Trivium are a prominent name in contemporary metal. A healthy work ethic and new album – ‘Vengeance Falls – just released, the band has made 2013 a productive period. With the group preparing to return to Australia next year for Soundwave, Killyourstereo.com sat down with bassist Paolo Gregoletto to discuss music, interacting with fans and (hopefully) holding a koala.
Hey Paolo, how it’s going?
Hey man, how you doing?
I’m going well, thank you.
A new album, a spot of Soundwave. I imagine it must be a good time to be in Trivium?
The big announcement with Soundwave has been made and we are pretty pumped with everything coming up here.
You’ve been in Trivium for about nine years now – it is a big chunk of your life. What have been some of the main differences you’ve noticed between when you first started to where you are now?
I think now, the biggest thing with Trivium is we are just very assured of ourselves and confident with who we are. I think as you’re starting out, the first few years especially, with touring and really being in the public eye, I think you might come across like you’re really sure of yourself but I don’t think you really know who you are until you’ve gotten out there and done things over and over. I think it bonded our band a lot more – we are all really great friends. Now, it makes going into recording an album easy because we get along. We don’t only like to make good music with each other but we also like to hang out. I think that’s probably the biggest thing since the beginning to now, we enjoy each others company and just being on tour together. We are lucky because you hear about the other side of things and bands just falling apart over the years and we’ve really grown closer over time.
For yourself personally, you have a really healthy relationship with your fans. Particularly on social media I see you interact quite regularly. How important is this interaction?
I know that a lot of people say because of social media and the way the Internet is there is really no mystique with rock music or heavy metal, and just music in general. But, I think it’s the world we live in now and I think you have to embrace where things are going. Not that kids expect you to answer every message, I mean I probably go above and beyond the average musician on Twitter, I do like to speak to our fans – I feel it’s very important to know what they feel about what we are doing. That’s the best way to gauge how things are going. I think we appreciate everything they’ve done for us, giving us nine years of incredible tours and albums. It’s the least we can do. Not just putting out that we’ve got a new album, instead putting out things that are relatable to them, maybe experiences they are having. A simple thank you goes a long way. People come back; they want to be part of it.
Talking about how a simple thank you can go a long way, what was an experience you had growing with a musician you looked up to?
That’s a good question (laughs). I mean, when I was younger obviously there was no Twitter or Facebook, the Internet was there, but you didn’t have that interaction. When I went to shows I would always stay around after to try and meet the bands. That for me was the lifestyle – everything about being in a band seemed so amazing to me. I definitely met a lot of bands over the years. Actually a band that just recently broke up, God Forbid, that’s actually one band I wrote about on my site. Just how they influenced me, not just their playing, but they’re great people, they are cool to hang out with. That really had a big influence on me. Just because those guys are up there [on stage] it doesn’t necessarily make them better people, but they are doing this amazing thing and they can give a 15 year old the time of day to talk about touring and making music. That to me is really inspiring because I hope and I see kids that come around a couple of times on tours and they just started playing music and now we are meeting some the kids from early tours and now they are part of signed bands. It’s kind of that circle of life with music (laughs). I’m glad we had a positive effect on people.
What’s still on the list of things to do down here in Australia?
It’s funny, the thing every band does when they first go there [Australia] is the one thing I haven’t done, which is go and see a koala. I’ve been to Australia like eight times and I still haven’t done that yet. This time if I get the chance I have to do the touristy thing. Usually it’s because we are going to vineyards or going to great food places. Everyone goes to see a kangaroo or koala and I still haven’t done it. I need to get my ass on that (laughs).
Going back to social media and Twitter specifically, I saw you had a few comments when you were watching the MTV VMA’s. As a musician, when you watch commercial and televised pop music events like that and some of the questionable performances, what do you think when you watch it?
There’s a lot of pop music that I think is great and maybe pop music was much better than it is now, but some of the stuff [at the VMA’s] was almost so try-hard that I almost felt bad for the people in a way, I was embarrassed for them (laughs). I get the point of shocking people especially with pop music. [However] it was so blatant and over-the-top, it almost overshadowed their music. These are supposed to be the biggest stars in the world and they weren’t putting on the biggest performances, it was just who could be the most sexual? And, who could go over-the-top the most? When you have singles and music that is that big, let the music speak for itself if you want to be taken seriously. The people that were great, they stood out. I like Bruno Mars. I think he is a great musician and a great singer, he goes out and does his thing and it speaks for itself – it’s good music. Even Justin Timberlake [too]. Then you compare it to things that are just ridiculous [and] you can kind of see the difference. There’s still good music out there for pop, but it’s a little too “look at me! I’m shoving a fake foam finger up my ass.” (laughs)
Talking about music, the album and touring, on the other side, when you are away from being a musician what do you like to do?
I love to travel. For me, playing music isn’t just a career. It’s my passion and hobby all rolled into one. The travel side of it is kind of amazing. If you’re not into travelling then it would be a shitty situation (laughs). But, because we’re really into it, we have friends all around the world so they can take us to the best spots where locals go. You end up having a much better time. For us, it helps us understand our fans all over the world by doing what they are doing. You are not just staying in a bus or in a hotel all day. For me, that’s my other hobby, just going around and experiencing all that.
On a festival like Soundwave, although the bands fall under the heavy umbrella, it’s still an eclectic mix. What’s it like touring with bands you otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to tour with?
It’s cool because most people in all these different genres like bands that are in the other genres that they never get to tour with. There’s definitely a crossover there. If you look at everyone’s iPod you see a lot of these different bands on there. I’m just a fan of music and I’ll definitely give anything a chance live. It’s always worth going and checking out a band. I love the very eclectic festivals, it just brings everyone together.
I’ll refrain from asking the typical question about simply describing ‘Vengeance Falls’ but if there’s one thing you hope listeners take away, what would it be?
We went into this, when we started working with David [Draiman, producer], we had all this music and the key things he really pushed us to dig out was having a really good groove in the music – writing the big riffs, making stuff heavy, having the technicality still, but making everything happen when it needed to, not just for the sake of it. I think focusing on writing songs that way makes every song memorable and stand out.
Really looking forward to having you guys back in Australia and appreciate the time today Paolo.
Thanks dude, thank you very much.
Trivium play Soundwave 2014.