Hailed as front runners in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal genre, TRIVIUM joined Roadrunner Records’ legendary roster of bands in 2004. Since that time the band is visited New Zealand multiple times with the likes of KORN, CHIMAIRA and DISTURBED. August 8 2011 sees the release of TRIVIUM’s fifth full length album ‘In Waves’, another leap in the band’s musical evolution and also their first album with Nick Augusto on drums. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu spoke to NZRock about the new album, new drummer, and new approach to creating music videos…
NZRock: The new TRIVIUM album ‘In Waves’ has been a while in the making but it’s almost here. Are you pleased with the results?
Yeah we’re super excited about the record. We spent all this time to make this record exactly how we wanted it to be. The music, the artwork… we spent a lot of time making sure that every aspect of this record was exactly how we envisioned it from the start. So we’re 100% excited about getting the record out and everyone being able to experience our hard work that we put in.
A lot of work has been put into the visual side of this recording as well. What are some of the ideas that you explored?
We kinda looked back at all of the videos that we’ve made and a lot of our videos earlier on really had nothing to do with the album and they were just kind of like someone elses ideas that they pitched to us but nothing ever really turned out exactly how people would pitch it to us. So we just wanted to make something that was cohesive and tied into the record and added to the whole visual side of the record as well as represented the music in a cool way. So we kinda went outside the box and wanted to make something a little more cinematic and movie-ish. It was kind of inspired by some indy band videos that they do outside the box. We didn’t want to do a typical metal video where we’re just playing in a room and just rocking out being all tough. We wanted to use the video as a way to add to the visual world of what we’re creating with the record and tie everything in to make it more than just a record, but a world around the record that has a visual story to it.
Most of the time we have some kind of intro song that starts the record off and creates the initial vibe so we kind of used that In Waves theme in the song to create the intro. And some of the other stuff like the interlude in the middle and the outro just randomly happened. I know Matt wrote some vocal lines in ‘Snare The Sun’ that was like a whole cool part for another song that just didn’t really work out and then they just got inspired to create some kind of music piece out of that and we came up with this Egyptian, Middle-Eastern type vibey song out of it. It was just spur of the moment, taking an idea and running with it. It worked out so well that we wanted to incorporate those things into the record and add to the musical pallette of the record. It wasn’t so much planned those things, besides the intro, but they just kinda happened very nicely that they worked out really well and they fit with the record so we decided to include them into the disc.
As far as lead guitar work goes on the record, I really dig that song ‘Dusk’. What were the most challenging parts for you to record on guitar?
Well this record actually surprised me. It was very easy for me, I think it was just the atmosphere in the studio, working with Colin, and just how everything was sounding in the studio that most of the stuff happened pretty quickly. Some of the stuff that I thought was going to be real challenged to come up with something was actually pretty easy which kinda shocked me. But nothing on the record took really more than like 30 minutes to come up with the ideas. Everything was pretty fast paced and it was just a very inspiring session. Once I heard the music recorded in the studio it really dictated the parts that needed to happen. I’d try out a few ideas and something would just happen and we were like “oh that’s it, we’ve got to go with that!” Compared to the last record, the last record was really challenging and kinda frustrating at moments and a very burn out feel with recording some of the stuff. This record was very fast pace and things just came very naturally so it was a very pleasant recording session. I was really happy with everthing came out. I was in the zone!
You’ve worked with Colin Richardson for the last few albums. In terms of someone who “gets” the band, do you think he’s the guy?
Yeah, he mixed the two previous records so he definitely knows what we are all about and what we did so he’s very familiar with our sound. So having him come in we felt he could make this record exactly how we wanted it and get it to sound the way we wanted it. We wanted to have somebody who would work on the album from start to finish instead of working with somebody else and then giving it to Colin to mix. We felt like the way to get the best end result was for him to see the vision from start to finish. We told him exactly what we wanted the drums and guitars to sound like etc and he just knew. We experimented with a lot of different gear and used all his experience and studio tricks to capture everything exactly how we wanted it. He did fantastic job and it was a learning experience for us to see how someone with his skill level works in the studio. He definitely make it happen with just making this record sound exactly how we envisioned it. He was really easy going, he just let us play and do our thing. He kind of brought an outside perspective of what he thought was the best thing to move forward with. It was really because with other producers they try to write the shit for you or try to get their ideas into your record. So it was a lot better for us on this record. He got the best out of us as individual musicians in terms of just pushing us to think of new cool ideas.
Martin “Ginge” Ford has worked with bands like BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE and DIRGE WITHIN. How did he fit into the scheme of this record?
Ginge was the co-producer the and Carl Downes was the engineer on the record. When we worked with Colin was like yeah I’m going to bring my other guys, because he works with those guys a lot on different projects. We got the whole team which was really cool because each one of them had like a different expertise. Ginge is a really accomplished drummer and he’s played in bands like SKINDRED and DUB WAR so he was fantastic to have around when we were tracking drums with Nick. He really pushed him write amazing drum parts. Carl’s like a big guitar nerd so he was a lot of fun to work with when I was writing guitar parts because he’d just be “oh man, that fucken parts rad!” It’s always nice when you’re writing something in the studio to have another person there that is into that kind of stuff and also can give you an outside ear of what’s cool or not. So everyone had a really cool thing that they brought to the table that really added to pushing the record even further.
This is the TRIVIUM first album with Nick Augusto (ex-MARUTA and METAL MILITIA) on drums, are you guys happy with that he has brought to the band?
Oh yeah, we first started working with him playing live shows and what he brought to the table with performing our old songs really made our live shows that much better and he played our old material fucking phenomenally. So it really sparked this energy within the band and made everything fun again and brought back this kind of youthful vibe on tour of just having a good time and feeling good about shows. So we got to play with him for a while on tour which really benefited us once we went in to start writing the record. We were familiar with each-other and had figured out what his style is and everything like that. So once we started writing songs the chemistry between the four of us putting the songs together was amazing and just a really good atmosphere for writing and just jamming. His playing style and his skill level really opened the door so that we weren’t limited to doing anything. His drumming style really added to the riffs that we were writing and add to the energy and the excitement of the music. We did a lot of experimenting within the songs and tried every possible idea we could think of to make sure that what’s on the record is exactly what fits the songs best. I think the end result of the record speaks for itself on how everything turned out.
Outside of TRIVIUM you’ve done quite a lot of work with other bands like LIZZY BORDEN, THE DIRGE WITHIN and ANNHILATOR. what’s been the most enjoyable collaboration outside of the band so far?
Most of the stuff like ANNHILATOR and THE DIRGE WITHIN they just send me the stuff and I just record it at home and send it to them. LIZZY BORDEN was cool because I actually did that when I was out in L.A. and they picked me up and I went to their studio and tracked it with them there. That was really cool, it was the first time I did like a guest thing with the band actually there. But I think as far as something other than TRIVIUM that was probably the most fun to do was the Roadrunner United thing where Matt and I did that song with KING DIAMOND. Instead of doing like a guest solo it was a full song so there was a lot more going on with that project than the other ones. But all those projects are always a lot of fun because you know, playing solos or something in other people’s music, the music stuff that they lay down that I’m playing over is a lot different than what we do in TRIVIUM so it’s always fun to play over a different form of metal and another person’s playing style than our own. It’s always fun to see how those turn out because it’s totally different from the stuff I do normally. Those things always come between albums so it’s fun to have a chance to record and get into the studio and create something while we’re not actually doing stuff as a band ourselves.
TRIVIUM has also recorded a few covers like ‘Master Of Puppets’ by METALLICA. Have you ever had any feedback from the band that you’ve covered and toured with.
I remember when we did the METALLICA cover the guys had a lot of nice things to say about our version. I know Kirk Hammett commented on my solo because I changed his solo from the original haha! I did parts of his solo then added in my own little flair. I remember reading something where he commented that he wasn’t mad that I re-arranged his solo. We’ve met those guys and they’re really cool dudes so it was cool to hear their stamp of approval. Other than that, I never heard that IRON MAIDEN mentioned anything about that project, or even the SEPULTURA cover that we did on our special edition that we did a while ago. Never heard anything from the SEPULTURA guys but I feel all the covers that we’ve recorded and done I felt we’ve done a really good job of keeping the spirit of what made the original great but also putting our own little stamp on the song. So hopefully all those original artists are proud of our versions of the songs.
The SEPULTURA cover that we did of ‘Shattering The Skies Above’ for the video game, we put it on our website as like a streaming thing but this is the first time it’s actually been officially on anything where people can have a copy of it. I think a lot of people are still unaware that it’s kind of an older cover even though its new to a lot of people since it’s never been available. Hopefully a lot of our fans will get a little taste of SEPULTURA and it’ll turn them onto another cool band for them.
Before I let you go, what do you think are your top 5 guitar riffs or solos that you’ve ever written during your musical career with TRIVIUM or outside of TRIVIUM?
Hmmm Top 5. I think definitely number one has to be ‘Life Like The Fly’. When I joined the band that was the first song that I co-wrote with Matt and that song was like the song that really broke us out and got us a big record deal and stuff like that. So that song was a really big song for the band and a career changer for us. For solos and stuff, one of my most talked about solos at least from our fan base has been the Roadrunner United solo for that KING DIAMOND song ‘In The Fire’. That gets a lot of chatter about it which is always nice. On the last record I really like the solo I did for ‘Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis’. Everything else has to be off the new record. I feel that the new record is my best lead playing and the best I’ve sounded on record. It’s hard to pick individual solos and stuff but I think it’s my best performance on an album that I’ve done. That has to be 3, 4, 5 everything else haha!