||"THE SKY'S THE LIMIT!" SAYS PAOLO GREGOLETTO AS TRIVIUM BLITZ THE ROUNDHOUSE
Trivium: The Roundhouse, London
Friday 17th February 2017
21st February 2017
Interview: Luke Milne, Words: Steve Göldby, Pictures: John Inglis
Moments before taking to the stage of London's Roundhouse venue, Trivium's Paolo Gregoletto caught up with MetalTalk's Luke Milne to chat about the band's tour, with Sikth and Shvpes, their new drummer and... of course, their upcoming studio album.
Paolo, welcome back to London! You're here as part of your tour with Sikth and Shvpes, and tonight sees you performing here London's Roundhouse venue – are you looking forward to it?
"Yeah, very excited! From what I've learned, this venue is very historic, and it sounds and looks amazing inside. It's another one we're checking off the bucket list here in London."
How's the tour been going so far, and what are your thoughts on your two support acts?
"So far, the tour's been great, both support bands have been awesome."
"Sikth is a band we've known about for a so long - I remember Chimaira telling us about them in 2004, but they broke up right away after that and we never got to see them. Then, when we had the chance to have them on the tour it was perfect. We could not only expose our fans to this amazing, pioneering band but also see them for ourselves.
"With Shvpes, we've known Griffin [Dickinson] a long time, but we had no idea he was gonna start a band like that. When we heard it come out we were really impressed and wanted to give him and his band a shot coming out and playing in front of our fans. He's a super great fontman... a talented, talented man."
By now, it's no secret that Alex Bent has taken up the sticks as Trivium's new drummer, and these performances are effectively acting as his unveiling to your fans here in the UK. How's he holding up through the tour?
"It's been great, I mean... he is super, SUPER pro. He's a young dude, he's only 24... but he's done so much work with other bands. He toured with Battlecross, did the record, he's toured with a tonne of other bands and done a lot of other recordings.
"When he came in we could tell right away his work ethic, the way he practised, the way he prepares, he's just top level. It just tightened us up even more. When you get a drummer that is that on with the click and that precise it just makes our playing better right away."
What are your thoughts on Paul Wandke's departure from the band, and subsequent move to Bedlem?
"It's good he's getting back out there doing stuff, and not just sitting at home. It wasn't meant to be, it wasn't the right fit. It's one of those things where you have to tour with people to really know how it's going to work.
"It's the same thing with Alex, this is all tentative, we're playing and just seeing how we all vibe and work. In terms of playing a show? It's unbelievable. Off-stage it's been great. Let's get to the end of the tour though... we want to make sure he doesn't think we're crazy by then. But everything's good so far.
"It's cool that Paul's out playing though, that's what musicians are supposed to do. If I wasn't in Trivium, I'd have to be doing something right away too."
Regarding your next studio album, do you have any updates on the album and what the fans can expect?
"It really depends. Once we get done with this tour, we'll be planning out the rest of the year with either shows or studio time, if we get there... and just figuring out the direction and vibe. The only thing I would guess is that it's gonna be a little heavier. From the tour we're doing now, playing with Alex? It definitely feels like it would go that way. If everything works out with this tour, we'll figure out where to go from there. It'll probably be heavier."
Looking at your whole discography, which album would you say has been your greatest achievement as a band, and why?
"I would say that 'Ascendancy' and 'In Waves' were very pivotal records for us as a whole, they really levelled us up quite a bit. This latest record did the same for us too, especially in America... being on the radio Top 10 really opened up a lot of neat opportunities for us.
"There's been so many moments like that in our career, it's hard to say. I can make a playlist of songs that I feel would sum that up the best, but... 'Ascendancy' for sure, I'm still so proud that we were able to make something like that out of the blue. We had no idea that it would resonate the way it did, it's a very proud moment."
Since joining the band in 2004, how do you feel you've grown as a band over the past thirteen years?
"Matt, Corey and I have become such a solid group of... I'd say more than just friends, we're like brothers now. Having to go through line-up changes and stuff, we've had to deal with that together. We've had to deal with the ups and downs of making music, releasing records and touring.
"It really strengthened the bond, and now when we write music, play, or make decisions, it's very rare we're not on the same page with stuff. If we aren't, we're able to work things through very easily.
"I'm very thankful that we have a very functional band off stage. Communication is always there, that's so key and... bands that don't communicate? That's where things fall apart, we've had that in the past, and that's usually where problems arise."
You've been likened to Metallica a number of times due to a previous comment from Matt when you first broke out on the scene, but I wanted to ask; did you catch their performance with Lady Gaga at the Grammys?
"I haven't seen it yet! Every time I was gonna try to watch it I didn't have the internet. I think it's awesome they did it, I just haven't been able to see it. I don't know how! Which song did they do, one from 'Hardwired'?
Yeah, 'Moth Into Flame'...
"Oh wow, that's awesome! I mean, they're a band that breaks barriers and boundaries. Nothing's too big or small for them."
And that's what you want to do with Trivium?
"Yeah, it's... to update that quote, it's really about being the biggest and best version of Trivium we can be, whatever that is. The sky's the limit, I do feel like we have everything it takes to take our band to another level. It's really just the right songs, the right time. We're always open to opportunities to do things, if we ever had a chance to do something like that, we'd definitely consider taking it.
"I think that's why Metallica have continued to grow and be in front of new people. They know you have to do it, you have to put in the work. No matter how big you are, you've gotta get back out there and find new people to expose your band to."
The last question comes from a fan: "What's the deal with your Twitter name, Senator Horse Piss?"
"[laughs] I dunno, I realise I could change it... have some fun!
"It's just fun to run around the internet posting shit, stirring shit up. I think it throws people off when they see it. It's not really a reference to anything, just that the internet's completely wild and batshit crazy. I guess I can live that version of myself online, y'know?"
And so it came to pass that Trivium ascended to the dizzy heights of London's famous Roundhouse for their biggest gig in the capital to date and despite the venue not being completely full, it cannot be described as anything other than a triumph.
Here's a band who have had more than their unfair share of criticisms over the years, mainly the completely unjustified accusation of being Metallica soundalikes, a notion that this reviewer has always totally dismissed.
A quick glance at the setlist below tells you that Trivium are a solid entity in their own right and stand alone, far beyond comparison with any of their peers. Supporting Iron Maiden has been a career killer for many bands with only the elite managing to turn the experience into a positive and Trivium are firmly in that bracket, having come to prominence on Maiden's 2007 'A Matter Of Life And Death' tour. They stood out then for all the right reasons and they continue to do so.
Matt Heafy never fails to acknowledge the UK fans and express his heartfelt gratitude for us being the first country to pick up on and support Trivium and a further nod to Maiden happens with the full airing of 'Run To the Hills' as the band's intro.
Five microphones are spread across the stage and all are utilised by Matt, Corey and Paulo, and although the mix is not quite right tonight, this still remains an exemplary performance. To these ears, the drums were too low in the mix and Matt's voice had an unwanted echo but the songs are strong enough to avert these technical deficiencies.
As Paulo points out above, 'Ascendancy' is, and probably always will be, Trivium's finest moment and it's the songs from that magnificent album that resonate most tonight. The Floridians' second album is nothing short of a masterpiece and it often overshadows their other six efforts which is unfortunate as 'Dusk Dismantled', 'Silence In The Snow', 'Forsake Not The Dream' and 'Strife' are more than worthy partners to the six cuts from 'Ascendancy', which incidentally is exactly half of the album.
Only two tracks from Trivium's other masterpiece album, 'Shogun', make the setlist, the staggeringly good 'Down From The Sky' and 'Throes Of Perdition', and this is testament to the wealth of material they have in their armoury.
Trivium are a finely tuned, well oiled and efficient machine now and they deserve to be an stages like this as dues have been paid several times over. The future is bright and trepidation has been well and truly shot to pieces. Roll on the next album - on this form, expect another masterpiece.
The End Of Everything
Forsake Not The Dream
Down From The Sky
Rise Above The Tides
Entrance Of The Conflagration
Dying In Your Arms
Throes Of Perdition
Silence In The Snow
Pillars Of Serpents
A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
Until The World Goes Cold
Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr
Capsizing The Sea
Steve Göldby's Heavy Metal Chronicles, 2008 - 2017
Luke Milne, 2014 - 2017