Interview: Corey Beaulieu of TRIVIUM
Words/Interview by Tam Schilling
Over the past 20 years, Grammy-nominated band Trivium, consisting of Matt Heafy [vocals, guitar], Corey Beaulieu [guitar], Paolo Gregoletto [bass], and Alex Bent [drums] - have quietly claimed their place at the forefront of heavy music in the 21st century. After two decades, eight albums, and countless sold out shows, including 5 top 10 ARIA albums, Trivium will release their ninth full length, What The Dead Men Say, through Roadrunner Records on April 24. We were able to have a chat with guitarist, Corey Beaulieu, about making the new album, playing shows, writing music and more.
Your new album “What the Dead Men Say” is set for release on April 24, what can we expect from this album?
You are going to get a full-on rocking Trivium record. We made a conscious effort after how well The Sin and the Sentence was received worldwide that we didn’t want to do another record like we have done in the past. Where we do something that really connects with people and then we go off and do something completely different and change things up and then maybe people aren't as much into it so we wanted to write another album like we did on The Sin and the Sentence and build off of that and keep that vibe going. It very naturally came out, you get some twists and turns and stuff with the songs, but it’s like a full on metal record Trivium style and there are going to be a lot of songs that will become fans favourites when everyone gets to hear the whole album. Going off the first single we dropped, people seem to be very excited. With everyone being quarantined it's good timing to have some new music out when people are kind of on the edge of being stuck at home. I know a lot of people I talk to are not used to being stuck in the house for so many days and they are kind of getting antsy so hopefully this will help pass the time by having some new music to rock out to.
What was the band's inspiration behind this album?
We just wanted to make an amazing record and we really pushed the boundaries on this record. There seems to be a lot of bands that just go in there and throw something together. We really wanted to make a creative statement and wanted people to really go wow this is a great album. We wanted to make a record where people actually hear the record instead of it just becoming part of a catalogue. We wanted this album to be on that totem pole of great Trivium records and we wanted it to be up the top of that pole. We just wanted to continue to make and inspire really awesome metal music that really touches with our fans and hopefully brings new fans to the table that haven't really heard us before or maybe they are just getting into music and getting introduced to it by a friend or sibling. Just writing great music is always our inspiration. We just love writing and creating and seeing what we can do with our music. We just want to make something that people are going to really enjoy and have a great experience listening to our music.
Does the band have a particular procedure for writing new tracks?
We just all write at home by ourselves making song demos or riffs. We have a drop box that we all share, and we can go into it and listen to everyone's creative pieces that they have put together. Then when it is time to get together in person and jam, we just kind of pick out of the box of material that is kind of speaking to us and standing out. We just go in and do the old school garage band thing and play as a group and see how things feel. We feel out parts that might sound fine on a computer demo, but we get into a room and it might not feel natural as a group. We just bounce ideas off each other to complete the songs. I’m always curious if I have a song that I have worked on it's always good to get into a room it’s always fun to see how the song has turned out. We might be jamming it in the room and one of the other guys might have a completely different direction that you might never have thought of on your own and that really takes the song to a really cool creative direction. It’s always fun to see how the songs turn out from the demos to the actual songs. There is a lot of really cool killer parts in the songs that can only ever happen if it was the four of us in a room jamming together.
Has the writing of new material changed much over the 17 years you have been with the band?
It’s definitely gotten easier. I think since Al came into the fall on the last record our writing process is really really fast. He is able to keep up with all of us cos we were all really quick with coming up with riffs and he’s really good at improvising. We don’t have to sit there and wait for him to come up with the drum part or figure something out. We have a very streamline fast good creative energy and working relationship creatively well. We are all on the same page. It’s always just bringing in riffs and jamming them out. We use technology by being able to write and record at home and stuff like that. We’ve only done one record where we didn’t go to our rehearsal space before recording and in hindsight, we were like yeah, we are never doing that again. There is a lot of stuff that probably wouldn’t have been on that record if we were in our room feeling it out. So we just kind of have our process and we don’t really let anyone into that process until we feel like we are 95% done and usually the last couple of percentages come together when we are in the studio recording it. It’s just an old school approach. I feel like a lot of bands are missing out on that element because a lot of bands kind of do everything on the computer now and don’t actually play the songs as a group until after it’s finished and they go out on tour. That’s a creative thing that we feel that is being lost with a lot of new bands that don’t really do that in person interaction writing songs together.
After the current pandemic is over can we expect to see Trivium doing a headline tour with this album?
Yes. We are definitely going to be doing a lot more touring than the last record. It'll be a while, we are doing a big tour in North American with Megadeth, Lamb Of God and In Flames. Hopefully when everything gets back to normal that will be our whole year tour wise. Next year will be a bunch of stuff, a bunch of shows in Asia that we are supposed to be doing now that obviously got cancelled so there is some of that stuff that we want to get rescheduled and get over to the countries that we had to cancel. Hopefully with having to cancel those Asian tours we can make a whole trip over there and come to Australia after Asia instead of having to fly all the way over there and then back again so quickly. We will definitely be down there. Hopefully after that Good Things Festival where we did a shorter show that everyone will be pumped to see us play a headline show. We haven't headlined Australia in quite a while. We always love coming over there to play.
How are you coping with the Corona Pandemic over there?
For me personally, when I'm not on tour I’m pretty much a homebody and I don’t really leave the house that much. I have a lot of friends who have been home for two or three days after a tour and they start to go stir crazy, but for me I've just been hanging at home and it’s pretty normal for me. If I do have to go out to get groceries, I’m pretty mindful and just try to get in and out as quick as possible and try not to touch too much stuff. I have just been watching a lot more Netflix than I usually watch because there are no sports on anymore. I just play guitar and watch a lot of podcasts and stuff like that. It’s normal for me, but hopefully everyone else is getting through it not too bad. I feel bad for a lot of people that are out of work right now. I know how stressful that would be for a lot of people not being able to get out and work and go about their normal thing. I’ve got a lot of friends in the music industry, all of our crew guys who rely on touring to make money and working shows and all their work just got pulled out from under them. It’s tough times but hopefully everything can get back to normal and we can get back to having fun.
Do you have any advice for all the music lovers of the world on how to get through this craziness?
There is plenty of music to listen to. I know with Matt he has a lot of people who have been joining his stream on his Twitch channel. Everyone is at home and has all the time to tune into people's live streams. People are just wanting some sort of interaction with people. Being able to talk to Matt and engage with him, people are just wanting that sort of engagement with other people at the moment. Catch up with movies, music. If you are a creative person you could use this time to work on your guitar skills or write new songs. If you are with a significant other spend a lot of time with them, I’m sure there is going to be a lot of quarantine babies coming out in nine months *laughs*.
What The Dead Men Say will be available April 24th via Roadrunner Records.
Pre-order your copy here: https://wma.lnk.to/Trivium-WTDMS