars, at least, so we can pull off all those parts.  Sometimes it’s three different guitar parts, sometimes it’s two, and sometimes it’s one, and sometimes they’re all playing the same, you get that nice big quad track effect, it really was a necessity of the composition, rather than I’d like to have a band with three guitars!


Erin: Yeah, fair enough.  What does the rest of the year hold in store for you guys?

Misha:  Well, we’re going to Europe with Between the Buried and Me, we’re currently on tour right now, and I love those dudes, we’ve been getting along with them great.


Erin: Sweet!  I’m actually interviewing one of them right after you!

Misha: Well tell them that I think they suck!


Erin: Haha right!

Misha: Nah nah I’m jokin’.  Yeah we’re touring with them and The Safety Fire in Europe, so that will be fun, that should be a good time, and after that, we don’t have anything set in stone, so I can’t really… you know… hush hush…


Erin: Well that sounds pretty exciting…!  That’s pretty much all the questions I have, but one last one, do you have any words of wisom?

Misha: To who?


Erin: To anybody! 

Misha: Anybody?  Be nice!  And you will go far.


Erin: Haha okay awesome.  Well , thank you so much for giving some time to talk to us today!

Misha: Thanks for taking the time to interview me, that was awesome!



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Category: Interviews