How would you say how the turnout has been for the All Hope is Gone Tour, despite the financial chaos going on right now?
This is definitely one of the tours NOT affected by the financial downturn. I’ll tell you, we were on a tour in Europe that was following this tour around that we weren’t on yet, and the European leg kicked the shit out of everyone’s. Right now in the States, it’s pretty much doing the same thing. Luckily, we’re a part of it. [laughs]
Is there anything that is different you’ve noticed for this tour than some of your previous ones?
Yeah, there’s about… I’d say six-seven thousand more people! [laughs] But, it’s been great, there’s a lot of new people out. I definitely feel like we’re making progress on this one because of all of the new people are out, really feeling what we’re doing.
How do you, the bassist, try to establish that certain connection with the audience?
How do I? Um… Hmmm.
[background voice: Muscle Milk!]
Yeah, Muscle Milk! Just like Travis said! [laughs] I don’t know… I just go out and just be as energetic as possible. I mean, that’s really all you can do. You just act like a crazy madman and try to play my bass parts as good as I can. [laughs]
When you’re on stage performing , when you look to the crowd and make eye contact with a fan, what exactly are you thinking, or do you actually see them?
Man, I wish I could see myself! Sorry [laughs], that’s horrible! No…(laughs) Just when it’s a Trivium fan, you just got to acknowledge them, especially when they got the shirt on and they’re singing the words, you know, in the sea of Slipknot fans. So I just point to them and give them the thumbs up and flex my muscles at them.
If it’s a girl?
If it’s a girl? Um…I don’t know.
[background voice: Spit in their face and walk away!]
Sorry for all the commentary in the back! [laughs] Uh, if it’s a chick… Lets see… I don’t know, just gotta flex my muscles, you know? Give em’ a show; give em something to look at! You know, just to go along with the music.
What runs through your mind when you see yourself on magazine covers?
I’ll try to answer this serious… Um… I don’t know, it’s kind of weird, like, sometimes it’s weird watching myself in videos and stuff or magazine covers, the same thing. I mean, I guess it’s cool. It’s stuff for my parents to collect. [laughs]
What and/or whom inspired you to become a bassist?
Um…Let’s see, I would say- well what inspired me to definitely stick with playing bass in metal, was definitely like Cliff Burton, Steve Harris, and gotta say- gotta give it to Joey DeMaio as well, and D from Overkill. Those are probably four like favorite metal bass players.
Would you say it’s challenging sometimes to write bass tabs to keep up with the percussion?
Um…I don’t know, I just kind of, I don’t know, I just get in the room and start jamming and stuff. I mean everything kind of works together where you don’t write music to kind of show each other up, per se. But, I don’t know, we just get in, we just- whatever the song calls for, I definitely don’t try to write all my parts like it’s a bass solo. If every note isn’t like heard completely defined, like I don’t get pissed or anything, it’s all about making the song, you know, the best it can be. At the end of the day with Trivium, that’s all it’s about, is the song.
When you auditioned for Trivium in 2004, did you and the band automatically know that you were “it”?
Well, when I came in, I guess, it was just kind of like a trial thing to see first of all if we just all got along, and if it would work and just at the end they asked me to stay, so it wasn’t definitely a set thing. We had so much fun on that tour that I was glad they asked me to stick around.
How did it feel to have gone straight to touring with Machine Head shortly after you auditioned?
Well that was my audition, was that tour.
Yeah. I wasn’t in the band yet; I was just kind of helping out and trying to see if this was something I actually wanted to do, did I want to be in a van and live my life like shit a couple months at a time? I definitely, definitely wanted to when I got out; it was so much fun; the first tour ever being with Machine Head, that was like an honor. We learned a lot. When we went home from that tour, we were such a different band; I wish I could see video from that again. I mean, I don’t know. There’s probably a video of us from then, but we were such a different band. So, it’d be funny to watch and then compare it to now; just the energy, the way we engaged to the crowd. We definitely had a lot of experience since then.
How did it feel though, like what were you feeling?
When we played with Machine Head?
I don’t know, it was just– they definitely– I would say on that tour, they kicked the shit out of us every night. But, it was our first major US tour; it was good though. It was definitely- just watching them every night was inspiring. I definitely feel like they’re one of our mentor bands, you know? I consider them just as big of an influence on us as Metallica and [Iron] Maiden.
So, Trivium is heavily influenced by Metallica, would you say that–
[Matt Heafy interrupts with a James Hetfield “Yeah!”]
[laughs] We do our James Hetfield warm-ups before we go on!
Good to know, that’s cool though! [laughs] But would you say that Metallica was “robbed” again at the Grammy’s this year?
Ummm…Didn’t they win like something?
I don’t know, not for the rock album of the year. Coldplay won – c’mon!
We didn’t get nominated, so [laughs] I guess, I don’t know. I think� You know what, they’ve sold a couple million albums; I wouldn’t give a shit about a Grammy if I was selling that much! [laughs]
But yeah, I don’t know. I thought they won something� Wasn’t it like Best Metal? – But they don’t even show metal on TV anymore; it’s like down the street at like a bar. Hey, here’s your fucking Grammy! [laughs]
Are you guys planning to cover another Metallica song in the future?
I don’t know, um… I don’t – I would definitely love to. Like, when we did that Metallica tribute, I wanted to do a couple songs, but I don’t think Brian wanted us to do more than one. We had to go with Master of Puppets, which is my favorite Metallica song, my favorite song of all time. So, I don’t know, I’d like to do maybe an instrumental; that would be kind of cool.
If you could do another Metallica song, which at one would you do?
Oh, that’s hard! Um… Definitely, I would pick To Live is to Die; that would be cool.
When you guys changed your vocal style, some fans hated it, whereas others loved it, and you guys gained even a larger fan base; do you think that with Shogun, since it has some of the “old” Trivium sound, that you may have gained some of your old fans back?
Well, I think with The Crusade, we didn’t necessarily just change vocals, I think we accentuated more of the clean singing, definitely. I mean, if you listen to Ascendency, especially like Departure and Declaration, it had more of the heavy, heavy vocals that weren’t screaming, but wasn’t totally clean singing. I think we definitely on The Crusade, wanted to go for something a little bit different than Ascendency. It’s just a risky take, I guess doing stuff like that. But, we just wanted to do it; we didn’t want to just be pigeon hold to just one thing. I definitely think with every album, no matter what band you are, I think- let me take Slipknot for example, they’ve definitely had their phases with their CDs; I mean stylistically it’s changed and I’m sure they’ve lost fans from the beginning, gained fans back, and gained new fans along the way. It’s kinda the same thing for us, I mean yeah� We’ve probably definitely lost fans, definitely won some back, and I’m sure when we first came out, there’s definitely people that kind of hop on the bandwagon of “oh this is what’s cool now, so I’m gonna like this.” You know, they probably don’t like us anymore and probably won’t like us cause they keep hopping from trend to trend. So, I mean those people, we don’t want. We want the people who are diehard fans that are with us for life and dig what we do. And you know what? A lot of people rag on The Crusade, but we took the chance of changing things up and that’s just what it is, you know? When we came into Shogun, we had a different, totally different focus- or we refocused and we had a totally different vision of what we want the Trivium sound to be and where we want to go.
That kind of answers my next question, but…
Oh, sorry. [laughs]
What would you say is the main difference between Shogun and The Crusade?
And The Crusade? Um, I would say�There’s definitely a lot of differences, but not just the obvious ones like the vocal stuff. But I think we have, like I said, the focus; we’re a lot more focused than we were and I think we’ve grown up as people, you know? Definitely matured a lot more in the sense of writing and how we go about making our albums and things have definitely changed a lot. And even on tour, it’s a totally different outlook on music-how we write music, how we tour, and just how we are.
You guys obviously just released your album in September of 2008, Shogun; are there any plans for another album soon?
Not necessarily that soon, but we’ve been writing. So, we have a lot-actually a lot of stuff. We’re definitely talking a lot more about the next album, way sooner than we did with Shogun and obviously like even way, way sooner than The Crusade. It was like going from Ascendency- like if I could’ve changed anything from that period, I wish we took a little bit of time away before going right into the studio. We hadn’t experienced that yet. We have, you know, our whole lifetime to make Ascendency and stuff; we weren’t a touring band yet. We hadn’t been through that experience of touring and then taking time to be away from it, being away from the band and the music to kind of recharge, and then get back into it and focus. It was kind of like “get off tour, record the album, go right back on tour!” Like a day after Matt finished the last vocal for The Crusade, we were on a plane going to Germany to play a festival and debut a song that we have barely ever played.
I bet that was a little challenging!
Yeah, that was a little nerve-racking, and we definitely learned a lot. So, [laughs] you gotta go through it though, you know? If you don’t make mistakes like that- not that it was a mistake, but if you don’t go through that experience, you know, you’ll never know what you should do.
What can fans be expecting for the new album, since you guys have kind of been working on it a little bit?
Um, wow. I mean things are definitely going to change, but we’ve definitely all have been writing very similar- it all fits well together. When I was listening to demos of Shogun the other day with Cory, our ideas were so all over the place when we first started guitar demos; right now, if we had to go in and do a bunch of demos, it would sound like an actual album coming together, as opposed to just dudes just randomly bringing up ideas that are just totally out there. It’s hard to say, it’s just more of what Shogun and some of the other CDs we’ve done, and have kind of left off from there. I don’t want to give too much away because I’m not totally sure of where we’re going with it. But it’s cool though, heavy as shit. It’s probably going to be a little heavier than Shogun, maybe, some of the parts.
When you’re on the road, what kind of bands are in your iPod playlist?
Um, I listen to-when I’m warming up, I listen to a lot of chilled out shit, like Frank Sinatra. Just a lot more peaceful, I can like stretch and not think about the show or anything like that. Um, when we have parties on the bus, it’s the standard, you know what you’d hear at a metal bar, like you know the Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, not the heavy, heavy stuff, but stuff that like everybody can sing along to and get drunk.
You guys are going to be on the Mayhem Fest this summer on the main stage that features a very diverse lineup including Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Cannibal Corpse, and even Bullet For My Valentine, do you think that this signifies a unification for all metal-heads as well as metal artists?
Um, I definitely think artists definitely feel a lot more of a bond. I mean, I’m sure everyone is gonna, for the most part get along, whether you’re in a death metal band or whatever you’re in. I don’t know, there’s definitely going to be people there that are kind of the elite “I can only listen to this band” but yet they’re still going to go see the band they don’t like and probably like flick them off or something, which would make sense. But luckily in the festival, I mean, it’s all about having fun, and I hope-I think for the most part people that come out are gonna just be there to have fun and you know what, even if you’re not way into a band, it’s like just get in the crowd ,just fucking mosh, you know? Do something cool, go get a beer, that’s what these festivals are for, it’s just camaraderie. In Europe, I’ve noticed that a lot more, people go to just have fun. I mean, they don’t necessarily like every band there, but when you spent money for a ticket, why don’t you just have a fun time as opposed to dissecting you know, every single genre you’re seeing for the day? Just rock out!
Well, that concludes this interview, unless you would like to say anything else?
I just gotta thank Trivium fans for supporting us through everything we’ve done so far and hopefully for the next 15-20-or whatever, however long we’re around, just thanks!