Hot on the heels of our catch up with Alter Bridge’s Brian Marshall (read that interview here) and our chat with In Flames Daniel Svensson (check that out here also), Rocksins’ is delighted to bring you another huge exclusive interview with the lead guitarist of one of metal’s most popular bands over the last few years, Corey Beaulieu from Florida thrashers Trivium.
Trivium recently headlined the third installment of Metal Hammer’s Defenders Of The Faith Tour and we were fortunate enough to catch up with Corey a few hours before Trivium took to the stage at Brixton Academy for the London date of the tour (you can read a review of the London Defenders Of The Faith III show here). Read on for Corey’s views on touring with Dream Theater, the current stage of the music business and his views on a certain collaboration album amongst many other things:
Jamie: Ok I’ll get the standard stuff out of the way first that everyone asks you; The (Defenders Of The Faith) tour’s been going three or four nights now, has it been going well?
Corey: Yeah, all the shows have been really good, last night Manchester was amazing. Every time we play Manchester it’s always rowdy and awesome!
Jamie: I had some friends there (in Manchester) they said you guys destroyed it last night.
Corey: It was a lot of fun, the crowd was so good and especially when you come off stage after a show like that, we’d played really well too, everyone was really tight so it was a good show all around. There were no major fuck ups! *laughs*. We’ve been in mainland Europe with In Flames for a few weeks before this tour and we’ve had some of the best shows we’ve ever had in Europe so it’s been a good trip.
Jamie: Are you guys enjoying this part of the tour a little more now that you’ve swapped with In Flames and you’re the headliners?
Corey: Yeah, when you’ve got the shorter set it’s a case of figuring out what to play. I’m sure In Flames have just as tough a time with it as they have a lot more albums but because we’ve got five albums now it’s trying to balance it out, picking the right songs that people want to hear and see so being able to headline, it gives you the time to cover more of the bases so it’s a bit nicer. It’s always fun to play more of everything! We’ve also got some more shit that we can use, like more of the stage production because of the additional space. Headlining in general is usually a lot of fun and especially this time we can fit in a couple of tracks that we haven’t really played much, but we don’t have to take out a single to play something more obscure. But we’ve been having lots of fun with the headlining, a few more shows and then…
Jamie: Off home?
Corey: Yeah! Great way to end off the touring year.
Jamie: I noticed the T-shirt (Corey was wearing a very nice Dream Theater t-shirt), how was the US tour with Dream Theater?
Corey: That was a pretty awesome tour! Going into it it was only us and Dream Theater a lot of people were like “why are you guys touring with Dream Theater it seems kinda weird” and we were like “uh, not really”. The tour was surprising, it was a little weird because all the venues on the tour were venues that had all seats so going out on stage and seeing people who look like they’re at a movie theatre was a little odd at first but once we got used to it, you figured out the different kinds of reactions you’d get rather than people pitting. I think there were a lot of people there who wouldn’t have even known who we were but we had great reactions, people were getting into it, we had dudes who were like 40 or 50 in Rush T-shirts headbanging along…
Corey: Yeah it was like “yeah he’s into it!” so we reached a lot of new people on that tour and just being able to tour with Dream Theater in general as a musician was pretty awesome just to watch those guys play.
Jamie: It must be pretty inspiring being around those guys.
Corey: Yeah we started practicing a lot more *laughs*. Just seeing how much they play, they’ve always got a guitar and they warm up a lot and they’re always playing and just talking to (John) Petrucci throughout the tour, talking shop about playing guitar, we’ve always warmed up before a show but I think that experience lit a fire under our ass to practice practice and to improve upon certain things and try to learn new stuff. Since that tour we’ve all been practicing a lot more and I think it’s helped out because after practicing a lot more playing the shows and the songs is easier and I think its helped improve our overall precision as a band live. So it was definitely an inspirational tour as far as the musician side of things.
Jamie: Having followed you guys basically since day one, why do you think the UK took to Trivium before anywhere else did?
Corey: Beats the fuck outta me, I don’t know! *laughs* I wish we’d known back then because we could’ve used it everywhere else! I guess it was the right record at the right time and I think especially over here you have the big publications like Metal Hammer and Kerrang and it seems to me from kinda an outside perspective it seems like the UK and the US are similar as far as young kids being very influenced by what a big publication says, almost like a “taste maker”. A lot of the time the hot band in England is whatever Kerrang is pushing the shit out of at the time and I think people can be like “oh if this magazine is all over this band then they must be good” but sometimes bands like that can be a flash in the pan and they disappear. A band can get really big but you have a lot of people who are only into it because its “the cool thing”, like a flavour of the week almost and then after awhile you kinda die off all of the “not really true” fans. We’ve been coming here for years and we’ve played a lot of shows here and we see a lot of familar faces, we’ve got a lot of good friends and fans here, some of them will come to every show on a tour. It’s a very cool thing to have really dedicated fans, and I guess with the bad economy, especially in England because it seems like so many bands tour here constantly and there are always so many shows going on at the same time, even with all of that going on which could pull people away from what we’re doing or we could be pulling people away from going to see a different show because they don’t have as much money to go to two or three shows in the same week they have to pick one, it’s nice that even though theres a downtime for everyone, the amount of people that are still coming out to shows to see us is still awesome. We know we have a pretty diehard following to choose us over three or four other shows that they would want to go to in a week or a month so it’s really cool to see and these shows have been fucking awesome.
Jamie: It’s funny you should mention that side of things because that’s something I’ve been researching recently and it’s not something all bands or labels are comfortable talking about, I think for a variety of reasons…
Corey: You know, Europe was fucking great as far as the attendances and stuff and this tour is doing really well but I think certain people were expecting every show to sell out but not many tours completely sell out anymore like they did years ago. We were talking to our booking agent the other day about this and he was saying for the period of around 2005-2008 it seemed like they had sold out tour plaques coming in almost daily but now he says maybe once in awhile they might get one. Just across the board its affecting all types of music, certain types of music will always do well but rock music and some of the pop stuff too across the board I think everyone has taken a little bit of a dip and thats just how things are at the moment. If people don’t have a lot of extra, expendable money, if they have bills to pay and they don’t have twenty or thirty pounds to buy a ticket or they can only buy one ticket to a show when back three or four years ago they might’ve gone to see all the shows. Everyone knows it in the industry that that’s kinda how things are in certain territories but you just have to plug away. There’s still a lot of people out there coming to our shows so we’re cool with that and we just have to go out there and put on the best show we possibly can and then hopefully everyone just keeps coming back! We’ve had a lot of people email us to say “Oh I really wanna go to that tour but I just can’t afford it”. So it’s not really a reflection that you’re not necessarily not doing well just that people simply can’t afford to go to shows. You just have to ride the wave and hope the next time we come back a year from now or two years from now when we’ve put out another record things will be on the up again and things will pick back up.
Jamie: Not so much better for you guys, but better for everyone.
Corey: Yeah, everyone’s going through the same problem; It is what it is, it’s the same way with album sales. A record that we’d put out a few years ago would sell X amount and now it’s not the fact that there’s less people into your band it’s just that there’s less people buying records overall, like every year the overall amount of albums bought usually takes a down so you can’t look at it as though you’re losing popularity or not doing well, that’s just how shit is *laughs*. So you just kinda have to be like “yeah, fuck it!”. People dig the record, this new record might sell half the amount of a record we put out eight years ago but now there’s like ten times as many people coming out to our shows than there was. But it’s an interesting time to be in the music business *laughs*.
Jamie: With what you were saying about all the different tours, I don’t know if your tour and the Machine Head tour have the same booking agent or not but Machine Head & Devildriver are here (in the UK) this week basically overlapping with you guys…
Corey: They were here in London last night right?
Corey: I think we have a day off tomorrow in Glasgow and they’re playing Glasgow the day we have off so we’re actually going to the show! We’re playing Glasgow the next night. I’m not sure if we (Machine Head and Trivium) have the same people booking it but if we did they’d have to be thinking this is kinda fucked considering with the bands like us, In Flames, Machine Head, Devildriver, we all have an overlapping fan base. There’s a lot of people who love Machine Head but like Trivium, like In Flames and vice versa, it’s like connect the dots with bands. There’s probably a lot of people who had to make the decision of which show to go to but I dunno, maybe if we’d played the UK at the beginning of tour in November and they’d played in December with a little bit of a gap between it might have worked out a little better. We shoulda just all played the same fuckin show! Then everyone could’ve just gone to that. It’s kinda stuff like that where you think it can be hard enough to sell tickets anyway…
Jamie: It just seems like it shoots everybody in the foot.
Corey: Yeah, but so far there’s still a lot of people coming out to the shows, I’m still having a great time, no one’s bummed out or like “oh man no one’s coming to our shows”, there’s still a fuckload of people coming, Manchester last night was sold out. But it really did seem like an odd thing to put a bunch of bands who are kinda interwined in the metal world, to put them on back to back tours in the same city at the fuckin’ same time. I don’t know, I don’t really deal with whoever thought that that would be a great idea to do that but it is what it is but I’m looking forward to checking them out tomorrow.
Jamie: It’s a great show, they’re absolutely killing it.
Corey: We pretty much toured with everyone on that tour except for Bring Me The Horizon; We’ve toured with Machine Head a bunch of times, Devildriver, we brought out Darkest Hour on one of our headlining tours a few years ago, so it’ll just be like “oh hey, what’s up”. The metal world is pretty small so it should be a cool time, I haven’t seen the Devildriver guys in a little while so it’ll be cool to have a day off and to go see some more metal *laughs*
Jamie: Speaking of catching up with old friends has it been good touring with Rise To Remain again? Because you guys basically gave them their first big break…
Corey: Yeah, after we did the Unholy Alliance tour we did a small set of shows in Ireland and we brought them out and it was really like their first time doing anything. We got to know them then and then we took them out on our last headlining tour here and we’re just really good friends with them, they’re a really great band. I think Ben their lead guitarist is probably the best new guitar player I’ve seen in a long time and Austin’s an amazing singer. We get along really well we’re always dickin’ along with them and always hanging out in the dressing room. We just love touring with them and having fun, I’m sure we’ll bring them out again. I want to bring them down to Australia and tour down there. I’m sure we’ll be touring with them quite a bit.
Jamie: I’m sure they’d like that! I interviewed Joe and Will from Rise a couple of months ago and they were saying how much they loved Soundwave when they went down there.
Corey: We’re doing Soundwave again in February, at the beginning of next year and then later on we’re gonna do a full blown headlining tour down there, and I’ve mentioned to our manager “Oh, we gotta bring Rise down” and mentioned it to them and they were like “We love Australia, that’d be fuckin awesome”. So hopefully that will all work out unless they have something else planned. But we’ll try to take em back to Aussie so they can get their kicks *laughs*
Jamie: In Waves has obviously been out for a little while now, the reaction to it across the board seems pretty good, are you guys happier with the feedback?
Corey: Yeah, we just made the record we wanted to make and wrote the songs we wanted to hear. We dug it, we’re all really into the record. I think it’s our best sounding record and our best song writing so far with the hooks and everything. The reaction to the songs live are amazing and all the press seems to be really really positive, the fans have loved it, great feedback from our fans and it’s a good sign that in certain territories the new has already outsold the previous one that’s been out for three and a half years. So that’s a good sign that people are catching onto it, it seems with this record a lot of stuff we’ve done with shows and promo there seems to be a really positive vibe. Especially in Germany it seems like we’ve really gone from here to here *makes big hand gestures*, we played the Wacken festival and it just seemed like that show sparked things for us.
Jamie: I remember seeing that streaming on the Internet actually that was awesome.
Corey: Yeah, it seemed like it was our German Download, what Download did for us here the first time we played it. And when we played the German shows on this tour, we did like five German shows and I dunno, anytime we ever played a club show or anything like that in Germany I don’t remember it being like this. It was just like everyone was just going nuts! The new record has really opened some doors in some new places where we were still trying to reach people, it’s been really good. We’ve got a lot of touring next year, and then festivals and stuff like that, keeping us busy all next year.
Jamie: A lot of the songs on In Waves are quite a bit shorter than the songs on Shogun, is that something you were looking for deliberately or did it just turn out that way?
Corey: Yeah, a lot of the stuff on Shogun was, even listening back to demos when we were writing that record, we were very I guess riff happy because some of the songs on the record that were long were originally a lot longer, and listening to the demos it was like “jesus christ we cut a lot of that song”. So I think it was like playing that back and observing it, we just wanted to make a record that was like a punch in the face, something that would get you on the first listen. We wanted to simplify stuff and just focus on making the songs catchy and making the hooks bigger and just making stuff that that’s easier to remember because a non musician isn’t always going to remember a seven and a half minute shredfest song, so we just wanted to write songs that would just grab you that were full of energy and straight to the point. When the songs aren’t all teched out crazy either it makes them more fun to play live, I think it translates better. If people have never heard the songs they seem to react to the new stuff better than some of the old stuff just because it’s a little easier to comprehend what’s going on. So it seems to be going well and we’ll see what happens with the next one.
Jamie: You’ve just said you’ve got all sorts lined up for next year, do you think you’ll be back here next year?
Corey: Well we’re doing a bunch of festivals and I’m not sure what we’re doing here yet; We’ve always done Download, it was the first festival we ever played here in England and our promoter who does all our booking and does all our tours in the UK puts on Download so that’s usually our go-to festival. We’ve never done Sonisphere which is another option but it’s still early, probably in the next few weeks we’ll have everything figured out. We’ll definitely be back for festivals so stay tuned for the announcements.
Jamie: You guys have been back to the UK a lot of times now, does any one thing stand out for you from your time here, maybe Download the first time or anything more recent?
Corey: Download’s a great show, looking back on it we were like “it’s a really big show” but our fuckin’ guitars were out of tune, we played like shit and it was eleven in the morning. We woke up and it was fuckin’ cold out and I wasn’t wearing any sleeves so my hands were frozen, it was kinda like for a sloppy ass show we did pretty good. People seemed to feed off the energy, that show was really big and I think it was 2007 we headlined here for The Crusade album at Hammersmith and I think it’s pretty much the same size as Brixton or I’m not sure which ones bigger but they seemed both pretty much the same type of place. I think there’s just something about Hammersmith, like the plaques they put on our door like Hammersmith Apollo, Trivium, the date, I have that plaque in my house and it was just a killer show. Also pretty much anytime we play in Manchestert is an awesome show, they just go fuckin’ ballistic there, I think our hotspot in England in playing in Manchester.
Jamie: It’s funny you say that I think Machine Head have said they have the same thing with Manchester.
Corey: I think it’s because you’ve got Manchester, you’ve got Liverpool near by, that whole area of towns will congregate to Manchester, they always have that like unlimited energy there it’s just really cool. It’s a lot of fun playing there so I’m sure they’ll always be on the tour routings *laughs*
Jamie: I’ve got to mention this, obviously everyone knows that you guys are all big Metallica fans, what did you guys make of Lulu?
Corey: I don’t even know if I should comment. Well, you pretty much start off with Metallica can pretty much do whatever they want, they obviously don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks but I don’t know, I listened to it and before I never really knew anything about Lou Reed or what his music sounded like or how he sang, it was like Lou Reed, I’ve heard the name but I don’t know him and then when I heard it was like “Oh, damn”. I just think it sounds like it’s pretty awful, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Some people might really enjoy it, I guess Lou Reed fans might be able to appreciate it more but Metallica fans want a Metallica album and that, it sounds like two different things, it sounds like Metallica recorded some demoes and then they put like this spoken word audiobook file over the top of it.
Jamie: You’re not the first person who’s said that.
Corey: I get the idea of doing a collaboration, that’s cool, you wanna do something different but it’s just like talking over heavy riffs and there’s a song where it’s like all thrashed out for six minutes of the same riff with him talking and it doesn’t even sound like it’s in time, so I don’t know what the final big picture was or what the idea behind it, but as a Metallica fan who wants to hear them shred like Master of Puppets, I ain’t buying it, I don’t really want to listen to it so we’ll just leave it at that.
Jamie: Fair enough!
Corey: I’ve seen a lot of reviews and watched a lot of stuff, I think Dom from Metal Hammer’s blog about it was pretty much the funniest and on point review of that album. I’m sure it’ll end up on the Internet “Oh Corey from Trivium says Metallica sucks or something like that”.
Jamie: I think of all the things I’ve seen and heard with people talking about it I think Paolo (Trivium bassist) said “If you claim to understand it and you’re not on drugs…”….yeah, you don’t basically I think.
Corey: It’s a pretty interesting collaboration, yeah, It’s pretty hard to listen to. I can barely get through like thirty seconds of a song without being like “god damn I wanna turn this off”. It really tests your musical…I’m not quite sure what it’s testing it, maybe some avant garde person would be like “oh I get it, it’s beautiful” but no it’s not.
Jamie: One last very quick and very simple question as it’s that time of year, what would you like for Christmas?
Corey: Probably the only thing I can think of that I’d want is an iPad.
Corey: Paolo’s got one and he makes me jealous. We can be on a ferry boat ride or something and he’s sat there playing chequers on his iPad and I’m sat there in the corner doing nothing or playing on my iPhone which is like fucking small, shit *laughs*. So I want an iPad, you can read books on it which is really cool, he’s been buying a lot of stuff on it so I think that’d be a cool handy thing to have, at least for being on tour so you can tinker around. You can play Angry Birds and it’ll be all big *laughs*, maybe an Ax-FX 2 piece of guitar gear, but no one can get any of those.
Jamie: Alright man that’s it thank you very much!
Trivium play the Soundwave Festival in Australia during February 2012. They, along with their friends in Machine Head and Devildriver are among the most recent bands confirmed to play the tenth anniversary of the Download Festival at Donington Park in the UK in early June 2012. Their most recent album In Waves is out now on Roadrunner Records at all the usual locations. For more rock & metal interviews including more from our “one huge interview a week in January” series please stay tuned to Rocksins.com