This was a difficult article to write. The day of the interview I caught vocalist / guitarist Matt Heafy somewhat off-guard. As requested, I called Heafy at the arranged time and number only to discover that he was unaware that an interview had been scheduled. It seemed obvious that I had invaded some much-coveted personal time, a commodity rarely found while on the road. I offered to postpone the interview, but Heafy was insistent that we continue. For that, I would like to express my gratitude. Thanks for being a trouper, Matt.
Metal music is funny. Tortured souls abound in a lyrical landscape often dominated with hatred and contempt. There are a lot of things that can be written about a genre that exemplifies the beat down on most every album. In the clubs itís no different. Is this a case of art imitating life or life becoming art? Iíve seen legs broken in mosh pits and, while photographing shows, Iíve dodged my share of debris being thrown at the stage. But if you look deeper in the music there is often more to the story.
Lyrically, Matt Heafy has brought dark subject matter to the table as well. Social linearity and domestic abuse are not new entries in the "I had a fucked up life" school of song writing, still thereís a sense of honesty that permeates Triviumís music. Thereís a black-and-blue aura emanating from the speakers that, as kids, so many of us believe weíve endured, but as adults we secretly and gleefully acknowledge that our lives are nowhere near as bad as others. Itís an acknowledgement granted when you discover that the little shop of horrors really isnít at your house, but rather the one down the block at that smiling, "always happy" kids place. Nonetheless we identify. The often and well-worn smile is a great facade used to hide the bruises and embarrassment while only serving to perpetuate aggression.
With the aggression, Triviumís music is also about healing. Listen closely
and youíll find that there is always an underlying theme about overcoming
adversity and continuing on.
"When it comes down to writing lyrics, I write about things I feel very strongly about," Heafy explained. "We never really write about anything political. Itís more along the lines of social awareness. So when it came down to topics like the proper treatment of every person and child abuse, I felt like songs needed to be written. I do it in a way to tell you that there is another way out of this nonsense that weíre living in, the way out is now. I just really felt like showing it the way it is rather than delivering an exact answer and the way to handle it."
Heafy offers a polarized viewpoint on topics that should be black and white to us all. So often music becomes the soundtrack of a generation. I asked his perspective -- is Triviumís music a voice for youth or is it more just Heafy venting?
"Definitely both," Heafy stated. "Itís comforting for people that have gone through these types of things that can relate to it and find solace in it. And in the same way itís me expressing my exact views for everybody. Iím kind of laying myself out on the table."
Heafy finds himself on the road at the tender age of 18 supporting Triviumís second release. That doesnít just happen. Itís clear that the band spent some time with their headphones on learning their craft. And while Triviumís music is aggressive with primal undertones, there also exists a progressive rock element. You donít learn to play like that listening to Madonna records. I asked about influences.
Heafy was quick to respond, "Dream Theater and Martyr. Mostly those two bands on my end of the writing spectrum at least. Weíre very proud of it [the record]. Itís everything we couldíve offered at the time and weíre very proud of it. I hope everyone else is enjoying it as we are."
I asked which song on the new record he felt was most indicative of Trivium.
"'Gunshot' ["A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation"] because it has all the elements. It has a heavy side and a melodic side. It has solos from both guitar players showing what they can both do. It goes from dirty vocals to clean vocals, all over the place with all the instruments. Yeah, itís a good representation of what we are capable of delivering." He declared.
Hard work and determination has lead Trivium to the promised land for most young bands. They have earned a coveted spot on the second stage of the Ozzfest tour. In the past, Ozzfest has been the launching pad for many bands. An extensive national tour in front of a large audience does a lot to raise the profile of a young band. I asked Heafy if he was excited.
"Oh fuck yeah!" he exclaimed. "Itís going to be amazing. Itís an honor to be a part of it this year. Itís great and I canít wait to see Maiden every night!"
Most bands speak highly of the opportunity to do Ozzfest. While they point out that itís frustrating only having 20-30 minutes on stage each night they also say they wouldnít trade it for the world, that itís one of their greatest experiences.
Throughout the interview, Heafy never came across as the most talkative. I suspect it was because I caught him unprepared. It seemed like the right time to move to the final question, so I asked what he and his band mates did with their free time.
"There is no free time," He replied. "At home, Iím always writing songs or practicing or hopefully watching movies and playing video games. Aside from that there is no real free time. When not on tour weíre practicing."
"Checkout our site, www.Trivium.org and hopefully everyone will come out to see us on Ozzfest."
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