My Prog Hero: Novelists guitarist Florestan Durand on Periphery

Periphery group shot against a darkened sky

“It was my brother [Amael, Novelists’ drummer] who first played me Periphery’s Letter Experiment maybe four or five years ago.

I immediately fell in love with it because it was so fresh. I really like their use of clean sounds and their ambient touches, like on Have A Blast from Periphery II. [Guitarist] Misha Mansoor has both a simple and heavy style in his music; he uses richer chords with a slightly jazzy approach, which influenced me a lot as I studied jazz at music college after I left school. I think the way Misha creates contrasts in his music is really interesting, like juxtaposing beautiful moments with these very rhythmic, overdriven guitars. I’ve actually tried to play a few of his riffs but I haven’t tackled any of their full songs.

I’ve had Periphery’s first two albums [Periphery and Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal] on repeat play for the last couple of years. They use notes out of sequence and are more experimental than bands like Dream Theater, who are very respectful of tonalities. Periphery’s sound is very original so it was interesting to listen to their music and enter their universe. I’m not so much into their newer albums though, because I miss all the weird, techy sounds. Before I discovered Periphery, I was listening to a lot of Dream Theater and John Petrucci’s solo work, which I loved. I listened to quite a bit of Symphony X too, and simpler music like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.

I fell in love with Periphery’s Letter Experiment because it was so fresh.

I got to see Periphery live in Paris at the Zenith in 2012. They were supporting Dream Theater so it was cool to see both bands together. To see them in person was great.

Periphery was the bridge to me discovering other djent bands. My brother subscribed to the Djentlemans Club channel on YouTube and through that I’ve got into bands like TesseracT and Monuments. TesseracT have got such great ambient sections – they’re very precise and show real perfectionism. Their music is really beautiful to listen to and it’s really awesome to see them live as well.”

Novelists’ Souvenirs is out now via Arising Empire. Visit their website for more.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.