MATT HEAFY: 'When We 'Nail' TRIVIUM, It's When We Do Music For Ourselves'

October 20, 2017

Metal Wani's editor in chief Owais "Vitek" Nabi and Matthew Powers recently conducted an interview with TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On keeping the "mystery" factor before TRIVIUM releases a new album:

Matt: "We love to do things as a reaction to both the way we've done things in the past and the way everyone else does things. Like, if you look at, we made 'The Crusade' because it was a reaction to 'Ascendancy', which was a reaction to all of these bands playing similar kinds of music to 'Ascendency', so we thought 'Let's do the exact opposite.' Then we did 'In Waves', 'Let's do the opposite of what's expected. Let's have a live DVD with no crowd. Let's have a music video with no performance. Let's do everything the opposite.' The same with 'The Sin And The Sentence'. It was [to] announce a record in a way other bands aren't doing. To not just constantly tease things and have true content coming out. The music video comes out first, then the artwork, then people still don't understand what's happening. That's what we like to do; we like to make everything an experience."

On the writing approach to "The Sin And The Sentence":

Matt: "Going into this record, we were really analytical of our band and we've looked at everything we've done right and everything we've ever done wrong. We said to ourselves 'When have we done this thing the best? When has TRIVIUM felt we made the kind of music we wanted to hear?' That's why our stuff is always so different. But we said, 'When did we really nail everything?' We noticed when we really 'nail' TRIVIUM, it's when we make the music for ourselves, and also, when we go into a record, we're completely prepared. With 'The Sin And The Sentence', this record was ninety-nine percent done and finished and ready to go before we started recording. So when you go into record, things only get better. When we did 'Vengeance [Falls]' and 'Silence [In The Snow]', while we absolutely love those records, the goal of those records with the producer, it was agreed upon that we'd go in and be flexible. And go in and be willing to let the songs evolve a little more and not be too prepared. That's something that's not a TRIVIUM thing. A TRIVIUM thing is to be overly-prepared. We like to practice, that's a thing most bands don't like to do, but we love to practice individually and as a band and be prepared. We like to be so ready for things that it's probably too much. We did that with 'The Sin And The Sentence' and we made sure that I had all the vocals memorized and that we had all the parts written before ever hitting 'record.' That's one of the things that truly lived with us before we started [recording]."

On whether "The Sin And The Sentence" introduces any new or unexplored elements into TRIVIUM's sound:

Matt: "Absolutely. I think in the past, before my vocal blow-out, before I hurt my voice and didn't know what was going to happen and then I had to start re-training and everything, before that, I was only able to scream. I was able to sing to a degree. I could never go excessively high. I could go low all day long, but after having to rebuild my singing voice, I felt like I enhanced my singing in a way that I had never been able to do before. Then when I re-learned to scream again, I felt like all the tools were broadened. There was so much of the scope of where I could go. This record definitely has some of the highest vocal notes I've sung and some of the absolute lowest vocal notes I've sung and those were easy and also screaming. I think what's great is that this record has everything that anyone would have loved about TRIVIUM, but it's gone to the next level. It's been evolved."

On the influences the band incorporated into their new album:

Matt: "What's great with us in the band, is we all got into metal through the same favorite bands that everyone knows of, but we've also all been inspired by things like melodic death metal, death metal, black metal, classical music, things outside of metal. I felt like with this record, you can hear everything there. You can hear all of our influences that we've brought into TRIVIUM. With TRIVIUM, what's funny is that with our band, I think people prefer when they can have everything, when they can have the all super-heavy songs and the super-clean songs and everything in between all on one record. Whereas with 'Vengeance', 'Silence' and 'The Crusade', I think we narrowed it to make it more condensed into one specific vision. While those records are great, I feel like the excitement is when we have records like 'Ascendency', 'Shogun', 'In Waves' and 'The Sin And The Sentence', when they have everything there, when they can go from zero to a hundred, and can pull from every mood and feeling in between. That's definitely important to us. That's something you see more so, I guess, with classical music. Classical music has all those feelings in between. That's something I'd like to have on because it has a much higher dynamic range than rock music, for example. Even metal, classical music has more of a range."

"The Sin And The Sentence" was released October 20 via Roadrunner. The disc was recorded with producer Josh Wilbur (LAMB OF GOD, GOJIRA) at Santa Ana, California's Hybrid Studios. The new LP features the band's first recordings with new drummer Alex Bent, who joined the band last year.

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