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Interviews : “…the full potential of us as a live band is really coming together” – An Interview With Corey Beaulieu (Trivium)

By on February 10, 2016



Corey Beaulieu – Trivium

It’s pretty weird to think that before Trivium’s latest Australian tour I hardly knew anything about the band whatsoever. Fast forward a year and a bit and not nearly a day goes by without me listening to their music. With this in mind I felt extremely honoured when I had the opportunity to phone up guitarist Corey Beaulieu last week to chat about the upcoming Australian tour.

It is an early afternoon in Fresno, California when I get connected to Corey. I asked him about the blizzards that had been ravaging the US not that long ago, and Trivium were one of the lucky bands that just made it out of the area. This is the first time I have made a terrible joke during an interview ever, so I guess we’ll start there. “…I know some other bands that were touring when the storm hit and they had to cancel a lot of shows. So we had luck on our side that we could play our shows and make it out before it derailed any tour dates.” If you hadn’t made it out, it could have been silence in the snow… WEHEEEY! For a band that references snow, cold, rain and shit weather a lot, we really had a lot of luck with this one!”

The new album Silence in the Snow was released on October 2 last year. Since it’s been a while, I was curious about if Corey’s feelings towards the album had changed at all since then, and if he would change anything, given the chance. “I still listen to the record every now and then. I love it from start to finish, I wouldn’t change anything. With some of the records in the past, there might be something that I think we should have done differently. But with this one, we didn’t want to have any regrets so we spent a lot of time on every aspect of it. Even nit-picking lyrics here and there, we wanted to make sure that something wasn’t overlooked. Even the mixing, we knew exactly what we wanted to do with the record. There is nothing that I would change. We have a good dynamic between Paolo, Matt and I with the songwriting, we’re always challenging each other. Our manager is also part of the team, he gives us a lot of outside, not really criticism, but advice on what we’re doing.  We definitely spend a lot of time pushing each other to do better. The first idea might not always be the best one. So, with this record we spent a lot of time pushing the limits and being creative.”

Like with most other bands, Trivium have got fans (if you can call them that, truly) screaming for the band to go back to their old sound. I for one absolutely adore the new album, but I still wanted to know in which direction Trivium is heading. Will they keep walking down the classic metal path, or maybe heed the call of the keyboard warriors? “Well, those people have obviously never been in the creative line of work. Our records are written very naturally, it’s like a chapter in your life. When I was 18 I was obviously playing different stuff to what I want to now. It’s like with Shogun or whatever record anyone thinks our “go back to your old sound” should be. That was written very naturally, there was no agenda. We were just writing music that we wanted to hear and play as music fans and musicians. You can’t just, like, force that or it’s going to sound like shit. I can’t put myself in the same mindset as any of those past records because my life is different now.  Things are different, we are just very honest and natural. We’re not trying to do something for the sake of money or whatever. Our names are going to be attached to the music forever. I don’t want my name attached to something that I’m not 100% behind. We kind of just block everything out and write the best music we possibly can. If we’re feeling it, I think our fans are feeling it.

“It’s like in the beginning, we didn’t have any fans, we were just writing the music we wanted to play and people liked it. We just need to keep that mentality, just write music for us and if we can stand behind it, I think people will like it. Every record we kind of have an idea of what we’re doing. With this record, we had a vision. Once you do something, you kind of find what your next thing that is going to be interesting to create. The next record could be, we take what we did on Silence in the Snow and add some of the prog-like musicianship stuff that we did on Shogun to find the thing that’s going to make the record unique in our catalogue. So, we’ve been talking about writing a long, epic song, like 8 or 9 minutes. So, there’s always something we can do, just because we didn’t do it on a particular record, it doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. It will find its way back into our sound at some point, but it will be in a different way to how you’ve heard it previously. But I’m sure whatever we do on the next record, someone will bitch and complain about that we’re not sounding like on whatever other record.”

Trivium have had their fair share of band member drama, having to swap drummers pretty much during or after every tour cycle for the last couple of years. However, since Paul Wandtke joined the band, once can almost feel a different energy on stage just by watching footage on YouTube. Is the drummer  the reason behind this new energy? 

“The one thing that has hampered our progress as a live band in the past has been the drumming aspect of our band. We’ve always been put in a corner and forced to make a decision about a drummer change at the worst possible time, having to fire a drummer on a day off because they put you in a situation where you have to make a decision. It’s the ideal situation if you want to make a line-up change. It doesn’t give you many options, “who could we find that would be interested or available with no time to look around?” So, if we had more time, we probably would have made a different decision, but we never had that luxury. So this time, we spent around six months talking to drummers, we’re sick of line-up changes and sick of having to train a drummer, get them up to speed. We just wanted to take our time to find the right guy so we don’t have to keep doing this shit every two years. We talked to a lot of drummers, trying to find the right person.

Eventually we were out of ideas, we are friends with the guys in Dream Theater. We were like: “these are some of the best musicians on the planet, they gotta know somebody?!” We know John Petrucci, and he got us the contact email to Mike Mangini. He came back the first thing next day, he sent us an email with Paul’s contacts, and he was like: “I’ve got the guy, you can stop looking.” We thought: “that’s some pretty big words” but once we started talking to him [Paul Wandtke], it was the perfect fit! His drumming skills are off the charts. He was actually one of Mangini’s students at Berklee, so he was trained by the man himself. We were glad that we took the extra time of looking. He’s been killing it, having the drums playing exactly like the records, and his showmanship and everything really adds something to the show. It’s re-energizing for the band, because finally we have a drummer who’s up to the level of the rest of us. It’s nice to go out on stage with the confidence that there’s not going to be any issues with what’s happening behind the kit. There’s a confidence, there’s no issue between any band members anymore. The comradery and everything is really nice, and the full potential of us as a live band is really coming together. The energy with the shows and the crowds, we haven’t had consistently crazy crowds in the US like this for as long as I can remember. The energy I guess is really feeding the crowd, and they are feeding us, so it’s a lot of fun!”

The band is heading down to Australia really soon, and I wanted to know what kind of plans they have got in store for the Australian fans this time around, if it will be similar to their current North American shows. “I think it will be pretty similar, but I think we’re playing a bit longer in Australia than we’re doing right now. But, obviously, at this point Paul has been playing with us for two months. It’s all about him getting the songs down. We just need some time to rehearse, and just get some practice before we do it live. I think within the next couple of days we’re going to start sound checking some songs with him, because having a drummer who’s capable of playing anything in our catalogue, we’re definitely thinking, this tour was a first base. We’re going to be playing a lot old and new stuff, that we’ve never played before and that we haven’t played in years. Because of the drummer changes we have kind of been stuck playing a similar group of songs.  So the fans that have been coming out to see us a lot of times, we’re really trying to mix up our set. So fans that come out to see us again after multiple concerts, we can give them some songs live that they either wouldn’t expect or haven’t heard live before.”

Trivium has never been a band that play that many new songs following album release. As we were nearing the end of our chat, I wanted to know if they are planning on including more new songs in the set once they head down here. “Well, right now we’re playing 3-4 new songs. We’ve been talking about a couple of other songs from the new record that we want to get into the set. “Breathe in the Flames” has been talked about, we might be opening with that song later in the album cycle. So, obviously the new record especially, I would love to play every song at some point during the cycle if we can manage to fit it in. Currently we’re playing three, but in Australia we might be playing four songs from the record. We purposely wrote them to be great in a live setting, with the groove and energy. With the songs we’ve been playing now, that approach works. Our fans have been vocal online on what songs we should add rather earlier than later, so hopefully we can fit in another song before we hit Australia.”

Trivium will be hitting up Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Tickets on sale now from Destroy All Lines.

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Martin is an aspiring music photographer/videographer. He is originally from the southern parts of Sweden and now he's living in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to his older sister, he got into Rammstein at the age of 9, and since then he's been into all types of metal/rock. He loves to combine photography and music, but also filming concerts and produce live material. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.