Matt Heafy: "I can sing and scream for 2-3 hours a day"

Trivium

Trivium's new album The Sin and The Sentence is coming out Friday 20th of October, so we've enlisted the help of Dave 'Higgo' Higgins to have a yack to frontman Matt Heafy about the new record, and what he's been getting up to lately! Read on to find out everything you need to know about screaming, Matt's new Youtube channel, gaming rigs, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and more...

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Dave:

The Sin and The Sentence is out October 20th, and one of the things I’ve been doing in the lead up is watching the ‘making of’ videos, and the one that has stuck with me was the one where you talk about your vocal warm ups and how for this album, at least in part, you decided to forgo them and do things that would hurt your voice. But you found you had an almost ‘auto save’ kicking in to protect your voice. How long did it take to unlearn technique?

Matt:
It only took about 5 minutes for the actual tonality to come back, and it’s funny, I kept swearing to myself ‘I will never do this type of screaming again, I will never do this type of screaming again’ and then, here we are. And the way it happened, with our producer Josh, what’s cool with working with him is, he’s known us since the beginning, like he saw our CBGB’s show in like 2004, so he’s been a fan of the band for a very long time, and he was like ‘Man I wanna hear that classic Matt Heafy scream, that’s what I want, you gotta do it’. I was telling him about my ‘live’ way and that there’s a safe technique to do it, and that we could make it sound tough. The big differences between live singing and screaming and record singing and screaming is live you have to find a way to stay sustainable. With a band like us we do 3-5 shows in a row, a day off 3-5 shows, and anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hour sets so it has to be something that’s sustainable, it has to be something that works without blowing out. And with records, you have to give it your all, you have to be swinging for the fences every single time, and you have to throw technique out the door sometimes.

So with Josh, we decided to get all the clean vocals done first, and when we finished all those vocals (mains and harmonies) Josh looked at me and said ‘hey man I hate to tell you this, you got better, so let’s go do another pass on the entire record again’, so we did all the cleans again, and he said ‘I hate to tell you this again, but you got better again’ so we did all the entire record a third time, of all the main clean vocals.

After that, I said ‘Are you sure we’re done?’ and he said ‘yes we’re done, but I need you to patch up a couple of things, incorrectly’. Now I know that sounds pretty weird, but there’s singing correctly and there’s singing incorrectly, and sometimes when you do it incorrectly you can get aggression and grit out of other things that you typically wouldn’t be able to by hitting it harder than you should, my singing teacher would be very mad at me if he heard I was doing that.

So once we got all of that done, I said alright, let’s get this screaming done. So we spent, one 8 hour day, where I screamed for fucking 6 or 7 or 8 hours in an entire day, in patching all the screams for the entire record, coz I said ‘if I’m gunna do this, I wanna do it one efficient day and get it done.’, and I think it’s one of the most brutal screaming performances I’ve ever had, and it came out great. I felt like I had the flu for the rest of the night. We went out for Japanese BBQ, and slammed a pitcher of beer, and the next day I felt a little better.

Dave:
Trivium fans will be glad to hear it, because you’ve been through stages where you’ve done clean records, but they love the screaming.

Matt:
Yeah it’s funny, I’ve quit screaming multiple times in our bands history like Crusade I said I’ve stopped doing it and then I brought it back, I said I wasn’t gunna do it on Shogun and then I brought it back, and then I quit it again when I hurt my voice, and now it’s back again. Thankfully I’ve got the techniques now, I’ve got the live sustainable screaming down. I can sing and scream for 2-3 hours a day at home, in fact it’s part of my regime and that’s what’s built up the stamina for live, and now for records, I know that I can go in and do it correctly, and then incorrectly just for Josh.

Dave:
Has the album been all consuming or have you had time to enjoy your other loves, BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) cooking?

Matt:
yeah when I’m home it’s like 5 days a week of jiu-jitsu, 1-2 hours a day, when I’m the road it’s about an hour max a day, and I’m very lucky, our head of security, he’s a retired MMA fighter so I have constant training partner in him who kicks my ass and keeps me humble and keeps me in check. I’ve also recently got into twitch streaming, my channel is kiichichaosreigns, so I’ve been doing that, I actually got a sick endorsement from ASUS and they made me an insane gaming rig. So weekdays when I’m at home I’ll stream for an hour or two . I’ve also got a YouTube channel now where I do covers, actually right before this interview I was working on some Trivium songs on acoustic. I’m not cooking as much, but still love food to death, it’s still my favourite thing over games and jiu-jitsu, but when I’m home, my wife and I are cooking more healthy, so that when we’re on the road we can splurge a little bit.

Dave:
Mate we have to talk about it.. when are you coming back?

Matt:
There’s no formal set schedule right now, you know I’m sure we’ll be there in the future, it’s one of our favourite places to be, one of the favourite places in the world to eat drink and sight see and hang out, I’ve always described Australia as, imagine all the best part of Florida and California, except that’s the entire country. I would assume on this record cycle, but hopefully sooner rather than later.

Dave:
Well you know there’s that hot rumour of Download happening in March next year down here, so feel free to jump on board that.

Matt:
Yeah I’d be down, I’d be down! Ya know it sucks what happened in the concert market in Australia, and I hope that it can rebound from the trauma that it took, but don’t worry, we will be there.

 

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