One of the heaviest things we’ve ever recorded

Trivium

Photo By Jon Paul Douglass

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us man!

No problem man!

How are things in your world?

Good! We’re just getting to the exciting point of just kind of getting a new record going. Since we’ve started writing the songs, in April, we’ve been full-on the record. Getting everything kind of sorted. Now it’s the fun part where you get to go out and play shows, and people get to finally hear it, seeing the videos and stuff. It’s the fun time. It’s exciting to see what we’ve been working on for so long, to see how it reacts with people. So far it’s been the most overwhelmingly positive reaction from our fans, and just music fans in general, for the new song we put out. When we put something out, it always seems to divide people or whatever, but this has been pretty awesome. So we’re pretty excited to get out there.

You guys already made a big splash with your previous album, it was critically acclaimed. So, we’re all wondering, how different will the new album be from “Silence In The Snow”?

I think the first song that we put out, gives you a pretty good idea. The record has definitely got a lot to digest. It’s darker, there’s screaming again. There’s a lot going on musically within the songs, a lot more riffs and everything, but like “Silence In The Snow” it’s very song oriented, with the vocals and everything. I think it’s kind of progressing off the last record. We just added in some of the elements which that record didn’t have, that fans love from previous records. There’s a lot more intensity and energy, and obviously the drumming has a big effect on that, from the performance of who’s playing. People will be really stoked, the record has something that all fans like. There’s really heavy scream stuff, and there’s some very big melodic stuff, and stuff in between that combines elements of both. I think it’s kind of everything that people expect from our sound. We were really able to mash it into one record.

Alright! I’ve always liked that you have these nice melodies, and you have that aggression in your music as well. If you look at what Trivium originally means, the threeway between Metalcore, Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, would you say that formula still applies to modern day Trivium?

I think we’ve been doing it so long, we now just kind of naturally write music, what we know and like about music. We listen to stuff that’s really melodic, but we also listen to really heavy stuff. We like to play all of it, and write and be creative with all of it. So I think this record really kind of showcases that. Like, one song, “The Sin and the Sentence” has very melodic and big parts, and next you know it turns around and is very dark, and it’s got blast beats and very extreme metal influences. I think over the years it was very natural that we were able to take both ends of the spectrum, blend it, and make it sound like the same band playing the same song. Not going from a super melodic part and going into a very brutal part, making it sound like a completely different song. I think we kind of play the music that we like as music fans. After doing the last record we kind of wanted to play some heavy shit again, and really kind of let that part of our writing come back alive in the music. It’s what we kind of felt like doing, and it came out very naturally. It wasn’t a forced thing, like we were trying to do something to appease anyone.

Is that something you have ever done? Trying to appease fans, trying to do something a certain way to make sure people like it? I don’t think you have!

No, not really. At least, from me speaking. Maybe there was one instance where me and Matt were speaking… when we did “The Crusade”. After we did the first record, and it was such a big success, being so young, we were wondering why other people were talking bad about it. We were trying to win over people that weren’t fans I guess, but mostly every record it’s just kind of, we play what we feel like playing at that moment in time. And each record is kind of different from each other, which I think is pretty cool. Each record stands apart. With this record we had extra motivation to kinda stick it to people *laughs*

*laughs* Exactly. Do what you like. You really were young kids when you started this band. I saw you back in 2006 at Graspop, and I still remember the smiles and the enthusiasm of you guys on stage. Just so happy to be there! Do you still have that energy when you go on stage? You seem more serious these days!

We’re still having a lot of fun! I just think it’s like it’s more of a selling factor I guess. Playing aggressive music, you don’t want to be looking like you’re all high on fucking life. It’s projecting some intensity with your performance. But we’re not that serious on stage. We have our moments when we look more intense, but within the same show we will be smiling at fans, or even something happens during the show, we crack a joke. It’s kind of like when you watch those old Metallica videos, where they are very intense and serious on stage, but there are those lighter moments. Especially when the crowd’s amazing, and we want to show appreciation of how great the crowd is. We’ve definitely been doing it enough to know how to pick our moments, when we kind of lighten the mood, and when to kind of kick it up a notch. People come out to the show, a Metal show. Those moments are fun, but they also want to get their ass kicked.

Yeah, exactly.

We’ve got to bring it hard. Our shows get very energetic and crazy, that makes them memorable for the fans. “That show is the shit”!

*laughs* What I really remember from that 2006 show, is that back then, to me, it seemed like you were still really looking for your own direction. The music still felt a bit like a mix between your influences, where today I think you really found your own style, especially over the last few albums. How do you view the journey to become a better musician?

Well, with us, ever since we started, since we kind of got our break so young, a lot of people at that age are still kind of finding out who they are. Finding your way of doing things, or whatever. We had kind of a stepper learning curve to kind of figure that out. Those first couple years were pretty hectic, since we did “Ascendency”, and then “The Crusade” came out like a year later. That was a lot. Trying to write a record, and tour for a record, and then not really having time to sit down. Now, we spend a lot of time waiting before we even start writing the record, to really think about what the direction is going to be, kind of bullet point things of what we are feeling the record should be. We spend a lot of time developing that vision, to become something that we’re… a thought out vision and artwork, videos that we want, even what we want our band pictures to look like. It’s a lot of stuff we look at in that time, and it all changes and develops into different ideas than what you’ve started with. Maybe early on there were a lot of things that we really didn’t think about that much. I guess you kind of learn as you go, learn about things you didn’t know about. We’re definitely very picky and want to make sure that everything that has our name or our face attached to it, that it’s exactly the way we envisioned it to be. That’s just experience on how to make records and being in the business. I think that the vision of Trivium, what people get, when they get the cd or the product that we’re working on, it’s very fine tuned and focussed.

I agree. It’s more than just an album I think. Usually you paint a big picture.

Yeah. I’m really excited, especially working on this new record, how it just naturally came out. The art direction came out very fucking cool, very different. It’s got a very baroque kind of vibe to it. Obviously the actual cd hasn’t been made yet, but seeing the graphics of what the booklet will be like it’s one of my favorite packaging for a record that we’ve ever had. It just has a very cool vibe and cool feel to it, that is very creative. It’s definitely going to be a cool record that if you listen to it old school style, and read along with the shit in the book, all the lyrics and stuff. And there’s really cool stuff coming out, like, the special edition. We spent a lot of time catering out something really unique that people spending the extra money to buy a box set or something, are getting a really cool collectors item. I’m excited to see all that, the physical product.

I can’t wait! I saw some really recognizable symbolism in the video as well. The golden mask, which is the same as the white mask on the previous album. I was wondering, where did that originate?

Well the idea of the mask, it’s kind of like our band mascot that we created a couple of years ago. It’s been on a lot of the artwork and everything, and obviously on the cover of the last record. I guess at the time, the idea behind it was, we kind of wanted our Vic Rattlehead, Eddie, kind of something that eventually over time becomes something that if you just see that skull, you know it’s Trivium. Something we can use as our brand stamp. It’s been on a lot of merch and stuff. With the new record we didn’t want it to be on the album cover or anything, to have it just be the skull again. There’s some other artwork in the booklet where the mask creeps in though. It’s still part of the imagery for the record, but it’s not the focal point as it was on the last record.

A little bit more on the background.

Yeah. It’s kind of peppered in there. It’s still on some merch and t-shirts and such. Our demon guy.

Very cool! Lyrically, what can we expect of the new album? What are the themes this time around?

That is definitely… talking about, discussing the lyrics… Paolo and Matt wrote all the lyrics. At this point in time I’m not the best guy to ask, but the lyrics are definitely a lot darker, and they touch on a lot of different emotions and such. Paolo reads a lot of books, which kinda brings out ideas and stuff. He uses certain stories of historical stuff, it’s kind of weaved in, in a way that makes sense in modern times. “The Sin and the Sentence” kind of reads like the old Salem witch trials, but it’s meant to represent how nowadays in the media there are always witch hunts going on, for people that are saying something or representing something someone else doesn’t like. He uses witch hunts to describe how people always attack others, go after people, picket against somebody that might say something online or whatever. Trying to get them fired or something. It’s kind of taking old tales that have been told a million times, and using that kind of reference to something that kind of makes more sense in modern times. There’s this other song, “The Beauty of the Sorrow”, which is based off an old World War 1 story, about people being sent off to war, and their kids going off to war, and the viewpoint changes on the whole idea behind it. There are a lot of cool things there. Paolo can describe it better than I can right now. I haven’t picked his brain quite as much on what each song specifically means, but the lyrics on the whole record are very well done and very emotional and very well written. I think it’s definitely a record that when you read the lyrics, there’s a lot of meaning to the songs.

Well, they do jump out at you. “You condemn me, because you don’t understand me”. That immediately springs to my mind.

Yeah, yeah. I think that line, stuff like that on the record, just that line without any context about what the whole song is about, just those lines can really impact a lot of people. A lot of people feel misunderstood and judged, because people don’t understand their background, their religion, their sexuality or they might even just be a quirky person, you know? People will be like “that guy is weird, fuck him”. Or bully him or something. I think just those lyric lines just on their own, can really stick with people and really hit home for a lot of people, for different reasons.

They are universally recognizable.

Yeah. You try to make the songs have a cool story that is open to interpretation to a lot of different people. Everyone can connect to the songs for personal reasons, in a different way. It’s always awesome to hear like with the last record fans come out and tell us that song means this to me. And it’s like wow, I would never have thought someone would connect the song to that kind of thing happening in your lives. But people can connect with a song for a variety of reasons. It’s fun when that happens.

Absolutely. When I read your Wikipedia page, it says that your last three albums deal with more depressive themes, and the struggles and evils in the world. It states that before you had more personal stuff. Do you recognize yourself in that description?

I think that’s the feel of a lot of our records. When you travel the world and meet people from all lots of life… Having that experience and being in different cities and cultures, that kind of gives you a vibe of what the world is like, so you can really like, write from that perspective. Not always about me, me, me. In some kinds of Metal, they are always talking about their inner struggles or whatever, or certain aspects of that. It feels like you are kind of writing the same song, but with different words. It’s about writing about different things that can still affect you personally, but you kind of write it in a way that doesn’t feel like you are writing a diary or something. You see a lot of stuff on the news, and it has not personally happened to me or us, but you see it affecting a lot of people in the world, and it can really inspire you to get your thoughts and write about that, because that’s an important thing that is happening.

You could say that your world view has broadened over the last few albums.

Yeah. I think we’re still a band that’s very highly motivated and still has the fire to be a Metal band in the music world. We definitely put a lot of time and effort into stepping up every record. This record just goes in a darker vibe, and the lyrics kind of went in that direction too. When people hear the whole record, it’s the theme that kind of runs throughout the record.

I’ll be blasting it on my way home tonight, I just got it! I can’t wait. On my way here I was listening to your cover of “Master Of Puppets” by Metallica. What does that band mean to you?

Pretty much all of us, Paul, Matt and I grew up in three different parts of the country, but we all kind of had the same start. We all had bands growing up, in high school, and we all liked the same songs. Like, would you like to play that song in my band? Metallica is one of those bands that kind of was what we cut our teeth on. The black album was the first Metal record that Matt heard, and kind of changed his whole idea of guitar playing. He used to like Pop-punk and stuff, which was very popular in central Florida. So it kind of really changed his direction in music. And in the same way, they weren’t my first band, but whenever I heard Metallica play, I was like, that’s the kind of riff style, the kind of sound. I was also really into Guns n’ Roses and that’s obviously more a blues rock kind of stuff. So whenever I heard Metallica play I thought that’s the kind of guitar playing I want to do. It really was like, for everyone in the band, whenever we heard Metallica, it really kind of changed our view of our path of music, and the style of music that we eventually wanted to play in our own band. Without that band, maybe we wouldn’t even be sitting here right now, or have the inspiration to be in a band, or start a band. In the Trivium piramide, Metallica was one of the first things that was laid down.

One of the pillars, yeah. Well, my nickname has been MrTallica since like forever. When I saw you guys play the first time at Graspop, you really reminded me of a young Metallica.

We learned a lot from that band.We kind of modeled ourselves after them. They do everything the right way and really present their band in a great way. Even now you can always see how Metallica does something, they are still the kings.

They still make it a package, like you do!

Yeah. Seeing bands like them and Iron Maiden, after all these years they’re still top of the game, selling out huge places.

One of my favorite songs by them is “Jump in the Fire”, and I saw the last track on your new album is called “Thrown into the fire”. Any coincidence there? *laughs*

*laughs* I never even thought of that. You definitely won’t mix up those songs. That’s probably one of the heaviest things we’ve ever recorded.

Cool!

I don’t know what “Jump in the Fire”’s lyrics are about top of my head, but I’m pretty sure the songs are lyrically different as well. But then again, I never thought about that.

I saw a nice link there. You’ve toured with a lot of big names over the last few years. What are your best tour memories so far?

Hmm. We did quite some stuff. Obviously, when we do a festival with Iron Maiden or something like that, it’s always awesome, because we get to see them! Like last time we did Graspop, we played right before Iron Maiden, so we literally got of stage, ran to the shower and ran back out to the front of the house to watch the set. So it’s a lot of those shows. And then our last European tour we did, was our first tour with Alex playing drums, before we did the record. Going out on tour playing with him, it kind of made the tour so great, because we were getting annoyed and irritated by the drums becoming an issue on the tour. With sounds and performances going south throughout the tour. It was just like wow, we have a guy that totally slays it every night. It made the songs sound better, it made the band sound better as a unit. We just had so much fun being able to go out on stage and be able to deliver a really good show. Sometimes it’s really frustrating when you played a perfect show, but it doesn’t feel like I had any fun, because the songs as a whole weren’t up to par. That was one of my favorite memories, because we haven’t done a whole lot of touring recently, besides that with Alex. That was a fun one, and we’re looking forward to the next bunch of dates.

Would you say that with your drummers, the fifth time's the charm?

Well, we kind of see Alex like our fourth, because the other guy that toured with us, he never played on a record. But we’ve definitely have been hit with that bug. And even though fans get annoyed with member changes or whatever, there wasn’t going to be much promise sticking with those situations.

You’ve got to make it the best it can be!

Yeah. We always moved on and hoped that the next guy was going to be that guy, when given the opportunity. When they don’t rise to the occasion, we move on and find the next one. Like, when you want to get married, and you have a girlfriend and you break up, what do you do? Get over it, and hope that the next one ends up being the one. Luckily, I think this is it for us. It would be hard to find another dude at that level *laughs*.

Exactly. I have one last question, and that’s always, do you have any last words for our readers?

Yeah. Check out the album when it comes out. When the time this interview is published a bunch of other information will have been released (Edit: and then some). Have fun with our music videos and tracks that will come out as part of the release. Keep an eye out on our website and our social media for all the stuff that we are going to be laying out to people over the next couple of months!

Awesome! Thank you very much for your time man!

Thank you!

Randy Gerritse