» Corey Beaulieu - Trivium
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Interview conducted March 15 2018
Interview published April 10 2018

"Let's just go fucking balls to the wall and just write some ripping shit!"

Metal Covenant seized an opportunity to speak with guitarist Corey Beaulieu of Trivium as the Florida metallers made a stop in Stockholm on their current European tour in support of their latest effort The Sin And The Sentence.

"He's, like, one of the first drummers I've met that's not a fucking weirdo."

Tobbe: Let's start this off with an update. So what's coming for Trivium in 2018?

Corey: It's the year of touring, since the record came out in October. We did one U.S. tour and then we've been kind of just at home, kind of our break, just kind of letting the record, you know, just kind of be out there and hopefully people just, you know, either hear it, or I guess listen to it and absorb it all. So, now we've just started this tour and it's, you know, go from this European tour then straight into a U.S. tour and I think we've got another U.S. tour in the summer and then I think South America in the fall and another U.S. tour. We're getting the majority of our touring for the album, like, all within this year.

Next year, we might do something, and it'll probably be a little bit of touring through the beginning of 2019, but we'll probably be kind of, I guess, slowing it down and get ready to start working on the next one. I know next year there's gonna be a shitload of, like, big metal releases, so it'll be a good time to not be on the road, when there's, like, a million other big metal bands kind of dropping new albums. So we're trying to knock it out this year, when the highway's clear. Too many bands. [Laughs]

Tobbe: 5 months have past since The Sin And The Sentence was out and I think you kind of brought some older material back on that record, right?

Corey: We were touring for the previous album [Silence In The Snow, 2015] and we're very, I guess, mindful of just seeing kind of like, from our catalogue of music, what certain things or songs kind of riled the crowd up the most and we kind of like just took that and we were just like "This is what the fans kind of want from us and expect from us.". You know, Matt [Heafy, vocals and guitar] being able to scream again was a big thing that was able to open things up and we knew after the last record, when Matt was able to scream again, we were like "Yeah. That's something we need to incorporate into our music again." and we just wanted to play some dark, heavy shit, but also be big and melodic, which is kind of like our calling card.

And we just started writing some songs and, you know, I think Alex [Bent], our new drummer, coming in right when we started writing material… You know, we had some demos written, but when he came in and started playing… It really kind of just started at one thing and then it just kind of came into something completely… Like, The Sin And The Sentence was one of the first songs we started playing and it didn't really sound anywhere close, but then the drums started to develop and having a drummer who can play basically anything and has experience from playing in, like, church bands to, like, reggae to extreme death metal… He can play basically anything.

I think within the three of us [Corey, Matt and bass player Paolo Gregoletto.], writing the music, something just kind of like clicked where we knew we could really kind of unlock certain things that we had kind of put on the back-burner 'cause we knew they [former drummers] couldn't pull it off. You know, stuff like blast beats and all these crazy… We did it on some of the earlier albums. We have, like, this death metal influence that creeps into songs, in parts, and we were like "Oh! Shit! He can do all of this stuff.", so it was like we kind of just let everything out, you know. There was no creative leash and we just kind of were like "Let's just go fucking balls to the wall and just write some ripping shit!".

And it was a lot of fun and, you know, with him in the band and this record, it has kind of started off, like, this new chapter of the band. We're really excited and, you know, we've already been writing stuff to go towards the next record.

Tobbe: You guys often speak about "The three of us" and does that in any way make it harder for a new guy to get himself a place in the band?

Corey: You know, Paolo, Matt and myself have been in the band forever together and kind of run it and we had to go through so many drummers, so we were, like, the three, like kind of a unit that ran the band, and do all business and kind of make all the decisions. But, you know, with Alex coming in… You know, with some of the other guys there it was always some kind of thing that kind of prevented it from being, like, a whole, because there would just be, like, either personality differences or it wasn't like it totally clicked all the way.

And then, you know, Alex came in and he fits in perfectly with the band. He's got the right attitude. He's, like, one of the first drummers I've met that's not a fucking weirdo. And his personality and his sense of humor. His personality just really complements the three of us, so. He's been playing with us for a little over a year, but it feels like he's been in the band for, like, 5 years. Kind of like what we've been looking for over the years, going through members, is trying to find that guy that just really is kind of that missing piece that can play amazing, that really adds to the band, but also just on a personal level, just really has the same kind of mindset of the rest of us.

What we've been searching for all these years is trying to find that fourth person that can really kind of complete the group, with just every aspect of what you have to deal with with a band.

Tobbe: I don't think that some fans or people actually do realize how important relationship is in a band.

Corey: Well, you know, you can probably read a shitload of interviews with musicians where there is talk about being in a band is like a marriage. Obviously fans come attached to who's in the band and they don't want people to leave or things to change, but you're up on stage for an hour and a half and when you're on tour you're around each other, like, 24 hours a day, so if you don't get along it's like: touring is not gonna be very fun and then it affects the shows and, you know, we've had experience where not everyone in the band is getting along or not getting along with drummer, prospect, whatever it was, and it's not just a very fun mood when someone is just in a pissy mood or doesn't wanna be around somebody and you gotta go on stage and play.

We've had those experiences of touring where not every member is being on the same page or getting along and it's not enjoyable. Like, you can't enjoy the show when you just keep thinking about, like "That motherfucker!", so. Now, it's just a lot of fun, that we don't have to worry about someone behind the kit is not being able to pull a song off or just making it sound bad and then also not being an asshole, so.

Tobbe: Did you read on social media what the fans were looking for in terms of harsh vocals and stuff or did you just know that harsh vocals gotta be back on a Trivium record?

Corey: We kind of knew that that was something that, you know, we should do. And we kind of wanted to, just because we did a record without it and it's kind of like we stepped away from it. We kind of were able to take some of the screaming and bring it back into the music without doing it in a completely, I guess, generic type of approach.

And even, there's some songs that don't have any screaming on it, but it's kind of like we put the screams in where, you know, they're needed or make sense and I think: just letting the screams just kind of come back in just naturally where it felt right to put them in. You know, added another element. We just wanted to write some, like, darker material and just really intense and aggressive and stuff. You know, even the last record, that didn't have any screams on it, people were like "I dig the record, but I do miss the harsh vocals.".

So we did hear it, 'cause, you know, every album has had it to some extent, so taking it completely away is kind of taking away one of the elements that makes up your sound. But I think ever since In Waves [2011] we've had a good balance. You know, there's songs that have both singing and screaming, some songs where there's just singing and then some songs where there's a majority of scream parts, so there's a variety in the way things are vocally kind of delivered, that I think gives a record where each song can have its own kind of character and vibe to it without stuff kind of just running together when you get halfway through the disc.

Tobbe: What are the hardest parts for you to play when you're recording stuff for an album?

Corey: Well, we rehearse a lot before going in the studio. So we're very prepared and we recorded the whole album in, like, two weeks and then spent another two weeks, you know "Oh, we can do this better." and Matt did the vocals for the record, like, three times 'cause every time he'd sing something again he'd sound even better than the last time he did it. We were like "Oh, we should go and redo this song, 'cause you sound better than when you recorded it before.". Usually we rehearse the stuff so much before going in the studio that we're prepared and it's just playing it 'cause you know it like any other song that you have.

But some of the stuff can be a little bit more of a challenge live, when you're having to sing and play it, and then perform without screwing up. So some of the stuff, like Beyond Oblivion, you have to kind of focus a little bit more to make sure you're… you know. 'Cause some of the riffs, there is a lot of, like, notes and details going on, that you gotta play it very kind of on point to the clarity of the parts come out and everything like that, so. But luckily it's nothing too… You know, we're not playing Dream Theater songs, so not super crazy, but, you know, we got it down. [Laughs]

Tobbe: Without coming out super cliché, is there a way to explain to people that you think that you're new album is the greatest one?

Corey: Obviously, when you do a new record you really like it, a lot, and you're proud of it. I think it has some of the best stuff we've written and it just kind of takes everything Trivium is and it's just kind of like, you know, made into one record. You know, a lot of fans have been like "There's some parts that kind of reminds me of a mix between this album and this album.", or stuff like that. So we always just try to make the best record.

You know, you're excited when you've made the albums and then you have time to reflect and get away from them and you're like "Well, that's not really one of my favorite albums we've ever done.". But I think, with the new record, it's definitely up there with… For me, I rank it right up there with, you know, my favorite Trivium albums. When people discover a band on a certain record, obviously there's, like, an attachment to a certain record, so sometimes it's hard to shake people's opinion of what their favorite record is, because it could be like "That was the first record I got into metal from.".

So sometimes you have a hard time, like Metallica has put out so many albums and then everyone is just like "Master Of Puppets." and it's like "Wow! We did that 30 years ago.". But it's great to have those records that mean so much to people and there is a lot of people, fans, that have said our new record is their favorite record that we've done, or they rank it right up there with their favorite record. So it's good, and especially, this is the first record we've ever done where: going out on tour, fans have requested to hear more new stuff.

Usually we go out on tour and play, like, 2 or 3 songs from the new album and now we're playing over half the album and fans have just been requesting songs from the new album, so it's nice that people are excited and wanna hear the new material live. First couple of shows on the tour: all the biggest reactions from the crowd have been, like, the new songs. So it's a good feeling when that happens, and especially after 8 albums, when people are excited about, you know, us not trying to make it into a nostalgia party.

And it's fun to play new songs, just because, obviously for us, we haven't played them 8 million times over the last decade, so. The setlist has been fun and besides new stuff we've been playing a lot of old stuff that we haven't done in, like, years.

Tobbe: You guys are still pretty young for having put out 8 records already and if you kind of continue releasing albums this frequently it will mean kind of 25 more albums and could you ever, like, continue this for the rest of your life? It'll be, like, over 30 records when you end it.

Corey: Ah, well, I think Lemmy put out a record every, like, 2 years for, like, his whole career, so. You know, we've been basically doing that. Every 2 years we've kind of had a record out. Nowadays, kind of, it's like it's all about just, you know, content and just always putting content out there and everyone just wants stuff all the time. People don't like to wait and it's kind of gone back to, like, that singles thing and you see all these people that put, like, a song out on Soundcloud or something. Unless you're, like, an older band that can do it, I don't think nowadays fans wanna wait, like, 4 or 5 years in between albums.

Luckily we have, you know, 3 people in the band that ripe, so by the time it comes to, like "Hey! We should start doing a new record.", it's like "Well, I've got 6 songs.". Everyone always has an abundance of material, so whenever it's time to start putting an album together or whatever, it's like we're kind of hit the ground running with ideas. It's always good, you know, when you have that kind of set-up. You know, when we're on break from tour everyone's writing ideas, or recording ideas, and riffs and stuff like that. We're always kind of like thinking of music or getting ideas for titles or content for lyrics and stuff, so we're pretty efficient for writing, so.

Tobbe: Can that be hard sometimes? Like, always be in music 24/7 and not taking a rest from it on and off?

Corey: No. Every time I pick up a guitar it's just play and then that happy instance where you're just noodling around and then you're like "Ah! I came up with an awesome riff." and you gotta record it and next thing you know, like, in 20 minutes you have almost like a whole song that, like, just came out of nowhere, so. It's always fun just, you know, kind of seeing what your mind's capable of; kind of pull it out of the hat, you know.

It's always fun writing songs and we get to write songs and put them out on a record and people buy them and kind of like the way I, as a kid, go buy my favorite band's record and be like "This song's so sick!" and now it's like, on the flipside, stuff that I'm sitting in my house, writing, you know, at my computer or fucking noodling around on ideas, could eventually be a song that inspires someone else to, like, wanna be in a band. So it's cool knowing that just me sitting on the couch, you know, fucking around on my guitar can lead to something that could be some day considered a metal classic or something like that. It's like "Dude! I was, like, sitting in my boxers on the couch fucking hung over and I wrote that.", you know. Some funny story like that, so.

Tobbe: A lot of people claim that, like, everything has already been done in music, but there are so many different combinations on a guitar still to be explored.

Corey: Well, you know, the one thing is, a lot of our songs, like, the chorus to the song: we're not reinventing the wheel, it's, like, common chord progressions and it's all about the creativity in the melody that you make that defines it as original. 'Cause Iron Maiden, fucking… Jesus Christ, they use almost the same chord progression for every song, but the genius is the lyrics and, you know, the vocal melody that sets it apart. You probably could go to a fucking bar and watch a cover band play the exact same part, but then they sing a different melody, and they literally sing, like, 30 songs that, like, literally follow the exact same thing, but you recognize it when they sing it with the melody.

So that's, like, the one thing, to stand out and people say, like you said, everything's been done before, but it's all about how creative you can think and try to put your own fucking unique spin on, you know: taking something that's very plain and then doing your thing that makes it stand out from everyone else who try to do the same thing, so. You know, the fun of writing music is trying to write that ultimate melody, that you get excited about, but then you can play it to someone else and they'll be like "Hell yeah! That's brilliant. I can sing it right away.". Yeah, it's all about maximizing your creativity and always strive to try to write that ultimate song.

Tobbe: So a band can never accept its level that they're on and it's always striving to get bigger?

Corey: Every time you go in and make a record you should go in with a mindset that you're trying your hardest to write the best record you possibly can at that moment in time. Everyone is always trying to make their best album every time, but circumstances or just that moment in time just maybe, you know, it just didn't turn out the way that you wanted it to turn out. And we've had records where: going into it, we think we're gonna make the best record we've ever made and then maybe it just doesn't become that and then you just kind of like "All right, well, just gotta keep working harder.".

And hopefully we can really kind of reach the point where the next one is that record, you know. My favorite bands, you know, not every album is the shit, but then, you know, the next record might be fucking one of their best in their catalogue. So you just gotta keep that fire to just create and hopefully write something where the stars align and where you got something special.

Tobbe: Soon, a couple of bands will stop playing, like Iron Maiden and all those dinosaurs, and then maybe you're up there instead of them. Is that your plan, kind of?

Corey: Well, you know, from the beginning we just wanted to be… All the bands we grew up listening to, and watch concert videos and stuff like that, and we'd see them playing in a packed arena and stuff and it's like: we always wanted to be, like, a huge band and, you know, be playing arenas everywhere and stuff like that, so. But, you know, with music it's like: you just have to keep building and building and building.

There's some bands eventually that are gonna be no longer. You know, Slayer is calling it, and with Glenn Tipton and [Judas] Priest and how much that's gonna be around, and, you know, Bruce [Dickinson] had the cancer scares that almost ended Maiden, so. And it's a different era now and obviously bands aren't selling albums like those bands did back in the day and stuff. There's different ways music is kind of reaching people, but people still love music and the experience, so.

It's just nowadays there's just so many more bands than there were back then to pick from, so they're like "Hey, over here! Pay attention to me.", you know. Just everywhere you go there's at least 10 other tours coming through that area around the same time, so it's like: if it was half of that maybe every band would have twice the amount of people at the show. People can't afford fucking tickets to, like, 10 shows in a month, so.

And that's the important thing about writing great music, and making a great album that excites people and that the quality is there, that people would wanna come see your show because your record is, you know, better than the other one's. So it always comes down to just the quality of the music. You gotta write good music 'cause there's so many artists out there nowadays that you gotta have something that stands out or is better or just attracts more people. That's what we're always trying, you know, to work for. [Laughs]

Tobbe: If Trivium suddenly for some reason would lose its fans, would you continue to the bitter end or would you, like, be thinking of doing something else?

Corey: Um. Well, we would have to do something really bad to lose all our fans. I'm pretty confident we have some really die-hard fans everywhere, so I'm not too worried about that. You know, I just always love writing and playing music that I don't really have any other career desires to get in to anything, so. Luckily this is working out and we're continuing to, you know, grow and then reach new fans and stuff like that. It's still on the up and up. So, we're happy about that and still enjoying, you know, playing together and playing shows and touring, so it's no complaints here.

Tobbe: On a day like this, do you ever regret the decision to move to Florida?

Corey: No. That was kind of one of those… I guess, fate, kind of right place at the right time. You know, meeting the right people and everything kind of fell into place with moving from across the country to a place and then one of the first people I meet is someone I've been in a band with for 15 years already or some shit, so. It's kind of like fucking it was meant to be. You know, right people, the right place and having the same taste in music. I think it's pretty crazy that all of our first bands that we had: the first song that we played in our bands was For Whom The Bell Tolls.

And that was before any of us knew each other, but we played literally almost like the same cover songs, like we all played For Whom The Bell Tolls and Creeping Death and then I think we even all played the same [The] Offspring covers. A lot of weird shit, that we're all meant to be in some crazy band together.

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