The new album Select Difficulty…
A lot of people sort of raised an eyebrow when we said we were going to release another album so soon. They kinda had that “oh wow, already?” reaction. We had anticipated a little bit of push back along the lines of thinking they’d be like “you can’t do that, you need to at least tour your last album for 2 or 3 years first.” I think that’s gone out the window a little though, the whole rulebook has changed these days with the music industry. The main thing was we had a good chunk of downtime towards the end of last year and whilst Juggernaut was a very fulfilling album for us, it was also a double concept album so it was a pretty stressful and arduous process for us too. It had a lot of criteria to fill with track order, lyrical content of sorts and some sort of musical framework. I remember the sense of “I can’t wait to write songs again just for the sake of writing songs,” everyone was itching to write a 4 minute kick in the balls type song and that’s exactly what we did.
Broadly, there’s a great mix of material – melodic stuff with ‘Marigold’, ‘Catch Fire’ and ‘The Way The News Goes’, blasty dark riffy tunes, techy lines and some longer 7 minute plus tunes. How did you settle on these 11 tracks?
It’s always a process honestly of whittling it down. One of the biggest perks about this lineup is that all 6 of us are writers and producers. So in our downtime we all write and then when we reconvene there are just enormous lists of memos with song ideas, melodies, lyrics, riffs so there’s never a shortage. To answer your question we probably had 40 – 60 songs ranging from bare bones parts to full recorded tunes with everything in between.
‘The Price is Wrong’ is a pretty pumping album opener!
That song is a funny one. When I was brought into the band around 6 years ago now that was actually part of my audition! The guys wanted to see how I would write with them and that was the product of it for the most part. We reworked it big time and we all loved it so much – it’s like a direct punch in the gut and it’s symbolic of what we are now with all of us contributing something, it really symbolises something for us.
‘Habitual Line Stepper’ – is that in reference to anyone in particular?
[Laughs] Is the Dave Chappelle Show big in Australia? You’d probably know his Rick James part where Charlie Murphy would say that Rick James would line step, always step over the line being a habitual line stepper. That’s classic for us, and we always throw that line around and we just seemed fated to title a song that at some stage!
You must be excited about the release of your signature PRS SE Model? It’s got some similar specs to your full-blown guitar?
I’m very happy with it, its super exciting. It’s pretty easy for anyone to point a finger and just say “that’s just a cheaper import model of the guitar you’ve already put out,” but the whole point with the SE model was to just get it as close as possible to the US model and keep it at an affordable price. What PRS have pulled off is insane. I have 3 of the prototypes at my house at the moment and I’ve used them for everything. I’ve been using it over the US one, I used it on the album, they nailed it and there’s just something about it the way it feels and plays. PRS have really defied the demonizing of the foreign named model with this. It’s all about the design specs, if they’re spec’d out well and the factory is consistent the only real difference is they’re not being made by hand. All of these are well spec’d and setup in Maryland so they’re great.
How are you dealing with Nolly (bass player) stepping down as a touring member?
We don’t quite know yet. We’re still kinda reeling from it. We totally support Nolly and his decision and we back him 100%. We don’t have a long-term solution but we’re gonna roll with bass on backing tracks for our August shows but we’ll work it out internally from there. I can say first hand I don’t like using bass on tracks live so that’s not going to be a long-term solution but we’ll work it out soon.
And for the Australian fans – any plans of touring soon?
Sooner rather than later! You know anywhere in Australia, but Melbourne and Sydney especially are some of our strongest markets and they’re always great. You know they’re up there with London and New York so we’re in discussions to come back very soon.
Periphery III: Select Difficulty is out now via Sumerian Records/Warner Music. For more details, head to periphery.net.