Unlike many bands, Trivium has decided to go ahead with their new album, What the Dead Men Say, as planned, which will be released on April 24th via Roadrunner (pre-order here). The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in the industry. However, groups such as these Florida metal giants, have been prepared. For starters, the group has been utilizing Twitch for a few years now. With that being said, we spoke to guitarist Corey Beaulieu to discuss the new album, our current uncertain situation, and finding creative ways to keep fans entertained.
Musically, how would you compare What the Dead Men Say to 2017’s The Sin and the Sentence?
I think it builds off of what we did on the last record. We had so many records where we’ve just done something and in the next record we’d change things up and go a different direction. After The Sin of the Sentence and just how well it was received from the fans and how everyone was really excited about it, we didn’t want to just take a total left turn and do something completely different. We felt like what we did on the last record really solidified our sound and just really was a good foundation to build off of. So we just wanted to take that and build off of it and not change up too much, and make an extension of it. I feel like people after the last record, they’ll get this record won’t be anything crazy different. But it’s also, obviously, we didn’t want the record to sound like a 2.0 version of The Sin of the Sentence. It’s definitely in the same ballpark. It’s got everything that you probably would expect from longer heavier, faster songs to simple songs and stuff like that. It covers all the bases of just what you’d expect from Trivium records. I’m looking forward to people hearing the whole record in the full context from start to finish. And the whole journey of what we were trying to create from an artistic aspect.
With this new album, I notice it’s also very guitar driven and I heard that from the intro right away into the next track and so forth. Can you talk more about the writing process for the guitar riffs?
All of our music is. Every song starts basically with the guitar riffs and we approach this record because Paolo, Matt and myself all write songs or ideas and riffs and on our downtime at home, everyone’s always creating ideas or stockpiling guitar riffs or song ideas. When we were going to do this record, we approached it a little bit differently. We were like, “Yeah, ninth record.” We’re going to do nine songs. So we split it up, each person bringing in three songs, three song ideas to work on. We always have demo ideas and stuff that we record at home. And then once we get into our rehearsal space there’s a lot of rewriting. As a group, writing as a team, jamming, rewriting stuff, and changing parts. There’s a lot of big stuff that once we get in a room and start jamming together, there’s a lot of creativity going on that really shapes the songs into what they’ve become. We always value that step in the writing process of writing as a team and a group. That’s usually where all the creative moments happen on the record is from that aspect of the old school, just garage band, playing as a group, not writing on a computer. Everything is very guitar driven in our band from the beginning and everyone contributes, so it’s a fun process.
You guys have been through a lot from impromptu meet and greets to that time last year when Matt had to sit out for a few shows, and now just like many, being forced to cancel shows due to the coronavirus. However, you guys remain one of the most genuine groups dedicated to your fans. How do you continue to handle these overall unexpected challenges?
I feel bad because we’re fortunate that at this time, when just everything’s at a standstill and basically everything on every tour on the planet has been canceled or postponed that we only had four shows booked that we had to cancel at the moment. We didn’t have a six week full tour that we’re getting ready to go on. We lucked out that we weren’t going to actively tour for a while, besides a couple shows. Even though we were really looking forward to getting out and playing for some of these countries that we’ve never been to. And we haven’t been to Singapore or Thailand before, so we were really looking forward to going there and we hadn’t been to Indonesia in 10 years. So headlining a big festival and there was something we were looking forward to. Unfortunately, we’re pretty bummed but the circumstances were, we booked or we canceled far out because we saw the writing on the wall of just what was going to be happening in the weeks coming up to it. It wasn’t going to be something that was going to be able to happen. Everyone’s staying healthy and doing everything that we can. There’s always time in the future to reschedule those and come back. Matt’s been doing his Twitch thing for a couple of years and just trying to do whatever we can to entertain people. They’re stuck at home. And I know a lot of people I’ve talked to like just friends, they are not used to being just stuck at home. They’re usually going out somewhere and doing stuff that they get a little stir crazy. So whatever we could do to entertain the best we can or provide content that entertains people. We got some music videos, a new song we’re working on at the moment that hopefully will be out pretty soon. And then we’ve been live streaming shows for the last couple of years. We have over 90 live concerts that we did on Twitch that you could watch if you’re feeding for the live experience or something. Just try and do what we can to provide any kind of entertainment content that people can absorb to distract them or entertain them when they’re stuck at home. It’s whatever we can do to provide entertainment even though we’d love to be on tour and playing in front of people but we can’t do that so we’re trying to take advantage of the other avenues that we can to provide some entertainment.
I know it’s uncertain right now, but you guys have a big tour coming this summer with Megadeth and Lamb of God, we don’t even know what’s happening in a few months from now. Has there been any talks of a backup plan just in case?
Yeah, I haven’t really heard too much. It’s been brought up about maybe the first part of it being changed since it starts at the end of June. And then just uncertainty of just how everything’s going to unfold in the next month or two, if it’s going to clear up or if it’s going to get worse, you don’t really know. So it’s been mentioned about the first leg being moved a little bit, but as far as we know, the tour is still in place. It’s just a lot of wait and see because you just don’t know. It’s like you’re in uncharted waters. You don’t really know how everything’s going to go if it’s going to get better in a few weeks or if it’s getting worse and then you have to replan. With of lot of things and a lot of people, you just have to see how everything unfolds in the next couple of weeks or months. And go from there. I’m really hoping that things take it positively, hopefully everything starts getting better because we’ve been off tour for quite a while and with a new record coming out, we’ve been really looking forward to this tour for months and really looking forward and just getting back out and playing for the fans. Just thinking about it with so much stuff being canceled with all the sports and concerts and just any kind of social event being taken off the table. But I’m really looking forward to the tour because I think when things start getting back to normal and people can go to shows and there’s just events happening and stuff like that. I think there’s going to be a real excitement from everyone involved from the bands to the fans of just being that extra energy of things going back to normal and being able to experience live music again. I think this could be a real excitement that I think everyone’s going to really enjoy. Celebrate and appreciate having it after it being taken away. Having your appreciation for the entertainment side of everything that we’re going to be really excited to get on stage and play. I think the fans, the energy back and forth will be heightened then probably would have been prior to everything.
Of course, everybody is definitely going to have an extra sense of appreciation for just about anything. Once this is over and I was wondering, is life really going to just go back to normal or how do you think this is going to affect the future? Do you think we are going to see more livestream shows because of what’s been happening. Is the whole industry going to redefine itself just in case something like this happens again?
I’m sure there’s a lot of people now, like once all the tours got canceled and everything. It put a lot of financial burden on a lot of bands that were relying on the merchant, the tour revenue to keep their bands afloat and to be able to make money to pay the bills and stuff like that got taken away. There’s a lot of bands that have been jumping on, trying to get on the streaming to find a way to keep things going in some aspect. And luckily Matt’s been very proactive with Twitch and we know all the main people from Twitch and I’ve been working with them for years. They gave us a mobile backpack that had cameras and wifi hotspots that we could basically livestream anything we wanted from anywhere on the planet. We’ve been live streaming all of our concerts on Twitch for the last couple of years and we’ve been posting stuff since there’s no tours or anything going on just on. We’ve been posting certain shows because we have a database online, I think on YouTube and Twitch have 90 plus live concerts from the last couple of years that you can access and watch for free. We’ve been doing that for a while and Matt’s Twitch streams every day. Since we couldn’t tour, he was doing live streams of performing the set we were supposed to play on tour and he just did a 15th anniversary of Ascendancy, playing all the songs from that record on his Twitch. Now that everything’s come to a halt, it’s really beneficial with giving people an entertainment outlet and also to interact with Matt, because you there’s a chat too.I think we’ve been prepared when we can’t play that we have some connection with the fans already set up in place and then a lot of bands are now just trying to get that going. We’ve been ahead of the curve in that way. It was nice to have that in place. I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to replace the feeling of seeing a band live in concert. Or just the sound of the PA and the energy of watching a band play in front of you. I think the streamings are great for if you don’t have that to give you a replacement. But I don’t think, it’s never going to be the same feeling when you see a show and then you watch it on YouTube or on your computer, it’s just not the same. Luckily, I don’t think the band’s touring and playing live is ever going to be replaced and go away. We just have to do what we can during the moment. But looking forward to getting back to being on tour because we’ve been doing that for so long that being off tour this long kind of sucks.
You guys have been prepared for the end of the world for the last few years now and many bands are now trying to catch up and nothing does beat a live show. But it will be interesting how this will take into place with VR.
Yeah, I’m not really sure. I know they’ve definitely have seen bands over the years like these media companies are always trying new things. I think we were approached for our new record for the prerelease stuff. There was a company that hit us up about wanting to do some virtual reality song release but we weren’t sold on it or didn’t know exactly how cool it would have been. It would be interesting. With now everyone being stuck at home or quarantined or self quarantine and social distancing and being told to stay home as much as possible that the social media, online interaction has definitely been heightened. It makes me think of all these futuristic movies you see of people not interacting in person, they’re all communicating in this simulation type setting that it hits home more. I kept thinking of that movie Surrogates where everyone just stays at home and they have a virtual body that they lock into and interact that way. It’s definitely like this futuristic, dystopian vibe going on where no one’s interacting in person anymore because everyone’s afraid of catching the virus from somebody or whatever. It’s pretty interesting. It’s pretty crazy. Luckily when I’m off tour I usually stay home all the time anyway. I rarely ever go out unless I have to go to the store to get food or groceries or something like that. So pretty much I guess I trained myself for years to be able to handle this kind of lifestyle. It’s been pretty same old, same old for me. I have friends who are used to going to work or going out and going to the gym or something like that. And they’re stir crazy after a couple of days and asking me how I deal with it. I’m looking forward to things going back to normal and being able to travel and do all the stuff that we were meant to do.
I hear you. It does feel very surreal right now. Is just is there anything else that you want to say or add about the new album?
The new record, I think when people hear it, it’s pretty self explanatory. It’s just Trivium doing our thing and it’s got all of the elements that I think people will pick up on. Even for us listening to it, we’ll listen to the songs and certain parts or certain things remind us of previous Trivium records. It’s definitely Trivium in 2020 it’s got a fresh sound for us. But also I think there’s a lot of elements that’ll give people vibes of previous records. So it’s definitely got everything that people know about Trivium. I think it’s just one of those things where I don’t want to talk to you too much about it, where I just want people to be able to pick up the record and listen to it from start to finish and absorb everything that’s going on. I think it’s a metal record. It’s Trivium so just want the fans to listen and make their own feelings on it. The great thing with a lot of our fans is hearing their song interpretations of what they feel or the feelings they get from songs or the lyrics, making their own stories or connections to them and not predetermine that by us talking too much about it. It’s always fun to see how fans connect differently to the songs in their own ways and with their own life. I think there’s a lot of stuff with this record. With the time we’re going through with everything going on right now, there’s a lot of things this record willl definitely hit home with people. Prior to everything going, there was a lot of stuff happening within the band with life and death and life situations that affected the writing of the record that I think there’s definitely a lot of stuff that will hit home with people after this situation. I know there’s some bands that are delaying the release of the record but we’re pushing on forward because in these times we want to give people what we can for entertainment and something to give them hope, fun, and whatever we can. I think this will definitely resonate with people and just really looking forward to getting it out there.