Trivium - Part One
We had a revealing chat with Trivium's Paolo. Here's the first part.
Rocklouder scribe Michael Snowden last week caught up with Trivium lynchpin Paolo Gregoletto to ask what the guys have in store for their latest UK tour, the reasons behind the band's split with drummer Travis Smith and plans for their anticipated fifth studio album.
What made you guys tour now? Is it more of a break from the studio or are you wanting to get people excited about Trivium again following your new single 'Shattering the Skies Above'?
We were still touring on Shogun [fourth album released in 2008] so this is the last official tour of the album, but obviously we have just released the new single. It wasn’t intentional, we had this tour planned for months before that so it happened to work out well because, when you have new material, I think it's always better to get people excited. For the people who heard the song and liked it they might want to come and check it out. [The tour] is kind of wrapping things up.
What have you guys got planned for this tour? Will some new songs be played or are you going to wait until the record comes out?
I think the only new ones we will be doing on this tour will be 'Shattering the Skies Above' and some days we may play [Sepultura cover] 'Slave New World' if the crowd is really getting into it. Other than that we have reintroduced some old songs which we haven’t done in a while. We want to end this cycle and get back into the studio before returning fully charged and with a brand new album.
So will the tour borrow heavily from 'Shogun' or is it a Trivium greatest-hits-so-far set?
We try to pick the songs that everyone will know the most and maybe throw in a few more obscure ones here and there. We try to play the songs that people will want to hear and that’s really the best way to end a tour cycle.
What songs do you find get the best reaction from the crowd and that you enjoy playing the most?
It’s always fun to play 'Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr' and that one always goes down well. To be honest the two songs that have gone down particularly well this tour have been 'Dying in Your Arms' and 'Anthem (We Are the Fire)'. 'Anthem...' is one of those songs, I know 'The Crusade' took its hits, but every time we play that song live, especially at big festivals, it goes down well. I don’t think that song has the balls that it has live for some reason. It’s always one of the best live songs that we have. Live it has that spark that sets people off.
Going back to the new single, within minutes of it first being played there were videos all over YouTube- are you worried that this could lead to overexposure or are you pleased that people have sought out the song and are showing an interest in it?
Well I think nowadays there is no such thing as overexposure. The old way of doing things was “don’t put out too much stuff” or “don’t give people too much stuff” and make them want to wait for it. But now, for us at least, our fans want stuff from us all the time. When we put out the last album they were already asking when the next one was coming out. For us it’s great and they are doing us such a huge help by covering our song because maybe some of their friends will check out their cover and have never heard of our band and so check out the actual songs. It’s great for us.
So you're now in the process of writing and recording a new album. How is it all going?
We’ve been writing for about a year or so and we’re going to go home and start the demoing in about a month. We’ve just been jamming at sound checks. We have about three that we can play right through now and that’s the way we are doing it. Once we get those done we are going to continue writing until we have a good amount that we can demo.
With previous albums you wrote some songs individually. Do you still write songs separately or do you write more together these days?
Yeah we still write individually but we are a lot more collaborative. We critique each other’s writing a lot. Not like “that’s not good” but more like “hey try this” or “maybe this would work” or “hey I have a riff that might fit this bit much better”. We also write together now as well which is how 'Shattering the Skies Above' came about. It is probably the most collaborative song we have written where it’s been the four of us hashing out the ideas and riffs.
When you write individually does it ever lead to any disagreements?
Maybe in the past but not so much now. If three other dudes are saying this isn’t very good or this could be better you have listen to that. For me, I’m really picky with bringing in stuff. I don’t like to show people songs or riffs until I am completely 100% sold on it. Sometimes you write something and straight away think it’s the best but for me I like to wait and determine if I like it or not before I show people.
The biggest change in Trivium right now is obviously Travis [Smith] leaving the band and Nick Augusto coming in. How difficult was the split with Travis?
It wasn’t the easiest thing but bringing Nick in was definitely a lot easier. Luckily I’ve know Nick since I was six [years old] and we started jamming in fifth or sixth grade. He’s the first dude I ever played music with. For him to come into the band it was different but it didn’t feel awkward. I’ve known him for so long and Matt [Heafy] and Corey [Beaulieu] got to know him on the summer tour when he was a tech for us. It was a very easy transition and luckily Nick was able to come in and save the day as he had to learn the setlist in two weeks. We were still on tour when we found out Travis wasn’t doing the next tour and so I called Nick and said “listen, you've got to learn these songs and be ready to rehearse”. He learnt them in a couple of weeks and we rehearsed for about ten days, then we were out on the second half of the headline tour in the States. [The tour] probably wouldn’t have happened if Nick hadn’t have been able to do it.
It has been reported that discussions about Travis leaving the band were done over the phone. Is that true?
It was while we were on tour. It was one of those things. We could have done it whilst we were at home rehearsing but we wanted to give it time and make sure we were comfortable on tour and that Nick was going to be the dude that replaced him. It had to be done that way as we were in Canada. It sounds very cold-hearted but at the end of the day we had to make the decision and either way it wasn’t going to be a pleasant one. Unfortunately it was what had to happen for our band to carry on.
So what has Nick brought to the band? Has he given some of the older songs his own twist?
Nick is a very different drummer and his set of influences are drastically different to Travis’. He knows that people know these songs and that people have been listening to them for years so he doesn’t change the integral stuff but he’ll throw in his own fill here and there to thicken bits up a little bit or to make it less awkward to play it the way he would like.
You got some unfair criticism for your third album 'The Crusade' before coming back all guns blazing for 'Shogun'. Was that a conscious decision?
When we started writing ['The Crusade'] we were kind of scatter-brained and I’ve listened to the demos recently and I’m not really sure what we were thinking. We definitely re-grouped, got our heads together and realised we had to make a sold album. It had to be really us and what we were missing on 'The Crusade' had to come back. More so now we know exactly what we are and now we are going to go into the studio and make the album that we want to hear. I think when we do that the results are much better. It’s fair to say 'Shattering the Skies Above' is one of the most energetic songs we have ever done. It’s exciting because this far into our careers we feel like a new band and that’s a great thing.
Click here to read part two of the interview