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Trivium may very well be the busiest metal band of 2009. Every time I turn around they seem to be scheduling a new tour. Having just completed 35 U.S. dates with Slipknot, the band did a few of their own shows before heading up to Canada with Slipknot later this month. Then there are a string of dates in both Japan and Australia, a few European festivals, a handful of Eastern European dates, again with Slipknot, then back to the U.S. for the Rockstar Mayhem Festival with Slayer and Marilyn Manson. After that? Looks like a headlining tour in States. So what does all this mean to you? It means you have more than enough chances to see the band live this year.
After making a name for themselves with the release of their debut album, Embers to Inferno, which was released in the Fall of 2003, Trivium really broke through in 2004, when they put out Ascendancy, their first release on a major label. After Kerrang! magazine named the record "Album Of The Year," the band soon found themselves touring with the likes of Iced Earth and Machine Head, and also played both Ozzfest and The Download Festival.
Fast Forward to 2008, and Trivium not only released Shogun, their most acclaimed album to date, but also toured with the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer, while winning over many new fans in the process. Judging from all the touring the band will be doing this year, it looks like 2009 will be a huge year for the band as well. I recently had a chance to sit down with guitarist Corey Beaulieu for a few moments to talk about the wave of success they have been on, and here is what he had to say...
RA: Since this is the last night of the tour, can you give me some thoughts on what's been going on?
CB: This has been quite an awesome tour. It's been the biggest tour we've done in the States, and the most beneficial for us. Both Slipknot's and Coheed and Cambria's fans have been giving us a chance, and we have made a lot of them into Trivium fans. Hopefully this will get us to the next level, and by the time we do a headlining tour we will see a lot of new faces, and a lot of people who have gotten into us due to this tour. We are just happy to have had a chance to play on this tour. It's been a long fun ride!
RA: What has your set list been like? Have you been playing many songs from Shogun?
CB: Our set has been about 35 minutes long, which means we get to play six tunes. We've been doing three off the new record and three older songs. It's been working out pretty good. We obviously want to play some of the singles to get the crowd to pick up the new record, but most of the people in the crowd have never heard us, so it's all new to them.
RA: Has any city or show in particular been a favorite or a highlight on this tour?
CB: Wow, so many. We have been keeping track of our top ones, though all of our shows have been pretty awesome. Council Bluffs, Iowa, was a surprise. It was pretty insane. Chicago was crazy, Lowell, Massachusetts, was fuckin' nuts. Last night in Ontario was pretty killer. Nashville was another one where we were just like ‘Holy Shit.’ Some of these places, people in the crowd have been ready to go since the first note. It's really been amazing. Some of the shows we felt like we were actually headlining from the reaction we got. It's been going really well, and were so happy that Slipknot brought us out with them.
RA: So what's next as far as touring?
CB: After this we have a couple of headlining shows to get us back to Florida, then we have a little break, and sometime in the beginning of May we are opening for Slipknot for four shows up in Canada. Then from Canada we fly to Japan for some headlining shows there, and then right to Australia. After that I think we have a small break before we head of to Europe to do some festivals, then we hit the Rockstar Mayhem Tour, so we definitely have a lot of international traveling this Summer.
RA: Wow, that a pretty fuckin' full schedule...
CB: Yeah, we are pretty much going to the end of the year, because after summer we are scheduling a massive headlining tour, since we haven't really had one in the U.S. since 06. Looks like it's going to be twelve weeks and we'll be playing pretty much everywhere we have been with Slipknot so our new fans can see us play a full Trivium show. I think we are also hitting some places we have never played before, which will be pretty cool. We are going to try to hit every cavern of the fuckin' U.S. this year, and are pushing to build up our U.S. fan base like we've been able to do with Europe, Japan and Australia. Now it's time to get the homeland rockin'. There will be a lot of touring in the States this year.
RA: Who have been some of your favorite bands that you've been on tour with recently?
CB: We've been hanging out with some of the guys from Slipknot on this tour, and they've all been awesome, and have been a great band to tour with. We've been treated really well. We are also really good friends with the guys from Machine Head. We've toured with them all over the world, and have become really good friends with them as well. Touring with Maiden was great, Children of Bodom was a fun tour. God Forbid were great, they were the ones that took us out on our first tour. We have made a lot of cool friends from a lot of different band. Metal bonding I guess!
RA: So let's talk about the new record, Shogun, for a few. Have you been pleased with the response it's gotten thus far?
CB: Yeah, we were really stoked making and recording this record. Everyone was in such a good mind set and having so much during the creating process. We felt we had something that our fans were really going to be into. And ever since we put the first single out the response has been really positive. There has been a lot of word of mouth about it, and people seem to be going out and picking it up, even in this day and age of poor CD sales and record labels folding, we have really been happy with the way things have been going. It seems that even if people haven't picked it up they have heard the tracks or streamed it online. Hearing people’s reactions while being out on tour has already got us writing the next one, and trying to push it to the next level.
RA: Opening for bands like Maiden and Slayer, do you feel like you been able to convert some of the older generation metalheads into Trivium fans?
CB: Some of them. I think people that go to see some of the older bands have been following them for a long time, and might not have heard of us. After the Maiden tour we did our own tour and you could see that the demographic of the audience had broadened a bit. Even when we were on that Maiden tour, the majority of the audience was younger kids, and it seemed that they had a whole new generation of fans, who probably got into them through their parents. Even Slayer have done a really good job of having some of the younger bands touring with them, and having a fresh audience. We have been meeting some veteran metalheads that have been turned onto our music. It's been pretty cool that people who have been into metal for so long can appreciate what the young cats are putting out.
RA: Speaking of the feel of Shogun, do you feel like working with Nick Raskulinecz helped defined the Trivium sound on this record?
CB: When we met him it was a really good vibe, and with the way he works he was definitely the right choice for this record. We got along with him really well, and he really fit in with the band’s personality, and just us in general. We had played him some of the demos we had already recorded, and he really liked the direction we were going for, which was how we made the earlier records, where we were just all in a room jamming and writing shit spontaneously and feeding off of each other. And then he just came in and really just pushed it to the next level. I called it ‘Heavy Metal Boot Camp,’ because we would have to play the same songs like forty times in a row, and I was like ‘Holy Shit, I'm really sick of this song’ (laughing). He would make a few changes or just throw an idea at us. He really helped us focus, and to take some of the songs and pick them apart and re-arrange them, and make the whole song flow better. It was little things like that that made us feel the song a little more. He would say stuff like, ‘Hey, that riff sucks’ to bring us out of our comfort zone or box and make us think differently than we were used to. He pushed us to be more creative and open the box. He would leave and let us do stuff on our own for a while. He really showed us a different way of making the album and it really helped us creatively. He was a great addition to the process, and really made what we had in our heads come to life on the record. We are really stoked on him.
RA: What are some of your favorite songs from Shogun?
CB: That's kind of tough, because it changes all the time. I've really been liking playing "Throes of Perdition" lately, because it's been getting a really good reaction on this tour. It's got a lot of really cool ingredients that make up our sound. It's really fun to play. "Shogun" is another really cool song, but we haven't had a chance to play it yet because it's like twelve minutes long. "Like Callisto to a Star in Heaven" is another on I really dig. It does change though, especially if you hear one song too many times. But when you hear a certain song and think of all the hours you put into it it's like ‘Ah, fond memories.’ (laughing)
RA: What are you guys listening to do these days?
CB: Right before the tour I picked up the latest Children of Bodom record, and have been listening to that here and there. I also just got the new Lamb of God and have been listening to that lately. I just got the new God Forbid record and am really liking that. I know it's not new, but I've also been listening to The Crown's Deathrace King. And then just some random shit. While we are just hanging out drinking it's usually just the 80s rock party drinking songs that are flying around. Before the shows I've been putting on the latest Divine Heresy album to get pumped up. Before this tour we were listening to Slipknot, but now it's kind of weird cranking them up when they are right next to you and your playing a show with them. The latest Machine Head too, it's all kind of our "pump up" music before we go on. Testament as well...
RA: Well I think that just about does it, and I thank you for your time, and looking forward to seeing you guys tonight.
CB: No problem, man!
Shogun is out now on Roadrunner. [Buy it on Amazon.com!]