Waiting at the back entrance of The Roundhouse in London prior to their headline show as part of Trivium’s final tour supporting the Silence In The Snow album cycle, there’s a really good atmosphere. As I walk backstage there are all manner of preparations going on that make me glad to be on this side of the event. There’s a strong whiff of Chinese food and I catch Matt’s eye as we walk past the dressing rooms to meet my guy tonight. This time it is none other than bass guru Paolo Gregoletto who is candid yet seemingly soporific, which is without surprise seeing as there’s another guy on the other side of the door ready to deliver his questions. That’s just how it is I suppose, and you really can’t blame him. I exude as much enthusiasm as appropriately possible and Paolo courteously plays ball.
So how’s this tour going?
It’s off to a great start, it’s our fifth show so we’re rolling, we’ve got the kinks straightened out and the set is good.
Yeah, it’s been kept the same every night on this tour right?
Yeah, we wanted to keep it really tight.
We were wondering outside whether it was due to Alex (Bent – new touring drummer) learning all the songs?
Well we didn’t want to overload him and make him learn more than he needed to so we thought 16 was a pretty good amount to learn and there aren’t that many people who go show to show so we’d rather it was just a tight show every night and get all the endings solid and stuff.
How does it compare to previous Silence In The Snow tours?
I’d say it’s a lot more intense. There are a lot more fast songs in the set so we’ve been having fun going back to that and it makes the crowd go pretty wild and we wanted to make sure the energy didn’t really drop, so we picked songs in the set that allowed people to reset and give them a break… and then give them 3 or 4 songs in a row that upped the energy.
Are there any favourites of yours to play at the moment?
I’m really enjoying “Pillars Of Serpents”. I have done throughout the years and Alex is great, he’s super tight and has solid playing especially when it comes to the fast stuff so it makes the song even more enjoyable. I can just kinda sit back and enjoy myself playing it as well as “Deceived”, which has been on and off throughout the years and I’ve always wanted to bring it back into the set.
I was waiting around in the main area for my SHVPES interview and Alex was just double-pedaling away.
Yeah he’s very fast.
Actually my next question is how is he doing?
Unbelievable. For a lot of our fans who may have never heard of him or ever seen him there’s now a few videos of him playing our music but he’s been playing loads of gigs throughout the years. He’s been playing with Battlecross, Archaic, Braindrill… a lot of great bands and he’s done work with Testament. So he’s a very seasoned player especially for someone as young as he is and he’s a very focused musician in the way he practices and the way he prepares.
Do the Spinal Tap jokes ever get old?
Not really, I mean Spinal Tap is very realistic for a lot of bands in general! Obviously we’ve had it with the drummer thing but other people have it with other aspects. A lot of the jokes in the film are spot on and that’s what’s so great about it.
Whose decision was it to have SikTh and SHVPES as support on this tour?
Well when we’re going on tour we put out feelers to see who’s available. We’ve known Griffin [Dickinson – vocalist] and SHVPES for a little while now and when we heard them we were stoked at how great it sounded. The first spot is always for a new band to be given a chance in front of a crowd and they were one of the options we had. We also had SikTh lined up which seemed the most suitable opener for us.
Album-wise, looking over your discography it seems like a reinvention with every album or two. Is there any mood in place for the next one?
Nothing is set in stone yet, probably something a little heavier though judging on the songs we’ve been playing on this tour and having Alex Bent now and although it could go so many ways still, I think it’ll be heavier than the last record. The one thing I think we will carry over from the last record is that it will be very song-oriented. That doesn’t mean we’ll be sacrificing the heavier, faster stuff that we want to try. We may want to put that into songs that are still catchy and anthemic. I think that’s the kind of direction we’ll find ourselves going.
It does seem like the new album is a lot easier to get into after a few listens, unlike Ascendancy for example which takes a lot longer to digest because there’s so much going on.
Yeah, there’s ups and downs to both of those but if you can mix those then you’d have something really special. We’ll be taking a break first, then we’ll figure it out.
Matt brings a lot of Asian influences to the songwriting. When he brings that stuff to the table does he have to explain things and make sure everyone’s on board?
Do you mean like artwork and stuff?
Yeah and also the kind of stuff on Shogun.
Well there’s really no explanation. We’re all kind of on the same page with that stuff and it’s a cool element, but it’s not the only thing in the band so we haven’t beaten it to death. Although it is nice when it comes to the logos and stuff which ties it together and gives it a solid look. It always looks good on merch.
I was wondering if he ever came into the studio with some odyssey or myth that he wants to incorporate?
Not really. I mean every record is a little different and it’s certainly very prominent on Shogun but that’s where our heads were and it really fits with the music where it wouldn’t have done on Ascendancy. You try different things and you fit the parts together depending on how it’s feeling.
On the topic of influences, Matt has done his Tomorrow Is Monday “Rosebush On Fire” stuff. With Trivium and the death metal, black metal and even classic rock influences, do you think you would ever do a one off album in that kind of vein?
A lot of the melodic stuff on Ascendancy was definitely influenced by post-hardcore screamy stuff. I know Matt was really into From First To Last and I was into Thrice who have metallic edges at points and there’s definitely some crossover into what our sound was, mixed with death and thrash and bands like In Flames. That to me is what Ascendancy was and that’s always been something in our sound subtly and they’re bands we like too.
On a bit of a tangent, did you see Metallica doing their collaboration with Lady Gaga at the Grammy’s?
I haven’t seen it yet although I heard they were doing it and I’ve seen pictures of it.
With Trivium being this innovative modern band, do you ever see yourself collaborating musically with someone not necessarily in the metal world?
Yeah, it really just comes down to the song and the execution. I don’t think we could do a full album but a song would be cool, something like that whether it’s someone working with us or vice versa. It’s something bands used to do a lot more, like Tom Petty’s band back with Bob Dylan or something random like that and I always thought that was really cool. If we had some sort of opportunity whether it was doing it live we’d definitely consider it because it’s an honour to just be thought of with things like that. With Metallica, I know they had some sound issues but just to be in front of the entire mainstream media and to have the seal of approval from a big popstar like Lady Gaga is a really awesome thing.
I don’t want to keep you too long because you’ve got shit to do but as a final question, a bassist friend of mine wanted to know why you swapped your BC Rich for a Warwick in 2015?
It was at a time where there were a lot of changes and a lot of people left and I felt like the direction wasn’t going where I wanted it to go and I had been there for years, so it definitely wasn’t an easy choice. But when I was put in touch with Warwick, right away I felt like family and they invited me out to their camp over in Germany and I had a great time. Playing it live now is really about upgrading to the next level. Great quality instruments and they sound great.