We caught up with Trivium's Matt Heafy to talk about guitars, gear, and plans for the band's new album, which the band have been recording this year in sessions with producer David Draiman.
Hi Matt, thanks for chatting to us, first of all, let's dive right in with a gear question. The guitar sound on In Waves during the opening riff is the epitome of classic chugging metal, and then in the verses you're getting a much more modern sound. Do you take the different parts of a song and analyse which amps and guitars are going to be better for those parts, or is it more a case of just dialing in the right tone on one amp?
"With the guitar tones of Trivium on record, there is always a main Rhythm Guitar tone, a main melody tone (one for Corey, one for myself), main lead tones (one for each guitarist), and any auxiliary tones we may need; although there aren't typically too many of these.
"Metal to me has always been about a consistency in tonality: utilizing a singular tone for the bulk of the required job - rhythms in this case. The tone you're mentioning is only one guitar tone (with 2 guitars on the left, 2 on the right of pretty much identical gear - only a different actual physical performance). Every record is a different combination of gear, but it's never overly complicated; sometimes we have the final tone immediately, but in most cases the final tone isn't truly until Mastering is completed."
It's well documented that you're using a Peavey 5150 in the studio, why have you stuck with the legendary metal amp?
"I find my ethos on gear to be: Whatever works for you, works for you. There is no 'right or wrong' other than the right or wrong a musician sees for themselves. In my mind, there has never been a better Metal amp than the 5150 and everything spawned from it.
"Our left and right tracking amps were an original, block letter 5150 that actually belonged to Eddie Van Halen, Slash, and Sammy Hagar (they all kept passing the amp around I suppose). The center tracking amp was a 3120; all heads went into a Mesa 4x12 cab (an A regular sized I believe). In Waves featured original block letter 5150's as well - we just prefer to search for those on each album."
You were using Axe-FX for gigs though, something we've noticed a lot of metal musicians doing over the past few years, what attracted you to the idea of running a completely digital rig through the PA?
"Trivium currently uses the Kemper Profiler Rack units live. The tone we use in our Kemper's is the actual tone that Colin Richardson (our mixer on our 6th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd albums) used on our 6th record. For us - it is about embracing technology and minimalism of gear when performing. We want as little as possible between our hands and the listeners' ears. It isn't for everyone - but it is for us. Kemper's directly into the P.A. - no cabs, no mics, no heads, no nonsense."
In Waves took a long time to come together as an album, people couldn't wait to get their hands on it when it came out in 2011. When there's a big build up like that, does it raise the stakes for you as an artist, as opposed to releasing an album which was written and recorded very quickly?
"Thankfully the long pause created a sense of suspense for our fans - however the pause was due to major changes that happened to our record label, Roadrunner. Obviously everything is sorted now, but it was amidst the WEA-acquisition that we were slated to begin our record - needless to say - that pushed it back a bit. I do prefer to take as much time as we can during album-creation."
You've been in the studio once again, working with David Draiman. How has the sound changed since In Waves, and have you changed the way you are working in the studio at all?
"The beauty of Trivium is that our fans never know what we're going to do next; we are not afraid to experiment and go beyond the bounds and limits of what is expected of us. David Draiman was the most hands-on producer we have ever worked with - he helped Trivium achieve creating a truly monstrous album.
"Every record we do is recorded slightly differently - whether in location or staff involved, writing process or creative process; we like to constantly evolve our process."
Click here: Page 2 (Matt talks about the new record)