ROADRUNNER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TRIVIUM'S PAULO GREGOLETTO
Posted on July 4, 2013
Our American colleagues in New York City recently caught up with Trivium's Paulo Gregoletto to discuss his charity bike ride from London to Download Festival, working with David Draiman, the forthcoming album & his cat!
You just completed a 160-mile bike ride from London to Download, so talk a little bit about that experience...
Yeah, about 161-162, give or take. It was pretty difficult. I mean, I'd been riding a little bit before, down in Florida, and I'm a pretty active person, but it was one of those things where if you've never really experienced the hills and the weather...you can't really train for something like that unless you're already in those kinds of conditions. And Florida is absolutely nothing like England in terms of terrain or weather, so while I guess riding my bike 40 or 50 miles down here was definitely good-I was in better shape than had I not done it-but after the first day, I was definitely like, this is pretty brutal.
So were you just getting rained on the whole time, basically?
It wasn't raining the whole time. For anyone that's ever been to the UK, or for anyone who lives there, you obviously know that the weather can be kind of unpredictable. And as you're traveling across the country, it's even more unpredictable, cause you're constantly coming into new situations. On the second day, right after lunch, there was this huge storm that came out of nowhere and honestly, before lunch it was super hot, so we were all sweating our asses off and the rain came and it was really cold and then for 40 minutes it just was totally pissing down rain. At one point it actually hailed, which was demoralizing, especially going up a hill at like one mile an hour and being like, wow, this is definitely more than I thought it would be. But at the end of the day, we were doing it for charity, and I like doing stuff like that. It's totally...it's one of those things where Justin, our manager, and I just said screw it, let's do this, let's ride up to Download on a bike and it was kind of a crazy, spur of the moment decision, but it was definitely memorable and I'm glad to say that I rode a bike the whole way to Download and then spent the whole weekend there. It was a different way to experience going to a festival.
Once you got to Download, whose performances impressed you the most?
Well, I was kind of just bouncing around, going to the stages and just seeing so many different people that we've met over the years. Going backstage at a festival like that is like a reunion from every tour we've ever done, and every person in the industry we've ever met, so...the first day, the band that really surprised me was-they're always good, but that day they were just really on fire-was Korn. I thought they were pretty phenomenal with Head back in the band. I don't know; something was a little bit more that day, and it just felt like they really brought it hard to Download. Slipknot was incredible. There were so many good bands there; I was really stoked to see Jason Newsted's new band play, and I actually got to meet him for the first time, which was definitely a starstruck moment for me-for a few seconds I was like, Oh my god, what the hell am I gonna say to this dude? So that was crazy.
Why do you think the massive outdoor festival thing works so well in Europe, but over here only hippies do that?
Well, it seems like some of the bands that have been doing the festivals in Europe for so long have actually started doing their own. Obviously, you have Metallica, Slipknot has done it...I think the whole lifestyle thing in Europe of taking a holiday, going to a festival and camping out for half the week is something we just don't really have here. When people think of camping here, we think of state-of-the-art campers, or going out in the woods. I don't know, I never experienced that when I was younger, so going over and seeing that was kind of eye-opening. To see hundreds of thousands of people camping out, going to the festival, getting drunk all day and then going back to camp and getting drunk again, waking up hung over and starting over again the next day-it definitely has a unique vibe that's kinda different over here, with the traveling festivals.
Let's talk a little about the upcoming album. What was the writing process like?
Well, I think after going through making In Waves and touring for a whole year, year and a half, we really had the time to figure out what we wanted to do with the next record. Even before we'd gotten with David [Draiman] and started to plan with him, we were trying to get a really concise and clear vision of how we wanted the album to look and how we wanted it to sound, everything. And I think after touring with In Waves and really gelling as a band once again, now with Nick [Augusto] in the band, we were having fun writing again. And we wrote on tour-every tour we did for In Waves, we were writing and writing, and the closer we got to finishing the record cycle, we just kept writing more. And then eventually we got David on board with us, and we started sending demos over to him and he kind of gave us some general notes that he'd send for each song, whether he was feeling it, what he liked about a certain song, what could be better, and we kept going back and forth for maybe a month or so. Once we got to the studio with him, we really dug into the song structures, vocals, lyrics, everything, and that was definitely intense. Ten, 12-hour days of working on the music, writing, something that was-I don't think we'd ever experienced pre-production that intense before. But it really helped us. We learned a lot from ourselves and from David, being so close together and working that long.
I know David worked very closely with Matt, but did he work that way with everyone?
Honestly, it was all the music, all the lyrics-he was there for everything. Where we recorded was this sort of loft above his house, and that's where we did a lot of the recording, a lot of the pre-production. We got an electronic drum set and we all just kind of sat around in a circle and we played the stuff, we listened back to demos that we did, we recorded a couple of things, just rough demos so we had the parts recorded and could remember them and reference them later. But he was really hands-on with everything. It was definitely very meticulous, very well organized how he went through attacking every part of a song, whether it was the drums or the guitar parts, bass parts, and finally the vocals, making sure it all fit together really well. I mean, the lyrics and the vocals, that was the biggest thing we had never really had before, was working in pre-production with finished vocal ideas, and I think the thing David really brought to the album was being so well organized and having real clear goals of how we were going to achieve everything along the way. In my opinion, that's definitely the sign of a great producer, because there are so many things to what a producer does, but in my opinion, being organized and having a real clear-cut plan for how we're going to achieve all the ideas we've been talking about is super-important for a producer.
Who inspires you, in terms of the role of the bass within a band? Because on the one hand, you've got a guy like Lemmy, who's a leader, but then you've got someone like Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse, who seems to just be backing up the guitarists but is in fact doing some pretty surprising, intricate stuff. So where do you think you fit?
I mean, it's kind of two different roles. I definitely, as a bass player, have that priority when it comes to playing live, but I'm actually writing music on guitar as well. So I kind of go back and forth between those two things, and I guess we're a pretty open band with ideas. We want everyone to throw their two cents into anything, whether Nick's giving us input about a part or we're giving him ideas for drums-it's not one of those things that's taboo, where it's like, "Well, this is what I do, don't tell me how to do it." We've broken down those walls. We've come to realize that the more open you are about those things, the easier it gets to actually make music but the more fun it is for everyone because there's not those limitations of, I can't give a good idea to someone because they're not gonna listen to me or it's gonna cause some sort of fight. So in my opinion, my role is to try to write the best stuff I can and give the best input I can for everyone else's stuff and listen to everyone else. You've gotta really keep an open mind and listen to people and not shut people off. Cause there's definitely been some great ideas for bass stuff that I've gotten from the other guys, and I would never have thought of it had I not listened to them.
Do you guys approach a new album as, we did this last time so let's do something else this time, or is each album a blank slate, creatively?
Definitely in the past, we kind of approached it like...we definitely had some records that were a bit of a 180 from the previous one, but now we've really learned what works within our band and it's really about improving those things, bettering them each time we go into it. I think once you find what your identity is, you just want to keep improving and building upon that, and adding new elements in but also retaining what makes your band unique among the thousands and thousands of bands that are out there. So I think with this record, it wasn't a total clean slate, it was really just tightening everything up and bringing everything that makes us Trivium together even more and writing the best material and having an album that, start to finish, never really lets up. It never has any filler or dead spots, and I think David really being a fan of Trivium, and really seeing our growth as a band along the way, helped out, because it wasn't like he was coming in and not really knowing what our band was about. He really understood what we've built as a band over the last seven, eight years, and how important it is to really respect all of that and to keep that stuff that's made us Trivium, and just better it-bigger melodies, bigger hooks, bigger riffs, everything. Sonically, he wanted us to make a thicker-sounding album, and he definitely really pushed Colin [Richardson] and Carl [Brown] to make this our biggest-sounding record. And I think they did an amazing job, to be honest. We've worked with Colin for so many records now, and he's totally outdone himself.
This final question, we'll file under "Advice To Young Musicians": You have a cat, but Trivium tours a lot. So do you have to board him when the band goes on the road, or does he stay with a relative, or what?
He has to live with my parents, and actually he just stays there full-time now. I just go over there and visit him when I'm home, because it's just much easier. Anyone that owns a cat knows that they need to have their routine, they don't like change...when he had to go over there to begin with, he hated it for a week. You have to get them in their set routine. I have to visit to see him. It doesn't work the other way. I'm lucky, my parents love my cat, so it works out good, but it's something that sucks with touring-little things like that you have to think about, like, well, how am I gonna have a pet if no one's watching the pet? So luckily, it worked out for me.