Are you surprised with the turnout tonight as they have shut off the top level and you have previously sold out this venue several times?
Heafy: We kept hearing before we came over [to the UK] that tickets were not going to sell well but we’ve just came from two sold out shows and all the shows that haven’t sold out, the pre-sales were extremely high with a lot of tickets then being bought at the door. I don’t think people have money to buy tickets ahead of time or they can afford to spend £30 for a ticket but then they are unsure if they have to work that night. We then have five other tours to compete with just now, for example Machine Head were here just last night. If I were a music fan then I’d have an extremely tough decision picking between In Flames or Machine Head, Trivium or Bring Me The Horizon, Rise To Remain or DevilDriver. We have been told to expect some rough nights but so far it has been really good unless you just jinxed it.
Yeah this is the week for gigs here in Glasgow. We have Every Time I Die with Trash Talk here tomorrow and then on Friday we have Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Steel Panther.
It’s ridiculous just how much is going on here this week. Everyone is suffering because of all the bands that are here this week. You need to make the decision that you can only afford one or two shows at most. It doesn’t help bands as we’re just competing against each other for fans and money and we all end up losing something. If it does turn out that the top floor is closed tonight then I won’t be upset about it, there are just too many good gigs this week in Glasgow.
How many years is this in a row that you have either toured with In Flames or featured on the same festival line-up as, around five or six?
Heafy: I think so. They are one of my favourite bands and have been since I was around fourteen years old. It has been amazing touring with them and I think we’ve done five tours together and we have another three next year.
“Defenders Of Faith” is the name given to this tour by Metal Hammer so what does that mean to you?
Heafy: We’re just incredibly excited that Metal Hammer is up to promoting and supporting bands still. There are so many magazines who used to be about bands who were about something, if you get what I mean, but nowadays they are just tabloid flavour of the month type things and they don’t dedicate their time to real bands. It is nice to see that some people are still backing career bands. For us, we’re a band who are not about the cliché of what a metal band is meant to look and sound like or be. Our thing is all about bringing outside influences of everything to allow metal to become something different.
Did you ever worry in the early days, as you set yourself out to be a career band, that the statements you released about being the biggest band who come back to haunt you?
Heafy: No I think it was a good thing because all of these bands who came out and said “we’re just happy to be playing in front of fifty people” are gone now. We were the only band who had the balls to say that we were going to be the biggest band in the world and that’s why we’re still around. We are still working our way towards that goal and we don’t aim to slow down. All of the other bands who hated on that and weren’t happy with us saying stuff like that are all gone now.
As you had that statement following you, and people used it to criticise you and what you were doing, do you feel you that forced you to look at yourself and think “I have to grow up, I need to mature” so you could handle what was to come?
Heafy: We’re the only band that had to come out and grow up in the public eye. There were no other bands progressing in the way we were at the age of eighteen with our first record, they were all in their thirties, so we just had a little more time than everyone else. Nowadays the only time I will ever read anything about our band is if I know it is 100% positive because there is no need to read anything negative, it doesn’t matter.
I was going to ask you if you read the comments online and what people were currently saying about yourself or the band.
Heafy: It’s a waste of time and really it doesn’t matter. We’re doing exactly what we want to do for a living so there is no reason to ever think about or doubt it or let someone’s negativity cloud your mind around that. There are people who love what we do so even if ticket sales are not good or there aren’t as many people as there should be, there will still be people there, people who love it and want to have a good time and that is all a band needs to concentrate on.
At the time of ‘The Crusade’ you did let some of that negativity control what you were doing though.
Heafy: Well yeah I suppose. For me that was when I was still eighteen/nineteen/twenty years old and still struggling with the fact that people didn’t like the band and for me, on ‘The Crusade’, I wanted to see if there was a style that we could do that the people who didn’t originally like us would like. All that ended up doing in the end was alienating ourselves from ourselves. That’s why with ‘In Waves’ we didn’t think “are people going to like this or will they dislike this,” we didn’t care, we just made the kind of music that we wanted to hear as music fans. As selfish as that may sound, that’s the best way a band can make their best art, by just making it for them.
Do you think you will ever make such a big departure again?
Heafy: There are things that Trivium will never be and things that we will never do. We’ll never have a country song, we’ll never have a spoken word song and we’ll never do anything like that because we know who we are as a band. All four of us are free to explore and try different things outside of the band but Trivium is what it is and we know we’ll never have something that sounds like an eighties rock song. Those are things that we’ve tried and it’s great that we tried them, I’ll never take that back and I’d never go back and fix it because it was a moment in time and we shouldn’t change that sort of thing because it allows you to grow. Every mistake you make allows you to become the person you are now. I think nowadays we know who are and we know what our next record needs to sound like and what we’re suppose to do but then again another big thing about our sound is that people will never know what to expect, it’s always going to be something different but different along the lines of what we are.
What kind of experimentation did you have with this album?
Heafy: We had everything from cardboard tubes being played as didgeridoos to broken kick drums being played with Starbucks napkin covered drum mallets, out of tune piano parts, falsetto singing and all scream songs. We’re always trying new things that will fit into the realm of what we are and that’s still the thing that we’re not even sure what that is. I guess that is kind of contradictory to the first answer but you know what I mean. We’ll never do something that is not us. If one of us in the band wants to try something that is obviously not us then the other three will just say that it isn’t going to work.
You did talk about redefining yourself within metal so what was it exactly that you wanted to do, was it to push boundaries and show people there can still be a lot more done within this genre or was it to showcase more of what Trivium are and what they mean to this genre?
Heafy: Well the big thing about metal was that metal was meant to be the answer to everything. Well it was the answer to everything that was going on when [Judas] Priest and [Iron] Maiden came out because it was something different, something different to the mainstream. When they set up that formula of what a metal bands looks and sounds like, their music videos look like, their album artwork looks like, their t-shirts look like, how the band acts, sounds and talks like, they set up a formula which is still around to this day. Metal is where I come from, it is what brought me to this life and it is what I love, however a lot of bands are so set in their cliché ways that they are afraid to go outside of the boundaries and allow other styles of music to influence them. They refuse to let other styles of art to permeate into what they do. That is why, with ‘In Waves’, our music videos have no performance, our live DVD that came with the album had no crowd and our documentary had no colour. Our music is free to go in whatever direction it wishes to go in and off-stage we’re free to talk about what we want to talk about. I mean I talk about food and yoga, being a good person and accepting all styles of lifestyle which, typically when someone is an outsider to metal, is not what they would expect. I think it is realising that we’re all normal people but the music that we makes transcends us as people and that’s where we connect with our fans.
I suppose it’s easier when you start in a band and in this industry to be the stereotypical rock star because people expect that of you and they are unsure how to deal with people coming in with a completely different outlook on life. It just all comes back to that point of finding out who you are as a person and what your music means to you.
Heafy: Exactly and that is something we’re completely against. I think that’s what I usually reference to of being the opposite of what is expected of us. We just do it the way we want to do it. Metal is and always has been the answer to everything that is the same, so we’re applying metals exact ethos to itself.
Do you think trying to live that stereotypical rock star lifestyle is what causes so many bands to call it quits after only a few years?
Heafy: I would say so. I don’t think it was a big problem many years ago because the industry was stronger then, but today yes. You have to work a lot harder and if you are not prepared to work for it then that lifestyle will cause a lot of problems in the long run. You look at the guys who have been doing this for over ten or twenty years now, they may still have that same look but the way they live their life is completely different now.
You mentioned the visual elements in regards to what you are doing differently this time around with ‘In Waves’ with the music videos, live DVD and documentary but was this ever such a big focus on previous albums?
Heafy: It was always a point but no, not as big and I think that is why as a band who had to grow up in the public eye, when our first record came out when I was like sixteen years old, we didn’t know what we were going to look like as a band. Yeah some bands pull off the street clothes look and that’s awesome, the way they look on stage is the way they look off stage, but I wanted to bring to more of a performance level. When you step into ‘In Waves’ it’s a mini-world, everything goes with everything else. The artwork goes with what we wear on stage, which goes with the music videos, which then goes with our live DVD and it goes with everything that is everything. Some bands don’t need to do it like I said and it is perfect for them but we wanted to take it to the next level and we wanted everything to have a cohesive vision. With the next record we’ll do the same thing, a cohesive vision, a different vision than this vision but a cohesive vision. It’s just what we wanted to do and I know that not everyone who is into our band is going to go into all of those levels of everything, they are just going to enjoy the music at surface value which is fine but people who want to dig further and see how it all relates will have fun seeing that.
How much of the visual elements contributed to this album came from you? Is this something that you like to explore more outside of the band whether it is in the way of directing videos or maybe other types of art that you wish you could put your talents towards outside of the band?
Heafy: I’m always writing other things whether it serious or jokes songs. I did a joke emo song when I was eighteen because I was thinking “this style of music is really easy, I bet I could write a full song that would be a radio single in twenty minutes” and I did it, it’s called ‘Tomorrow Is Monday’ and it’s on YouTube. I’m always writing other styles of music just to keep my song writing exercises going and I do scoring back home for local companies and stuff. Just little things that always keep my brain going like even just playing the guitar, it doesn’t have to be song writing. With our music videos and the overall vision I feel that the conceptualisation of ‘In Waves’ was like I came up with the idea and passed it down to the visual artists who can actually create it. We had five visual artists because I’m not capable of creating clothing or visual art or graphic design but a lot of my good friends are so I can help work the ideas with them and go on to create it; it is all about being constantly creative. With the [music] videos I always come up with the basic idea of what the video will be. With ‘In Waves’, all the videos that we are doing are meant to tie into one and I do have this five to ten video vision of how it will all work together but it is just being able to execute it. I’m always working with our video director to come up with different shots and stuff. I’ve recently got into photography and I post a lot of that stuff online through my blog.
Your food blog is something I want to ask you about but I’ll touch on yoga first. How does yoga help you in terms of being a musician; does it help you just keep a clear mind and help you focus on what you’re doing?
Heafy: The biggest things are the mental benefits for me. I got into it about two years ago and the physical side effects are really helping me to stay in shape so I can just continue to eat what I want, when I want but the mental thing has been the best. I find that on the days that I do it I’m able to handle life a lot better afterwards and the days I don’t do it then it feels a little trickier. That could be a placebo effect or maybe it is the real thing but either way I think it is important for people in bands to find other things to do while on the road because technically, we only have to work for an hour and a half set, time for sound check and some interviews so there are a lot of hours for us to kill. You really need to have that other outlet and something that can help you flourish.
I don’t know your routine from several years ago but these days you are looking fitter and healthier and your voice is still sounding stronger, especially from a singing view and not screaming.
Heafy: Thank you.
Is there anything that you do for your voice to help condition it or do you still take any lessons to help you further your ability because there can only be so many years that you scream for before you have to start considering how this will affect you later in your career?
Heafy: No lessons for me now, I did take some over the years past and I found that it was very helpful to find out how to start singing and know the fundamentals of everything. I find that with teachers of all things in life, especially singing teachers as they are very opinionated, they will put things in your head like things that you can’t do and shouldn’t do but actually the most helpful person in my life for vocals was Paolo [Gregoletto] our bass player. Paolo has no singing training what so ever but he’s a great singer and he told me to just stop thinking about it, just do it, whereas singing teachers will tell you to think about the mechanics and think about this and that, don’t do this, do that, don’t drink this and don’t touch that. Austin [Dickinson] from Rise To Remain was asking me for some vocal tips before this tour and I said here is what I do but don’t take it too much to heart because you have to find what works for you. I told him that I don’t know what I’m doing when I scream as I’ve never had a screaming lesson in my life, I just do it. Honestly for this entire tour, the bus company that we’re using MZ, this German bus company, we booked one specific bus and everything was pre-booked and pre-arranged, we saw the pictures and paid for it and they sent us something else. This bus was decrepit and falling apart. The driver knocked off the exhaust pipe and it filled our bus with diesel fumes and that messed up my voice quite a bit. I woke up coughing and hacking and still two days ago I was still hurting from that. From all of the years of doing shows and all of the years of doing what we do, I guess I’ve learned that even when I spend all day thinking “I’m going to sound like crap, my voice is done”, and I do psych myself out really bad, but when I go on stage, as long as I have the control there or my hour of yoga, my voice still pulls off perfectly. There have been days on this tour when I have not been able to talk at all and I’ve sounded like a smoker but the show sounded exactly how it should have. I don’t know if it is from the years of all of the singing or, well yeah I think it is probably from that, from all the years of practice.
Yeah it has become second nature now and you know the songs so well that you know when you can afford to relax your voice and push it or improvise if required pushing you through to the end.
Heafy: Yeah exactly. All of these shows that we have done as well as the albums, it helps build a stamina up so that even when it shouldn’t work, it still does. Then the mental element of being able to know the songs and know how I work my voice to them just helps me control what I am doing for the audience.
We’ll touch on food now and I interviewed Peter [Iwers, In Flames bassist] before I came down here and I was talking to him about the restaurant but he was ordering from the take-away just next door when I was in so I know he wasn’t exploring Scottish food.
Have you had time today or last night when you arrived to try Scottish food?
Heafy: I just did today, this morning. This morning we went to The Butterfly And The Pig which is a place I went to four and a half years ago on The Black Crusade tour and this morning I had blood sausage pudding with quail egg and that was the salad and it was unbelievable. Then my main was haggis and that was amazing so I will be blogging about that soon. I had deep friend haggis four times ago we played here but today was the best haggis that I’ve ever had at The Butterfly And The Pig. That blog should be up in about a month or so because I have a lot more cities that I have to get through before todays.
I was asking Peter if he took the chance last night or today as they were at the Machine Head show last night but he said he never had the chance and was wishing he had something better than fast food to go for.
Heafy: That black pudding salad was just amazing; he should have gone out and tried it.
Just two main questions to go before we wrap up. Obviously growing up you had major influences, Metallica and In Flames are two bands that inspired you to be where you are today but how does it feel when you hear of new bands, especially those with promise or like Austin who wanted your tips, how does it feel to be the one that people now look up to?
Heafy: It’s really amazing. It’s something that I’m aware of, something that I’m not jaded by or overly blown away or under appreciative of, it’s something that I’m conscious of and I want to make sure that I’m always providing a great example of being in a band and being a good person, that sort of thing. There are a lot of young fans who emulate what their favourite bands do and I find that bands that portray the over sexed, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, womanising, racist image, that we’ve obviously never been, really need to look at themselves. There are bands who act like that in the press but off stage and away from the press they are really nice normal guys but their fans are going to be emulating the stage persona. I’ve found that since we’ve always put in a positive thing, like nowadays our shows have a lot less division between the stage us and the off stage us, don’t get me wrong it is still an intense show but back in the day it was probably a little more farcical as we were still finding who we were at eighteen/nineteen years old. Back then it was a very angry and intense show and we were saying this and saying that were nowadays, when other bands tour with us and their crew meets our fans or venue staff meet our fans, they all come back and say “your fans are really nice and polite people.” They are just like us, they are normal people who just like heavy music and that have a common love for the same thing that we are doing and I’m really appreciative of that. I remember Pat [Lundy] from Rise [To Remain] was telling us that he was at our Astoria show when he was fifteen years old and in the pit and stuff like that and it really is amazing that bands can be influenced by us. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for In Flames. In Flames are one of my absolute favourite bands in the whole world and if I didn’t get into them then I would have probably never had been signed and would be doing something else. I’m sure it is just as weird when I go up and tell them that [they influenced me] as it is when Rise [To Remain] come up and tell me that. I’m always aware that people are into our band and the people who do look up to us, I always want to make sure I am setting a good example so that when they meet me, even if I am having a shit day, I treat them with the same respect. I feel that we always do that when we meet fans. We used to get a bad rap, going back to the second or third question you asked me, with people saying things about our band and I think a lot of that came down to the cockiness of our teen years. Yeah I don’t have that same thing where I am saying things that brash but I’m very happy that I was that way because it made a statement.
It helped you make a mark and make people aware of you no matter what they thought of you.
Heafy: Exactly and we were the only ones with the guts to do that and I’m happy that I was able to do that and then grow into where we are today mentally. Yeah I still have goals of wanting to be a band who can put on a production the size of [Iron] Maiden or Rammstein, those are my goals, but if we’re still this size forever then this still isn’t a bad gig. I get to play guitar for a living, travel the world and eat cool food and drink cool booze so even if we are this size from here on out then I’d be cool with that. It would be nice if the Rammstein thing happened because I have production ideas for our band.
You just played again recently with Iron Maiden so what is it like when you get that call and you’re told that Iron Maiden want you to come support them?
Heafy: They just keep inviting us back so nowadays it’s like “aww cool we’re playing with Iron Maiden again.” The first couple of times we were jumping out of our skin and it’s the same kind of answer when you asked if bands state we inspired them, we’re super aware of it, we just need to make sure we do a good job of it. That’s usually where our heads are at, we’re extremely happy but we know we have to do a good job.
The last question I have for you is based off an interview I saw Nick [Augusto, drums] did down in London. He stated that the band had already started to think about ideas and write for the new album. You’ve already spoke about the next album and how you aim to keep a cohesive vision just like this album, although different, but have you thought about how you want to capitalise on your current mental state and if you may look to start recording sooner than later to build upon the momentum of what you already have, or will you follow the process of a normal two/three year album cycle?
Heafy: Good question. I think this will be sooner than later, the next album will come out sooner than later. I don’t know if we will start recording next year, who knows. I’ve got around eight to ten drafts of songs started, Paolo has a bunch, Corey has a bunch and Nick has some ideas. I have a bunch of visual ideas already but those visual ideas could change within a month. Even before ‘Shogun’ came out we had already begun to start writing ‘In Waves,’ so right when ‘In Waves’ was coming out, we started to think about the next record. We’re always thinking about the next thing. There is a strong possibility, depending on our touring schedule, that we could start to record next year, likely late next year but at this time I couldn’t tell you if we would be recording the album or just recording demos that we will go back to as soon as we are ready.