Feature: Interview with Trivium drummer Nick Augusto
SoCalMusicToday.com recently talked with Nick Augusto, drummer of Trivium, while the band prepares to tour with Mayhem Fest for the second time in three years. Augustano discusses the tour, who he’s excited to see as well as the band’s upcoming album, In Waves and how he became a member of the band, replacing previous drummer Travis Smith, just a year and a half ago.
You’re a new member of Trivium since 2010, talk about taking over the reigns on drums for Travis Smith and how that’s been treating you so far.
Well, I guess it was around summer of 2009 and I started drum teching for Travis and it started at the Mayhem Festival that year and I guess he had some issues with the band and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do so he sat out for a tour and Paulo [Gregoletto, bass player] asked me if I could fill in, Travis had just gotten married and he had some other things that he wanted to figure out before going on tour again. So I was given two weeks to learn a set before they went on tour and Paulo called me right before they started the tour, I was at home and he asked if I could do the set and I said “Are you kidding me? Is this serious?” and he told me that Travis had to sit out and everything and I said “Of course, fuck yeah I’ll do it,” so I had two weeks to learn a full set and we had the tour and it went really well, and they kept riding with me and we kept going and eventually I just became a permanent member of the band.
Very nice, that’s quite a promotion.
Yeah definitely man, definitely. I never expected it, it just kind of came out of nowhere, but I got the call to fill in and next thing I know I’m making a record with the band and it just kind of fell into place. After that tour we toured the UK and the Philipines and then we had a whole year to write the record, so we just focused on that, recorded the album in February of this year, we did all the recording in Orlando, Fl. And the whole recording of the album took about three months and it took me two weeks to do my drums on the album, but it was a great experience, a lot of hard work, we practiced every day and changed up a lot of parts and throughout the whole year growing on songs and building it up and we just recorded it and we’re very happy with the end result, I know I’m happy with it, and now we get to go tour and promote it.
I want to get back to the album in a little bit, the first single is out and I absolutely dig it, but you have the Mayhem Fest coming up and you have a month before the album drops, how great is it to promote the album before it hits stores?
Well we’re going to be playing a couple songs from the new album on the Mayhem Tour, so we’re going to hype up some new songs and get them into peoples’ heads before the album comes out and there will be two videos out, we’ll have a lot of merchandise dedicated to the new album and pretty much spread the word as much as possible and hopefully after the tour it pays off and people remember to pick up the record, so it comes out August 9. I wish it could come out before the tour but that’s just how it works out.
The good thing is that you can promote it early and after hearing some of the new songs, fans could have more incentive to buy it so hopefully that helps out too.
Yeah, we actually did a show two weeks ago in the UK and we played three new songs for the first time and the fans already knew them and we got a lot of good response even before we played the song, so that’s what we’re aiming for at the Mayhem Fest.
You took a one year break from Mayhem Fest last year, how excited are you to be back on this tour?
Really excited. We haven’t toured the US, the last time we toured was in November/December of 2009 when I was with them and they were finishing up the rotation for the Shogun album, so it’s been a long time since we had a tour for something new and now it’s all fresh, we have a new stage set up, a new look, new songs, it’s a brand new way to start off and it’s a different feeling like we have something to prove because this touring cycle is just starting. There’s a lot to be done and there’s a lot of places to play, so we’re starting to get ready for that, we’ve been waiting forever to start a new cycle so it’s pretty awesome, I’m pretty damned excited.
One major difference is two years ago, Trivium was on one of the side stages and this year you’re the first band on the main stage. Talk about what that’s going to be like and were you surprised that they put you on the main stage?
Yeah, it’s awesome that we got bumped up and that we’re not sitting and playing the same slot. It shows we’re making some sort of progress which we’re pretty proud of. The thing about this year’s tour is they’re going to be rotating the main stage slots, so one third of the tour, we open the main stage, then the second third, Machine Head will open and then the last third In Flames will open it up. So it’s like we’re going to be on different stages during different points of the tour, but we have the main stage slot for our hometown, which is awesome. But yeah the main stage will be great! In 2009, while I was teching for main stage, it was a great place to be because so many more people can watch you, a lot of people get off work later and can show up later when the main stage starts and so more people will be watching, which is the main goal. So it’s going to be awesome, there are so many benefits in it and it just looks cool too, main stage, ya know?
You have to be excited when you have bands like Disturbed, Machine Head you mentioned, Godsmack, In Flames, all playing the main stage with you and some others for parts of the tour like Testament, who are you looking forward to hanging out with or checking out on tour?
Well I’ve never seen Machinehead before, but the rest of my band has and says they’re really cool guys so I’m excited to meet them and hang with them, I love Megadeath, I’ll be watching them every night, but there are a lot of bands I’ve never met before, that I’d like to meet. I’m looking forward to seeing Kingdom of Sorrow, I was a huge fan of Hatebreed, so I think that’ll be really cool. I’m looking forward to seeing every band to be honest with you, when I teched in 2009, all the bands hung out with each other and it was a huge party every night.
I read something about the album In Waves that Trivium as a band likes to incorporate a lot of visual components to the music, what was behind the decision to tie everything together and how much of an effect does it have on the music?
Yeah, we took a way different approach to the artwork and putting everything together, I guess it was because we were sick of the same old thing, we don’t really want to have the same old artwork that we had before, we don’t want to repeat anything or come out with another album like one we’ve already made. We wanted everything to be different, we wanted our clothes to look different for pictures, wanted trailers for videos to look different and pretty much more mature and I think we’ve accomplished that because we have a lot of fans that have reacted with “We didn’t expect that from you,” or, “I didn’t see that coming,” or, “This is weird,” which is kind of what we want, so I definitely think it has an effect on the music and with the way the music sounds, I think it made sense to tie in the artwork with the music. I don’t think the music would represent the right way if we had a certain kind of colorful artwork or a video that didn’t make sense, so everything was done that way for a reason and Matt Heafy, the vocalist had a lot to do with it because he’s the mastermind behind the storyline and he just had a vision in his head of something different and we all pitched in with all our ideas and that’s how it all came about, the video, the artwork and we had all talked about the artwork, instead of getting an extra sketch from an artist and just going with it, we had visions of all the art ourselves and so we were pretty specific about how we wanted it to work and we worked well on it together. I think it came out very well and it’s different.
From what I’ve read, you guys feel that this package is the best that Trivium has come up with. How will that translate into the live shows?
We’re still working on that right now because the album isn’t out yet, but we want to have a lot of the colors of the album on stage and have a backdrop that goes with it and we like to where the same type of stuff we wear in the videos, that way fans know that it’s not just for that video, it’s a theme of the album, and just about anything else. It’s still a work in progress, but we plan on having a pretty intense stage show and look that ties into the whole album and it’s taken a lot of time, but it’s going to look great.
Being on the main stage is going to give a whole lot of fans the chance to see it, and with the album coming out in August, is it a battle of patience while waiting for it to come out?
Definitely, even thought there’s been a big gap before the album comes out, we’re still keeping busy trying to think of things for the album, like special edition packages and all that stuff, so yeah we’re waiting for it to come out but at the same time we’re still working on it, we’re still working on perfecting all the songs and making them ready to go live. Yeah, I’ve been waiting a while for the album, it was supposed to come out months ago, but it kept getting pushed back, recording got pushed back and everything else that happened, but I think it’s coming out at the perfect time because we got to sit on it for a long time, it didn’t get rushed so it’s all good, I don’t mind waiting, it’s a month away but I’m excited about it, I do want to see what the reaction is like because “In Waves” (the first single) is just one song and every other one sounds different I think, on the record, so I’m just waiting to see what people think about the rest of the album, so it’s going to be interesting to see what the reaction is like.
Anybody who has not seen Trivium before, what should they expect from your live shows?
Well shit, they can expect a fast, blistering set. I mean, this Mayhem Festival we have our set down and I think we picked some really good songs for the set, they’ll be energetic like all our other live shows, we try to put on as much energy as possible because we don’t like watching a band that just stands there and stands around, so I personally think it’ll be exciting, intense, they’ll hear some good music and hopefully have a good time, I know I’ll be having a good time, hopefully the fans do too.
The album is coming out, Mayhem Fest and a couple extra shows in Europe, one with Iron Maiden too.
Yeah, that was crazy how that came about, we’re taking some dates off of Mayhem to go out to Germany and play the Wacken Fest, it’s August 5, and we play right before Judas Priest and then the next day we play London with Iron Maiden which is going to be crazy, I’ve never seen Iron Maiden before and it’s just going to be fucking great and so after that show we head right back to the states for the Mayhem Festival, so it’s like a nice couple side shows and it’s going to be fucking great.
No pressure playing right before Maiden, right?
(Laughs) None at all, none at all.
Well again, with all that in mind, this could be a huge summer for Trivium, it could really take you guys to the next level.
That’s what we’re trying for man, we’re trying to push one song to radio this August and we’re trying to campaign it for radio and try to get it around, it’s called “Built to Fall”, so hopefully in August if all goes to plan you’ll hear it on the radio, so look out for it and request the song. But yeah, it took a while, but when we first started this album, we didn’t know what we wanted to call it or how we wanted it to look, it took months and months and a lot of ideas and a lot of changes and finally now this is what came out, so it didn’t just happen over night. We had a lot of ideas that were shot down at the last minute, but yeah it’s all falling into place and I can’t think of a better scenario than the one we’ve got right now.