Ahead of the release of their ninth studio album “What the Dead Men Say”, Metal Wani had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Trivium’s bassist Paolo Gregoletto to discuss the album; the inception of its title; the band’s overall sound; working with Josh Wilbur as a producer on their third collaboration together; the influence of video games on the band; and the implications for touring artists as a result of the current global pandemic.
Opening the conversation about the album, Paolo discusses his excitement in releasing new music, and also his continued appreciation for the opportunity he feels blessed to have been given. “I mean, it still kind of never gets old when we are putting out a record and, especially as the release date gets closer, you just kind of can’t believe you’ve been given this chance to keep making music and keep touring and keep at it for so long, and you know, to be on our ninth record is such a real milestone. We’ve been on the same Label since Ascendency, so I feel like we really won the lottery in a lot of ways just with the experiences we’ve had and how things have worked out for us so far”.
The conversation transitions to the album’s title; specifically where it was conceived, and whether or not it had any underlying meanings. When asked about its inception, Gregoletto shares that it was actually influenced by the title of a Philip K D*ck short story, stating “I’m a big fan of Philip K Dick the science fiction writer, I love a lot of his books and that’s always something I’ll go to if I’m looking for something interesting of his, and I did find something which was the title of this short story, which I actually couldn’t find the story to read online at all, but I loved the title which was What the Dead Men Say. I kind of knew what it was about because it inspired a later book of his that I have read, and some of the lyrics that I was coming up with for the song kind of fit in that same – I don’t want to say sci-fi explicitly, but kind of that genre sort of like otherworldly type things – and I just really like the title so much because it’s not something that when you hear it that you know exactly what you’re talking about, and I wanted people to interpret it in their own way.”
The album has a darker tone compared to the last few releases, with many already drawing comparisons to early-era Trivium. This comparison is something which is obviously bound to have people wondering if the band revisited their earlier body of works, but is also something which Gregoletto comfortably assures wasn’t necessary for the creation of this album, stating “I think the good thing for us is we don’t really have to go back to the records as much because on tour were always playing songs from throughout our catalog, but of course a lot of the earlier stuff, especially Ascendency; Shogun; In Waves, those are kind of like staple records where we can pick out any songs off any of those records and they will fit into the set really well. With this record we weren’t looking at going back to anything, it was mainly that we really set the bar high with the last record, this was the follow-up record with Alex in the band, how can we take what we did on the last record to new heights”.
Taking a further dive into the composition of the album, the conversation shifts to the songwriting process and whether the band had deviated from recent practice on What the Dead Men Say. Gregoletto informs that the band had only written the required amount of songs for the album this time around, choosing to rework and consolidate ideas that the band had in a collaborative process to create an album of songs that are all uniquely Trivium, highlighting the track The ones we Leave Behind as a song that had undergone a big transformation from when it originally was brought up as an idea, to what was recorded as the final track.
The conversation then transitions to discussing video games and their influence on the band, and how the band managed to have part of their music included as part of a video game character reveal. When asked about the importance of having part of their song Scattering The Ashes used as part of the Spawn introduction trailer in Mortal Kombat 11, Gregoletto reflects “I mean, its an honor of course. Mortal Kombat and Spawn were big childhood favorites for me. I played Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 in the arcade non-stop when they came out, so its a crazy full circle type event to be able to have our music for not only the game but also for the character. There’s definitely a natural connection there with Matt and his twitch account which has sort of given us an angle to cross over into that world.”
Closing out the conversation by shifting to current global events, Gregoletto shares his frustration about the restrictions currently on the touring world, but also his appreciation at the efforts being made so far “I think all of us, all the bands, the first priority is making sure that everyone in the bands is safe, the fans are safe. Obviously we have no real control over the greater events that happen, but I think at the end of the day, things can always be rescheduled. It sucks at the moment, just like the Asia tour, but I know we’re going to go back there and we’re not going to have to worry about putting fans in danger or ourselves in danger. It matters more to keep people safe than to risk stuff unnecessarily. This isn’t just stuff that we love to do, this is our job, and I think that people are just going to have to band together and deal with it, and hope that the people who are supposed to be in charge can rise to the occasion… The safety of people is more important”.