With Trivium recently having completed their most recent UK tour, Rocksins went along to the last night of the tour in London (you can read a review of the show here). A few hours before Trivium took to the stage Jamie was able to catch up with bassist Paolo Gregoletto in the band’s dressing room in Shepherds Bush for a chat and they discussed bass technique, future plans for the band, 2012 in the world of Trivium and lots more, so for those interested please read on…
Rocksins: This is obviously the last night of your UK tour before you head onwards to mainland Europe. Has the tour been good and in line with previous Trivium UK tours?
Paolo: I’d say this has probably been one of our best UK tours in awhile. We were talking earlier when we did a hall of fame type of thing for Rock Sound for Ascendancy and we were talking about that whole time period for us and saying how this tour has been a resurgence for us. A sold out UK tour; It’s been a couple of tours since that happened. It’s not like we haven’t done great on the past couple of tours but to come in and cleanly flat out do that…
Rocksins: So you sold out every show?
Paolo: Yeah! It’s been sell outs and the audience has been such a cool mix; We’re seeing kids that have been with us since day one but then we’re seeing really young kids again and I think a big part of that has to do with Download. That performance for us this year was just a case of everything clicked and festivals can be hit and miss because there are so many things that could go wrong, the weather can mess it up and you’ve got no control over that. It just went so good for us and being back on the main stage…everything happened right and I think those types of performances and festivals just give you this new influx of young fans. For the most part it’s young kids going to camp out and experience that for the first time and that’s how you get to that many new people.
Rocksins: I guess you guys are now to the point where you’re almost coming on to your second generation of fans…
Paolo: Yeah it’s crazy! I mean we’re meeting bands now who are saying Ember To Inferno and Ascendancy were influential albums to them, signed bands! That’s almost mindblowing, we’re not even into our thirties yet…
Rocksins: Yeah you guys are still pretty young…
Paolo: Yeah. It’s cool, I guess it’s because we started young, when we were recording Ascendancy me and Matt were both eighteen but seeing these young guys in bands who are like twenty years old claiming Trivium as an influence it’s a real honour for us. It’s been good man, it’s been a great year for us. We’ve toured with so many good bands, done some really good support tours and we’ve really hit the States hard this year which is always a priority for us. Hometown turf so we gotta hit it hard! But we’ve made such good progress and we’re really happy with the situation we’re in at the moment and how the album was received and I’m really looking forward to what’s next and the music we’ve been writing.
Rocksins: Did Tresspass (touring US festival) go well?
Paolo: It was awesome man! Five Finger Death Punch are really good dudes, they had a really good idea and I really respected them for it. They’re a band that’s doing really well at US radio and I know that they were probably pushed to put more “radio rock” into the mix but they did the opposite, not only us and Killswitch who on our own in the States can do well, we can draw people but bringing out God Forbid, Battlecross, Emmure. They kept it really eclectic but were trying to keep the underground metal in there as well and it was really cool of them to do that, to give some of these banda a bigger platform to get their music out if you’re not on the radio. We’re kinda inbetween, we do get some radio play but we’re not a radio band.
Rocksins: Yeah, you’re not a Shinedown for example…
Paolo: Yeah, and not in a negative type of way at all but we’re not a band who’ve totally crossed into that world. It’s necessary to get to the masses in the States, that’s what sells records in the States, it’s the radio. Five Finger, this is what their third gold record and radio really does that. But when us and Killswitch get in front of a crowd that may not go to Mayhem regularly or to Ozzfest in the past, they dig the music, they like the aggression. They find that type of music through different channels so it was a great tour for us. Europe, the festivals were amazing and we’ve really turned a corner in Europe. It takes awhile; The UK obviously embraced us right out of the gate with Ascendancy and the rest of Europe, it’s just been building with In Waves.
Rocksins: Was it Rock Am Ring you guys did right at the start of the festival season?
Paolo: It was Wacken…no wait that was last year, yeah it was Rock Am Ring right at the start.
Rocksins: I remember getting an email saying that your performance was streaming on the Internet so I turned it on and it just seemed like you guys were on fire right from the word go with the festivals this year.
Paolo: That performance almost didn’t happen because our gig got held up at customs and we didn’t get it until an hour before the show and there was talk like “oh you guys can just use rentals”. It’s one thing if it was something simple but with the guitars, if someone just hands me a Rickenbacker it’s not like I’m necessarily going to be comfortable playing with it. Lucky all our stuff came through because that was a crucial performance for us.
Rocksins: I suppose that sort of issue would affect Nick quite a lot too.
Paolo: Nick it’s not so bad as he gets rental kits when we go to places like Australia or Japan, so I guess he gets the short end of the stick, no pun intended *laughs*. We carry all our stuff with us, we use fractals for all the guitars that go direct so it’s more simple. But when it’s not there, it isn’t so simple!
Rocksins: Based on what you said a few minutes ago, do you think this has been a better tour for you than the Defenders Of The Faith Tour?
Paolo: I think the line up fits so well with us on this tour. From what kids have been telling me, I mean personally I love it when bills are very eclectic but a lot of kids like certain things and want to see that together. Kids that like As I Lay Dying can easily like Trivium and vice versa and the same with Caliban. Upon A Burning Body, they might be a newer band but we’re all cut from the same cloth and have a similar aggressiveness and obviously some parts have more melody than others but it fits very well. But people are getting a good show, every band is awesome. Not that Defenders Of The Faith wasn’t awesome but I feel like this is even better. That’s what you try to do, you try to outdo all the tours that you’ve done before. The thing is we’ve had so many good lineups and going back before Defenders Of The Faith we had Whitechapel and Chimaira.
Rocksins: We saw that tour at Koko that was an awesome tour.
Paolo: Yeah, and I think that this tour maybe mirrors the line up of a tour like that rather than Defenders Of The Faith. Us and In Flames, we flip flopped, In Flames headlined in Europe. So we picked the lineup based on different stuff. I mean I think Ghost are awesome, they’re great but it’s night and day compared to us. I think it was very cool that we could do that and go out with bands like that but this tour from start to finish it all adds up.
Rocksins: Once the European part of the tour is over, will you guys get any time off or will you be straight into recording the next album?
Paolo: Yeah, we should have about a month and a half off which may not seem like much to people but that’s plenty. We want to get in and we have the ideas. We were talking about it today and we have so many songs that there’s no way we’re going to be able to record and write lyrics for all these songs so we’re figuring out a plan of attack. As we’re finishing this up we’re balancing both things of getting ready for the record and finishing up strong on this album, so that’s how it is always in the Trivium world, everything happening at once.
Rocksins: You’ve always got to try to be two or three steps ahead of where you actually are.
Paolo: Yeah while you’re doing one thing so it’s a balancing act. But after a couple of albums you start to get what works.
Rocksins: Once you begin recording the album will you go straight through until it’s finished or would you “do a Metallica” for example and take a break in the middle to play some festivals or something like that.
Paolo: We’re not at the point where we could just take time off to play festivals. You need to tour strategically. Sometimes to tour without an album out it doesn’t make sense you know? This is the end of the cycle for us but this made sense to do this because we still had a lot of territories where we hadn’t done headlining stuff yet. Especially Europe we haven’t headlined over there since ’07 so it was time to get back.
Rocksins: Wow that’s quite a long time.
Paolo: Yeah, and since the new album has been doing well over there in particular it made sense to say let’s go and follow up everything we’ve done.
Rocksins: And don’t lose the momentum.
Paolo: Yeah and we actually turned down some touring we were planning on doing after this tour but we felt that we needed to cut it here and start the next record. We’ll take a little bit of a break after the next record, maybe a month or two months but it’s all going to be while we’re doing photos, preparing the art..
Rocksins: It never really stops…
Paolo: No it doesn’t. We prefer it that way. When I go home, like when we were home for three weeks and that was the longest break of the year and I really enjoyed it but it’s hard for me to turn it off. Trivium and music is my life so I don’t find it a chore to write music or to go online and answer fans, I enjoy it.
Rocksins: Well that’s good because when you don’t enjoy it that’s probably when its time to get out.
Paolo: Totally, that’s when it’s time to hang it up. I don’t want to ever experience that and I don’t ever see that happening, I love this. To be given the opportunity to tour and do this sort of stuff you have to be grateful. If you don’t like it or you’re not into that from the beginning you may as well stop. It’s only going to get worse. I mean the travel is tough, especially for people who have families it’s really hard but if you love what you do, there are people with families but they love what they do so much it’s worth the sacrifices of being away from home.
Rocksins: Definitely, we all appreciate it’s not the easiest life for those who have got families
Paolo: No, it can be very difficult. Luckily I don’t have a family tying me down or anything and for the foreseeable future it’ll stay that way. The band is first and foremost the biggest priority.
Rocksins: Talking about the guy who’s standing over in the corner (Nick Augusto) for a minute..
Paolo: He’s a jerk! *laughs*
Nick (who wasn’t paying any attention): Huh?
Rocksins: When everything happened with Travis, with your existing relationship with Nick was it your first thought to go to Matt and Corey and say hey let’s get him in and see what happens?
Paolo: We were in kind of a bind because we had a tour coming up and we had like two weeks to get someone in there. I mean you can go to a guy like Gene Hoglan and say “hey, can you learn our set?” and he’d probably have learnt it in a day and I’m sure could have easily done it and done it with flying colours but to me it was always important that we had someone that wasn’t….
Rocksins: A hired gun?
Paolo: Not just a hired gun but someone that had so much history to bring to it so it almost becomes “Trivium featuring…”. I wanted someone that could bring something to the band that’s new, a new face. Someone that people weren’t familiar with. It wouldn’t have been as much of a risk if it hadn’t been two weeks before (the tour). So I mentioned Nick and was kinda like “hey, just trust me, he can do it”. At that point no one had ever really heard him play the stuff that we were doing I just knew that he could do it. So he came in and he learned the set and that was it!
Rocksins: And here we are!
Paolo: Yeah! Everyone kinda trusted my call on that and thankfully it worked *laughs*. Stuff like that, it’s fate I guess that it seems to work out that way. Obviously when we were playing with Travis before, not that I was thinking who could replace him but when it finally happened it was like “alright, we’re in this moment, we have to do something”.
Rocksins: Slightly off the wall question; I went to your fanclub show at The Borderline (in London) a few years ago and during that show a guy proposed to his girlfriend on stage…
Paolo: Yeah he’s here!
Rocksins: Wow, awesome! Has that ever happened at any of your other shows?
Paolo: Yeah I think it happened in Perth. Not too long ago someone asked if they could propose and it got arranged through the festival. I don’t know if it was onstage but it was there at the show, I think it was on the side of the stage or something like that. We’ve definitely had a couple of requests like that. Actually people have asked if we would play at our wedding and I guess if we had the free time and they were willing to pay for us and our crew to fly out it’s always an option!
Rocksins: Well if people have the money for these things…
Paolo: Yeah, maybe that’s our new side venture, Trivium the wedding band *laughs*.
Rocksins: I’m sure you guys would make a cool wedding band…
Paolo: It wouldn’t be bad I’m sure, maybe somewhere down the road we’ll get to do it!
Rocksins: I spoke to Corey at Defenders (Of The Faith) at Brixton and he was telling me since your tour last year with Dream Theater you’ve all become alot more serious about your practicing, have you got any recommendations for the aspiring bassists out there for what they should do in terms of practice?
Paolo: You really have to master the fundamentals of bass and my biggest thing for bass players is if you like metal, the best thing you can do is explore other music because jazz, blues, funk, motown, you’ll find some of the greatest bass lines ever written. I don’t care if you’re a hardcore death metal dude, before you start trying to pull arphaegos out of your ass learn groove, learn being locked into a drummer.
Rocksins: Twelve bar blues and stuff like that?
Paolo: Yeah, that stuff makes you a solid player first and foremost. Then when you can do all that and play really tightly with a band and a drummer then you can go into that next step and improv is a big thing. One thing that one of my instructors always made me do was to improvise solos to a chart of chords that he would give me. But it wouldn’t be a set style, he’d give me the chords but it would be different feels or it would be on a tape or a CD and it would give me the different feels of the chord progression played in different styles of music and it just makes you think outside the box. You learn that it’s all the same notes, but feel is a big part of it. The feel of it can change it from being a blues song to a latin feel and that’s important as a bass player. As a bass player you’re in both worlds, you’re melodically in line with the guitars but you’re locked in rthymically with the drums and you have to master both of those to do well at it.
Rocksins: Thanks! Hopefully lots of bass players out there will take your advice.
Paolo: Definitely man, just build your bass playing from the ground up and don’t run for the fastest craziest thing right away, that will come in time. Even for me I’ve learned sometimes it’s better to be simple and understand your instrument and how it comes across life fitting in with the band sonically. That stuff all matters.
Rocksins: One last question; As we’ve said you’re going to be recording shortly. Do you think in a years time the next album will be out and you’ll be back on the road again? Where do you see Trivium in twelve months time?
Paolo: Twelve months? We’ll definitely be back into the touring circuit again. It could be here, I’m not sure, it’s hard to say. Europe’s definitely going to be on the map for the first bits, I know maybe August we might be trying to do some festival stuff at the end of festival season. That’s all I know for now but nothing’s really confirmed.
Rocksins: One thing I’ve noticed is that with the last couple of albums the last tour on the album cycle always seems to be in the UK or the UK has at least been part of it, is that deliberate or just the way it turns out?
Paolo: We were gonna end in the US. We were gonna do some headlining there and that was the tour we cut because we really want to get in (to the studio) and do this new record and it just so happened that the UK and Europe was last. But I feel like it’s very fitting, the UK was first for us and we always make sure it’s a priority and now Europe too. It’s very, very important for us to come here.
Trivium are currently finishing up their tour of Europe with As I Lay Dying, Caliban and Upon A Burning Body before beginning work on their next studio album. Trivium’s current album In Waves is out now on Roadrunner Records. For more interviews with the great and the good of metal then please keep checking back with Rocksins.com on a regular basis.