Melodic death metal, progressive metal, metalcore — shelve Trivium in whichever genre you please, but you’d be wasting your time.
Trivium is a band that is known for consistently putting out technically impressive creations; their music shifts and morphs, pulling influences from a dozen genres and conjoining them into technically impressive compositions, often with complex guitar work, double bass drum patterns, and vocals ranging from melodic to screaming.
Listen closely and you’ll hear the evolution, from some of their earlier work on 2003’s Ember to Inferno (hear that thrash?), to the melodies on 2005’s Ascendancy (named one of Metal Hammer’s Albums of the Decade), to the blast beats on 2011’s In Waves, to the Japanese influence on 2008’s Shogun — an album that featured lots of seven-string guitar work, which remerged on the band’s most recent (and seventh) album, 2015’s Silence in the Snow. No wonder they’ve sold more than 1 million records worldwide.
Trivium, comprising vocalist Matt Heafy, guitarist Corey Beaulieu, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and brand-new drummer Paul Wandtke, is a band that always raises the bar for themselves. Currently on the road in support of Silence in the Snow, Gregoletto talked with New Times about why he won't write while touring, a potential 2017 album, his feelings on Taylor Swift, and the band that has impressed him overseas.
New Times: Recently, Matt [Heafy] said he feels like you guys have nailed down the definitive version of Trivium right now, which is lucky since many bands never find that. So what is that definitive version in your eyes?
Paolo Gregoletto: Honestly, "definitive" — that’s kind of like saying that where we’re at is all we’ll ever be, and I’m in the mindset when I write to try and not go by a rigid formula for the band. To me, each album is it own thing. The next one will be different from Silence in the Snow. As you grow and experience new things, your life influences a lot of the music you write. The touring really influences me. I come home with new ideas and new perspective.
In terms of the band though, we’re the most solid we’ve been in years. We know what we want to do, but we also know how to do it from trial and error of being around for a decade touring.
So you feel you’re most influenced by the touring process — being exposed to different cultures, other bands and music, the motions you encounter?
Yeah, I definitely feel like that is how it is. I used to write on tour. Then I stopped because I felt like I wasn’t living in the moment of touring. It felt very stale. When I stopped doing that, I felt like I had better ideas, plus I had less time in between tours to get them out, so I felt more motivated and inspired to write. Whereas on tour it was mundane to find a spot on tour that’s quiet to write. Then on stage every night, playing different songs from our catalog for our fans — it reminds me what we did right and what we didn’t. And we bring that into our new writing once we’re home.
So is Trivium currently working on the eighth album for 2017?
We’re not in pre-production or anything like that, but I’ve been writing new stuff since we finished the last record.
When writing, do you all contribute?
We all contribute to the writing; we come together at a certain point and figure out what the idea for the next record is. You can start to see it taking shape, then you edit it down, write more, edit it down.
When you say taking shape, is there a concept yet? A feeling? What can fans expect?
Well we are still in the early phase, but I feel like the one thing we will try to go towards is making sure it’s as energetic as possible. Playing with [drummer Paul Wandtke] has reinvigorated us with ideas. He’s a really talented player, and it’ll be fun to see what we can throw at him and what he can give back to us on the drums. Until we really all sit down and play together and see what works and what doesn’t, it’s hard to say.
It seems like Silence in the Snow gave off a much more classically influenced vibe than some of Trivium’s prior albums.
Yeah it’s hard to find the balance when you like so many types of music. ... We weren’t worried about trying to make something really progressive and we didn’t force it, but that’s what made it natural. Those were the songs that came out with working together. It’s nice to know that it’s organic.
How do you specifically challenge yourself musically to grow with each album, in terms of progressing with your own skill set?
I mean, you have to write constantly and often, and try different stuff when you write. That’s the only way you get better at stuff. I learned bass because I played every day. Writing is the same thing. It’s a collaborative effort, but if you aren’t trying to sit down and write a song in between tours … I mean, that’s my goal. I don’t write with the intent that it’ll be used for the next record. It’s just the exercise of trying to write it. You need to own the craft. It’s hard. You have to put your 10,000 hours in to get that accomplishment. I feel like with bass, I sit down and feel comfortable, but even to this day, songwriting is tricky. You’re trying to be original and present stuff that people feel familiar with with Trivium, but also fresh.
I’m going to throw out a few names and I’d like you to give me a one-word answer.
The greatest. They are my favorite band. Ah, one word!
Guns N' Roses
Rock 'n' roll. I haven’t seen them yet though on this tour! But I’ll be okay if I don’t. There are different types of tours when bands come back together, as opposed to when they just start out.
Meh. Wait — can I could amend the Taylor Swift name? Rather then just saying something negative? I’d put Sia instead.
Trivium is seen as one of those bands always shaking up the metal scene and continuously putting out technically impressive music. Are there any bands out there right now that are impressing you?
Yeah, the one that comes to mind is Vola; they are from Denmark. I discovered them on my latest release playlist on Spotify. I love the stuff I’ve heard so far from them. It’s a cool blend of things that I like about a lot of the modern bands. It’s cool to hear that and feel that same excitement that I got when I was young and discovered new bands. I was worried when I was younger that I’d lost that excitement as I grew older, so it’s nice that it hasn’t gone away.