From my experience as a music journalist I’ve discovered an interesting rule-of-thumb: the louder the music, the more personable the musician. Metal bands have been, without fail, the most congenial and well-spoken artists I’ve met despite the often incomprehensible aggression in their sound.
Certainly, this is true of Florida metal quartet Trivium and their bassist Paolo Gregoletto. In a recent interview conducted during the band’s hectic Trespass America tour – with Killswitch Engage, Five Finger Death Punch, God Forbid and others – I found him in a deeply positive mindset, sharing his thoughts on touring, keeping fit and the band's upcoming sixth album.
Does playing in a city that may be new to the band or at least “underplayed”, give you renewed energy?
It depends. A new audience may literally not know who you are so it’s a little like being a young band all over again. Sometimes the audience won’t know how to react, and on this tour we only have a 35-minute set so we’ve gotta kick it up a notch. And the end of each show we have been able to convert people. [At the same time] it’s nice to have a clean slate, to play to people who don’t have preconception of our band. You gotta stay hungry!
For an established band like yourselves, with a bit of touring comfort, what’s the best part of being on the road?
We always try to find good food, good bars, the chance to experience things we wouldn’t back home. We make sure to go out as a group, as friends. That’s the biggest perk of traveling.
What is your road diet?
It’s very important to make sure 90 per cent of what I’m eating is healthy. I find gyms wherever we go, too, if I have a few hours off. Anything to keep me healthy. Playing a show, even a 90-minute set, isn’t nearly enough to say, “Yeah, I got exercise, I can eat like shit tonight.” I had a point where I felt I wasn’t worrying about myself enough health-wise but now it’s the way it should be.
Is that sense of self-preservation common among your peers?
I’ve definitely met a lot of healthy people [on the road]. It’s tougher for our crew, though our guitar tech Ken will come with me to work out. On days off, I’ll make sure he finds the gym. It depends on your drive. Some days you get up and want to do nothing but for me it’s non-negotiable.
For a bass player, you’re an unusually common voice for the band. Do you enjoy doing press? Does it keep your brain healthy?
It is important to me, especially written interviews that give time to sit and think. I enjoy it because people need to know what Trivium is really about. We can’t let other people come up with their own version of who we are.
A lot of your lyrics touch on broad social and cultural issues. Are these often topics of discussion within the group?
Yeah, we talk about [big subjects], though we don’t want to make Trivium a platform for any religious or political beliefs. If someone doesn’t agree with what I think, they should still be able to enjoy our music. It’s very toxic, people just don’t know how to debate without getting so upset. Debates can be too big to get drawn into.
What stage are you at with the new album?
We have tons of riffs and Matt’s been working on vocal ideas. We’ve got our production schedule now so starting to really focus. We’re trying to make the next record a real next “step,” by figuring out what’s been lacking from record to record. In Waves luckily was popular with our fans and pushed us to new levels.
It sounds like Trivium is in a really great place.
Things are looking bright for us. The music industry can be bleak sometimes but we’re thankful to be in this spot. Many of our peers from five or six years ago just aren’t having as good luck or aren’t around at all.
What do you attribute that too?
That’s tough. It’s an X-factor you can’t really quantify, like there’s no one reason we’ve done better than other bands. Things have just come together at the right time, and we’ve made the right music at the right time.
What is trendy in metal right now?
I’ve noticed what’s considered “heavy metal” is fragmented. When we came out there was just one tour you needed to get on to break mainstream, and that was Ozzfest. Since then the Warped Tour has become heavier and a whole new generation of bands consider themselves metal, and they play to that crowd. Then there’s Mayhem Fest which picked up the pieces of Ozzfest, and Summer Slaughter which is way more underground. So many fragmentations, different subgenres and outlets.
People ask me “What new bands are you into?” and I just go blank. I hear new bands so often it’s an information overload just to remember names.
After Trespass America wraps, will Trivium be taking a live break?
Going to South America and Europe after that. In Waves has really caught on [in Europe] so it’s the right moment. That’ll be it, it’s looking like we won’t be doing some North American shows because we’ll start recording in January, wrap it up by March.
Related: TORO Interviews Killswitch Engage