INTERVIEW: Matt Heafy – Trivium

Trivium

 

Trivium are about to unleash their 8th studio record “The Sin And The Sentence”, an album that encompasses the sound that the band are known for including the return of Matt Heafy’s signature growl vocal style. With a new drummer added to the mix and a reflection of what makes Trivium so appealing to metal fans across the world, there was much to talk about as we chatted to the frontman about the new songs and more.

 

Andrew: So how’s things with Trivium at the moment?

Matt: Things are going great man! We’re at home right now and getting ready to start rehearsing again in a couple of weeks, we’re just excited to get this record out and I’m looking forward to seeing how people love it.

Andrew: Yeah “The Sin And The Sentence” is coming out very soon. Tell me a little about the album and what you did differently compared to the last album and how was the process this time around?

Matt: When going in this record we wanted to make the music that we wanted to hear as fans of metal. We said what are the songs we want to hear if we weren’t in Trivium and that’s the kind of stuff we started putting together. We didn’t think, ‘Are people are going to love this stuff or are people going to hate this stuff’, it’s just a matter of making what we loved and what we wanted to make. When we were going into this record we said that we have to make record 8 the greatest thing we ever made or what’s the point basically, how can we survive if we don’t do the greatest record we ever done and thankfully in our opinion we did make that. So we like to set really difficult challenges for ourselves and try to live up to those.

Andrew: Is that something that you try to find that balance of, trying to make the best record for everyone that loves heavy music but also for you personally to find new challenges every time you enter the studio?

Matt: Absolutely, that was definitely important to us. I’m so happy to see that “The Sin And The Sentence” makes the rest of our catalogue made more sense because I feel like there were ingredients of records 1 through 7 within record 8 and what we determined with “The Sin And The Sentence” when we were done with it is that it has everything that is Trivium. It has everything from slow to fast, tech to easy, catchy to brutal and it has all that encompassed in one record and we’re happiest when we have everything and I believe Trivium fans are happiest when they have everything as well.

Andrew: Yeah I guess that’s a challenge in and of itself, to try to appease the fans so to speak.

Matt: Well that’s the part where, and I don’t mean it to sound selfish, but what we did was look back at the records that was our favorite and our favorite records all seem to be a pattern of “In Waves”, “Ascendancy”, “Shogun”. We didn’t want to go back and recreate anything but we said, ‘What were the conditions in which we made these?’, and what we did is make the kind of music we wanted to make and we didn’t think of people liking or disliking anything specific or trying to fit a quote for anything or anyone or any kind of fan and I think that’s when a band makes the most legitimate music for itself.

Andrew: Yeah and I think there’s a purity in that which I think bands need to keep things a little more honest I suppose.

Matt: Absolutely.

Andrew: With the success of your last album “Silence In The Snow” did you find, not so much pressure but a challenge in and of itself to top that album because of the fact that so many people loved that album?

Matt: Trivium love a challenge so even when there is one it never feels daunting and that’s why we like to set really difficult things for ourselves and we like to push ourselves and I think the fact that ‘Silence’ and ‘Sin’ are so different while still feeling like the same band is a massive success. But yeah it’s great to think that on record 7 we wrote one of the biggest songs we ever had, I mean “Until the World Goes Cold” is one of the biggest Trivium songs we’ve ever had and that it came that late in our career is such a great thing.

Andrew: You’ve been around for so many years now that it must feel really good to have that kind of success in this part of your career.

Matt: Yeah it’s always nice, it’s always great to see that even while we’re making this stuff that we want to make that we want to hear that we love, that it is connecting with people and that it is connecting people who maybe never heard of us before or maybe never listened to us before and in a way that hopefully will convert some people that weren’t into metal, into metal.

 

Trivium - The Sin And The Sentence

 

Andrew: Yeah definitely! There’s a couple of noteworthy things on this album that I wanted to discuss as well, first of all you have a new drummer in the band who joined last year and who I’m quite familiar with, Alex Bent who used to be in a band called Battlecross who I’m a big fan of. What was it like working with him?

Matt: It was amazing! When we knew it was time to switch drummers yet again which is something that Trivium has obviously done a lot – Alex is the fourth studio drummer for the band so there haven’t been that many – but when we knew it was time to find someone else we really looked, looked hard. We had Mark Lewis who engineered “The Crusade”, he’s one of Corey’s [Beaulieu , guitar] best friends and he actually recommended Alex the last time when we were looking for a drummer for the “Silence In The Snow” cycle. We looked at Alex’s career and everything that he had done and Youtube videos of him and we were absolutely blown away and when we gave him the challenge of, ‘Alright send us two videos, “Rain” and “Until the World Goes Cold”, two very different songs, he nailed those two. Then we had him learn stuff across all 7 records, came to Orlando and nailed those and then we started writing music with him immediately. So it was definitely a big gamble and we put all our best on Alex and it was right. Alex has played with something like 15 to 20 bands so just as we had been looking for the right drummer, he had been looking for the right band and any time people have heard his playing it’s not a why. They know right away why he is playing with us, they know that he’s the guy we have been looking for and I think it’s surprising that we swap again but we don’t like to do it and we hope that Alex is our guy for the rest of the time for us.

Andrew: Sure and I guess that must be difficult to have to introduce a new member of the band. Is that a challenge too or has it become seamless because of the fact that someone like Alex is a well experienced drummer?

Matt: It’s definitely challenging to have to teach so many drummers our entire catalogue and how we do things and meld with them and grow with them and hope to see that they can live up to the challenge of being in this band but everything has led up to where we are now and Alex has now done two European tours with us and a record with us and a press tour with us and everything has been amazing. So it’s entirely in Alex’s hands for his future in the band and I hope he’s with us for good.

Andrew: Yeah we definitely wish him luck and hopefully it will work out. The other thing I wanted to ask you about is your vocals, it’s been well documented that you have had trouble with your voice for the last few years and this time we see you return with the growly stuff. How has it been to introduce that back into the songs again?

Matt: I blew my voice out at the tail end of the “Vengeance Falls” cycle in 2014 and I had to completely re-learn how to sing and that’s what became the sound on “Silence In The Snow”. I had to re-learn and re- train myself to sing which was a lot of work, it’s basically committing yourself to training every single day. When I’m home Monday through Friday, 2 to 4 hours a day singing and screaming no matter what. Even today I still made sure I got my 2 hours in of singing. You just have to do that when you’re rebuilding something so once I had the singing kind of down, I had to re-learn how to scream. I had to learn a technique that would be sustainable, one that wouldn’t rip my vocal chords apart and one that sounded the same. That took even longer than singing, that was really difficult but once I had it I could do it all day long, no issue or pain. With the record I pushed it the old school way just to really sell it, to truly give everything I had. I’m glad I did because the screaming and singing and I’m sure people may disagree with me, you cannot give 100 percent of your vocal chords to every single show. They say you should do but if you do, by the second show it will be worn out. With us we play 5 shows in a row before we have a day off to make a tour work so it’s all about running a sustainability and that’s why I train so much so it’s easy when I go on tour and I can last and it’s not a question of me losing anything.

Andrew: Yeah I guess that can be a bit scary to lose your voice because that’s a big part of Trivium’s sound.

Matt: Absolutely yeah. No matter how much I try to run from the screaming in my life, it is a part of Trivium and now that I can do it effortlessly, it’s something I never want gone. I quit screaming on “The Crusade”, I took it back up on “Shogun”, I quit screaming after “Vengeance Falls”, picked it back up. So yeah no matter how much I run from it, it’s always there. I do love it and I do think it’s a big part of it.

Andrew: Yeah it’s one of the signature sounds of Trivium. Now speaking of the live shows, we caught you in Australia last year which was a great set of shows. Obviously with a new tour cycle coming up will you be coming back to Australia in the next year or so?

Matt: We don’t have concrete exact plans but I’m sure we will be back there. It’s one of our favorite places in the world, a country that treats us so well over there and we love being there. Nothing definitive but people can count on it.

Andrew: I guess you guys have been quite semi regulars over the years in Australia with Soundwave and things like that so you guys must really enjoy it here and obviously the fans do as well.

Matt: We love it there so much, it’s one of our favorite countries in the world. Some of the best food, wine, people, weather, music. So many amazing bands from there, I’m a huge Parkway Drive fan and I love their last record “Ire” so much, I love Thy Art Is Murder who are an Australian band so there’s just really great stuff coming out of the country.

Andrew: Well congratulations on the new album, it’s fantastic to see you guys back again. We look forward to seeing you in Australia again some time in the future so thanks for your time today, really appreciated and good luck on the tour this year!

Matt: Awesome, thank you very much!

 

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