Trivium

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AN Interview with Matt Heafy

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“It just felt that the record was cursed from the beginning.”

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“When I was eleven I tried out for my first band and that band was a pop-punk band,” Trivium frontman Matt Heafy says. “I played Dammit by Blink 182 but I actually did not make it into that band so I was super depressed and I kind of gave up on whole band idea. Later on, within the next year, a classmate gave me the Black album by Metallica and I’d never heard metal before and as soon as I heard the record I knew that was the type of music I wanted to play.”

It turns out, that classmate should be to thank for giving Heafy his love of metal and, thusly, the world got Trivium. A band who, back in 2003 when Heafy was just 17, went on to release their debut album Ember To Inferno. Now, 13 years and a further six albums later the band have decided to re-release that iconic debut with their three demo releases. Ruber (the red demo), Caeruleus (the blue demo) and Flavus (the yellow demo).

“I just felt like the record [Ember To Inferno] was cursed from the beginning,” Heafy states when asked why the band were re-releasing the record. “I went out release date to buy it myself and it was unavailable really across the state of Florida, maybe even across the whole States. That was because Lifeforce [Records] didn’t have proper distribution at that time and by the time they did, [album number two] Ascendency was already coming out so Ascendency really eclipsed the release of Ember To Inferno.”

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The band have obviously matured since 2003 but Heafy still has fond memories of working on the album and didn’t want to re-work the album in any way. He wanted it re-released just as was originally released. “The big thing with me was not remixing, not remastering, not rerecording, but releasing this thing with the integrity it was meant to be originally but then also had the option for people to see how Trivium was from the beginning by adding the demos to it and making the release special. What I wanted to do with Ab Initio – Ab Initio in Latin means ‘from the beginning’ – I wanted to take people back to the earliest possible Trivium and bring them up to speed with the moments before Ascendency. So this whole thing was really like a back story or an origin story to Trivium.”

Don’t expect to see Trivium play Ember To Inferno in full anytime soon, however. “As far as Ember goes – we’d never play it from start to finish,” Heafy admits. “Ember, it might be too old school for some of our newer fans. If we ever did a full record it’d have to be something like Ascendency or In Waves or Shogun. Something that all the facets of Trivium fans agree upon.”

A few years ago, Heafy ended up “blowing his voice out” at Rock On The Range is the US due to years of singing and screaming incorrectly. Luckily, guitarist Corey Beaulieu ended up taking over the screaming at their live shows but it was still having an effect on the band. But, a call from M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold, it turns out, saved his singing career.

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“The guy that put me in touch with Ron [Anderson, vocal coach] was actually Matt from Avenged Sevenfold. When I blew my voice out he actually reached out to me and put me in touch with Ron so those guys saved my singing career. Ron Anderson determined my screaming style was one hundred percent incorrect and my singing style was pretty incorrect. So my screaming was ripping my vocal chords apart and the incorrect singing technique was also affecting my vocal chords. I’ve been training with Ron now, maybe, two or maybe three years. When I’m on tour it’s five days a week for two or fours hours a day of singing. I’ve managed to rebuild the vocals back up so now I can scream again. It’s a new technique but it’s the same sound it used to be [and] it’s just much safer and I feel like it feels even more brutal than it did before.”

However, that doesn’t mean the band are going to be back in the studio anytime soon.

“We actually do not [have any plans for a new album]. The only focus for us now is this final European tour and the US tour but there are no formal plans for writing or recording a new record right now. We don’t have time. I logged a four hour singing day today and my singing is better than ever and my screaming is more brutal than ever but we just don’t wanna write while preparing for a tour. I don’t like doing that. I like having writing time away from everything else.”

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LISTEN TO TRIVIUM

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Written by Dave Griffiths

Dave has worked as a music & film journalist for over 20 years now. Aside from Heavy he does radio and various podcasts as well. He is the proud owner of Metal Cat.

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