Mark Holcomb is an Austin, TX based musician and a guitarist for the 5-piece progressive metal band, Periphery. The band's latest release, Periphery IV: Hail Stan was met with rave reviews and reached #1 on the US Independent Albums chart.
In 2016, the SE Mark Holcomb hit stores and features unique specs including Mark's signature Seymour Duncan pickups, a satin maple neck, plate style string through bridge, and a 20" fretboard radius. Mark is back again, this time wielding an additional instrument, the SE Mark Holcomb SVN.
PRS: Thinking back to first picking up the guitar, how surreal is it to now have your own signature instrument?
MH: Ever since the 2015 core model, it's been surreal to see my name on a guitar. I grew up thinking that, like having a full-fledged career in music, that was unattainable, so I never really actively tried to make it happen. I instead focused on creating music and pushing my band forward and ironically, over time, that was the reason behind being granted my own signature model. I'm so lucky and grateful to have that kind of influence with PRS.
PRS: Was the process of designing your signature guitar straightforward, or were features added and omitted along the way?
MH: Yes and no. There are always discussions during the planning process where things are cut and added, but ultimately, every single core feature we wanted on the guitar is present. The 26.5" scale length, the flat 20" radius, the pickups, string thru body, and so on. In that sense, it was extremely straightforward.
PRS: Have there been any significant additions to, or subtractions from your touring and studio rigs recently?
MH: Not a ton, actually. The only exceptions have been introducing my new SE SVN prototypes over the past couple tours, and it's been a joy to test out these guitars to test out on the road. Anytime you add a new guitar, amp, pedal or any component to your live rig, you're liable to feel stress. But the 7s have been a total dream to play live since we began prototyping. Even my guitar tech can't believe they play so well, haha.
PRS: What are you currently listening to the most in your down time? Be it artist, album, or genre.
MH: Not a ton of metal actually! I've been obsessed with an artist named Asgeir. There's an Icelandic composer named Olafur Arnalds I've been into, and some more ambient, subdued music. It's always nice to find that opposite side of the spectrum when you tour and play metal every night.
PRS: What’s the one thing you’ve learned on the road, you wish you knew on your first tour?
MH: To pace myself, take care of myself mentally and physically, and just to practice like every show is my last. My first years of touring revolved around this kind of euphoria I got from the newness of it all. Now, it's not so new anymore, so I treat it like a craft, something I'm actively trying to get better at every day and week. With that comes discipline and a respect for it which makes me want to be strong enough to do it for years and years to come.
PRS: Periphery is a band well known for its self-production; can you offer any advice to artists looking to follow the same path?
MH: I'd say only trust self-producing if you have the personnel in place to handle it. We’ve always loved having the control of producing ourselves because we’re genuinely happy with the results and we all have decisive personality types that lend themselves to governing our own music. However, if you aren’t comfortable with that kind of responsibility, I’d say put the work into finding a good producer who can make it work for you. But he or she always has to be an extension of your vision, and trust needs to be present so there aren’t instances of a producer wanting one thing and the artist strongly wanting another.
PRS:Since the establishment of Periphery’s own joint record label 3Dot Recordings, how difficult has it been to find balance between these new responsibilities and writing, rehearsing and touring?
MH: It actually hasn’t been that tough. We have always been the kind of band that constantly gets excited over new talent, and when we find that talent, we genuinely want to rep it, whether it’s posting about it, telling others about it, and so on. The difference now is that we actually get to represent and push these artists we feel passionate about in an official capacity. Given the fact that we have such a hard-working team at 3Dot Recordings, and we’re all such passionate individuals within the owners, it’s made the process quite natural. I really can’t wait to push 3Dot and its artists even further.
PRS: Can we anticipate hearing any new material from Haunted Shores, your studio side project with Misha Mansoor in the future?
MH: Oh definitely. It’s been a challenge the past couple years because the Periphery and 3Dot workload has been so exhausting, but we constantly kick around ideas, riffs and demos. I think for us, between balancing out our own individual schedules and personal business endeavors, the main obstacle is just finding time to sit down to write and record it. Once that happens, we’ll no doubt get something out pretty quickly. And it’ll be one heavy, fast, ugly one, I promise.