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Trivium Frontman Matt Heafy Talks ‘In Waves,’ Touring and Lady Gaga

Matt Heafy of Trivium
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

The guys of Trivium have been busy this year with the release of their new album ‘In Waves,’ as well as being part of this year’s Mayhem Festival main stage lineup alongside bands such as Godsmack, Disturbed and Megadeth.

The band is currently on tour this fall in the U.S. with labelmates Dream Theater. The trek runs until Oct. 27, where it wraps up in Grand Prairie, Texas. Then, Trivium are off to Europe to wrap up their 2011o tour, with plans for some U.S shows next year.

Trivium frontman Matt Heafy recently chatted with Loudwire about the inspiration and hard work that went into making ‘In Waves,’ touring, art and some very eclectic choices of music icons with whom he’d like to collaborate. Check out our exclusive interview with Heafy below:

After listening to ‘In Waves’ for the past several weeks, I really enjoyed the balance of intense vocals and melody throughout the album. What was the inspiration behind the songs?

With the whole record, all the visuals, all the lyrics, all the titles, everything involved, we wanted to leave it completely open to the interpretation of the listener and the viewer. It’s obvious in this record that there’s a lot of weight to it. There are five visual artists in collaboration to making the visuals happen and then the four of us making the music and then the record’s process spans three and a half years or so for the whole creations. We really thought it would be great if we left it, that there’s no right or wrong answer or anything in between. This album was all about the songs, it was really about anything else, it wasn’t about what we felt. It was all about making the music that we wanted to hear.

How would you compare ‘In Waves’ to the rest of the Trivium albums?

I think the big thing with our sound is that every album sounds pretty different. People typically don’t know what to expect when listening to one of our albums. With this record, it sounds like Trivium, it doesn’t sound like another band, it doesn’t sound like something else or some other genre, it truly just sounds like our band. I don’t know what components made that happen or how a band can make that happen but it took us five records to really hone out what sound like.

With heavy tracks like ‘In Waves’ and ‘Dusk Dismantled’ throughout the album, how do you prepare your voice for songs like these?

I never really learned a proper way of screaming. I had lessons here and there for singing and I mean I was able to pick up a little bit from every singing teacher but basically I wanted to learn the fundamentals from people. Whenever you go into a teaching-based situation with an instrument, for me at least for voice, it was kind of like that singing teacher’s way or the highway and it could really put up mental blocks in your head. As far as screaming, I don’t really know what I’m doing but it does the job so it’s really about learning the fundamentals and how to warm up and how to sing right and just take care of yourself.

Will there be an official video for ‘Built to Fall’ and when can fans expect to see it?

Yes, we shot it, I’m assuming next month or so it should be out. It basically takes place immediately after the ‘In Waves’ video, right at the mist scene at the end is where the ‘Built to Fall’ video starts; it’s really fun to make videos that way. The ‘Built to Fall’ video is just really amazing.

Do you know what the next single from the album will be?

I believe the talks are to go with ‘Black’ for the next single, I’m pretty sure that’s the next one.

You guys are on tour with Dream Theater; what’s your relationship with those guys?

They’re one of the greatest bands of all time, we’ve been trying to tour with them and it finally happened now. As far as [John] Petrucci goes, he’s my favorite guitar player in the world, with every show we’ve ever done and we ever do, I always use his warm up exercises from his VHS from the ’90s and I use that a lot in my abilities when I was younger and I still use is nowadays on tour. They’re about as good as they get when it comes to any musician or band. They’re the best.

Any plans after touring with Dream Theater?

Yeah, after this tour we’ve got somewhere between five and eight days home, then we’re over to Europe — it’s In Flames headlining and Trivium direct support. Then we go to the UK with Trivium headlining and In Flames direct support, then that takes us through the year. We’re working on touring for the next year and I believe we’ll start out with some stuff for the U.S. either in January or February and then take it from there.

How would you describe metal music, or the industry itself, from when you first started versus now?

Well it changes every album. ‘Ascendency’ was 75 percent physical sales in CDs; ‘In Waves’ is 75 percent digital sales. So obviously the markets have been completely flipped around. The CD buying market whether digital or physical goes down 10 to 30 percent every single time we release a record and that’s a worldwide scale.

Metal is in a very odd spot in the U.S. and in a lot of other places in the world it’s still very strong, other places it’s kind of quiet, but in the U.S. right now there aren’t really any new metal bands. There aren’t any new bands that are coming out that were our age.

Metal’s kind of lost right now. The bands that are touring in metal, they’ve been around for a while now, there’s no one new coming in and doing something different. That’s why with this record. ‘In Waves,’ we wanted to do something that was completely reactionary towards what we see in our genre and pushing it beyond the boundaries of what a metal band is suppose to look like, what a metal band is suppose to sounds like and push everything to a new creative height where it’s not doing things that we’re suppose to do but doing things that we want to do.

If you weren’t a musician, what other profession do you think you would pursue?

If I never got into music and this was me as a student, I would have probably went to business school or whatever that entails. If it was nowadays and there was something else that I wanted to do, which is something that I can’t do, you can’t really wish this kind of talent upon yourself, but I wish I were a visual artist. Visual art is something that I can’t create but I’m incredibly inspired by it and I guess in some ultimate world that would be it.

Who are some visual artists that inspire you?

For this record, it was a lot of film directors as far as artists goes, guys like David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Cory Arcangel, he’s a modern artist. It would be wrong to try to describe what he does. His style of art is really next level, it’s five to ten years ahead of what contemporary artists are even coming up with nowadays.

So it’s guys like that, guys that can make a medium out of anything, that it doesn’t look like something that it’s suppose to look like. Sometimes you don’t know what to see or what it is that you’re looking at and I really appreciate things that make you feel outside of your comfort zone, movies that make you feel different things rather than the standard action, the standard comedy, the standard love story.

The album cover for ‘In Waves’ is visually striking; what inspired it and who conceived it?

We worked with five artists on this record, Danny Jones did the graphic design that’s on the cover of the album packaging, website, some merch, the new Trivium logo. I asked the artist what the cover is and he smiled and said “It is what it is” so he didn’t tell me what it is. So it follows suit with that same thing — it’s multi-interpretable. It’s great because when you look at it, it doesn’t look like any specific genre, you don’t think metal band, you don’t think rock band, you don’t think rap band, it’s just something else.

You teamed up with numerous visual artists for ‘In Waves.’ What would your dream musical collaboration be?

Because I like to follow suit with doing things that are opposites, I would love to do something with Lady Gaga or Skrillex, things that are just totally different or even Angelo (Badalamenti) — I’m not going to try to pronounce his last name. He’s the guy that scores all of David Lynch’s movies, he makes really intense, just ambient noise textures, I think he would be really cool to collaborate with.

Watch the Trivum ‘In Waves’ Video

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