Trivium besökte nyligen Stockholm på sin pågående världsturné för senaste albumet “The sin and the sentence”. Vi slog oss ner i en djup soffa backstage och snackade lite med basisten Paolo som bl a reflekterade över det rådande klimatet i hemlandet:
“Obviously America… we´re the exporter of dumb shit at the moment, so there´s plenty if you want it, but I try not to get too wrapped up in it.”
How´s the shows been going?
It´s off to a great start. We´ve been playing like six new songs off the latest record and the crowd response to those have been really phenomenal. We knew that people were digging it just from online comments, but to see it in person, you can really tell how some have already become fan favorites in the set. It´s exciting and we´ve been having fun. We´re still at that point in the tour where everyone´s very energized and not tired yet, so it´s going good.
How do you look at ”The sin and the sentence” now that it´s been out for a while?
I still feel very proud of it and I still feel it´s the most solid piece of music, as a whole, that we´ve done in a long time. What is very exciting is that I still feel there is so much more for this album to do for us. It seems like it takes a long time for music to really saturate, because so much comes out. Sometimes it feels like, unless you´re a real diehard Trivium fan or are kind of aware of us, I sometimes feel it´s easy for a record to slip by you and that´s why bands like us tour so much. You´re ggetting out there and reminding people like ”Hey, we have a new record and we´re out here playing new stuff!” Festivals are usually the best place to get those fans that are like ”Oh, I had no idea there is a new record out!” We still have a lot of touring left to do for this album and the video for ”Beyond oblivion” just came out and ”Endless night” is going to have a video coming out very soon, so we have a lot left to do. The album´s been out for a bit but it doesn´t feel like it because we´ve only done one tour since it´s been out.
You´ve gotten good reviews for it. Do you pay attention to stuff like that?
I kind of like to get a general sense of what the opinions are, was it a good review or was it bad or whatever. It´s the same thing for YouTube or anything like that. I want the overall sense, like do people seem to like it or don´t they. I think from there, you can kind of tell if a record gets a lukewarm reaction of if people really like it. With this record it just felt like overwhelmingly people were very strongly into what was on the record and especially when people are like ”You need to play more new stuff!” Once we started seeing that, it was like ”Ok, it seems like it´s got some good traction.” That´s how we picked ”Beyond oblivion” for a video. After the record came out, usually the singles kind of pop up on the Spotify top chart and what was crazy was that all of a sudden ”Beyond oblivion” kind of popped up on its own. It wasn´t a single or a focus track or anything, it was sort of like fans going back and listening to it again and you could tell there were some connection there, so we decided it was probably a good idea to do a video for that one and especially for Europe since we wanna play it.
I just noticed that ”Ascendancy” turns 13 today. I think Matt posted about it. How do you look at that album today?
It was just perfect timing. I feel like that record… the sound of it, the band we were and the moment in time that it came out, was just perfect. A couple of years too soon, I don´t think the record would´ve resonated the same and a couple of years later, it might not have resonated the same. We put a lot of effort into it and I think the songs still stand up. It was released at this perfect point in heavy metal where there was this kind of rising tide of bands and sort of like a wave cresting and we were just like right at the perfect spot. The music holds up and our fans still love it and tonite we had a couple of songs we were gonna rotate on this set and we were like ”Wow, 13 years! Let´s throw another Ascendancy song into the set.” A little celebration, nothing too crazy. We haven´t done anything like playing the full album or anything like that yet. Maybe one day we will do something. For now it´s just about concentrating on pushing ourselves with new music and making music that can connect on that same level, but in new ways. I think with this record, it was sort of like a reconnection with a lot of fans that maybe hadn´t been listening to us for a bit and of course new fans as well. Going forward, I´m excited because I feel like the lineup we have now is very… it´s probably the best players ever in this band and there´s a lot of potential to where we can go from ”The sin and the sentence” and I´m very excited to see where that is.
Trivium turns 20 next year. Any plans?
I don´t know. I mean, maybe it would be something in our hometown that we could do. I don´t know. It´s always tough with those kind of things because anything that´s a full tour, takes time out of recording a new record or anything like that, so it´s always been a tough thing. Maybe we´ll do something special if we´re on tour. Maybe a special show or some special merch collectible thing. We´ll figure it out.
Going back to when you started playing. Who was the first idol you met? A musical hero you had growing up that you finally got to meet?
The first one and probably the biggest is definitely meeting Metallica in 2006 when we did some shows with them. We´ve met other bands that were definitely influential and a big deal, but that was the top for me. Meeting thos guys was really an incredible experience. It didn´t feel real at the time. Since then we´ve seen them and run into them and said hello. They´re still Metallica, but the first experience of that was very ”Wow! I was listening to those guys a couple of years ago in school and now we´re opening for them and they´re playing Master of puppets in full, what the hell is this?”
You recently had a bit of a twitter feud with Phil Labonte from All That Remains. With social media, it´s so fast and it´s all over the place. Do you think about what you´re posting? I sometimes hesitate about posting stuff because others might throw a fit.
It´s mostly like ”Is this something I really wanna say? Do I really mean it? Would I wanna defend what I´m going to say?” A lot of people get bent out of shape when they get called out for saying dumb stuff, but it´s like ”You have the choice not to say it and you´ll have to defend it. No one´s saying you can´t say it, but no one´s saying you´re not gonna get critisized for saying it.” That´s like my internal test, ”Am I going to be willing to argue with someone about this? Is it worth it?” and if it´s not… I feel like I have a pretty good filter and sense for thing that are like ”That joke or that sarcasm will not translate online and I would never go there.” There are some things you can say to your friends and it´s different and a different context. That´s a thing with online that´s not there. Even when you expressively say ”This is a joke or this is meant to be taken this way…” it will be taken out of context and wrong. You gotta think about that, but for the most part, I just stick to instagram and twitter. I try at home to limit myself. Just give my brain a chance to not be fried by the stupidity that hits you right when you open it up. It´s never been dumber than ever. Obviously America… we´re the exporter of dumb shit at the moment, so there´s plenty if you want it, but I try not to get too wrapped up in it. Especially at home, I wanna relax and write music and I wanna do things that are useful to my time and it´s really easy to get caught up in mindless stuff. It´s designed to keep your attention and suck you away from doing meaningful things that make you happy.
Interesting times. Billy Howdel from A Perfect Circle said last year that the times we´re in now makes for great art. There´s a lot of stuff to write about. Do you feel the same way?
Yeah, definitely. I think the best part about music is to be able to view the world and then turn that into some sort of compelling storytelling or narrative or insight, that people can digest through your music and melody delivers the message in a way that another medium might not. The internet doesn´t deliver things the same way and music is such a powerful delivery tool and I wish all types of music would think that way. There´s a lot of mindless music and escapist stuff which… not everyone´s meant to be deep with their lyrics and stuff. That´s why I gravitate more towards rock and metal because I got more out of that music and the genre than other stuff. Maybe at the moment, other genres like hip hop definitely, there are guys and women that do that stuff, but when you get to ther genres it seems like ”Well, we´ll play it safe. We don´t wanna ruffle any feathers.” One of the most annoying things… and I think pretty much anyone experiences this, when you step out and kind of wanna speak your mind about something and you´re kind of met with ”Hey, stick to your lane! Don´t talk about these things because you´re meant to do this!” and it´s like ”No, you´re gonna have to deal with that.” If you´re gonna pick up a guitar and write lyrics it´s like… have something to say and be willing to back it up if you really mean it. That´s kind of where we´re at. You gotta be willing to upset some poeple sometimes. It´s not like doing it to get a rise out of people and get attention, it´s doing it because that´s what you believe and that´s what you think needs to be said and you´re willing to go out of the way and make people upset by saying it. It´s a really odd thing. I think that´s a way to stifle people and get them to not say things when it´s ”Hey, what do you know about these things?” It´s just a tool to make people not say things. It´s effective for some people because you don´t wanna get in trouble. We´re lucky because we´re our own bosses. Not everyone has that same luxury and that´s a big thing. That´s why people like us have to speak up because we are our own bosses and we don´t have to worry as much about it as someone that isn´t. That´s the point that always gets me frustrated, when it´s like ”Who are you to say anything? You should stick to your talent or sport!” A perfect example is Lebron James. He´s one of the biggest stars in the world and he speaks for the voiceless. No one´s firing Lebron James. The dude runs the team himself. Guys like that have to speak up for people, because if they don´t, the other people are just ignored and that´s what people want. They want people ignored, because it´s easy to just put that fire out, but it´s not when it´s someone who has a platform and a voice and is much more famous and beloved and a bigger deal than whoever it is that says they should stick to their lane.
A final thing. Do you have any albums that you tend to listen to more than others?
I kind of cycle through things. I get into kicks with bands or an album in particular. Maybe I´m writing and I want something that´s a little bit of a more riff oriented record or something that´s heavier or more extreme. Just to kind of get you in the mindset and get you thinking that way. Lately, three records at random that I´ve had on constant loop, either in my truck with the cd-player or even on Spotify, one being Metallica´s ”And justice for all” (1988), one being ”Death´s ”The sound of perseverance” (1998) and then At The Gates´ ”Slaughter of the soul” (1995) Those three albums aren´t necesarrilly very similar in many ways, but it´s sort of like… I don´t know, it´s just something you´re sort of feeling and you´re in the mood for. You get these kicks with music and you want to hear it over and over again. Aside from that, we all try to listen to new music. It´s really disheartening when you hear guys go ”I don´t know what´s out there?” It blows my mind. ”This is like your job, but it´s also your passion. You were passinate about this at one point and finding new music was part of that passion.” For me it´s an important thing.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Therése Stephansdotter Björk, Björn Olsson