Intervju med Paolo Gregoletto i Trivium!
När In Flames rullade in med Trivium i fredags, fick jag ett litet snack med basisten Paolo. Vi slog oss ner i In Flames cateringrum och vi skämtade lite om att det kunde varit en romantisk middag. Levande ljus och bord överfyllda med allehanda läckerheter och roadies, bandmedlemmar, fruar och barn gjorde att en viss restaurangatmosfär infann sig.
Vi snackade bl a om pågående turné, vänskapen med In Flames, nästa platta och självfallet det hetaste ämnet just nu, Loutallica.
How´s the tour been so far?
Paolo Gregoletto: It´s been killing, man! We´re just two shows in to this leg of it. We did like six shows to warm up and they were great and they were packed, sold out club shows. These shows have been huge so far and I think tonight (Stockholm) and tomorrow (Gothenburg) are gonna be the biggest. It´s awesome, man! We´ve toured with In Flames so much but never in Europe and to be doing home town shows is really killer!
You´re gonna go dining at 2112 tomorrow?
PG: Yes we will! I hear there´s good food and there´s booze and we know the owner so hopefully we´ll get hooked up with some good food! (laughs)
I interviewed Dez in DevilDriver and they ended up at 2112. I guess you´re in for a treat!
As a bass player, do you feel you´ve evolved as a musician since being in Trivium?
PG: Definitely! Technically I´ve become better just from touring and practicing, but I think all these years of touring and doing albums, as a player, honed my own writing skills and I know it´s done the same for Matt and Corey and that´s the biggest thing. The technical side of it, the goal for myself personally, is to be the best I can be technically and doing all the crazy stuff. When it comes to Trivium it´s about what does it take to make the song better? What does it take to make the live show better? You gotta know when to hold back and when to throw it all out there and that´s what I´ve learned through all these years.
How come you ended up playing bass?
PG: I just loved it from the beginning. I started playing bass when I was 11 or 12 and I just wanted to play with friends and stuck with it. I learned guitar like two years after that and I´ve been playing since then, so I can play guitar very well. I just have always been drawn towards bass and I never wanted to play guitar in a band. I just liked playing bass, I don´t know! It´s just one of those things. Just like a drummer is drawn to the drums and a guitar player is drawn to the guitar. Some guitar players become bass players by either default or they get that position to go into a band, but I´ve just always wanted to be just the bass player. I did vocals in a band before Trivium as a bass player as well, but I just like playing bass and Trivium´s been a great opportunity for me to become the best player, but also still do the vocals with Matt and Corey does vocals as well. It´s a very dynamic band and that´s been the key, we just want to keep pushing those dynamics further and further.
Growing up and learning to play bass, did you have like bass player heroes that you looked up to and aspired to be as good as?
PG: Yeah, when I got into metal that´s when I started to find those heroes. I was into music when I was young like 3-11, Sublime and stuff like that, but when I got into metal, Metallica being the first metal band I got into, it was obviously Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted in his own right and then I discovered Iron Maiden and Steve Harris. I think that´s what I´ve always liked with metal, there are so many killer bass players and you look at those guys and “That´s what I wanna be!”. When I´m on stage, in my mind, that´s what I wanna project. What Steve Harris looks like up on stage when I´m watching Iron Maiden and I wanna be that, so it´s cool to have heroes like that. It gives you a basis to start from.
Do you practice a lot?
PG: Yeah, I mean, on tour when there´s some down time which there is a lot of, I definitely try to practice and literally just pick up the bass and have no set routine and just start playing and jamming. I don´t like to sit down and have this regiment of how I´m gonna approach bass. That´s the artistic side of me that just wants to sit down and play and see where it goes and stumble upon something that is really cool. That´s how I feel I´ve become a better player. I guess, being classically trained and formally trained is great, but there´s two sides to that. It can sometimes be a hindrance to a player. I feel like… in the beginning I definitely started learning how to read music and I was pretty good at it and then when I got into metal it was like “You know what? I don´t wanna do that!”. I just wanna make what I think sounds cool. Fuck the rules! (laughs)
As I understand it, you play a five string bass. Me, I don´t play any instruments and know nothing about it, but is that just one string more to play or does it bring extra power to the sound?
PG: The lower string is the fifth string and it´s the lower register and lower frequency and get a good bass with good pickups, that fifth string can really give you that next level low end. I don´t always ride on it at the lowest string… most of the time and it depends on what song we are playing, that lower string just pops in the mix. It´s like a really fat, low end.
What was it that made you join Trivium, because I understand it as you just signed up for the album and then doing the tour?
PG: The first tour I did with Trivium was in August 2004 and it wasn´t like any assumption of me joining. They were just looking for a bass player and kind of went into it like “Let´s just have fun!”. I wasn´t going into it like “I´ve got to make this work!”. I had some of my own stuff going on, so I wasn´t too worried about making it work, but it just felt better than what I was doing and I think the band felt that I fit and that was kind of what made it all happen. We did “Ascendency” about two months later right after that tour. The way it worked out was just fate. It´s crazy!
Before Trivium, were you in a lot of different bands?
PG: No, there was just one before Trivium really and six years I was in it. I started that band, actually with Nick (Augusto) who´s in the band now. We started it together when we were like 15, or actually 13 or 14.
Did you take that to a professional level?
PG: Well, I mean towards the end it was getting to that point. I think the first two years it was the same group of people and then it started shifting and shifting and by the end I felt I was doing so much work in a group of people that weren´t a 100 % there. Yeah, they would love to make it, but they didn´t want to have to work for it. I just got sick of it. I wanted people with my mindset and that´s what I saw in Trivium. Four equals in terms of working for it. Everyone´s not willing to put all into it and throw everything on the line for it. You gotta work, you know! I don´t like to pick up slack for people! (laughs)
Of course! Nobody likes that!
PG: Yeah, and in bands it just doesn´t work!
You´re from Florida, right? What´s the scene like in Florida these days?
PG: It´s a lot of pop punk! I don´t know… the scene music? It´s such a broad term I guess, but there´s a lot of bands playing. There´s no one genre like a scene. It´s not like the New England scene. That was the last scene out of America that was really… people will look back at the New England scene that came out in early 2000 like they look at death metal from Tampa. Right now in Florida there´s nothing. There´s just lots of bands, but definitely a lot of pop punk. There are a lot of hardcore bands down there, but I´m just so unfamiliar with it. When I was still in local bands, those bands have all come and gone, so there´s a new breed.
What kind of venues are you playing in the US with In Flames?
PG: Pretty big places. The States are so wide spread so if it was just five or six shows they´d be bigger, but it´s 31 shows so I think the smallest thing is like 1500 up till 3000 maybe. Maybe bigger in like New York and LA. I think it´s gonna be a really fun tour! We mesh really well as people and musically. A lot of the older stuff I know had a really profound impact on Matt. If you listen to “Ember to inferno” you can definitely hear a lot of In Flames in that record. It´s cool to be out with them and they´re really cool dudes on top of it, so you can´t really complain. It´s the best!
After that tour you´re heading for Australia. Is that gonna be the last of it for this tour?
PG: No, it´s only the beginning. January to probably the end of next year will be most of the touring for the album and then I wanna say what we´re thinking about is probably doing a new album early the next year (2013) and have it out by that next summer. So many touring opportunities just jump up and especially for a band like us now, we get a lot more opportunities so it´s hard to know when to say stop. You just wanna keep going. I´d like to put the album out sooner rather than later. I´d like to tour this next year really hard and do the next album. We´ve got a lot of good ideas already so the sooner the better. If we get a little bit of break here and there, maybe we´ll book a studio and do demos. Just be really prepared because I don´t think we´re gonna take like a year like we did with this last year. I don´t think we will need to now.
This next album, is there stuff laying around that wasn´t used for “In waves”?
PG: We usually start fresh. There might be something really cool that just didn´t get into any songs, but most of it is probably fresh ideas. Usually that´s what makes the core of the album and I think what we wanna do with the next record, is demo a little less than we did on this record. I think we demoed too much in a way. (laughs) There´s too many demos and I think we wanna be concise with the idea that we´re going for for the next record. “This is what we´re doing!” and we´re gonna write for that and that´s what will be whatever it is! (laughs) It´s hard to explain but the way we usually write is that everyone just brings a lot of stuff and work every idea into a song. Sometimes it gets so scatterbrained because of that, so we wanna be less scatterbrained and more concise. But I think this record was a big step for us. It was kind of like our start over album. Visually this album is different than everything we´ve done. We had the time to really focus and hone what we wanted on this album. Musically and visually. We´ve practiced so much so I think we´re the tightest we´ve ever been. It was good and it was a good fresh start for us.
Nice! A final thing, have you listened to “Lulu”?
PG: Oh yeah! (laughs)
What do you think of it?
PG: Eehhh, it´s really weird.
Do you understand it?
PG: If anyone thinks they understand it, they´re on drugs! It´s a weird album, man! We listened to it… when the hell did we listen to it? Oh, on the last tour! We did a show in Tampa and a couple of us drove back to Orlando for the night because we were playing there the next day and we listened to most of it. We were just like “What the fuck is this?”. It´s so weird. I saw some videos of it live and I don´t know, man. If those dudes are happy doing that, then more power to them because they´re still my favorite band, but it´s really weird and I think everyone thinks that too!
Probably. It´s pretty funny that Metallica fans in general, hate it, but magazines like Mojo and Uncut are giving it raving reviews, like 4 out of five and so on.
PG: I feel that that´s why they were making this album, whether they say it is or not, but I feel it´s kind of to make those kind of magazines… I guess, what´s the right word? Like metal´s kind of the outcast and everyone looks at us like second class genre and it´s like trying to make those people respect you more. I couldn´t give a shit if those magazines would review our albums ever! I would never do an album like that to make them like us. It´s so weird!
I can understand why they´re doing it. They´ve got millions of dollars and they can do whatever they want and they need something to get them out of bed.
PG: I´ve got a good thing to counter that! So does Iron Maiden! They´ve got millions of dollars and when they get out of bed, they play metal and they still pack arenas and they seem like they´re having a good time. (laughs) I can understand that they do that and as an artist myself, I definitely don´t wanna be constrained to one thing, but I also don´t wanna make a non metal record with Trivium. We´ve established that we´re a metal band and our fans love us for that But Metallica even said that “A lot of people aren´t gonna get it, but wewanna do it!” and you gotta respect that they do what they wanna do. And hey, they´re playing the “Black album” this summer! Every time they do this, they do something cool! They made “St. Anger” and then they did “Death magnetic” and it was like “Alright, they´ve still got it!”. They do some interesting things sometimes. They´re one of the best live bands by far!
They sure are! Thanks so much!
PG: Thank you!