Trivium dropped a bombshell on their fans when they announced that they were working with Disturbed frontman David Draiman on their new album. Better known for melodic heavy rock, Trivium’s fans probably suffered a collective heart attack at the thought of what Draiman could possibly turn their band into. It was a fear that bassist Paolo Gregoletto cheerfully acknowledges as he waxes brightly about working with the man.
“I think people were shocked when we announced it,” he says. “Obviously they never saw it coming. We did In Waves and gave him the CD and he was really blown away with it and really loved what we were doing. Having been a fan for such a long time, it’s cool the way it worked out, to be able to work with someone that no one’s really worked with before. We’ve had the privilege of working with so many name producers, especially within metal, to work with someone new can give us a new perspective on our music and give us some new ideas. It was awesome. We approach every record like that. It’s not about sticking to a given formula.”
Trivium had more than a year to decide who they would get to produce Vengeance Falls, with Gregoletto telling Loud early last year that song writing was already underway. Recording at Draiman’s home studio in Austin, Texas, it was a new experience for the Floridian quartet that the bass player says was very beneficial to their creative process.
“Recording this album was the closest thing to being on tour that you can get,” Gregoletto observes. “That’s one thing we’re going for, that element of being out of your comfort zone that really helped with the music. Not being able to go home when you stopped recording for the day, you were fully immersed in the music all day long 10am to 10pm pretty much for a month and a half while we were there.”
Draiman’s main emphasis for Trivium was pre-production – the time spent ahead of recording where material is refined and developed to a recordable standard. Trivium was at Draiman’s studio for a fortnight working on the songs before a single note was laid down.
“David as a producer was very strict with the timeline and how we were going to do everything. He was very structured and we’re a band that likes that sort of stuff, so it worked out perfect,” Gregoletto says. “We got up there and he worked on pre-production for two weeks, and he was really intense. He had a really thought-out plan. It wasn’t like, ‘Ok, we’ll see how it goes’. It was like, ‘Well, we’re gonna do pre-production for two weeks, and then if we’re done, we’re gonna do this, this and this…’ It flowed really smoothly and it allowed us to work in ways we hadn’t before.”
The biggest change this brought about was the emphasis Draiman – a singer himself – put on the vocals. Even for fans, Matt Heafy’s vocal delivery has often proved problematic, and Gregoletto admits that this is probably due to the band always recording them last, when there hasn’t been enough time to do them properly if something goes wrong.
“Matt was recording vocals throughout the process. It wasn’t just a five day thing,” he says. “It was spread out. As a vocalist, David was mindful of making sure that Matt wasn’t over-doing it in the studio. There’s problems we’ve had in the past where we’ve had all the singing in the last week of recording. The vocal chords go in a few days, and then you’re sitting there thinking, ‘What are we going to do now?’ It was totally opposite this time.”
Vengeance Falls contains some of Trivium’s slickest and most streamlined song writing. Gone are the contrived cut-and-pastings of riffs found on albums like Shogun, and in their place are smoother, less predictable transitions and changes. Gregoletto suggests that this was another positive result of working with David Draiman.
“Usually when we do a new record, we’ll rehearse for two months straight and have everything 100% set in stone. On In Waves, we didn’t really have a pre-production because we worked on the music for so long, by the time Colin (Richardson) and Martyn (Ford) got there, we were just machine-gun tight: this is how we needed it to sound. It was kind of the opposite this time. We left things open so when we worked with him we could add in riffs or change riffs around,” the bassist explains. “His big thing for us was that he didn’t want us to commit to every song. Meaning, ‘Don’t get too attached to how the song is now, because when we work together, it could change – for the better. I want you guys to be open to changes. At least to try it’. And that was something we had never done before.”
Soundwave is something that Trivium has done before, in 2010 and 2012, and they’ll be back for the big show next year as well.
“This is our third time down (with Soundwave) and it’s always amazing. We’ve never had a Soundwave or any Australian tour that’s never gone anything but great,” Gregoletto says. “So… the line-up looks great… I really have nothing to say – I know it’s gonna be awesome! I think we’re playing on the same stage as Megadeth – hopefully, so that’s gonna be pretty bad ass.”
When we last spoke with Trivium, Corey Beaulieu promised that they’d return before the end of last year; the tour failed to materialise, however, and it’s now been quite a few years since the band has toured Australia in their own right. Paolo Gregoletto remains optimistic that they will be able to come back again as headliners.
“It’s something we haven’t done in a long time,” he admits, “and our fans ask us every time we’ve been down there. It’s one of those things where we’d really like it to work out. We’d really love to bring down a headlining tour and bring down the full-on production tour. I really hope we do. It’s all really a matter of making it work out timing wise. I think our Australian fans deserve a good, ninety-minute set from us one of these days. I think we’re on our seventh or eighth time coming down, so I think if we can come down that many times, there’s enough support to keep bringing us back. We’re pretty thankful that we’ve had the chance to come back so many times. It’s one of our favourite places to play, and I think there’s a lot of bands that feel the same way about that. It’s a lot like the States in a way, just a more easy-going version of it! It’s fun touring there.”
There are still horizons Trivium hasn’t explored yet, but doors continue to open for them. Paolo Gregoletto is just pleased that he and his bandmates can keep making inroads on the worldwide touring circuit. After a decade, it shows no sign of slowing.
“We’ve just announced our first show ever in South Africa. That’s definitely one to check off the list,” he says cheerfully. “And I think we’re going to announce some Asian shows in places we haven’t played. That will be awesome. Anywhere we can go, anywhere it’s safe enough to play, I’m 100% for playing it. South America was something we did a year ago that was unreal as well. We’re just really thankful that, already with this album coming out, the touring cycle is already filling up and expanding. You’ve got to be pretty thankful that after ten years you’re not just still doing it, but it’s still growing and expanding. That’s kind of one thing that we’ve always agreed upon. We’ve got to keep expanding, keep it relevant and keep it fun. That’s what been happening for us.”
Catch Trivium at Soundwave next year:
22/2: RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
23/2: Olympic Park, Sydney NSW
28/2: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
1/3: Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
3/3: Claremont Showground, Perth WA