Last summer, I headed to the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ, for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and one of the performers on the main stage totally blew me away! That band was Trivium! I mean, before seeing them live, I was already a fan, as I have all of their CDs, but I’ve never seen these guys live before. I watched in awe as these guys tore up the main stage. They were hands down probably my favorite band of the day. Singer Matt Heafy commanded that stage, while guitarist Corey Beaulieu shredded the hell out the Trivium classics. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto and new drummer Nick Augusto seemed to have no problems holding down that bottom end with so much energy!
For anyone unfamiliar with Trivium, they’re an Orlando, Florida-based metal band, whose only original member is singer and guitarist Matt Heafy. Matt took over the vocalist duties when the original singer of Trivium left the band. He would continue the Trivium brand with original drummer Travis Smith and bassist Brent Young, while picking up Corey to handle the lead guitar duties. Trivium would release their first studio album, Ember To Inferno, in 2003, which would earn them an opening slot for Machine Head, but would also see the end of Young. Right around the time Trivium added Gregoletto to their lineup in 2004, Ember To Inferno garnered the band some interest from Roadrunner Records, and later in 2004, Ascendancy was released on Roadrunner. The success of Ascendancy put Trivium on the stages of many large festivals, helping Trivium’s fanbase grow immensely! In the following years, Trivium would release The Crusade in 2006, Shogun in 2008, and they would record a song for the God Of War III soundtrack in 2010, which also saw the departure of drummer and original member Travis Smith. Former drum tech Nick Augusto would step up to the plate and become the new drummer of Trivium.
In August 2011, Trivium released their latest opus, In Waves, which is a little bit more of a commercial hard rock CD helping the band receive some radio airplay with their first single, “In Waves”. Trivium has recently hit the road with a power-packed lineup consisting of Swedish metalheads, In Flames, Veil of Maya, and Kyng. They hit the Best Buy Theater in New York City on Feb. 18, and then they’ll make another local stop at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on March 27 with Asking Alexandria. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu called me from the road to chat for a few minutes and below is what was discussed.
We caught you on the Mayhem tour last year and you introduced a few songs that would be on the amazing CD, In Waves, and I noticed that they had more of a commercial metal feel, which is a little different than the previous CDs. Was the writing process different this time around?
Not really! We just wrote songs like we normally do, and we just went with whatever we felt was the material we liked the most. There’s a good variety on there, but it’s kind of just what we wrote. There was no specific goal as to writing anything commercial. We were just writing stuff that we felt was just catchy and cool and we liked it. Those songs just ended up being the ones we wanted to put on the album.
Well, didn’t you guys change the tunings for this CD? You dropped to C sharp, didn’t you?
Yeah, we dropped it down a little bit. When we started writing we were doing it in drop D again like Ascendancy, and then just on a goof, Matt got a guitar that was tuned to C sharp, which is a half-step lower than we’re used to playing, but when we started jamming those songs in that tuning, we thought that it sounded really cool, and it gave it a bit of a really darker, meaner vibe that kind of fit the vibe of the tunes. So, we just kind of went with it. We thought it sounded really good for the songs we were writing.
Speaking of Matt and Paolo, they came out with a totally new look! No hair! What happened?
Paolo got sick of it and cut it, and Matt wasn’t feeling the long hair anymore, so he donated it to a charity. They’ve always changed their look up over time from long hair to short hair. We’ve never been a consistent long-haired metal band like a lot of other people are. The hair doesn’t really write the songs, so it doesn’t really matter to us. I’ve had the same long hair since I was thirteen, so I really wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have long hair (laughs).
One of the songs that you debuted on the Mayhem tour was a song called “Built To Fall”. I just saw some behind the scenes video footage and it looks like a mini-movie. Is there some acting on the horizon for the guys in Trivium?
Nah, we’re not really much of actors. We can kind of do the music video thing, but we tried on old, old stuff—we tried to do a video that was a lot more acting involved and we crapped it. So, we know our limitations, as far as that goes, so we try not to go over that (laughs).
“Shattering The Skies Above” was on the God Of War III soundtrack. How did that happen? Are you guys big gamers?
Yeah, we all like video games. Well, mostly Matt and I are the video game players. We play totally different types of stuff, but we got asked to do a song and we thought it would be pretty cool because at the time we were touring for the Shogun CD for a while, so we were kind of writing new songs for the next album already. We got asked to do an exclusive song, and we had a new drummer and everything so, while we were on tour, we started writing that track and rehearsing it at sound check and then we got some free time in between tours, we went in and recorded it. But it was a cool thing to be able to test the waters with the new drummer and get in the studio and be creative before we started doing the full-on album.
How are things working out with the new drummer? Wasn’t he your drum tech or something?
Yeah, he drum teched for a tour and a half, and he wasn’t really a drum tech. We kind of really needed somebody and he played drums, so he kind of filled in for a short time, and when we were looking for a drummer, Paolo was like, “We gotta get Nick!” And it’s been working out fantastic! He’s an amazing drummer! He kills it live! And he’s really made our live shows that much better because he’s right in the pocket right with the rest of us. The more we tour, and the more we play together, the better it gets. We’re playing live, the best we’ve ever played! So, it’s been awesome having him onboard with us!
Before In Waves, I owned Shogun and loved that CD because to me, it had this old school Metallica feel to it. Something we haven’t heard in years. Were they a major influence for you growing up?
Earlier on, I would say yeah! When we were younger and starting out, they were kind of the band that got us all into metal and wanting to play in a band, so they were a big influence early on. From there it just grew with different influences and different bands that we got into like the early thrash stuff and Maiden and everything was kind of our first introduction to metal. Then we all kind of grew out, found out new bands and kind of found some new influences along the way. So, it kind of progressed from just the Metallica thing to a lot more.
Speaking of Iron Maiden, I read somewhere that Trivium were special guests of Iron Maiden on their Final Frontier tour. That must’ve been amazing!
Yeah, we did the last show of the tour with them in London, and not only that, but we toured with them back in 2006. We did the full European tour for A Matter Of Life And Death, and we’ve always had a blast playing with Maiden, and we played with them a few times since we did the full tour with them. They treat us great and they have big crowds, and they’re really responsive, so we’ve had great shows playing with them. So, anytime they ask us to play with them, and we’re available, we’ll jump at the opportunity!
You’re currently out on the road with In Flames, Veil Of Maya, and Kyng, some really amazing metal bands! Are these the types of bands you’re listening to now?
Not really! In Flames is a big band that we’re all huge fans of, and I didn’t really know much of the other bands until we got on this tour, but it’s a really cool package. Each band’s got something different going on, and the shows have been amazing! Great crowds and everything! It’s been a really fun tour! Everyone’s really cool dudes and they have some really killer bands. It’s always good to have a little bit of a variety when you’re on tour.
And then you guys are hitting the road with Asking Alexandria?
Yeah, that’s in March. I know about them, but I don’t really follow that type of music, and I’m not really into that style, but they asked us to be on the tour, and we looked at it as an opportunity to play to a totally different audience that probably isn’t too aware of what we do, and they have a lot of younger fans. So, it’s just a good way to broaden the horizons and reach some new fans. We’ve done the metal tours for years, and have played in front of the same kind of demographic. So, this will be a cool way to test the waters and show some new heavy fans that might be just getting into the heavy music stuff. We’ll show them what Trivium does, and maybe we can get some fans to jump onboard with what we do.
Before I let you go, what’s in store for Trivium moving forward?
Well, we have our new single, “Black,” that’s just getting added to radio. We’re finishing this tour, going to Australia right after, then the Asking Alexandria tour, and then we’re doing a bunch of the U.S. radio festivals in April and May. Then we have some shows with Five Finger Death Punch, some European festivals, and then we hope to do more touring in the summer. After the summer, we’re heading to Matt’s homeland, Japan and Australia, possibly South America, and Europe again. So, we have a busy tour schedule, and like I said before, we’re writing new songs for the next record underway, so when we’re done with all the touring, we’d like to head into the studio and have a new record out hopefully by the summer of next year!
You can catch Trivium on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Best Buy Theater. They will also be at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Tuesday, March 27. For more information, go to trivium.org.