American heavy metal staples Trivium have garnered a name for themselves within the international scene as a talented and hard working band. Having just released their seventh studio album, ‘Silence In The Snow’, the band showcases a toned down, yet still enjoyable sound that will appeal to a wider range of listeners. Killyourstereo.com had the chance to talk with Corey Beaulieu, the band’s lead guitarist, to discuss their new album, and the inspirations behind this (slight) change of sound.
Hi Corey, Johnny here from KYS, how are you going?
Good, just finishing some interviews today.
You’re on tour with Tremonti, hey! How’s that going?
Yeah, we’re doing a headline tour with Tremonti and it’s going really good. We’re about a week in and the shows have been so far, so good and we’re having a really good time.
And how’s the setlist, is it still Vengeance Falls based or is there some stuff from the new album?
When we got longer sets we try to balance it out, and have something from every album, this setlist we have at least one or two songs from every record and we’re doing three new ones, the singles, and those are a lot of fun to play. It’s always good to get some new songs in the setlist.
So, the past few tracks you guys have released have come as a shock to some people, can you explain the direction that Trivium is heading towards?
To us, it doesn’t seem any different, we’re just writing the music we want to play and every record has been quite different from the other one so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock, we just kind of wanted to make this sort of music.
How have you been impressed with the reaction you’ve been getting?
Since we put out Silence In The Snow, the song, the reaction has been fantastic, a lot of people love the new material, so its been great. It seems like there’s more positive vibes going on for the lead up to this record than the last record. There’s a lot more positive energy and people are really enjoying the songs and they’re digging it, even two and a half weeks before the record comes out the pre-sales have already done more than the last record when it came out. It seems like, at least in the States, that the new singles have been played a lot on radio, and just from it being played there’s people who would say, ‘I just heard about you guys on the radio, I can’t wait for the record.’ So it seems that the new stuff is kind of connecting with new people, which is always great to hear and fans seem to really dig it. They’re catchy songs.
I, for one, am keen on the new sound and think you guys have pulled it off well. Matt’s vocals have taken quite a leap since the early days, what has influenced the change in your sound, no more screaming [laughs].
Well, he’s always strived to be a great singer over the years, he practices non-stop. Screaming for him was easy, he started doing it because he wasn’t a very good singer. I heard little demo tapes when he was trying to sing and it wasn’t very good at all, so he just started screaming in place [of it] so it didn’t sound like a train wreck, but over the years he’s constantly been working to getting his voice stronger and takes lessons. I think the big change was that in the last record we had more singing than screaming and in between, touring for Vengeance Falls, there was an instance on tour when he blew his voice out from too many shows and not enough sleep, so we had to cancel some shows and then Matt Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold hit him up and said, ‘I heard what happened, same thing happened to me before, do you need any help with anything?’ So he put Matt in contact with his vocal coach, so for the last year and a half Matt had been doing voice lessons with this teacher and practicing when we’re off tour, one to four hours a day, everyday to strengthen his voice because he had to learn a new way to sing that didn’t mess up his vocal cords. So he put a lot of time in to strengthening his voice – he’s always wanted to be a great singer, he always looked up to Dio, Bruce Dickinson and Freddy Mercury, so he put a lot of time and effort in to improve his vocals so the record is kind of like all the hard work he put into it, because he always wanted to be a great singer.
So we wrote the songs and [he] just wanted to sing. I prefer singing anyway, and we’ll just go for it and be a hundred per cent confident in it. Some people like the screaming but that shouldn’t be the be all, end all, if the song’s not good the screaming isn’t going to make it good; you have to have some substance to the music, and melodies is a big thing with music for me, it’s having that melodic hook that pulls you into the song and that’s what we wanted to do and I think the record speaks for itself.
The change in his voice is pretty noticeable and is a pretty giant leap from even the last album [2013’s ‘Vengeance Falls’]. Additionally, will the band begin to play some of your more vocally aggressive songs in a more clean sung way, as you did on The Crusade tour, or will we continue to hear the screams instead?
No, we still do the screams, the only difference is that when [Matt] was in a transition of learning a new singing style, he was also learning a new way to scream that didn’t mess up his voice. The screaming technique took longer to develop because it was such a drastically different way than what he was used to doing. When we were doing the Vengeance Falls tour I took over most of the stuff. I was already doing screaming background parts and trade off parts, but I kind of jumped in and took over the songs so we could play them like the record, but now he’s got the screaming thing coming back. I’ve still been doing the majority of the parts but he will jump in and do them with me to kind of get back into the groove of seeing how his screams sound and I’m just kind of backing it up. Matt’s still trying to get back to the screaming because we don’t want to do that thing again, we want to play the songs as true to the album as they are and people know them for. So, we still do that, we’re playing screaming songs now so nothing’s changed [laughs].
How much did Mat Madiro play a part in the writing of the album seeing as he only recently joined?
We’d been working on the record for quite a while and at the time, when we were writing the majority of the material, we didn’t really know who was going play drums on the record and since he was touring with us we just wanted him to focus on playing the songs we were playing live and knowing the songs, and just being comfortable with the performing side of things and not pulling anyone’s attention away to thinking about new material. So we spent a lot of time arranging and programming the drums to be as close to the vibe of the songs that we wanted and writing riffs where we knew what kind of drum part that the song required. We did a lot of programming and setting it up so when we did bring someone in it was kind of like this is what we’re thinking and then if you have any ideas or if you want to change a fill or have any ideas for this part, put your stamp on it. We weren’t going to say, ‘hey play them exactly like this.’ So we gave him [Mat] the demos of the songs about two or three weeks before pre production started and he came in and just started playing the songs, so we had all the music already taken care of, the songs usually come from the three of us, so we have it covered – we wanted to make sure that when we figured out who was going to play on the record we were going to be ahead of the game, so to say. [laughs].
How has he eased into the band?
Yeah, everything’s been going good, we’re just kind of doing our thing, just keeping the train rolling.
If you don’t mind me asking, was there any rift between you guys and Nick? Or was the split purely over creative differences?
We don’t really go into personal stuff that goes on between members but shit happens, personalities. It’s not like we have a difference in opinion on music, it’s usually something a little more that makes it like a necessary switch rather than just parting ways. Over time we have to make a hard decision, [and] that’s why it’s a hard decision. That’s one of the least fun things about being in a band, a member change because you have to get someone in and catch them up to speed.
In the lead up to the announcement people caught wind that Silence In The Snow was actually an unreleased track from Shogun. How did the idea of a whole album stem from that? Additionally, what would the track have sounded like if it was, in fact, released on the album, arguably your heaviest and most technical album?
I think the reason people knew about that song was because I did for some kind of magazine like an iPod shuffle list where you do a shuffle and [then] write all the songs that come out, and that song was on my iPod and that song came up on the shuffle and I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’ll put it in there. It’ll be kinda fun.’ So then our superfans caught wind of it and wondered what it was like. Essentially, the song is pretty close to the original, the majority of the song is all the same riff-wise and we’ve added in [parts], the original chorus didn’t have a key-change, and it was kind of just like the intro and the whole middle section is different because the original version went off on a tangent because we didn’t spend a lot of time fine tuning the songs in that era. So there was no solidified idea of where the song was going to go, but we always liked the idea of that song and thought it was the right time that we could actually do what we wanted with it properly. So we finished the song and made changes to it and the vibe of that song gave us the starting point to write the rest of the record off of it. So the reason we called it that song [was] because there was history behind it and it was the starting point creatively for the album.
What does the touring schedule look like for the album cycle, do you guys plan on coming down under any time soon?
Not sure, we’re still early on. We’ve got this tour in the states and then a show in Mexico, and that’s in like December so that kind shuts everything down, but we’re still looking around at possibilities for touring next year. We’re going to be pretty much touring all of next year. I just don’t know when we’re going to be in certain places because the schedule hasn’t come together, but we’ll definitely be in Australia at some point we just have to wait to see when.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever stayed on tour?
We stayed in some place in Russia, I can’t remember the name of the town but it was kind of like a time warp like when we were driving from the airport it was super old looking, so coming to this part of Russia it felt like I was in an 1983 USSR vibe, and the hotel looked like a saudi prince kind of castle, and it was really gawky and old looking and really just very weird, like a time warp, just really old.
All right Corey, cheers for the interview, I really appreciate it, good luck with the next year and with the album, I hope it all goes smoothly.
Thanks a lot man, good talking to you.
‘Silence In The Snow’ is out now. Read our review here.