Thinking Out Loud

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One on one: Misha Mansoor.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The metal world seems to be obsessed with Hybrids and Experiments. Recent example: Djent- the result of irrepressible muting techniques and the sheer monstrosity of physics meets metal. However, what Periphery and acclaimed guitarist Misha Mansoor build out of this monstrosity-truly transcends the limits of human comprehension. With just the right mix of polyrhythmic attacks and melodic know how- Misha and his six-piece kill machine incorporate fierce polymetric timings with tuneful but raw vocals and powerful riffing to concoct their own unique style of hard nosed metal that is looking at laying waste to any new venues across the world

  Rumor has it, that you started off as a drummer and then moved to guitar, what led to the transformation? When did you first pick up the guitar, and what has been the major step in your playing that helped you get to where you are now?

I started drums when i was 14 and focused on that until i was 17. I had to stop because thats when i went to Uni and i couldnt practice there, so i decided to focus my time on the guitar which i had been playing kinda casually up until that point. I was really into Dream Theater, and i spent a lot of time learning DT songs and solos. Since about then i have been recording my songs, and that process has really shaped me into the player i am today.

When did you first start listening to metal? Your first metal cd? Tell us about your influences, both early on and now?

I started maybe when i was 15 or 16, its hard to say. I am not really sure what my first real metal album was. Maybe Demanufacture by Fear Factory. Earlier on my influences were Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Tool and the Deftones, and these days is more fusiony players such as Allan Holdsworth and Guthrie Govan, composers like Nobuo Uematsu and electronic artists like Telefon Tel Aviv.

For an aspiring metal- guitarist, which aspects of guitar-playing do you think deserve utmost importance?

I think playing tight is extremely important. Being able to lock into a click or a drummer who is playing to one. Metal is a very precise style of music for how chaotic it is. I also think it is getting a bit stale and that i definitely appreciate the artists who try to fuse other styles with metal to make it more interesting.

For the sake of newbie’s, tell us in detail what ‘Djent’ is all about?

Its just a sound. I didnt coin the term, Meshuggah did, but its just describing the sound of a metallic sounding palm mute that happens when you do a 4 string power chord and palm mute heavily and pick hard. I really liked that sound and started seeking gear and techniques that would facilitate getting that kind of palm muted sound.

In an earlier interview, you mentioned your fascination for Electronic Music. What are the other Genres, besides Metal and Electronic, which you appreciate? Have you ever considered doing Non-metal projects? I honestly could find a band in just about any genre i would likely enjoy, i am just very picky with music in general, so within those genres i may only like a handful of bands at most. I would definitely do a non metal project if it was something that was inspiring!

Tell us in detail about the guitars and gear that you use in the studio and in live sets? What presets do you normally use?

In the studio i use my EBMM JP7 for 7 string stuff and Blackmachine B2 for 6 string stuff. All my guitar tones are done with the Fractal Axefx Ultra direct to the interface. I usuallly make my own presets from scratch. Up until recently i was using my Engl Invader live but i will be switching to Axefx soon. I have several live guitars, but probably my current favorites are my Bernie Rico Jr. Jekyll 7 string and my Blackmachine B6.

Your guitar usage varies between 6,7and 8 stringers. How do you think that contributes to your signature sound?

Honestly i write differently on each guitar. 95% of the music is 6 or 7 string, i rarely find myself to be creative on the 8, but it all comes down to which guitar inspires me when i have a riff or when im just jamming on the guitar. The 6 string stuff lends itself to more chordal and notey kinds of riffs for me, and the 7 string lends itself to more groove based and atmospheric kind of riffing. The 8 is just weird for me still, i like it as a concept but i rarely come up with ideas i really like on it.

How did the concept of Bulb come up? How is Bulb different from your band ‘periphery’?

It came up by accident. Bulb has just kinda become my online/onstage persona. Any song i write will become a Bulb song, but then usually become something else, like a Periphery song eventually. Periphery is my live band and has a definite sound and is the band i put everything into, it is my priority and will hopefully be for a very long time. If on the other hand i were to do a Bulb album, i have no idea what it would sound like, it could be almost anything at this point.

How important are lyrics in your scheme of things/ approach towards song-making?

To me they arent terribly important, im neither good at writing vocals or lyrics. I leave that up to the respective singers. I might tweak vocal lines and definitely spend a lot of time with vocal rhythms and phrasing once they are somewhat established, but the lyrics i usually just leave to the singer.

Tell us about your recording procedures (Bulb-wise). Any tips for beginners? Do you believe that only technology can get you good sound?

Technology wont get you good sound. Working with what you have and trying to MAKE a good sound for yourself will. Just keep tweaking, and try to make something that sounds good to you.

What’s next in line for ‘Bulb’ as a project?

Not really sure, at this point in time im focusing on Periphery and Producing the other bands and projects im working with. So i honestly have no plans for it at the moment. Perhaps further down the road!


Anonymous said...

You, Misha are truly a fucking amazing artist.

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