Periphery’s Spencer Sotelo: ‘I’d Listen to Everything From Opeth to Extreme’
“This is definitely still a Periphery album, though it’s got a lot more substance reflective of what we do as a unit,” says Jake Bowen, guitarist of Washington, D.C.-based progressive metal outfit Periphery, about the band’s new full-length release, Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal.
The brainchildren of lead guitarist, programmer, and producer Misha Mansoor, Periphery’s first two releases – 2010’s Periphery full-length debut and 2011’s Icarus EP – predominantly comprised Mansoor’s solitary compositions with each member performing his respective parts; however, on Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal, Bowen elaborates, the writing process was far more collaborative, drawing equal bits of input from each musician – Mansoor, Bowen, Matt Halpern (drums, percussion), Mark Holcomb (guitar), Adam “Nolly” Getgood (bass guitar), and Spencer Sotelo (vocals).
And as with previous releases, it’s not just the group’s core members contributing to the epic nature of the offering. Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal benefits from guest guitar solos by revered axemen Guthrie Govan on “Have A Blast”, Wes Hauch of The Faceless on “Mile Zero”, and Dream Theater‘s John Petrucci on “Erised” (Petrucci is actually Bowen’s uncle).
Noisecreep spoke with vocalist Sotelo on the heels of the new release – at the precise moment when he received a bit of good news about it.
Spencer, you sound a little excited.
Well. I just woke up to a text message from a friend who sent me a screen shot of the iTunes charts this morning – and we’re number one on the rock charts and as of now, number eight on the overall iTunes music charts! Pretty sweet – the best thing I can wake up to [laughs].
A nice way to approach a release date, huh?
Definitely. We were really happy with how this record tuned out. We had no expectations, We write for ourselves and we wanted to take the band a little but of a new direction and we are really proud of it. Some fans online are complaining about us changing our sound, but we just evolved a little bit, that’s all. And most of the fans seem pretty excited, and I think the newer sound has won us some new fans.
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What did you listen to while growing up? Did you have heavy prog influences?
I was all over the place. I’d listen to anything from old punk bands to Opeth to Judas Priest to Extreme – and of course the other guys in the band were really into Dream Theater. We toured with them earlier this year. Near the end of the tour John Petrucci, Jake’s uncle, let it be known that he’d play something on our record. So on an off day, Jake and he wrote the guitar solo in the hotel room, tracked it right there, recorded it, and when we got back home we put it in.
Gotta love technology these days.
All you need is a laptop. You just record a clean signal and bring it back or send it back. That was done somewhere in Germany and mixed in back in Maryland.
Dream Theater has really influenced the band, right?
Absolutely, 100%. The other guys for sure, for me it really happened after we toured and I seriously got into them. I’ve owned the Systematic Chaos album for a long time, it’s awesome, but I never really explored as much as I should with them. But watching them every night in Europe and especially watching James LaBrie – man, what a lead vocalist – he just rips it up, he is such a good live singer. I’m just one of their biggest fans now.
Will you be playing much of the new record live on the upcoming Summer Slaughter tour?
So far we’ve only played two of the songs live, but we’re in the process of expanding that. About half of our set on Summer Slaughter will be from the new record.
Well congratulations again on the news about #1.
Thank you. I never expected any of this. But it’s so cool to see what is happening. We take none of this for granted and the whole band feels lucky to be where we are.
Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal is available this week via Sumerian Records.
7/20- Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
7/21- San Diego, CA @ SOMA
7/22- Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
7/23- Scottsdale, AZ @ Venue of Scottsdale
7/25- Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
7/26- San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
7/27- Mission, TX @ Pharr Events Center
7/28- Houston, TX @ House of Blues
7/30- Tampa, FL @ The Ritz
7/31- Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
8/01- Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
8/02- Knoxville, TN @ The Valarium
8/03- Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
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8/05- Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
8/07- Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
8/08- New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
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8/11- Montreal, QC @ Heavy Montreal
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8/14- Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
8/15- Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s
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8/17- Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
8/18- St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
8/20- Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
8/22- Seattle, WA @ The Showbox Sodo
8/23- Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
8/24- San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
8/25- Anaheim, CA @ The Grove