OD – Do you think US promoters need to try organising more festivals like Wacken in Europe that sell out before the line-up is even announced?
Paolo – Aw I don’t think that would work in the states in terms of selling out before the line up is announced. There are some big festivals now; Rock on the Range, Welcome to Rockville, maybe there’s more even now. It’s kind of like there was these festivals and now they’re getting more organised together, to where a lot of bands they all kind of hit the stops like just Europe definitely – a different kind of line up. We played both the ones Wacken and Download in Europe with very metal festival line ups and then the states like, but then there is still some heavy stuff here and there. I mean it’s kind of coming along; the tickets are being sold. I just think in the states right now rock is being ignored by the press, not really the rock or metal press, there’s not really much to begin with, but the mainstream stuff is really focused on the electronic scene and stuff. When like a festival sells, I don’t know sells out forty thousand tickets in Columbus, Ohio, they just ignore it. It’s kind of weird, that’s why I don’t think people know about it for whatever reason it’s just getting snubbed at the moment.
OD – In the Warped tour, acts don’t have set times until the day they play. Would you rather not knowing what time you’re playing to see if you can reach out to some new fans?
Paolo – I don’t know, we never played the Warped tour. I think a big part of it is sort of bad but I kind of get the idea of it. It’s like the novelty of not knowing the set time is cool and it keeps a level playing field. Although, I heard some bands actually pretty much have a set time but overall bands switch here and there, but I have always preferred how Ozzfest and now how Mayhem is just a set thing – I just think it makes shows run easier, it kind of keeps the crews heads in check. If I had to do the Warped tour it would be a nightmare. I have talked to a couple of dudes who have done it and do other tours and they definitely prefer doing the Mayhem tour, they don’t have to push up gear from like a mile away.
OD – Did any of the band or management take part in the Heavy Metal Truants this year?
Paolo – I didn’t this year, but it was flying into all the festivals we were playing. So a 160 mile bike ride was out of the question, but I definitely felt like I took a 160 mile bike ride! I mean we played Greenflild on Friday, then we had to fly to Nova Rock with a real early call, and then we had to fly really early back to London to meet up with the bus. I mean I feel rested now and the last few days have just been like naps to catch up.
OD – How did the set go down this year compared to all the previous year’s you played?
Paolo – I mean every year we played it’s been really good. If you look at all the bands who played the couple days before, like The Offspring; that spot has definitely become a big spot for bands, even though it’s the second stage, the capacity is massive. We have done it before but I felt this time we were very confident as a headliner and we were able to close it properly. To go into that avenged headline on the main stage, it takes time to get to that spot. Some bands yeah you get to that overnight and you’re playing those spots. You watch Iron Maiden and Metallica, it’s so effortless for them to play to massive amounts of people and sometimes what you do in a club doesn’t work at festivals. We have been doing the festival season for a while now so we know the tricks.
OD – Do you have set goals/wishes when you release music?
Paolo – The goal overall is that it meets the most people it can. You kind of have to write a record that you’re really happy with yourself and you can write a real pop record and hope it’s going to a lot and make you a lot of money, but if you don’t like it I guess it’s really factious. First and for most is writing something you feel excited when you listen to it and then you hope when people listen to it they get the same vibe.
OD – Would the majority of your writing be on tour?
Paolo – We used to write a lot more on tour, but it was becoming a little bit overwhelming with the day to day schedule. Today there is time, but to find the privacy you need and to get into that mindset, and we want to enjoy being out. I write in between tours, I can do like a song or two.
OD – The artwork on “Ascendancy” and “The Crusade” albums have single iconic characters. How come you went back to the same style artwork as “Ember to Inferno” on the last 3 albums released?
Paolo – After we completed “The Crusade”, we found that every time we do the artwork we had to break the mould a little bit, something different. While we were doing the “Shogun” album cover, there was a lot of disagreement between ourselves and our label. Not that all the different ideas were not good, it’s just trying to get everyone on board with it. So in the end, we kind of got like a mixture of everyone’s ideas and inputs. When we did “In Waves” we choose to work with someone who specialised predominantly with Metal bands. We wanted something that was totally out of the box.
Our friend John Paul Douglas did our promo photos and our merchandise shirts for “In Waves”. The guys that did that are all great dudes that worked with Facebook and Instagram. They really got it; I think they were approaching it with a fresh set of ears and eyes. With the new record, Brent White who did a lot of our shirts, got a start with working with bands through us. We were like “wow, he’s really great, we should give him a chance to do the art work”. So he took about three or four months to do it, he was doing it before the record and we got it and it was really bad ass.
OD – The track “No Way to Heal” from the new record sounds like there is a defiantly an Iron Maiden influence there, with the bass following the lead at the same speed?
Paolo – Definitely! It’s always Iron Maiden influences with me. Steve Harris is just an amazing bass player and when to look back to his own influences, he’s emulating the bass players that really stood out in bands he grew up with. The idea is to not only enhance the melodic lines, but also carry the melodic lines and almost override them instead of the guitarist playing them. Nine out of ten times, especially in modern metal, that’s what people gravitate towards, but with the bass, I like to approach that sometimes and it makes it sound different and you’re not expecting the bass to do it. People always expect the guitar to be at the forefront and the bass in the shadows.
Corey (Beaulieu, Trivium guitarist) also plays it with me, but I go to the harmony part of it. Cliff Burton was kind of the same thing and I like when bass players do that, and I would love to hear more of that in Metal in general. There are a couple of bands like Battle Cross with great bass playing but it’s really few and far between that you see guys that really stand out. People always say no one pays attention to the bass player unless the bass player is bad ass. It enhances the song when the bass player is doing something cool.
OD – Since you have released special editions albums on Spotify, would you re-release them as limited edition vinyl?
Paolo – I know we have done a couple limited editions. We did one for the fan club that was like 2 live tracks clear vinyl. The new album has a blue vinyl that there is only five hundred of them. I ordered one to get it and I don’t think I even got it! There are five hundred of those out there which is cool and I think people like the limited stuff because when you’re streaming you can listen to whatever stuff whenever. It’s nice to have certain things. I definitely would go for a limited edition item for a band I love before anything.
OD – What is your favourite album cover?
Paolo – Metallica – Master of Puppets. That’s my favourite album of all time.
OD – Would you have any advice for young bands that are starting to realise that they have fans who aren’t friends or family going to their shows?
Paolo – I guess that’s the awkward thing when someone doesn’t know you. It’s different when it’s a family member or a friend who would usually be your biggest supporter in the beginning. It is so important to learn how to interact with the crowd. It’s not just about playing your songs, announcing your band name and selling merchandise. You simply have to connect with people. It comes down to your music first off, but I mean when playing live, you have got to have a personality, and not just the front man, everyone should strive to be like that. It makes the show way bigger.
OD – Does it get confusing having no onstage monitors and two Matt’s on stage when it comes to sound checks?
Paolo – Usually we have a good monitor guy and we use in ears. With the boards we carry, it’s all recall so every day you go in there it’s pretty much the same thing you had the day before. Today we actually sound checked, we don’t normally sound check. Nothing to confusing yet!
OD – Do you think that Matt blew out his voice because of the new vocal range after the coaching from David Draiman (Disturbed vocalist)?
Paolo – No it was stress! He didn’t physically blow out his voice or we wouldn’t be on tour right now. It was pretty much I guess you could say if you worked out the same muscle five days in a row and on the fifth day you worked out less than 24 hours later – it was that situation. We played the night before in Canada, we had a border crossing, we had to go play a big show at Rock on the Range , we were on the main stage and we were on the earlier slot. We played the night before at like eight or nine at night and the next day we played at like twelve or one and with the border crossing we didn’t get any sleep; four hours sleep, wake up, go back to sleep for another four hours and then have to play. When Matt woke up he was just like “my voice just feels tired and just doesn’t feel right” and he warmed up and got on stage and it was just painful and straining. We just flew right home, cancelled the last four shows not to risk it. The doctor said there was no nods or anything like that, there was no damage and you can only do so much. You’re not super human! Luckily nothing serious happened. If anything, what came from it was good because now he’s working a lot more with a new coach Ron Anderson. If you look at his site he works with pop star, opera singers to the rock world; Matt from Avenged Sevenfold, Myles Kennedy and Axl Rose being the biggest. You are relearning to sing the right way of singing and the same with screaming.
OD – Since you have been touring all over the world and you are now playing some parts of Asia for the first time, has your taste and verity of food changed? Matt’s food blog, Instagram pictures etc?
Paolo – Yeah, I have always loved all kinds of food. My father, when he first came to the states, was a waiter and so I was exposed to a lot of food at the beginning – other to hamburgers and hotdogs. I was always open to eating all kinds of stuff. Matt’s way into food as well and really everyone has gotten to the point where we go out for band and crew family type dinners and it’s awesome because we get to go to all these great spots. Now, with all the food channels, we watch Anthony Bourdain. He’s one of the main dudes we watch and then it’s like “oh look we’re going there” (laughs). When we went to St. Petersburg, Russia, we went to the place he went to in one of the episodes recently and it was amazing and that’s the best part of what we do aside from all the shows.
OD – Where would you go back to eat again outside of your tour?
Paolo – That’s though, there’s a lot of good ones. I definitely want to go back to that place in Russia, it was really good. It was one of those farm type table places. There’s a place I really want to try in Denmark called Noma. That one is like the number one restaurant, it’s the same idea but it’s a lot of like foraging and taking grass off farms. Apparently what things look like don’t do justice of how great it tastes, which I love that stuff, BUT it’s also like $500 per head and getting a reservation is hard – they’re booked for months.
OD – What do you think of Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual) working with Black Label Society and doing Pantera covers live? Did you get a chance to see Phil and Rex play at Download?
Paolo – I didn’t get to see them play. I saw Phil play a little bit, he actually opened up his show with “Hellhound” which is kind of interesting. “Reinventing the Steel” is probably the most underrated album for them, because all their albums are great and that was just the last one. It was awesome! It’s kind of a funny subject; I never saw Pantera ever play but at the same time, if it was a tribute thing and if it was like a one off then of course. But to call it Pantera, I don’t think so. Dime Bag Darrel is Dime Bag Darrel. All four of those guys, that’s Pantera. That was magic. Anything other than that will just be a tribute to that, but it won’t be Pantera.
I totally understand why people would want to see that and it would be very cool, but you know those guys probably have loads of issues they have to work out and I wouldn’t want them to force something like that just for the hell of it. This is as a fans perspective. I think, as a fan, the music is the ultimate tribute and the legacy for the band and I don’t think they need to. It’s like the Led Zeppelin thing; in my opinion they did the one off show, it was really cool, but I think by not doing the tour it kept the bands legacy intact and yeah, I kind of respect that there would be a windfall of money if they did it, but sometimes you have to leave it on the table for the legacy of the music. Nostalgia is a crazy thing!
Trivium’s new album “Vengeance Falls” is out now via Roadrunner Records. Order your copy here.
Check out some photo’s of Trivium destroying Dublin’s Academy.
Words – Kevin Kerwan
Photography – Steve Dempsey – Down The Barrel Photography