DATE OF INTERVIEW:
6th October 2012
ADAM "NOLLY" GETGOOD
Following the long-awaited release of their eponymously titled debut album in 2010, American experimental prog-metallers and djent merchants Periphery unleashed its successor, 'Periphery II: This Time It's Personal' during the summer this year. Second time around, more members exercised their songwriting talents alongside founding member Misha Mansoor compared to his predominantly sole compositional creativity on the band's debut offering, which has further diversified their existing fusion of disparate styles and sounds. On tour as main support to Between the Buried and Me in autumn 2012, Metal Discovery met up with newly recruited permanent bassist Adam "Nolly" Getgood a short while before show-time in Leeds and, no stranger to Periphery, Nolly has been described by Misha as "an honorary member for the last few years" on both the stage and in the studio. As the temperature begins to dip rapidly in the early evening air, settling down in the warmth of the band's tour bus, he provides a greater insight into the new album...
METAL DISCOVERY: The new album, ‘Periphery II’, I gather was written more as a band than the debut album so would you say that’s given the material more diversity or more focus and cohesion between all the disparate parts?
NOLLY: Yeah, I would definitely say it’s given it a lot more diversity and it was definitely something that was wanted for a long time. A lot of people presumed that Misha always wanted to do all the songwriting but that was more out of necessity than anything else. So, this time, he was more than happy to share that role. I definitely think it’s a richer sounding record as a result and there are tracks that wouldn’t have come about without all the members. Mark, who joined recently on guitar, wrote ‘Scarlet’ which is one of the lead tracks we put out, which is a very different style; very much a style all of his own. Even Spencer, our vocalist, wrote a track – ‘Facepalm Mute’. A lot of people don’t realise he plays every instrument ever! [laughs] So it’s really cool and all of us had a large input on the songs all the way through.
(Adam "Nolly" Getgood on the use of multiple guitars in Periphery's music)
"...there’s actually way more than three guitar parts going on. It’s more a case of paring it down for the live show... Often it’s a case in the studio of saying, “well, that can be a synth instead”…you know, just for the sake of not having 64 guitar tracks at once or something!"
Adam "Nolly" Getgood on his tour bus, Leeds, UK, 6th October 2012
Photograph copyright © 2012 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
MD: The full title of the album is ‘Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal’ and I gather you were asked to truncate it to just ‘Periphery II’?
NOLLY: I don’t really know if that happened but a lot of people did truncate it. But, as far as we’re concerned, that’s still the name of the record and it still says it down the side. I think a lot of people just wanted it to be more concise.
MD: So what’s the significance behind that subtitle?
NOLLY: It’s just a bit of fun really. It’s like an old cheesy Hollywood film, like a cheesy Hollywood action film type thing.
MD: Like a tagline from a trailer?
NOLLY: Exactly, yeah.
MD: You hit number 44 in the Billboard 200 and sold almost 12,000 in the first week – did that chart success take you by surprise?
NOLLY: Yeah, definitely. You always hope that things will do well but, inside, everyone’s their own worst critic. We’re all very happy with the record and no matter what would’ve happened in the charts we’d have been very happy, but it was definitely a big surprise it did as well as it did.
MD: Particularly in an age of downloads where record sales are supposed to be in decline so it’s quite refreshing to see that people are still buying CDs.
NOLLY: Well, of course, 12,000 by old standards is nothing but in this day and age…
MD: Yeah, exactly, but you read on Blabbermouth or wherever about some fairly big bands only selling a couple of thousand in the first week and that’s still quite surprising.
NOLLY: Yeah, and it’s getting worse and worse so I guess everyone’s just trying to match their last album rather than even grow or keep growing.
MD: There are a lot of layers and depth to many of the songs so I think, each listening experience, you can hear something new each time – do you think that makes the album more of a grower than something that’s instantly accessible?
NOLLY: Yeah, I hope so. It’s really cool you say that. A lot of my favourite records over the years have been those kind of records. Even now if I go back and listen…maybe I haven’t listened to them for a year or more and you go back now and it’s like, “wow, I didn’t even notice that last time.” Those are the records that I like, yeah. I think ‘grower’ is not a negative thing at all; I think that’s a really positive thing.
MD: Absolutely. They’re the albums you’ll still listen to in twenty years’ time.
MD: Using three guitars, are you always conscious as a band to maximise their efficacy in the compositions so it’s not three guitars just for the sake of such?
NOLLY: Yeah, I think the stuff that tends to be written, there’s actually way more than three guitar parts going on. It’s more a case of paring it down for the live show. There is a little bit of guitar on the backing tracks but three guitars are needed at all times, very much so. And it’s also very cool that when someone takes a solo, there’s still two rhythm guitars going. There’s definitely no problem filling out those three parts. There’s a lot of textures going on. Often it’s a case in the studio of saying, “well, that can be a synth instead”…you know, just for the sake of not having 64 guitar tracks at once or something! [laughs]
MD: Do you always want people to recognise there are three guitars at work, or more like you said, or are you happy if people just hear them as an integral part of the overall sound?
NOLLY: I think everyone will enjoy it on a different level; they’ll hear it in a different way. If the musicians out there can hear all these different parts going on then maybe that will keep them interested. But, to a non-musician, as long as it sounds good, that’s really what matters.
MD: You have John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan…Guthrie was actually quite a surprise name to see on there… and Wes Hauch playing solos on the album - how did each of them become involved?
NOLLY: That was very cool actually. We were very grateful to get such awesome guests. Wes is a really good friend of the band and has been for quite some time. He’s just a ridiculous guitar player and he recently started playing for The Faceless which we’re all really proud of him for. It was just a completely natural thing to have him on the album; it was a no-brainer there. John Petrucci… we toured with Dream Theater this year and he was kind enough to record that. He actually recorded that while we were out on tour and it was done in a hotel room! You know, the joys of modern technology! So that was amazing and, obviously, John is a huge influence on all of us… not just the guitarists; everyone’s aware of Dream Theater and their impact. So that was massive for us. And Guthrie, speaking personally, is probably my favourite guitarist and I know Misha and the rest of the guys are hugely into him as well. That was actually a bit of a surprise. We expressed an interest in having him on it but our management actually went, without telling us, and contacted him and managed to organise that. So it was an incredibly amazing surprise when we found out he was going to do a solo. Thankfully, he had time. He was worried his schedule might be too busy but, in the end, he managed to pull out a solo and gave it to us very apologetically as though it was going to be some slapdash thing but, actually, we were just blown away when we first heard it.
MD: So he’s a fan of Periphery now from what he’s heard of you?
NOLLY: I hope so! Yeah, he seems to be into it. At least he found something he wanted to contribute to.
MD: Have you actually met him or did he record his solo remotely?
NOLLY: It was done remotely. I’ve met him in the past but not with him knowing who I was! [laughs]
MD: Just as a fan...
NOLLY: Yeah, just as a fan. He met Misha and Mark and a couple of guys at the NAMM Show… I think maybe last year or the year before… and he said he did remember them from that.
MD: Were each of the three players chosen for what you thought they could bring to particular tracks rather than random guest spots?
NOLLY: I guess we certainly thought that each bit would be something suitable. The song that John Petrucci solos on, ‘Erised’, has got this very kind of ambient, groovy ending and he’s a master of doing those kind of epic guitar solos that last quite a long time…
MD: The little lick at the end of his solo, I’m sure I recognise that from a Dream Theater track but can’t quite remember which one…
MD: Ah, yeah, yeah.
NOLLY: It’s not the same lick but it’s that same kind of vibe. We actually specifically said to him it’d be cool if he could do something like that. We knew he was on the same page…we weren’t directing him in any way; he just did his thing. And Guthrie, of course, likes to play in odd meters and odd key changes as well, and the section on ‘Have a Blast’ that he plays over is great for that so we thought that would suit him. And Wes plays a very melodic part. Even though he’s a metal guitarist, he’s very, very good at constructing interesting melody lines so that suited him as well.