Trivium's Matt Heafy: Metal's Not A Genre, It's A Lifestyle

Categories: Metal!

The Gauntlet
Guitarist and lead vocalist Matt Heafy was around 13 or 14 when Trivium formed in Orlando in 2000, and only 17 when Trivium released their debut album, Ember To Inferno. Over the past decade, Heafy and the other members of Trivium have come a long way, from constant experimentation (each album has its own very different sound) to the evolution of their songwriting and musical prowess.

Rounded out by lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu (who came on board right after Ember to Inferno) bassist Paolo Gregoletto (2004-present) and drummer Nick August (2010-present), the band is still in their 20s, but they've achieved what most musicians their age only dream of. The name "trivium" even suits their accomplishments, translating to a three-way intersection that combines metalcore, melodic death metal and thrash.

Currently touring North America with DevilDriver, Trivium's Heafy talked with Up On The Sun about working with David Draiman, what makes his metal generation unique, and how he would describe Trivium in three words.

Both Vengenace Falls and In Waves were Top 15 debuts. They obviously have significant musical differences, but for you personally how did the writing and recording experience change from album to album?
Every record is so different; we don't exactly have a formula to stick to for writing. It shifts with every album. With In Waves, one of the songwriters, either Corey, Paolo or myself, would write the majority of the song, but it wouldn't really come together until we all sat together. It definitely shifted a little with Vengeance Falls. And I guess when looking back at Vengenace Falls, you can see moments from all the previous records encapsulated into that one.

How was it working with David Draiman on Vengeance Falls?
It was amazing. He was certainly one of the most hands-on producers we've ever had. The ideas he had for the record, whether it was drums, lyrics, vocals, guitar playing arrangements, he had something for everything. I'm not saying we would go for every idea but what we would do is that any time one of the five us had an idea we tried it out. David was one of the best. He's also without a doubt the best vocal coach I've had in my entire life.

He is an amazing singer and I definitely follow his type of regimen for singing on the road now. Cutting off food four hours before a show, cutting off food three hours before going to bed, no drinks three hours before going to bed, no alcohol no caffeine on tour. Nothing that would call reflux necessarily. Prilosec in the morning, Zantac at night; it's very strict living to be a singer...who sings well.

Do any of the other band members follow suit or do they see that as just the vocalist's routine?
Corey, our lead guitar player who does back-up screaming live, he does the exact opposite of me. [Laughs] He can drink vodka before a show, on stage, and after a show and be totally fine. I think if I were just screaming it would be fine, and I wouldn't have to take as much care of myself as I do. There are a couple singers out there, like Ronnie James Dio, for example, who never warms up before a show, who drinks red wine all the time, and did whatever he wanted and sang perfectly.

There are a couple guys like that in the world but it's few and far between. David [Draiman] and I are the type of singers that require much warm-up, and much tedious care in order to do what our audience deserves.

You said back in 2010 that In Waves was going to be definitive, "the one." Do you still stand by that now after Vengeance Falls has been so well received?
I've definitely said some quotes over the years, but I guess... they were correct at the point in time, um, but looking back at our career and having six records already, every album has does different things for our band.

And every album has been received bigger or smaller in certain territories.Ascendancy for example did incredible well in the UK and the U.S., and didn't really do anything anywhere else. The Crusade, as far as the popular mind went, wasn't well received in the UK and the US but it opened the doors for us in Europe. Shogun wasn't anything that was really talked about when it first came out, but nowadays people hail it as our best album. In Waves blew the doors open for us in Germany, and Vengeance Falls blew the doors open for us in Japan. With every record we have a different faction of fans who appreciate it. It's refreshing I would imagine for the fans that we're a band that never releases the same record twice.

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