Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium): "Music is all I want to do in life"
14 years ago I was chatting with Matthew Kiichi Heafy of Trivium about our musical passions and, of course, about his band. It was the “Ember to Inferno” era, the Trivium’s first studio album was in the making. Many things evolved along the road since then, but a nostalgic will surely find such memories valuable. Read the lines below and find out how Trivium’s guitarist and vocalist was seeing the world when was a teenager, what were his influences back then and how much we got excited about the existence of the band Converge.
V: Hi! How’s going?
Matt Heafy: I’m great. Everything in life in regards to the band is going great. We just played a huge show last night in front of a couple thousand kids. Great night!
V: I’ve heard you’ll be in Europe for some shows in the near future. Is that correct?
Matt Heafy: Correct. We’ll be in Europe between the the 11th and 22nd of October. We will be playing three or four shows, in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. I cannot wait to be in Europe, I have never been there. Also we’re playing with Dew-Scented, Darkest Hour, Heaven Shall Burn! It’s gonna be amazing!
V: That’s sure thing! Let’s talk a bit about Trivium. When did you start as Trivium?
Matt Heafy: We began in 2000. I think it was the beginning of the year 2000. It began in Orlando, FL. The line-up and musical direction was completely different.
V: Did you start as a trio?
Matt Heafy: Actually, we began as a four piece. Soon after several member changes and switching around happened. After a while we moved to a three piece. And now we’re a four piece!
V: I've checked a dictionary for the meaning of the word “trivium” since I didn’t know its meaning… Haha! But now I know. So, why did you choose it for the band’s name?
Matt Heafy: Well, the original singer of our band chose the name. I wasn’t sure for his reason on the choosing of that name. I think now though we define it as a musical intersection of styles to develop what we are. The medieval definition of “trivium” was the three schools of learning: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. So we take that into defining as Trivium is the musical intersection of metalcore, hardcore, melodic death metal, and thrash metal.
V: Now I hear that you have another singer. What happened with the previous one?
Matt Heafy: Now, I’m the singer. The original singer was with us only for a few months. I’ve been doing vocals since 2000, so it’s been quite a few years. It’s a fun job. He had different musical interests. But I have spoken with him a couple of times recently. He’s very proud of us and he’s a great supporter. I believe he is in college right now.
V: You have a great voice, dude! Hope to see you guys live sometimes…
Matt Heafy: Thank you very much. It means a lot, I’ve been practicing a ton, I hope to keep developing. You ought to visit us in Europe, I promise a good show.
V: What singers do you appreciate most? Do you have idols?
Matt Heafy: When it comes to singers I have a lot of idols and favourites. When it comes down to screaming and all the fun stuff it would be Howard Jones, Jesse Leach (Killswitch Engage), Anders Friden (In Flames), Marcus Bischoff (Heaven Shall Burn), John Henry (Darkest Hour). Clean singing, that would be Howard, Jesse, and Jason Gleason (Further Seems Forever).
V: Awesome! I love them! You said that in the past that your musical direction was completely different. What did you mean?
Matt Heafy: Yes, the musical direction used to always change. In the beginning it was all about covering Metallica, Pantera, and Megadeth. We used to play a very straightforward thrash metal. We had like 10 songs that no one has ever heard or been recorded. They sounded like something out of the early Testament years. But that’s not really where our heads are now musically. It’s great stuff, but we have a much more original sound now.
V: Your very first album will be released through Lifeforce Records. How did you get in touch with them?
Matt Heafy: It’s very exciting. It’s of course our first time being signed and putting out a record. It’s very thrilling. Actually, our close friend Fredrik Kreem was friend with Stefan. He had recommended our CD to Stefan, and everything good happened from there.
V: Tell me more about your upcoming album.
Matt Heafy: Our upcoming CD is something we are all very proud of. It feels like it’s the kind of CD that every fan of every style of music can enjoy. You can hear moments of In Flames, Killswitch Engage, Darkest Hour, The Haunted all over the place. It’s nice because it carries the versatility of having everything from clean vocals to screaming, thrash parts to breakdowns, simple rhythms to solos. It’s got a lot to be appreciated from fans of music.
V: The first song of yours that I heard was “To Burn The Eye”, which got me speechless. Tell me your view on this one, please.
Matt Heafy: Thank you very much. I’m glad you like it. That song was a fun song to do. The lyrics deal with drug addiction (not many people know that!).
V: I haven’t listened to the full EP so far, so please tell me more about it.
Matt Heafy: Let’s see. The EP was recorded in a week. It was tracked, mixed and mastered all in one fun week. We recorded it with Jason Suecof (Audio Hammer Studios) and it came out fantastic. It contains seven songs, four of which appear on “Ember To Inferno”, but re-recorded. The last three songs on the demo display our somewhat thrash mentally style of the past. They were old songs. That CD has sold rather well for a D.I.Y. record.
V: What are your favourite bands from Lifeforce?
Matt Heafy: That’s actually a VERY hard question. Because most of my favourite bands in general are on Lifeforce. I love Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban, and Between The Buried And Me the most. So that’s how I would narrow it down. Those three are amazing. As well as everyone else, but those three are my absolute favourites.
V: Heaven Shall Burn will release a new album in winter. Can’t wait to hear it!
Matt Heafy: I can’t either. Hopefully when we play with them in Saalfeld, they will play some new ones.
V: You’re lucky!
Matt Heafy: Very! Hehe!
V: Do you have this ambition of reaching a big audience?
Matt Heafy: Oh, yes! I’d love to have everyone being able to enjoy our music. Music is all I want to do in life, and I hope I can have people enjoying what we create.
V: After releasing the new album, what are you going to do? Any future plans?
Matt Heafy: Hopefully everything goes well. I hope everyone likes the CD, it sells well, and we can tour off the CD for a while. I look forward to record more and more CDs, touring all the time, and playing in front of new people every day. Everyone in Trivium would love to live on the music and tour all the time.
V: What songs would you like to be played at your funeral?
Matt Heafy: You know, it’s funny I use to talk about that always! So let’s see. For years I always used to say “Goliaths Disarm Their Davids” by In Flames. It was such a beautiful yet depressing song, just the way everything sounded. Lyrically, “More Of Myself To Kill” by Between The Buried And Me would fit perfectly! So, it’s a dead tie between those two songs.
V: Right now I am listening to Converge. Since this band has a powerful impact upon the atmosphere surrounding me right now, what do you think about it?
Matt Heafy: Aw, man! I love Converge. I have just about all their CDs. Bannon is incredible when it comes to singing, lyrics writing, and artwork. They’re so unique and amazing. Converge is one of those bands you just have to love for some reason.
V: This is what I wanted to hear. Ha!
Matt Heafy: Of course, just being honest. I’m wearing a badass Converge shirt in our press photos. Hehe!
V: And my last question, do you know something about the country where I live, Romania? If so, what do you think about this place?
Matt Heafy: You know, I’ve really never learned much. I heard about cool looking architecture from days of the past. I know there was a Soviet Occupation following World War II that led to the creation of a Communist Republic. I think that’s all gone now though. I know I want to see the whole world, so I would like to see Romania!
V: O.K., Matt. Thank you so much for your time!
Matt Heafy: Thank you very much for the interview. I look forward to meeting you!