An Interview With : Paolo Gregoletto (Trivium)
21st April 2016, 16:35
Posted by Tristan
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Maintaining a close bond with fans is one of the most important aspects of being in music. Now more than ever with the appearance of the likes of IndieGoGo and crowd funding it seems to be that bands are slowly but surely closing the gap between them and their fans. Having always been very conscious of their fan base Trivium are one of the premier acts to look up to. After releasing their excellent Silence In The Snow in October of last year the band have been on a whirlwind tour of the world but not quite where you would think.

Opting to go further the band decided that they would substitute the big cities for the smaller towns, often hard to reach. Bringing their world tour to a familiar setting I was able to head up to their Norwich date, where I spoke to Trivium bassist Paolo Gregoletto. Discussing why the band opted for a more colloquial style tour, what recording Silence In The Snow and all its trimmings was like and how the Radio world of the US is changing we find out all there is to know about Silence In The Snow.

Listen to the full unedited interview or read the entire transcript below!

Today we have Paolo Gregoletto with us from Trivium, how are you?

Good man! Just did our soundcheck and ready to get the first show underway, under our belts.

The last time that we saw you was when you headlined Bloodstock. How was that?

That was amazing! I think it was the first show of the cycle so it was an unbelievable way to kick off the tour and it was our first official headlining slot on a UK festival. It was incredible, it was 15,000 people and we had a great time and I’m looking forward to doing it again someday!

What was it like actually headlining?

It was crazy, its like a proper Metal festival too. Its got bigger bands but also everything down to even the most extreme stuff that you can get. It was just a great vibe and the thing I love about Europe is that you get some festivals that are kind of a mix, kind of a crossover crowd which is great to play to.

Its also great to play to a very Metal audience and you can find that in Europe as well and I think that Bloodstock is the only one at that level with so many people coming out. Its great family run festival, its just a good vibe backstage and I think the size of the festival is great too. 15,000 people is a lot but it also doesn’t feel too crowded and I think that people like that. Sometimes the 50,000 – 60,000 above starts to get overwhelming. Even when I’m at a festival anymore backstage, the amount of bands and the amount of just guests and everything is just overwhelming.

Its like a small big festival!

Yeah! It’s great.

You are now currently on tour in the UK playing to intimate venues. What made you decide to come and do smaller venues?

Well we kind of had a similar thing going on in the states, we did a lot of I guess you could call them B and C markets meaning, not the usual tour routes. Not the New York City’s and Chicago’s stuff like that, we kind of intentionally planned the tour around the Radio market’s that we were hitting, whereas here in the UK its not really the same thing but we wanted to get out to the regional towns. Places that we hadn’t played or places that we hadn’t played in a long time.

Some of our early tours were like fifteen to seventeen shows and we played a lot of cities outside of the big towns. I think that was kind of what helped us really latch on with people early on is getting out and playing to people. Not just sticking to big cities, not forgetting about the rest of the country. Maybe the UK is not the biggest country but there are so many towns, there are so many people here that just can’t get into cities. You don’t even realise a town that is forty minutes away its not easy to get into town, make a night of it and then come back. So I think its great to be able to get back out and see the countryside a little bit more!

You released Silence In The Snow last year. What have fans reactions been like to it so far?

I mean its been great for us! We had our first top ten active rock single in the states with “Until The World Goes Cold” and for us that was a real big milestone. We’re in a position where we aren’t a new band but at radio we are technically, its kind of hard to explain. The short story is, when you go to radio and stuff, your history like say us having a gold record England doesn’t matter in Rock Radio they kind of have their own world. Its kind of been a slow build for us, it started on In Waves.

We started to have a little bit of crossover into radio in the US and then the next album Vengeance Falls a little more and then this album was kind of like the big push and the right song connecting and its just seen us being exposed to a new Rock and Metal crowd in the states. The weird thing is that you can tour all these years and there are still people who don’t know who you are. Its great, its great to be in front of new audiences and for us, playing in front of these new crowds they are seeing us with six, seven albums, ten years of experience…

Seeing us in our live peak performance and its been great! I think the album has with ever tour and every month gone by songs and the videos seem to gain more momentum. For this tour we are changing it up a bit we’re actually adding in different new songs, we’re not going to stick to saying we’re only going to play this one single.

We’re trying to rotate it and keep the set exciting for us, for the audience and whats fun is pairing songs that are old with the new ones and kind seeing what works well together and I think that is something that we have put more thought into this time.

I know that Trivium has always been very close to their fans and very interactive, was that one of the main reasons that you wanted to do this intimate run?

Definitely! We didn’t have enough time to do a full tour of Europe and instead of sectioning off doing the UK alone and doing big markets in the UK. The plan is probably to do something later in the year, maybe do a bigger package tour and go through UK and Europe and probably the bigger cities.

With this it was kind of like lets get out to the regional towns and its something that we would love to do, even in mainland Europe you know maybe get out to some different countries up in Scandinavia. You just gotta put the time to do it because it takes a bit more time to do it than the usual six week leg.

We’re coming back in the summer, I don’t think that we are playing in the UK but who knows maybe we might do a one off something here or there.

Ok is that for festival season?

Yeah festival season.

Conceptually what kind of concepts revolve around Silence In The Snow?

Well when we started to get the concept and vision for the record, was when we were on the tour with Killswitch two years ago maybe? We were on the tour and we were listening through to some riffs and demo’s that we had, just ideas that were kicking around. We actually went back and started listening to some old demo’s from Shogun, from a couple of other CDs and in perticular “Silence” was always one that our manager loved.

It was one we always loved but we never finished it. It had cool parts to it, it just needed to be jammed and finished. By the time that we got to it on Shogun we pretty much had that record done. I think we were pretty tired and we had the stuff that we needed so it was just an extra thing.

Whereas over time we always kind of liked it, we’ll save it for the road if we ever use it and we ended up taking that song, reworking it and making the record come together around it. This is like the center piece, this is the main song we’re going to build the recod around and thats kind of where we went from there.

Writing, what do we need with this song in and then we would have a song like “The Ghost That’s Haunting You” or “Dead and Gone”. We would think well we have a song like this, what else can we put in there and that was kind of the goal of it. Trying to make each song serve purpose on the record. Overall I think our goal was to take the classic influences that we have always have but focus in on the songwriting, focus in on the melody.

When we decided that it would be Matt just singing throughout the whole song, we kind of had to think differently about the music. You’re not just putting in screaming to fill a part, you’re having to connect the dots methodically and and musically. It was cool it was a great challenge and a great experience. It showed us that we could do it, that we had the potential to do something like that. Now thinking to the next record and what we could do even more options are open because of that.

We never rest on one thing that its gong to be, now we’ve got a guy like Paul playing with us, its been going great. The potential of what that could bring to some new music even excites me even just thinking about it. What can we do next to top what we have done, take where we have come from and take that to the next level.

As you mentioned “The Ghost That’s Haunting You”, I remember the first time I listened to it, I thought they were quite peculiar vocal harmonies. Was that something that you all decided on?

Yeah! I mean the one thing with vocals and vocal production, I feel that producers that we work with, we always get them involved in that kind of stuff. Thinking about different melodies and ideas, I like that we have never just relied on the safe melodies. Alright thats the go to thing for it, its pushed Matt as a singer because you have to be on your game to do different types of stuff. Stuff that is out of your comfort zone.

Whether its a higher note or a lower note or just the way that it is phrased. That has kind of been always an excting thing especially with this album because each song was so different and unique on its own that we had to approach it the same way vocally. You couldn’t just throw in that style of vocal on this song, nah you’ve got to do something else.

Lyrically Matt and I would be rewriting lyrics and ideas right before he tracked. Some of them had a bit more vocals fleshed out and sometimes we would have an idea and scratch it all and start throwing ideas at each other. What the song was going to be about or update it.

Maybe we’ve already covered that on the record lets try something else content wise and that was something that was another learning process that again opened my mind up to future things. How to prepare for something like that, it was fun! It was kind of like an exercise trying to figure out not only the lyrics but content and storytelling and what you’re trying to get across in a song as opposed to having lyrics that just flow or fit together, have a cadence that works.

Do you think that the kind of cadences was spurred on from your work with David Draiman beforehand?

I think that David definitely had an influence on certain rhythmic stuff with the last record. I don’t know if it carried over as much but working with him and doing the album before In Waves kind of opened our mind to being more thoughtful with rhythm and groove. Not being afraid to go in that direction but keep the riffs and focus in on the groove more. When you have a part that is more groovy you can’t vocally have a kind of stock like thing you have to kind of go along with that groove and you can let the vocals also carry it.

That was something we focused a lot more on in this record. Songs like “Dead And Gone” have to flow with how the drums and the bass are moving together where the guitars drop out. Its just vocals, bass and drums these two instruments are grooving this way vocals have to fit in there too.

Ok, speaking of “Dead and Gone” you’ve just released the video for it. I don’t know what the actual word for it but the mask which is on the cover?

Oh the Ohni Skull!

What’s the story behind that?

Well we were out on tour and I kind of suggested to Matt that we maybe start thinking about a new logo. Not to replace the Trivium “T” but something to personify our band.

One thing we were talking about is how we have had the Japanese influence and elements in the band and how it would be awesome if we were to come up with a logo that represents us in some sort of skull or something. We hit up our tattoo artists which does all Japanese art and told him what we were thinking about and so he sketched up this Ohni skull based on this demon called Iberachi. I think its a female demon.

Like the Hanya masks and stuff?

Yeah, similar to that and we kind of gave him the idea of what we were looking for. So we took that and shifted it into more of that skull, it was a 2D type drawing. That was something that we had, we had it a year before we did the record!

Then the next step was when we started talking about album art, originally it was going to be the drawing of that and then we dicussed, well kind of argued that maybe we could think of something a little cooler than that. The one thing I was interested in was maybe doing some photography based artwork. What we did was actually get those masks made, we got four of them made, different colours and we gave them to our friend JP who did all the album videos, album art and he did all these different shots. The album is a photo, its not a drawing or anything.

He did white on white, he did the black in like a snow thing, he did all the different colours and all the different combos but the white on white ended up being our favourite. That was the thing, its not apparent right away but just the fact that there is depth, its real, its a real photo. Its a replication of something physical, that was something that we were really interested in doing.

All the photos in the packaging, its all three dimensional, they’re all real things. It was cool to be able to make it and that is something that I love, my favourite record covers. I love really Metal looking covers I love Master Of Puppets type covers, the Iron Maiden covers but I also love the classic seventies photography based. You take a Pink Floyd record, theres just something really cool, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Its quite iconic I think.

Yeah, that was something that we definitely wanted to do. Its hard to be like yeah we want something that is iconic but to shoot for it you have to kind of think what condiions would make this skull look bigger than just a picture. I think if we would have done just the picture it would have been cool but it wasn’t the timeless look.

Being Silence In The Snow, obviously the white represent the snow. Because it wasn’t the snow even though we tried that, we just wanted something different and because of that its more interpretable to people, what it means to them and what the demon is and thats something I love. Its more than just the music, it can be the packaging, the videos it can all come together like that. The same with our live stuff. We focused in on that and how can we bring that into the live show.

What are your plans for 2016 then?

Lots of touring. The one thing we did this time is we didn’t just solidly book the tour, we kind of left some space open so that we could make touring arrangements around how the album was doing in certain places. Especially with radio in America if the record was going to start doing well with radio, now we can kind of focus our touring based around that to continue down that path.

Instead you book a tour and have a tour that doesn’t really line up with where you’re at. The same thing in the UK and Europe, we had so many options and there are so many different routes and you just have to think what is going to be the best one in terms of growing the band. Is it supporting someone is it headlining, you know you want to keep yourself open for those different choices.

Seeing where the chips fall with other bands going out, seeing who you pair up with and who you don’t. Thats kind of where we are at, I think we are going to tour solidly this year. 2017 I don’t know, we might continue touring we might take off for a little bit. Thats kind of the plans for now.

Thats pretty far in the future as it is! Whats been an album that you have been listening to over the last six months to a year?

So much! I’m trying to think, I’ve been all over the place! I been really trying to reach out into different stuff and I have been using the Spotify Discover Weekly thing, its such a great jumping off point for discovering something new.

A good example, I have been listening to this old Punk band called Dead Boys and I think Guns ‘n’ Roses may have covered them on their Spaghetti Incident album. It was one of those things where I would have never looked for that, I would have never looked for that band. I love it, I love their first album that they put out and its just amazing that Spotify could find me that band. That it would search it out and know that I would like that.

That’s just something that kind of blows my mind, as someone who loves music and loves discovering stuff. We’re entering the golden age of discovery. If you want to look for something, it could be an old band, it could be an old band. Actually I’m not even way into rap but I love Kendrick Lamar.

I knew you were going to say that!

Its amazing!

“King Kunta” is a good song!

That album is unbelievable, kind of watching his story seeing where he comes from, his message its not like glorifying the gang life. Its almost like escaping it and I almost had this thought the other day, really if you boil it down you can take a guy like Kendrick Lamar or you can take a Bruce Springsteen and their message is similar. Its escaping from a life. You want to get something better, I appreciate that, I love that.

I like anyone that is talented at what they do and can take a genre and excel even further. Thats why for me, I don’t listen to a lot of Rap but when its good you have to sit back and go wow! Musically even, the music the bass lines its definitely something else!

I even told Matt, you should check it out. Its really, really good! Yeah I’m just always all over the place. I’m listening to Metal, Rock and Classic Rock. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ramones lately, just out of the blue. Sometimes its just nice to cleanse the pallet of technical stuff with something just simple and great.

A great song, simple lyrics I have to do both. I can listen to a lot of extreme stuff and technical and progressive and then I have to go to something like Ramones. It keeps that balance in my head, when I go to write I’m not too far one way or the other. It kind of keeps my head thinking alright I could do something really technical and progressive but I gotta still write a good song.

For someone just that is not a guitar player, not a bass player or drummer not even into Metal if they hear it they’re like Oh I like that! I like that vocal line or that hook but still you’re serving them something that is a little more than they would have ever thought to listen to so thats where my head is at when I am writing, trying to balance the two worlds.

Well thank you ever so much for speaking with us!

Appreciate it man!

Trivium’s brand new album Silence In The Snow is out now.