Trivium is one of the bands that started out on the same line as a lot of the bands from The New Wave Of American Heavy Metal. Today, after experiencing a well thought of change in their musical style, they have managed to establish themselves, both musically and performance-wise, as one of the best contemporary metal acts out there. In the following interview you will witness the meeting between Rockfreaks.net and guitarist Corey Beaulieu and his thoughts on the past, present and future of Trivium, some insights on the new album and more.
RF.net: Hello, Corey. How are you and how's the tour been going?
I'm fine. The tour is great. All the festivals have been amazing and the crowds have been awesome! We did some off-dates here and there at places we've never been before so it's proving to be a fun trip so far!
RF.net: Which are the places that are new to Trivium?
Corey: We did a couple of gigs in Germany, some in Czech Republic and Poland and it's been good.
RF.net: What do you think of Copenhell and this year's line up? Did you have enough time to check out the other bands?
Corey: It's a cool line-up. I saw some of the bands that played yesterday(the first day of Copenhell) and some that played today - there are bands that we have never shared the stage with before. It's was cool to see Immortal and Dying Fetus. Bands like Lamb of God we know pretty much because of other festivals. It's a bit a pain in the ass to have to walk back and forth in between stages because of the distance but we'll be hanging around after the show so we'll have the chance to check the bands that will play after us. Anyway, it seems like a pretty “metaled out” festival.
RF.net: Do you have any memories from your previous visits to Denmark?
Corey: We have never done a festival here, as far as I recall. We have played shows here through the years with Iron Maiden and In Flames but never a festival.
RF.net: ”Ascendancy” is your first big record. How did things changed for you after its release?
We just got a lot busier and toured for quite a long time on that record. I think I recently counted 318 shows on tour supporting ”Ascendancy”. When it came out, it “popped off” which gave us a lot of opportunities to tour, play and headline in certain countries. We actually played all over the world, expanded everything. Europe, Japan – you name it. We felt it becoming a “full time deal” because we were constantly touring.
RF.net: So it opened up the things you started with “Ember to Inferno”?
Corey: “Ember to Inferno” was on a small German label that you couldn't find in a store even if you did search for the disc. We didn't do any tours for it but it served for promotional purposes. At the end caught the attention of RoadRunner Records. It was the stepping stone for us to get to a bigger label which would put our music out in a more proper fashion so that people could be aware of it.
RF.net: What songs from ”Ascendancy” take place in your setlist nowadays?
Corey: They get rotated around. Some songs we won't play for a bit and will rotate them in and out. On the festivals we play the more known songs like “Pull Harder The Strings Of Your Martyr”, “Gunshot to The Head Of Trepidation”
RF.net: In one of your interviews you mention that “The Crusade” is your experimental album. Can you explain why do you find it to be like that?
Well it's the most different from all the other ones. When we recorded it we were young, just starting off and wanted to expand what we can do instead of being stuck in the same thing forever. Matt(lead singer and guitar player Matt Heafy) wanted to sing more. We also didn't want to get lumped in as all the other bands...
RF.net: You mean the “metalcore” genre?
Corey: Yeah, because we never were “metalcore”. At least in our eyes we never had anything to do with hardcore - we were into thrash and stuff like that. So that album was a kind of a response to all the people that were putting us in the same place with other bands that we didn't feel like we had much in common with. So we said “Fuck it, we're gonna try something completely different!”. And although that record is not one of my favorite I think a lot of people loved it and it definitely broadened our fan base. I guess it reached a different “metal audience” that didn't pay much attention to what we were doing previously. And even though nowadays we don't do songs that sound like anything on “The Crusade” there are some elements from the songs on it that get mixed in with what we do today and ultimately builds to our sound.
RF.net: What was that thing about Matt not wanting to scream on the album?
Corey: At the time we were touring a lot and we didn't have proper monitors – we were just going out there playing. So he blew his voice out a lot from screaming and singing. He was having a hard to time watching old videos from 7-8 years ago during “Ascendancy” where at times his voice wasn't there. We saw that when a band doesn't have proper monitors you try to scream and yell as hard as you can just to hear yourself over everything else. He was pretty much sick of screaming because he didn't want to hurt his throat no more as well as the fact that he wanted to expand on being a singer. So we decided to let him to that. Over time we realized that screaming is a part of our sound, though. Also Matt has a pretty unique style of screaming so we use it for whatever works. So we came back on “Shogun” with a lot of variations – singing, screaming or singing and screaming – just going back and forth until we heard what we thought was the best for the song. I guess the vocal style is dependent on whatever the music calls for!
RF.net: Did you experiment with the way you recorded “Shogun”? I read in an interview that you used tapes?
Corey: We tried using them for recording the drums with it but when the process was done it didn't sound any different from the results we get with Pro-Tools. I mean there was no drastic difference which could make us use it so we decided not to spend money on buying tapes and wasting our time with that.
RF.net: Another question about sound – Lamb of God preferred on their last to records (“Wrath” and “Desolation” ) to relay on more “live and dynamic” sounding in contrast with the trend that expanded in the recent years with all the djent/deathcore bands that prefer artificial – machine-like sound. What is your standpoint?
Corey: Well, I guess it depends on what the band wants to sound like. There are a lot of bands nowadays that don't even have a drummer that plays on the records – they just program everything. Some people like that really strict, mechanical almost too perfect of a sound. A lot of albums now lack dynamics due to the lack of room mics which pick up the reverb in the drum room. It sounds like the air is sucked out of it. We don't do that – we try to do everything ourselves. We prefer the old-school proper sounding metal albums where everyone plays on it and nothing is fake. I think on the next record we're going to try and do that even more. I don't like that stereotype where everyone plays everything perfect on time, aligned to the grid – almost without a human element in it. Usually we find a way to react to what everyone else is doing – in this case being picture-perfect with fake drums or whatever. So we'll try to go as “much as in your face” as possible and try to get the feeling of really good live show on the record.
RF.net: “In Waves” may very well be your best effort to date. Can you tell me something about the whole concept of artwork, videos and lyrics?
That will be the “Matt question”. He worked on all the themes and concepts and by writing all the lyrics he can ease on the process of creating the artwork and videos. He does that with one of his friends who is the art director and they were bouncing ideas off of each other. Matt would show us the result afterwards so that we could see what's happening to a certain point. He gets really involved in the artwork and coming up with concepts for videos and sometimes you have to tell him that that is a little overkill – I mean we shouldn't spend that much money on a video like we are about to make a movie. But in general he's always far ahead on these things. From time to time he shows us his ideas for the next album! The thing is that when we record an album it is usually though up over the course of one year in advance.
RF.net: So this means you write on the road?
Corey: Yeah, we write pretty much 95% of the album when we are on tour. Once we get off tour we know the songs, so we go to the rehearsal space and we start jamming away instead of having to sit there and be like “Hey, learn this!”. We try to get everything written so that when we go and rehearse we play the songs and rehearse them instead of starting from scratch. On tour we basically have at least a year so we try to use that time to write music and come up with ideas.
RF.net: Line-up changes have always been a breaking point into most bands' carrier. How did you cope with Travis' departure?
Corey: It was actually pretty easy. When Nick started playing with us it happened just like that! He and Paolo(bass guitarist Paolo Gregoletto) had been playing in bands when they were younger, so Paolo was very familiar with him. We knew him because we toured with him as a dum-tech for a summer so before we started jamming we knew we got along. Personality-wise he fit in pretty good and everyone liked him. Matt and I had never seen him play drums before our first rehearsal because when you're a drum-tech you just put up the drums and start hitting everything one thing at a time just to do the sound check. So we never really saw him play drums but Paolo said “He's the guy!”. As soon as we started playing with him it felt like “Holy shit, he's awesome!”. So after doing a couple of weeks of touring with Nick, we knew that regardless if he was going to be in the band or not, a change had to be made. Then the more we played, the more we got to know his playing style... it's been three years now and the shows are better than ever. The response from people that have seen us play a ton of times is very good. Guitar-wise we play really tight so when you have a drummer that plays as tight – it just increases the whole feeling that you can achieve. With all this being said I believe that we have reached that killer show that we were aiming for before but we couldn't get to.
RF.net: There's a constant growth that a loyal fan can witness in your music over the years. Is there still room to improve?
Corey: Well, people that listen to us know that we don't like to write the same shit twice. There's always some new trick. We try to add new twist and turns. In “In Waves” we wanted to be more simplistic because everyone's so “techy” and crazy, trying to play a million notes. We tried to make catchy songs regardless of how many notes you have in a riff. This next album will be to an extend “In Waves”-ish with the additional “pyrotechnical” riffing from “Shogun”, more rocking out without singing... There are always ways to reintroduce an element either as itself or as a mixture from some previous experiences. We tried getting more creative in order to break the mold of verse-pre-chorus-chorus and it feels really good to have everyone's ideas blend in.
RF.net: Which Trivium songs represents the essence of the band according to you?
Corey: We have a lot of different kinds of songs. If we are talking about a person that has never heard us before and is not knowledgeable of the different types of metal music – like a newbie – I'd probably show him the “In Waves” album. If you don't know nothing about metal maybe it would be a good idea to listen to “Black” because it is not “in your face straight brutal”. I mean with “Dusk Dismantled” where the whole song is screaming you may turn that person off so I guess that “Black” is a good mix of both worlds which could ease him in for the heavier stuff.
RF.net: As a closing question – what are Trivium's future plans?
Corey: We have a couple of weeks more here, in Europe, doing festivals. Then we go home to do another US tour, followd by South America. After that we come back here to do a headlining tour with Caliban, As I Lay Dying and Upon A Burning Body. That will be October, November. Everybody – just keep an eye out on website to stay updated.
RF.net: Thanks, Corey!
Corey: Thank you!