Trivium - The Lost Crusade
Trivium’s Matthew Heafy and Corey Beaulieu were at the Roadrunner office to answer questions asked by schmucks like me. When I walked in, Corey was checking out the new Slayer record (“It rocks!”) and rain was pouring down outside. A typical Dutch day indeed. We talked about The Crusade, Shitcore and what keeps the guys entertained during their free time.
So, had any time off during the past 14 days of promo tour?
Matt: I checked out the Louvre.
Corey: I watched some videos…just everything I could get on pay-per-view.
So ‘The Crusade’ is pretty much done, when did you really start working on that album?
Matt: We all worked individually while on the road and I believe we started 6 months before our last tour ended. A lot of it was written in the bus, dressing room, and etcetera. Once that was done we took a week showing the songs to each other and arranging them, we took 5 weeks to track the album and then we left for tour again.
That’s a pretty small recording-cycle then. I remember seeing you with a laptop backstage in Amsterdam, being really busy with some bass guitar lines.
Matt: Yeah I remember that, that was a year ago.
So basically, you all came up with individual parts and copy-pasted that together?
Corey: The problem was that we just didn’t have “jam time”, so I would write some songs, Matt would write some songs, and we recorded all our ideas to a click track and pass them around. It was a good way to get critiques on your parts and get new ideas as well. So you could say that a lot of songs shaped up by trading our parts. Around the time we were going into the studio everyone was really happy with the songs, so they were basically already done before we had to record them.
You could say that the new record is a more ‘classical’ metal record; the songs are more technical, more dynamic, the vocals have changed, etc. Was that a really conscious choice, or could you say that it was really a natural development?
Matt: I think it is a combination of those things. We always want to write the stuff we like, metal, rock, just anything without picking a real direction. What we wrote came naturally, and because we are more experienced I think they are better songs. The next record will be better then The Crusade, because it should be.
Your vocals changed on the new record; aren’t you afraid that you might alienate some fans because of that?
Matt: I think that the people who might be pissed off are the trendy kids who like trendy music with screams. That can be fans of death or black metal or shitcore.
Corey: It’s quite gay, because basically most people only know one record (‘Ascendancy’) because few of them have heard ‘Ember To Inferno’. If we make one record it doesn’t mean that the rest of our music should sound the same. There are bands that get big with one record and get too scared to branch out and try something else. If you never progress and step out of your box you will never know what you are capable of doing.
Matt: We make the music for the four of us and not for someone else who wants more screaming or whatever.
Corey: You really have to block out that kind of stuff and just put your best effort in it and make sure you're proud of it when it’s done, because if someone else doesn’t like it you can always think “I made it and I’m proud of it so go listen to something else if you want”. If we didn’t like our own music it would just be a boring time.
One of your first shows in Europe was in Eindhoven; how did that came to be?
Matt: Actually, Lifeforce’s (previous label) idea of a tour was 3 dates in Europe. It didn’t do much for us except some overseas experience. We flew over for those 3 dates, we didn’t sell any albums or t-shirts, and I think we actually ended up paying for the whole thing.
Trivium has opened for Metallica and later this year you will open for Iron Maiden, that must put some kind of pressure on you guys.
Corey: Not really, we played so many shows the last couple of years so we are confident in what we do. We see it as a really big opportunity to play for a lot of people who possibly might like our music and become fans. It’s great for the band and it’s great for ourselves because we can see Iron Maiden play every night. It will be one of those things that you will remember the rest of your life.
You already said that you have been on the road a lot, what do you guys do when you finally get home?
Matt: Absolutely nothing. That would be a perfect day, just doing nothing. Movies, videogames..
Corey: Eating..sitting around and talking.
Matt: And no metal for me.
Corey: I play a lot of videogames and watch a lot of movies and tv-series, and go out to some bars with friends you haven’t seen in months. You really try to catch up with a lot of things. Mellow out and chill time.
Any series you guys actively follow?
Matt: Lost! Probably the best show ever.
Corey: Two and a half men, that’s really funny. A lot of South Park as well.
No Family Guy?
Matt: I used to watch Family Guy until South Park told me that it sucked. I also watch Seinfeld and Sex and the City.
Haven’t you guys seen Prison Break yet? I’ve been watching it and its great!
Matt: Yeah but it seems that a lot of those new shows are just damn good and really addictive.
Corey: I heard good things about Prison Break, I thought about buying it on I-Tunes but stuff like that and Lost, it’s really addictive.
I noticed that a lot of those new shows really have big story arcs, while a few years ago most popular shows just had a nicely wrapped story that ended in 45 minutes, with the occasional big plot episode.
Corey: It’s great because if you’re done with an episode you just can’t wait for the next one.
Matt: I just finished Lost season 1 so I can’t wait to finally have the time to watch season 2.
Corey: A girl I know asked if I checked out Lost, and my reply was “no, don’t really watch a lot of TV shows at the moment”. But when I saw the first episode I was like “ok, next one” and when season 1 ended I just wanted more. So when we went on tour I downloaded season 2 on my I-pod and I would just be in my bunk watching. I kind of kept myself from watching sometimes because if I would it would be over too quickly.
So, new record which is getting some great reviews, some big tours coming up, what’s next?
Matt: Keep getting bigger!
Corey: Selling 5 million more records should be cool.
Matt: Ten times platinum in Holland!
But besides that nothing specific?
Matt: I would like to make a joke CD one day, where each song is in a different genre. The whiniest emo song in the world followed up by the most satanic black metal song, and then the baddest gangster-rap song.
Corey: I had an email the other day about a guy who is looking forward to my solo record... but what the hell, I don’t even have a solo record!
So no material lying around that might suit something besides Trivium?
Corey: No not really, I don’t want to go far out of the spectrum and write an emo gay song...
Matt: I would. I would do a country song. And I don’t even like country. I just want to do everything. 5 second super complex grind core and then like a pop-punk song. So people can’t say that we have a limited style.
The past few years have been pretty good for Trivium, but are there things you might want to change if you could turn back time?
Matt: I wish we didn’t scream, ever. That would be something. Because now it suddenly is “You guys sold out, you suck, you don’t scream anymore”.
Corey: It’s funny because on some of our earliest demos Matt sings quite similar as what he is doing now. But he wasn’t really good at it that time so the screaming was a way to do the vocals without sounding bad. On this record we are finally doing what we wanted to do all along.
That sounds pretty logical; because it got you cornered in the whole “metalcore” corner.
Matt: And that stuff pisses me off. But I think everyone knows about that.
Corey: If people call us metalcore they are retarded.
More of a personal question, did any of you had some form of musical education?
Matt: I had guitar lessons for around two years but that was about it. I also played tenor saxophone in the school band but the band teacher didn’t teach me much.
Corey: I took lessons all throughout high school, I would go to a teacher once a week and learn stuff and did a lot of individual studying. Just learning a lot of riffs, solos and songs. If I couldn’t figure it out I would take it to my teacher and work on it. Currently I think I have a basic grasp on everything so I can figure most of the stuff out.
Do you think it’s more important to work on your own ideas instead of trying to play for example, someone else’s songs?
Matt: I never really played other people’s stuff. I learned a few songs to get a good foundation to play but I’d rather work on my own ideas.
Corey: When I started out I was a real thrash-metal cover band guy. I could play basically every Slayer or Metallica song. I can’t remember half of the stuff I used to be able to play but learning those songs so you know how it’s done and it’s good for your chops. And it’s a great lesson in writing metal riffs.
What’s next for 2006?
Corey: We’ll do a headlining tour in America in October, play with Maiden in November and December and that takes us to the end of the year. The next tour after that is in 2007.
You’ll be home for Christmas?
Corey: Hopefully, we’re flying back the day before Christmas?
Matt: Aww really? That sucks, with all the shit with delayed flights around that time.
Corey: If all goes well we’ll be home on Christmas Eve.
And around that point my time was up. Thanks to Roadrunner for the interview and the Trivium guys (who looked quite tired) for answering my questions!
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