Words and Interview by Jonah Lewis
Matt: Matt Heafy; Vocalist/Frontman and Rhythm Guitarist
Corey: Corey Beaulieu; Lead Guitarist
MCBN: Hey guys. Thanks so much for speaking to us first of all. You guys must be tired – you’ve
been going for a few weeks now and you’re set to play in a different city in the world pretty much
every day for the next 5 months at least.
Trivium (Matt) : Oh yeah, we’re never tired. We’re used to this stuff – we got in, went straight to get food, the backyard in Seapoint, straight to Table Mountain, we didn’t even shower.
MCBN: Great, well I’ve got a bunch of questions for you guys. More metal bands are coming into
South Africa now. In flames really started it for us, Lamb of God a few weeks ago and now you
guys are playing alongside Killswitch Engage at Ramfest. Do you think that SA is becoming a
more sought after place for international metal bands, and what did you hear about SA that
pulled you to play here?
Trivium (Matt): Well first off, I really hope this does become a country that bands start touring to. Americans don’t really know much about South Africa. We know the bitter history, that the rest of the world knows, we know the way
it was, but we don’t really know the way it is now. So, having been here for even the 24 hours that we have, we can see that it’s amazing. People are super friendly, the food is incredible, the wine is amazing, the coffees’ amazing, the sites are amazing. I think it takes a stream of bands coming to a country, once or twice, like you say, first In Flames, then Lamb of God, then Trivium and
Killswitch, to open up a place. It takes hitting that streak a couple times, with a couple good bands, to really make that happen. I hope that this opens the door for more and more bands that people want to see coming into this country because this country really is amazing. Just from seeing Cape Town, its’ really, truly something that we’ve never seen before.
MCBN: Matt – you speak a lot about liking to do as the locals do when you tour to other countries.
What kind of things have you been up to in sunny Cape Town?
Trivium (Matt): That’s exactly what we’ve been doing here. Check out these pictures – How do you say the ‘barbecue’ here?
Trivium (Matt): No, isn’t it like, bee-raai?
MCBN: Oh! Braai.
Trivium (Matt): Yeah! So we went to a braai yesterday. First, we went all the way to the top of Table Mountain. I have a terrible fear of heights and that’s the first thing we did. Before that we had a bunch of South African style sea food, tons of South African beer – we wanted to immerse ourselves in what this is, you know. Last night we had a braai. Tons and tons of meat and South African wine. I think that through doing as the locals’ do is the best way to learn about where you are, and that’s how we respect the cultures that we’re in.
Trivium (Corey): And I went out drinking. (laughs)
MCBN: That’s another GREAT thing to do in Cape Town.
Trivium (Corey): Yeah! Our tour manager was planning to take us to Ace n’ Spades. It was supposed to be rock night but apparently last night was the first night they didn’t have rock on a Wednesday. We ended up going to this other place called The Shack. Super cool and not that packed, and everyone at that bar, once they found out that some of the dudes from Trivium were there, came up and spoke to us. They couldn’t believe we were there. Everybody was super awesome and super stoked that we were playing in South Africa, like super appreciative and I had lots of great conversations with the locals.
MCBN: We have a very friendly nation, I can tell you that.
Trivium (Corey): Yeah people are VERY friendly here. A lot friendlier than other countries!
MCBN: So, you’ve toured all around the world. Download fest UK in 2005 was said to have really
set your guys career off as a band. What festival would you tell South Africans to go to around the
Trivium (Corey): Wacken Open air in Germany. As far as metal goes, it’s got pretty much everything. Black metal to power metal. Death metal. Anything you could possibly want from all styles of metal, all packed into one. Wacken is the one you want to go to.
Trivium (Matt): Emperors headlining this year. (points at t shirt) You can tell I’m a big fan. It’s like Game of Thrones out there. They’ve got little villages, future worlds and Viking ships. If you’re a true metal fan, Wacken is the most metal festival in the world.
MCBN: Awesome. We love Game of Thrones down here almost as much as we love Trivium. What
is the most ridiculous thing Trivium has encountered at a festival?
Trivium (Matt): That Download 2005 festival. The fact that we were scheduled to play the 7th stage at 3pm in front of 500 people, got bumped to the main stage for the 11h00 am slot – at 10h59 am the field was empty. Right when we started our intro, 40000 people came running up the hill to see us – we had never played Download before. It was our first tour of the UK. It was absolutely
ridiculous. It shouldn’t happen that way, but it did, and I think that festival, that show, is partially why we’re here today in South Africa. Thanks to that show.
MCBN: Your latest album, Vengeance Falls, you’ve said contains stylistic and musical elements
from the rest of your albums but also it’s very own unique twist. A big part of that is the use of a
completely new producer, David Draiman of Disturbed. You guys speak a lot about change, taking
risks, about pushing boundaries and playing exactly what you guys want to play. Tell us about
this ‘no formula’ formula that you guys have gone by with Vengeance Falls?
Trivium (Corey): There aren’t many bands that can survive by doing the same thing over and over. You see bands do that and die off. Bands that are willing to take risks, to keep developing their music, their playing, their song writing, keep their core elements but offer twists and turns, keep it exciting for fans and for themselves. Obviously we’re not going to go off and make an acoustic album anytime soon, nothing that far off, but for us we like to look at what we’ve done already and see what else we can do from there. We always keep pushing ourselves. I’m always excited to see what each band member comes up with day to day
MCBN: Yeah, I actually love it. Vengeance Falls was your first album that took me longer than 5
minutes to get into, but now I can tell you that it’s really one of my favorite albums.
Trivium (Matt): I like that. Like Corey was saying, we like to make it that every record we do, you never know what you’re getting into. Look at a band like Queen; every single record was drastically different. Look at Metallica, every record drastically different.
Trivium (Corey): As a band constantly pushing the boundaries of our sound, people listen and sometimes don’t get it immediately, they sometimes don’t like it, but eventually they do and they love it. They respect the change; it just takes a little while to understand it. Like our Shogun record – when it first came out, we had the same thing. It took a while to grow on people and now people are saying you know, ‘oh my g-d, it’s such a legendary record’… it took a couple years to settle in but it’s cool that we challenge people to listen to our records properly. People listen and get new elements and enjoy the shifting details in the songs
that take a while to sink in.
MCBN: We found Vengeance Falls to be much more raw than your other material. We’ve always
spoken about Trivium being the perfect mix between creative and mechanic. Two very far apart
words but if put together, create something very rare. You never miss a note, a chance to
harmonize, to improve on the last verse, the last bridge, you never miss an opportunity to push
each song to its’ full creative potential while keeping each note and bar perfectly audible and
absolutely in line. Your music almost sounds completely perfect. This album was a lot more raw.
Trivium (Matt): (Laughs) We love that. Yeah, this album we didn’t use any auto tune. No vocal correction. There are moments when the drums and guitars are slightly off the grid, moments where I’m not perfectly in key and I think it really shows the human element – it finally captures what our live sound is on a record. I’m not saying we aren’t playing it as well as we can, but I think
perfection sometimes IS imperfection. When things are too perfect, like a lot of bands, particularly metal core, you hear too much auto tune like you hear in pop, and it doesn’t sound right to me. I’d rather hear somebody slightly miss the note than get it right on the spot with a whole bunch of tuners and edits.
Trivium (Corey): Bands nowadays are going on tours and recording albums on laptops, and programming in fake drums and it just sounds so fake. It begs you to ask what actually is real on the records you listen to. It pushes us to go in the opposite direction, you know. A lot of the time people can’t sing for sh*t, you know. So on this record, yeah,we play to a click track, but we didn’t edit any of the drums, we actually can play all the guitar parts – nothings gridded, you just play it till you get it right. This album was a kind of reaction to everybody being so sterile and fake on records. We just wanted it to be as real as, you know, a band sounding on a record as possible.
MCBN: You guys have become especially renowned worldwide for the intensity of your live act.
What can South Africa expect? Tell us how to prepare ourselves.
Trivium (Matt): (Laughs) Well they’re finally getting a Trivium show. They’ll finally understand why everybody else everywhere else has been talking about it – let’s just leave it at that.
MCBN: Thanks guys. We’ll see you tomorrow night.
Trivium (Matt): Awesome, thanks for the kind words and the chat.