Guitarist/vocalist Matt Heafy of Florida metallers TRIVIUM was interviewed on the September 6-8 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: There's a new TRIVIUM album coming out in October called "Vengeance Falls". Matt, each TRIVIUM album gets closer and closer to sounding timeless. Especially this new one. What's the biggest factor in evolving to the point of being able to do that?
Matt: I think it comes with time. I guess some bands can pull off their sound, looks and image, everything that is that brand on the first record. I think SLIPKNOT did that incredibly well with their self-titled record. I think you see that every once in a while. RAMMSTEIN, it immediately had what their vision was and what they are as a band all figured out on one record. For us, yeah, we had a huge part of our music figured out. I know with our second record, we had a huge part of the music figured out, but we didn't really know what we were going to look like. We had to grow up in the public eye, we had to figure out how we were supposed to dress and perform onstage. A lot of other bands had years to figure that out in their local scenes. Our local scene was spent 12 years old, 16 years old, playing bars in Orlando and instantly starting touring the world. So, I guess with every record we've figured out more and more of what we are. What we do best as a band. If I had to be very critical of "Vengeance Falls", it captures the best key ingredients of the previous five records. Speaking in terms of everything that can be done on the record: lyrics, visuals, songwriting and instrumentation. All of that, I think, every key ingredient from the past five records is present in "Vengeance Falls". I think it came with time.
Full Metal Jackie: "Vengeance Falls" is going to be out October 15. David Draiman, best known as the singer for DISTURBED and DEVICE, is the producer. What initially attracted you to him to produce "Vengeance Falls"? What was the biggest impact he made on the finished album?
Matt: The first time I met him was in 2005. TRIVIUM was second of five for the DANZIG tour; I forgot the name of the tour. We played the Chicago show and after the set we were walking around, David came up to us and said, "Hey, I'm David from DISTURBED and I want to let you know I'm a fan of your band." It blew our minds because we were such fans of DISTURBED. I remember seeing the first DISTURBED show in Orlando in 1999 or 2000 when they were supporting bands. DANZIG, SIX FEET UNDER. DISTURBED was the first band. We ran into him at least once or twice a year over the next few years at festivals here and there. We had the opportunity to go over to Australia with DISTURBED and AS I LAY DYING. We got to know them a little more, then we did Mayhem together. I gave David a copy of "In Waves" to listen to in the middle of the tour. At the end of the tour, he approached us and said, "Never before did I feel you guys are ready to make the jump you're about to make right now and I would love to help you guys do that." When we heard that, we were stoked, but we weren't sure what he meant. We started digging in and finding out he had been doing the production work for DISTURBED and then he showed us what was going to be DEVICE. Right when we heard DEVICE, we said, "Yes, this guy is our producer." All the ingredients that we loved as fans of DISTURBED songs and production were present in DEVICE. We knew there and then that he was not only a singer/songwriter but also a producer.
Full Metal Jackie: You'll be on the road with DEVILDRIVER in September. On tour with other bands, are you a student of what they do? What band that you've toured with has made the longest-lasting impact?
Matt: You can always learn something from every kind of band in every kind of genre. Whether a new band or an old band, legendary or not legendary. You can always learn something. Even on this last run, the very first show was in Bucharest in Romania. We were playing with RAMMSTEIN for the first time. RAMMSTEIN has been a huge influence on me and what I try to do creatively. If you look at all the story line videos from "In Waves", that was taken a huge note from what RAMMSTEIN did and the way they do it. The way they do videos, mini films. Same thing with, not trying to make it the way they do it but learning from the way they do it. Their music videos, live shows, uniforms was kind of what I was going for in "In Waves" What I felt this time in Bucharest inspired me even more down to watching how he's a frontman and how the band approaches performance. Outside of all the pyrotechnics and all the theatrics, you can still learn a lot from what they're doing for a band, like who's capable of doing without all the pyrotechnics and all the insane stage production. It gives us something to work towards. I was just talking to one of the main promoters who runs Wacken in Germany, and I was saying we got to see RAMMSTEIN and it reminded me once again that when we can, and as soon as we can, I want just as much pyro as they have and just as crazy of a stage show as they have. I won't be buggering any of our band members off a 20-foot ramp into a ring of fire or anything, but everything else.
Full Metal Jackie: Disney World is the first thing that comes to mind generally when someone says Orlando. Mickey Mouse, not necessarily metal. What about that area made the biggest impact on you as a musician both growing up and now?
Matt: Yeah, whenever I mention that, other bands and journalists usually assume we're from Europe, which is strange. "Oh, you guys are from the U.K., right?" Can't you tell by our accents that we're not from the U.K.? We're from Orlando. Disney is about 40 minutes or so south of where I live in a city called Kissimmee. But it's easier associated with Orlando. Growing up in Central Florida, it was known for boy bands and pop punk. Goth. Country is pretty big. A lot of radio rock. I think it was from being surrounded by all of that from that being what the majority accepted that drove me into doing the furthest thing from all of that, which was metal. When European bands think of their favorite bands, a lot of the Swedish bands in the Gothenburg scene were very influenced by the Tampa death metal scene. So they know that. It was something I really missed out on. It was in the early '90s to the mid-'90s when that was around, so I wasn't really aware of what death metal was until after I had gotten into the original gateway metal bands: PANTERA, METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT. Then trekking onto the extreme stuff. I think it was the indentation of kids being into pop punk, ska and then soon to I guess whatever they became that you can call it what it is now. Stuff that incorporates dance, dub step and all that weird stuff. I know pop punk, which is fine if that's your thing, it's just not my thing. That made me want to stick to metal.