Interviews anglais

TRIVIUM (01/09/17)

Version française

We met with Matt Heafy (vocals/guitar) and Paolo Gregoletto (bass) in Paris last September to talk about their forthcoming new record “The Sin And The Sentence”.

You’ve been a band for roughly 15 years, it must have been quite a journey!

Paolo Gregoletto (basse): The journey between 8 albums took what… 12 to 13 years. Making the record took place over about the last year and a half, we all started demoing not too long after we finished recording “Silence In The Snow” so it sort of was a seamless transition onto the next record. As we toured the album we did writing in between, we did writing when we had Alex with us in November last year so we had a long time to thing about the material but it was worth the wait. I feel like we were able to really get a good clear vision for the record by taking that much time. It seems that when we do our work, when we do the practice, when we have time, we make our best music!

Last year you rereleased “Ember To Inferno”. Was it a way to commemorate your whole career?

Matt Heafy (vocals/guitar): It was a couple things, when “Ember To Inferno” first released we were so excited. We’ve never been a signed band before, we bought ads in guitar magazine and local paper. I remember going out release day and I couldn’t find a CD I was like “maybe it’s sold out!” , so I asked “do you guys have Trivium” and they said “we have no idea what that is” . Basically you couldn’t find the record in Florida or in America because it was a small german label that released which since got much better at distribution now. When they fixed distribution back them and distributed our album a year or so later “Ascendency” was out, it completely eclipsed the release of “Ember To Infern” and as the years went on, I think about 10 years later, I inherited the rights back so I waited for the right time to release it. The idea behind “Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio” was to show people the earliest recording version of Trivium up until the moment before “Ascendency” so they can have the start to where we are now. I think with “Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio” on one hand and “The Sin And The Sentence” on the other hand, that’s the history of Trivium right there. It’s literally everything we have but it’s also a real good bookends to the middle section of what Trivium is.

Let’s talk about “The Sin And The Sentence”. You started the cycle by releasing the title track. What was the inspiration behind this song and why did you decide to release this one?

Paolo: I guess the musical inspiration was the feeling that we kind of wanted to make this record a little bit more intense a little bit more aggressive, really get more riffy and dynamic than the last record. I guess once we got Alex into the picture we could really see how far we could take take that! When we had the music and we started to do lyrics, I wanted this song to reflect the dynamics that our society lives in online which is by using witch hunt as a metaphor, the mob justice that seems to play out everyday as someone does something wrong or is not part of the in group – we attack them. I think a lot of people picked up visually on the video being about religious stuff, this song wasn’t about that but I think that the imagery and what I take this song as being a part of, are both correct. I think it’s whatever people take from the song.

What was the feedback when you released that aggressive track?

Paolo: Pretty much immediately all good comments and that it very very rare which is kind of ironic with the song being about how if you cross the mob they can really turn on your and it was interesting that when you do something good for people how it can be the opposite. The unanimous praise, it was good feeling! I guess we were all bracing for anything, the last album was a big success for us especially in America with “Until The World Goes Cold” but adding back in some of the scream and intensity I think it just seemed to hit all the right buttons for anyone that’s ever been into the band. We felt it best encapsulated the vision of the record in both the melody and the heaviness.



You kind of reconnect with the sonorities you had on your earliest records on this one.

Paolo: In terms of intensity yes.

Matt: It was not a matter of recreating but more recreating the conditions in which our favorites records where created. We love everything we’ve done but “In Waves”, “Ascendency” and “Shogun” are our true favorites. So we asked ourselves “what were we doing differently than maybe our last two records?” and what it was was the four of us creating music together in a room, before anyone outsider can come in, before we bring our producer, our label. When it’s about us creating music and vocals, and believing in this thing, taking it to almost completion before we bring someone in.

That’s a very organic process.

Paolo: Yes, that’s how you start off being a band! Before there’s any sort of pressure all of you have in your situation is your practice, your rehearsal. You read a book about any band and the ones that seem to do best are the ones that rehearse and practice the most. You hear about the legends of Black Sabbath recording their first two records in like a day or a few days and you wonder how they do this. It wasn’t that the music just magically came out, it was because these bands practice all the time, they were jam bands. You can get really caught up in the demoing on a computer and being detached from your bandmates but there is a time when you start like that then you move on to the organic side of it which is being just a normal garage band playing together. You can really vibe off one another, I can tell when people aren’t feeling my riffs and I can give instant feedback when I hear something.

Matt, you have had some issues with your vocals these past years. Although it sounds like you showcase your vocals better than ever on this record. How did you overcome these issues?

Matt: One of the best and worst things that ever happened to me was blowing my voice off at the end of the “Vengeance Falls” cycle. After seeing doctors and realizing it wasn’t completely career ending and it was close enough to permanent damage I started relearning with my teacher Ron Anderson. Turns out I was singing and screaming incorrectly for the last 15 years and that was wearing out my vocal chords. So I heard to relearn how to sing and once that was coming to form I learned how to scream properly. There’s a proper way to do these things, these a proper way that it can be sustainable when it’s live and it’s taking me up until I think the last two weeks! It was the best I’ve ever been singing and screaming in my entire career so things keep getting better. It’s not just a matter of reading a couple tips and doing a couple video lessons with your singing teacher. It’s about making a life change and reintroducing non-stop practicing, conditioning even on your off time and tending to it while you’re on tour so it’s a been a life change to be able to learn this stuff right but I’m glad it happened! I feel like I’m singing and screaming better then ever now.

Let’s go back to the album being more aggressive and heavier. Why did you decide to do so? Was it a way to distance yourself a little for your last two albums?

Paolo: It doesn’t feel like we distance ourselves too much from these past records because songs like “The Heart From Your Hate”, “Endless Night” are natural extensions of that record. It just felt like we had the possibility once again to create heavier music, push boundaries, explore – especially with Alex, the technical side of our sound. I guess when people hear it, and I’ve heard it already from people who have heard the record, it feels like a combination of what we’ve been doing and we wanted it to feel like that. If it felt like a nostalgic album it would have completely been completely missing the mark for us. We skipped the 10th anniversary of “Ascendency” and the idea of a touring it again exactly for that reason. We want it to feel like something new, like progression. This is going to be what launches us into the next record whatever that becomes.

Matt: We said making record 8, this had to be the best record of your career of there’s no point in continuing on. It bridges the gap, all 7 records make more sense with record 8.

It feels like a whole new level in your sound.

Paolo: It’s definitely the beginning of something new for us in a way!

You released “The Heart From Your Hate” as second single, why so?

Paolo: After putting out “The Sin And The Sentence” which is more of the encapsulation of the whole record, “The Heart From Your Hate” feels like where we were coming from with the last record. I believe you have to push your boundaries in every way, with a song like that with lyrics like that, there’s only one way to write a song with that sort of vibe. I used this exemple earlier but if you take the lyrics from “The Sin And The Sentence” and you put them of “The Heart From Your Hate” I don’t think the music would work and vice versa. A lot of time, especially with this record, we had the vocals in mind and in the rehearsal room right as when we were writing it. We were really able to build the song around what the song needed to be. The original demo is nothing like what this song is, it was 7 minutes, black metal with a trash part but the things that everyone tuned in to was the verse riff, the chorus and the need for something different on the record and that was really important to us for 11 songs. When you start getting to song 7 or 8 it can start sounding tiring like “I’ve already heard this, skip, I wanna go back to the beginning of the record” therefore we did our best to make sure that every song on the record has a purpose, a meaning, had songs that fit the mean and that was really important to us. We could have come out with another heavy one but that wouldn’t have shown what this song was about.



Speaking of “The Heart From Your Hate”, you introduce us to gang vocals which are also on other songs. Are you excited to play these songs live and hear the crowd sing them back to you?

Matt: Absolutely!

Paolo: We’ve built the parts in for them so they’ll know what to do right away! The gang vocal on that part, I remember before recording the whole thing we did a run through of all the demos, I heard Matt’s vocals and I said to Josh our producer “we’ve got to have gang vocals saying that part right there” and it takes it to the next level.

Matt: When he had that idea I was like “I want more now, I want to put gang vocals everywhere!” of course we didn’t.

Paolo: We demoed some really cool spots we’ve never tried before. The only gang vocals we had was “A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation”.

Matt: On this one we have “Beyond Oblivion”, “Sever The Hand”, “Betrayer”, “The Revanchist”.

Paolo: I guess we were able to do them in a new way, with those old songs we used them like bands usually do. On this record we used them in a hardcore way, true gang vocals, common response and just put them over different parts. Maybe in the chorus, in the pre-chorus or a more metal parts. We try to picture people shouting them when we write a song. We’re over a 1000 shows by now and you know how people react to songs. One of the craziest thing is that on “In Waves” people sing a part that we’ve never actually recorded.

Matt: Yeah, that’s right!

Paolo: At the end, the last chorus, we’ve never done that.

Matt: We really should have!

Paolo: But I like that! It’s like when I hear the album track of “Fear Of The Dark”, it feels so weird without the crowd. Going into this record we were like “alright where would the crowd sing the part?” and we were thinking about that a lot.

Matt: I love that on “The Revanchist” not only do we have gangs vocals on every chorus we also have gang singing on the final one, which is our producer Josh’s brother band Too Late The Hero. I wanted a moment like, a Dropkick Murphy’s chorus where it sounds like every one is singing at the pub and we finally have that which is so cool.



Let’s talk about the lyrics a little. You said the album was build around them earlier.

Paolo: Definitely, we came in with music but the lyrics really took over immediately.

The main themes are anger, betrayal, revenge. What inspired all that?

Paolo: Personal on some ends but on the other end the world at a large: society, politics, religion… just everything that everyone experiences. I always think it’s funny when people like musicians or artists stick to their lane and not talk about things like that sort of the purpose of having a voice. For us, we need to get that out, to be able to unleash the intensity through the music which matches those words. Just as it’s difficult to make each song sound different, it’s difficult to make lyrics different and not trying to harp on clichés. It’s really tough, we’re a metal band but I want to make sure we don’t always do the metal tropes and the typical things. It’s always about repurposing and remixing ideas, throwing different stuff together. I think that on this record we were really able to do that on every single song.

On this record you officially welcome Alex Bent (drums). Why did you pick him?

Matt: I think that when you hear the record and see the videos you really understand why.

Paolo: We really needed a guy like that! After 3 years of revolving doors and making mistakes, setting ourselves up to the same failures, we had no choice but settle for anything but absolutely what we wanted and needed. Which was a guy that can play every single song in the Trivium catalogue, a guy who understands what this band means, what it means to us, how important it is to be prepared the way we prepare, who comes across the way we come across… all these different things it’s a lot to ask from someone but I feel like because we were not going into it with all these ideas, we kept running into these issues. Alex sent us a video of “Rain”, it was phenomenal, it was perfect! As long as he wasn’t some sort of psycho I was like “this guy’s gonna have to be it!” because he’s just too good! He’s this really unbelievable player yet so humble. He understands he has to work at it and that it’s not a given, that it takes time. It fits right into the way we think about our music and our won playing.



Tough question: could you pick two songs you’re most excited to play live?

Matt: I’ve been gravitating towards “Betrayer and “Sever The Hand” lately. They just so different form anything we’ve ever done and I love that about them.

Paolo: Probably “Betrayer” as well and I definitely can’t wait to play “The Revanchist” because it’s a long song and I’m excited to see Alex play some of those drums parts live!

Let’s talk about our plans, so you’re going on a fall tour in America. Can we expect to see you back in Europe soon to hear the new record live?

Paolo: Probably in spring I think!

Matt: In the beginning of next year, yeah.

Any chance to see you back at Hellfest this year?

Paolo: I’m not sure yet honestly. Definitely in the Spring on an headliner, festivals I’m not sure yet. We’re leaving our schedule open, let the record come out and see what happens based on it.

Matt: Hellfest was amazing, Download France was amazing, Motocultor too! It’s such a metal festival. Hellfest is super metal but then Motocultor is even more extreme metal which I really enjoyed to do! I love the french festivals, I love this country. We’ve been playing lots of new cities, we played Cognac for the first time. I think w’’re the first international metal band that ever played in Cognac which is really cool! We played Marseille… lots and lots of cities! It was great.

Last but not least: our website is called “RockUrLife” so what rocks your life?

Matt: Metal, food, video games, jujitsu!

Paolo: I would say animals, I love them!