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Interview: Trivium bassist Paolo Gregoletto
Gregoletto: life on the road, writing new material
For some underground metal fans, Trivium has been on the radar since the
band’s 2003 debut
Ember to Inferno. With the four-member’s most recent and
most successful release,
In Waves (Roadrunner Records), their pounding
music has hooked and reeled in the attention of new fans, creating an ever-
growing solid fanbase.  If the Florida-based band’s albums haven’t already
done the trick, then Trivium’s live shows surely will. See for yourself this
weekend when they perform at Rock On The Range in Columbus. Trivium’s
bassist/background vocalist Paolo Gregoletto spoke to us.
      
I know you guys have performed some festivals, like Soundwave, but
are you set for one of the largest fests? Rock On The Range.
Paolo: We’re really, really stoked for it.  We heard it’s a killer festival. I’m just
stoked to take in the whole festival.  This is the first time we’ve ever really done
more rock-radio oriented festivals.  I mean we’ve only done a handful in the
past. We did one called Earth Day Birthday in Orlando with our hometown
station, but we’ve never really experienced it, and I think it’s gonna be sort of
like a Dream Theater tour. Should be a lot of new kids that have never seen us
and we’re really looking forward to playing a lot of these shows like Rock On
The Range because there’s a whole audience that really knows nothing about
the last seven years of Trivium’s history or maybe have never even heard the
name Trivium. It’s kind of exciting to be sort of a new band in some people’s
eyes again.

The album In Waves is the best album out of what you guys have
released as far as billboard charts and numbers. You kind of went back
to the roots and revisited. Is that just something that you planned on
doing initially or do you think that style is making a comeback?
Paolo: It was sort of both.  On one hand it’s going back to the roots as the
energy of some of the earlier stuff we did, but at the same time we definitely
did some different stuff and that’s partly because of Nick [Augusto, drums] and
also wanting to do different stuff every album, not always just stick to the
same formula from album to album, but I definitely think that we went back and
looked at our albums and were like, “what made these albums energetic and
fun to listen to?”  I think it’s important to be able to be objective with everything
you’ve done before you go into your next album. It’s always nice to look back
and see what you’ve done and think about it and talk about it and figure out
where you wanna go from there. I mean we’re already well into writing the next
one, so we’re at that same point of talking about things we’ve done. Even with
In Waves, it’s been out 9 months now and we can kind of look back objectively
and stuff.  That’s always been a part of our creative process for the last few
albums.

Are there any plans to go in the studio pretty soon or do you have any
tentative plans for that?
Paolo: Tentatively, it’s like early next year, 2013.  We’ve realized the window of
recording and writing is so small, if you wait ‘til after the touring cycle of a
previous album that you’ll never have enough time in the world to write the
best thing you can.  Recording albums has become so fast it just goes by in a
blur if you’re not prepared.  That’s one thing we’ve definitely learned and we’re
not gonna have the luxury of a full year off like we did with In Waves.

How do you decide on which songs to put on the album and which
songs not to? Is it a collective decision?
Paolo: This time the way we did it is we made some of those decisions on our
own before we even got into the studio or even sent them around to our
manager, the label, and everyone that produced it.  We also discussed with
the label and our manager and everyone once we’ve recorded what songs
should be on the album and which ones shouldn’t.  It’s usually kind of a tough
decision because you’re always really proud of everything you do when you
record and this time in particular was tough because every song felt like it
deserved to be on the standard edition, but when you really think about it with
the internet now kids get it anyway and to me it’s not really that big of a deal to
leave two songs for a special edition, which most kids that buy albums buy
that anyway, so most people hear them right away. It’s not like a big heart-
breaking decision like maybe it was when there was just CDs or vinyls.

Do you think it makes it more of a challenge to have the Internet more
accessible to people now to get noticed as a band starting out, like
there’s more competition because of the Internet?
Paolo: Yeah, there’s definitely more competition, but I think it sorts out the
good and the bad pretty quick and even for bigger bands like a band like us, if
we don’t keep putting out the best that we can every time you know people can
hear it before it’s even available to buy, so right away people know what they’re
getting into.  There’s no mystique anymore around an album.  When they
know an album’s coming out they’re waiting on all the torrent sites to hear
what it’s gonna sound like.  I think a lot of people, rightly sowed, if they’re
gonna buy an album based on that, it pushes bands to make your album the
best it can be for whatever your style is or your goal is with your band.

Do you find it difficult to be unique or be your own band sometimes with
outside influences of music, or do you even consider that when you’re
writing music together?
Paolo: All four of us definitely have certain bands and genres of music that we
all kind of share an interest in, but there’s definitely a lot of other stuff that all of
us are interested in even outside of music and I think as we’ve gotten older all
these interests and outside influences, not necessarily music, but kind of
shaped what Trivium is. We don’t really like sit down and listen to a Megadeth
record and go alright, “This is the kind of rift we need to write for this part.” All
the music and everything we’ve ever listened to over the years is like
subconscious. We don’t try to force music or lyrics anymore.  We know that it’
s got to be the best it can be, so if it’s not happening then, it just isn’t worth
playing or recording.

Being with the band for a while now, what has been the biggest
challenge you guys have faced or gone through together as a band?
Paolo: Oh definitely getting Nick into the band.  That whole period of Travis
leaving the band and Nick coming in was pretty tumultuous and definitely really
tested our resolve as a group. You know what to do, how to handle it, you
know not only just to get a drummer in, but then to record a new album.
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Photobucket
For The Fans, By The Fans.  Look Beyond The Mainstream.
Trivium recently completed a tour with Asking Alexandria. Photo Supplied.
Trivium's Paolo Gregoletto performing at Mayhem Festival 2011.
Photo by Jared Perkins, OOTB.
Trivium's Paolo with drummer Nick.  Photo by Jared Perkins, OOTB.
In Waves released August 2011 and charted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 as
well as No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock charts. It was the band's fifth release.
Everything that we went through in that period definitely it tested us. It was awesome to get through the end and we were relieved in ways that was
sort of when that test was over and I think we had proved to ourselves that we can handle big issues like that and come out the other end a better
band because of them.

Yeah, it seems like Nick kind of fit in pretty well after joining the band a couple years ago.
Paolo: Yeah, he’s fit really well.  His personality fit off-stage perfectly with us.  He’s quiet if you meet him in person for the first time, but he’s really
funny.  When he knows people, he lets loose and we’re all about having fun on tour so he’s such a good fit for the band.

How do off days go on a tour when you’re on the bus?  I know you do a lot of traveling between dates, but is there anything you guys
enjoy doing together as a band?
Paolo: Yeah, we usually try to find the best restaurant we can in town. That’s not necessarily like a fancy, expensive place, but something that’s
unique about that town and if it’s locally owned in particular, that’s the key.  Maybe we’ll go find a good bar that people recommend to us.  That’s sort
of the general thing that we usually do and we usually are spending all the days off together doing stuff like that. That’s what’s really killer about our
band is that we get along outside of just playing the shows and it’s definitely made us a tighter band on stage because we like to exist off the stage
together and just be friends.

That’s very cool.  Kind of rare sometimes because I know a lot of band members kind of separate themselves from each other.
Paolo: Yeah, we definitely have had that in the past, but now it’s definitely an all of us together type situation.

I know you’re active with contacting and being in touch with fans via social networking and just talking to them at shows.
Paolo: Yeah, I mean I love it.  I feel like I’m just a fan myself and I always view people that are into our music as almost like a mirror looking at myself.  
I remember being that 15-year-old watching bands I like and wanting to meet them and I just wanna make sure the experience of meeting any of us is
killer and that they go home and be like, “not only was that show great, but they were awesome dudes,”  and that’s important to me.  It’s not repetitive,
it’s part of what we do and I love it.

What is the strangest gift that a fan has ever given you?
Paolo: Usually when we go to Japan we’re always given tons of gifts.  It’s part of the culture so we’ve gotten a lot of cool things.  I’ve gotten gifts for
my cat from fans in Japan.  They know everything about the band inside and out, they’re way into it.  It’s really incredible, it just shows you with their
culture like how respectful they are of people coming and visiting and playing in their country.  Japan is by far the most respectful country I’ve ever
been to.  

Are you a multi-instrumentalist?  I know bass is your primary weapon but…
Paolo: Yeah, that’s my main thing.  I started playing bass when I was 11 but I started guitar a year after.  My main thought was that if I’m gonna write
music, most people that I’m gonna be playing with, they’re gonna be playing guitar and if I wanna show them my ideas, then guitar is gonna be a
useful thing to learn and it definitely has paid off and I stuck with it.  I play drums a little bit, but I’m not anywhere as good as Nick.  I can keep a pretty
good beat and I have pretty good rhythm, so I guess that I kind of translated from being a bass player to messing around on drums.

You said you started when you were 11 years old, was there something in particular like a song or a concert or something that kind of
inspired you to say, “this is what I want do for the rest of my life as a career with music?”
Paolo: I didn’t make that decision till I was like 15 or 16.  Well, I guess I didn’t decide that I was gonna do it, but it was definitely that I wanted to play in
a band if possible, past school.  When I was 11 though I just wanted to play with my friends and we wanted to do the Italian Festival at our school and
that was the main decision that got me into it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Paolo: Well, I guess one thing I’ve always been trying to add to interviews is people want to get in touch and talk to me about something like Rock On
The Range, just hit me up on Twitter.  It’s @TriviumPaolo.  Just like meeting our fans at shows, I’m into actually responding and talking to people on
there and keeping the conversation about Trivium or anything random and fun online.

Trivium will take the stage Sun. May 20 on the Rock On The Range f.y.e. Second Stage at 1:55 p.m. After performing ROTR the band will perform
some European dates and come back to the U.S. to join a stellar lineup including Five Finger Death Punch and Killswitch Engage for the Trespass
America Festival this summer. See all of Trivium’s tour dates
here.