The Sin and the Sentence’ is a first release of the new album. Just before our talk I received the link to the new album, so I didn’t get a chance to listen to the other songs yet. But to start with an obvious question: is this the direction of the new effort?
When we picked the song we wanted it to be the one that resembled to best of what to expect. There’s a lot more dynamics and depth sounding like that. But if you want a lot of fast stuff, there will be a lot of fast stuff, if you want a lot of melodies, there will be a lot of melodies. We gave it good thought on what we wanted to do with the album. We went into the recording studio super prepared. The recording was the easiest part as we were so well prepared. It was the fastest part as we gave it good thought of what we wanted with the concepts and the riffs. Putting it all together, playing it a lot and making it Trivium.
So, no jamming in the studio?
We jammed a lot at home at rehearsal. [In the] Studio was like: 'This is how the songs sound.'. Alex did his drum parts in just two days. We were pretty blown away by that. We started a bit earlier with the recording, but we finished recording drums a week ahead. For the song ‘The Sin And The Sentence’ Alex did two takes on the song and we ended up using the first take. It proves he’s a pretty phenomenal drummer. We found him through our friend Mark Lewis, and he is a stand out on the record.
That song already shows Alex’ excellent cymbal technique. That’s what stood out for me after several times listening to the song.
Yeah, we took time to set up the [drum] kit to make him feel comfortable with it and asked him what he wanted to get out of it. That was also the thing with the cymbals how he wanted them to sound. Working with Josh Wilbur, who is one of the best metal producers around in my opinion, is a drummer himself. He prides himself in the way he can let cymbals stand out in the recording. According to Josh it is al about measurements on where to put the mikes so that … erm. Well he’s a mixer himself so the way he delivers it doesn’t need much to be done in the mixing. As he mixes himself other people’s work he knows what he would want if it were delivered to him, so that makes it easy for him to deliver the recording right. Josh did things like Lamb Of God and the last Gojira record which sounded great. And that was what hooked me. People don’t realise it maybe, but when you hear a good cymbal [sound] in the mix it is an extra. When it’s there and you get into it people can be like 'Wow, that’s crazy [what he does]'. When you see Alex play it live it is exactly where you expect it to be after hearing the recording. Like the splashes in the centre and so on. It then becomes and additional instrument. The rhythm section is always an integral part but we let him loose and told him to go for it.
Was that a way to make him feel at home in the band?
Yeah totally. We did a tour with him in March, which was the first real experience being together as a band. We did pre-production with him which was literally the first thing we did with him. The first time we met Alex, we did a set of 15 songs and then we started writing the new record with him. We let him know we had a lot of ideas but told him that he was free to try anything. We threw ideas at him and we were very pleased with the outcome.
And the tour was also like a trial-period?
That was the second idea behind it. We had a lot of fun meeting him, but you also want to see how someone copes with touring. As we tour pretty much the whole year it’s good to know if someone can handle that. Being away from home for 6 weeks without breaking down. He’s got so much experience on that level as well, touring in vans and busses. Everything was cool and we like to continue from there. If he had never toured before that might have had a different outcome.
How was it for you as a bass player? You had to adapt to, no offense, another new drummer.
I had to take the reins of that the last few years. Now with the way Alex did his parts I have a lot of space and I can work with that. Also it took a burden from me as he knows what he is doing so I can focus more on my own parts and singing. It was really effortless to get on the same level as him. It’s cool to trust his playing. This guy can handle drums so we only had to give directions every now and then instead of giving directions all the time. This gave me more space to throw ideas at him and think of new song ideas etcetera.
Can he combine Trivium with his work with the likes of DragonLord etc.?
Because he now has recorded with us, it initiates a different kind of commitment. So like I said we tour all year round and that will be the first priority of course. But he’s so committed to his instrument that whenever there is time he’ll play. That even be a jazz festival for the heck of it. Trivium is basically a full time gig, but when he’s at home he will also play in cover bands. We’re all gravitated to our instruments. So if he want to do session work or record stuff, that’s could. But touring will not be possible as we have a full schedule ourselves. So on closing on the subject of the stuff. The new record is completed and out somewhere this fall. We’ll get to the touring for it in a bit.
My initial touch of Trivium was ‘Ember to Inferno’ back in the day and especially 'If I could collapse the masses'. It was re-released some time ago, any additional info on that re-release?
That was basically Matt who did that as he was the only one of us involved in that period. He put it back together with the Blue Demo, which had been out of print. Also the Red and Yellow Demo, which basically no one ever heard were added to give a raw glimpse of where we came from and what we changed and improved, what we’ve kept and what not. People can run it all the way up to the new record.
Then the Roadrage Tour with Still Remains and 3 Inches of Blood. From there it really took off for Trivium. You even played one of the weirdest stages at the Dynamo Festival being in the woods.
The UK started really with that tour as did the Netherlands. It was the first time in such a package. We came back for Download in the UK later that year and we were amazed. That was when things REALLY changed for us. Since then we keep coming back. Dynamo was our first festival although it was nearing its end then.
Have you now reached a stable level as a band?
I don’t think there is a stable level for a band. As the external surrounding changes and you can’t control what people are interested in. We don’t want to look at what others are doing to adapt to that sound or what’s popular. Our fans look at us because that’s what they want in their lives. That makes it easy for us tom come back and continue. The reactions to the new song so far are a vindication that we’re doing the right thing. People will have strong opinions, but if the like this, they will like the rest of the record. People will hear the fun we had.
So, we’ll see you again late this year/early next year?
I don’t know what the exact dates are, but around that time. We will do our first real headline tour with Arch Enemy in the US. That’s the first tour in the new record cycle. Then we’ll get back to Europe. Signs are good with a sold out show tonight, with these great bands.