Glasswerk reviewer Mark Cooper launched himself into the metal heaven of a Trivium gig and wound up interviewing the stars – here's the dialogue:
Mark Cooper: It was last night you played Dublin, how was that?
Travis smith: It was amazing, really great show, the crowd was just nuts, completely nuts; It was a good time-really cool.
Coop: So going to the U.K again-this is the second time you’ve been here?
Coop: How do you find the U.K audiences?
Travis: It’s great, it’s great.
Coop: Is it a different vibe to America?
Travis: Yeah, it is, it’s a lot y’know-they like their metal here and, y’know it’s catching on in the states for sure, but it’s just a little slower.
Coop: What was Download like?
Travis: Y’know if we didn’t have tapes or anything, it would have been like a dream; I would have thought it was a dream. But it was amazing.
Coop: You opened the main stage?
Travis: Yeah.It was pretty cool, I mean 11 o’clock in the morning and 40,000 people joined us, so it was definitely a dream come true. We didn’t expect to be doing it and we got the opportunity and we did it.
Coop: So someone who hasn’t been to a Trivium show-what should they expect?
Travis: Pretty much a full blown thrash metal show. A mean that’s what it is, lot of energy, lot of speed and just chaos in the audience.
Coop: The last time you played here was the first time in a long time I saw a circle pit.
Coop: Do the songs change live, do you find they evolve.
Travis: A little bit, it does vary. I mean sometimes the energy just going y’know so high strung that sometimes you get a little bit quicker, and you start flying a little more than what the album is; but that’s what live is about, I mean it’s all about the energy.
Coop: Do natural favourites start to come through?
Travis: Yeah, I mean you’ve always got those ‘hits.’ to people.
Coop: Do you think you’ve got ‘hits’?
Travis: Yeah, the way the audience goes, the way requests for videos go.
Coop: ‘Hits’ can sometimes be a dirty word for bands.
Travis: Yeah they can. Basically a ‘hit’ is what the people know and like the best.
Coop: The internet site you’ve got is excellent, one of the most accessible I’ve ever been on.
Travis: Yeah that was the plan. With the website make it very easy, a lot of stuff going on; we update it regularly, keep people up to date on what’s happening.
Coop: There are downloadable tracks, q and a section. Stuff you wouldn’t see other bands have.
Travis: Yeah.Our plan was to have a very fan orientated website, where fans could come there and get up to date stuff that going on, and interact with us through that
Coop: Do you think that’s why you have become so successful?
Travis: It boils down to, our fans are what do this (Gestures to the inside of the Academy and ongoing load-in and sound check.). Are fans get us here, are fans are the ones that are keeping us on the road and keeping us happy. So it boils down to them, you got to treat your fans well.
Coop: Do you get much downtime?
Travis: Not much downtime on tour, no. We got some ideas, for the next album but were not really going to start writing until end of December. Where going to take all of January to start writing for the new record; and just take a month, month and a half, just to get started on the writing.
Coop: Is there much there at the moment?
Travis: No-no there’s just little bits, here and there. Ideas that we have, but nothing solid.
Coop: Is there going to be a sound or style you’re going to go for?
Travis: It’s going to be a total Trivium album, just us doing our thing. It’s going to be a natural progression from the last album basically. Were getting better as musicians, and better as song writers; so were just going to do better songs.
Coop: On one of your days off, your going to see a Trivium cover band (Ember and the infernos) how’s that feel having a tribute band?
Travis: It’s cool, there definitely different.
Coop: You’ve seen them?
Travis: Oh yeah, oh yeah.It’s some long haired hippy dudes.
Coop: When you see them who do you watch the drummer or the whole band?
Travis: (Laughs) I watch the whole band, it’s really funny to see.
Coop: Afterwards do you say to them “That song isn’t played like that”
Travis: They tend to play the songs pretty dead on.
Coop: Is it most of the stuff off one album?
Travis: It’s both albums.
Coop: Is the formula, when you were writing the songs for “Ascendancy”?
Travis: It varies from song to song, it completely varies. Songs like “Gunshot” and “Pull harder”, which started off with like a drum thing. Songs like “Rain” started off with a riff. “Dying in your arms” started out with complete guitar parts, before I even added my drums; so it varies from song to song-there’s no pattern to the way we write.
Coop: The middle drum section in “Gunshot” seems entirely written for a live situation, is that the case?
Travis: It was just something we wanted to do; we thought it would be pretty cool live. We just took a chance and did it.
Coop: It works best on the video.
Travis: (Laughs) I haven’t even seen that video yet. All the people that were there, we just brought in fans, from the area. We shot that in Orlando.I’ve seen rough copies, but not the final copy yet.
Coop: Being technically proficient is now coming back in music, how do you feel about that?
Travis: Yeah, I think it’s great, an instrument is like a sacred thing; and it’s great to cherish you instrument and try to learn as much as you can, cos that’s your tool, and you got to use your tools properly, to make great music. So you’ve got to know the history of how to play your instrument and what it takes to understand the theory. I think it’s a pretty cool thing.
Coop: Do you feel your improving as a musician?
Travis: Oh for sure, for sure. You learn something new every day. You can’t master an instrument. There’s always something new to learn.
Coop: You play a Tama Superstar kit?
Coop: Was that a conscious decision, what with Lars Ulrich playing Tama?
Travis: You know it came from Lars and Dave Grohl,I always felt Tama,Tama,Tama.I was like “I wanna play Tama” but that was coming from many years ago, it not like I just decided one day I wanna play Tama-I been playing Tama eight years.
Coop: Is there going to be any Travis Smith endorsed pieces of kit coming out?
Travis: Nothing in the plans yet, but if the opportunity came I would totally do it.
Coop: Which drummers do you admire yourself?
Travis: Well obviously Lars-Metallica, being my favourite band.Vinnie Paul, Pantera being another one of my favourite bands. Nick Mensa from Megadeth.Mike from Dream theatre those are like my all time favourite drummers, right there.
Coop: Do you have any favourite tracks on “Ascendancy.”?
Travis: I really like playing “Pull harder” live, that’s on of my favourite songs to play. Really like to play “A gunshot to the head of trepidation.” we just started playing “Declaration” on this tour, we never really ever played it live. There were a lot of fans on the website requesting to hear it, so were like “We gotta do it.”
Coop: What did you do differently with “Ascendancy” as opposed to “Ember”?
Travis: We had a little bit more time, it wasn’t so rushed. We did “Ember to inferno” in like two weeks. “Ascendancy” we did in like six weeks. So we had more time to get the songs down like we wanted to, so we didn’t rush in and rush out. It was enough time to really critique the songs and hear them in the studio, it’s one thing playing the song, but it’s something totally different when you sitting down and really focusing on it. We got a chance to do pre production-never had that before. So we could make changes were we thought they could be made.
Coop: What was the deal with the video you made fro Roadrunner?
Travis: It was just something we wanted to do, so we went and paid for our own music video. Then Roadrunner found out about what we were doing, seeing that we were serious, that we were hard workers.
Coop: What’s the cover artwork on “Ascendancy” about?
Travis: It symbolizes the band.Tha angel is wrapped in a cocoon and the reason the wings are red is like blood coming out of its back. Basically it means our acendeance, from an ember to inferno. You see the burning city and that’s just leaving all the bullshit that we had before, when we were doing locals, and everybody’s trying to grab the same thing; kinda like leaving that.
Coop: Moving on.
Travis: Moving on. Doing the next step in our lives.
Coop: How do you find the process of video making?
Travis: I fucking hate it, it takes a long time. Same thing over and over.
Coop: At the end of your last show here you played a section of “Ride the lightening”. What covers did you play before you were signed?
Travis: Lots of Metallica, Megadeth, Tornado souls, Hanger 18, Pantera-This love, Slayer, Testament-we did a lot of stuff.
Coop: What covers would you like to play?
Travis: Maybe the whole thing of “The Trooper”.
Coop: Do you have any advice for young metal bands who want to be were you are?
Travis: Work hard, not get involved in all the bullshit, it’s about the music, you’ve got to stay focused and if you really want it, it will come. It did for us.
Coop: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Travis: Start writing for the album and just keep on touring, when we break again it will be in the studio again doing the next album. Well be back over here in March. Were going to keep going, we got a lot to see and a lot to do.