Trivium Talks "In Waves", David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Cooking, and More
Mon, 03 Oct 2011 07:55:21
Rather than simply tread the same ground, Trivium wanted to build a new road with In Waves.
The group threw caution to the wind and built their most vivid, visceral, and vibrant offering yet in the process. In Waves redefines what modern metal is, expanding the genre's canvas and painting a new archetype over it. In fact, the record springs right off of that sonic backdrop and into the realm of classic avant garde art, colored by odd time signatures, intriguing guitar riffs, and thought-provoking lyrics. Get ready to ride these Waves to the future.
In this exclusive interview with singer, guitarist, and Trivium visionary Matthew Heafy, ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino gets to see the elements at the heart of In Waves.
Is "In Waves" what you thought it would be when you first started working on it?
Let me think about that. I'm actually in love with In Waves beyond anything else we've ever made. After finishing previous records, there would excitement in the studio. When we're done, maybe we'd listen to them a couple of times. However, the four of us have been able to listen to In Waves nonstop. Our original intent was to make the kind of music that we want to hear. Since it encompassed all of the things we were looking for as music fans, we were able to actually enjoy it. Now, it's still taking further shape. We just got the physical copies about a week ago. I sat there and stared at all of the art. We worked with five visual artists on this record. Those five people are all buddies of mine. I've known them through town, but they've never actually done anything with a metal band. My really good friend, Jon Paul Douglass, inspired me to get into the things that eventually influenced me on this record like filmmakers, photography, and videography. He's really into that stuff. We became friends because I was off tour for so long and I lived across the hall from him. We'd do photo experiments all of the time. That gradually led up to us talking about what we think this Trivium record could be. Now, it can keep growing even more because we're about to shoot a video for "Built to Fall". It's going to be immediately after "In Wavves". In my head, our videos will be three to five to ten parts long. "In Wavves" was basically around the middle of the timeline of this movie, if you will. The next video for "Built to Fall" happens immediately at the mist scene during the end of the "In Wavves" video. There's always more creativity to come which we're extremely excited about. It allows everything to influence itself. When the graphic designer Danny Jones showed us the album cover, we asked, "What is this thing?" He smiled, laughed, and said, "It is what it is". He didn't tell us anything more than that. Staring at his artwork allowed me to create lyrics to the pre-chorus of "Black". I wrote that just from seeing one of his pieces. It's that constant bounce back of visual art influencing auditory art and back and forth.
How entwined are the visuals and music?
I didn't think it's anything we ever thought about before. We never decided to have everything go hand-in-hand in the past. About three years before the actual recording process of In Waves, we started to decide we wanted everything to connect. We wanted our web site, merchandise, packaging, and videos to all match the way we look as a band. That was a very hard thing to do. We started piecing everything together. I kept saying that the visuals have to be as important as the music since they never have been. I was at a signing the other day, and a fan brought me the Ascendancy and In Waves covers to sign. I saw them up next to each other, and even visually nowadays we look like a far more mature band. Everything has had time and room to grow, and we've gone in the right direction. When I look at the artwork and packaging of the In Waves special edition, I hold it in my hands and see how carefully planned out everything is. I can see that it's really stepped up due to the amazing visual artists we worked with. That's something the four of us can't do. We're incapable of visual art, but we take care of the auditory art.
Did you want each song to play out like a mini-movie in that respect?
That's definitely one of the interpretational things I like to leave open. I think it's really great you took it that way. I'll leave it at that [Laughs].
Has the live show connected to this record?
For sure! On the stages that are big enough, like the Main Stage at Mayhem Festival, we're playing during the daytime, but we still have a killer light show going on. The backdrop is the album cover but there's no text, font, type, or logos. The scrims are giant portraits of woods. The shots aren't in the packaging at all but Jon Paul took them. Seeing that stage setup is very different. It's got art that's entirely different. That takes it to another level. Our costume designer made us clothes we can wear in video and photo shoots, but she also made a live version. That also brings it to a different place. It's not just dudes in street clothes. We've done that, and it works for some bands. We wanted to keep that visual element going though. We've brought those outfits on press trips, and wearing them took other photo shoots to the In Waves level as well. It is something different and special.
When did you discover David Lynch?
It was at The Enzian Theater in Orlando. I've known Jon Paul for three years, but that was when I first really became friends with him. We did the documentary for the album, and I referred to him as, "My male muse". It's a platonic thing [Laughs]. He got me into all of these directors and this style of art. The first time I saw Blue Velvet at The Enzian, I didn't get it, I wasn't happy with it, and I was a bit upset. I thought, "Man, this thing is just silly arty stuff." A year passed, and Jon Paul said, "I've got this movie you have to watch. It's called Antichrist." We watched that together, and the movie opened up this new gateway in my mind. From that point on, I understood Lynch. I thought, "I need to check Lynch out now!" Then I went back, re-watched Blue Velvet, and I fell in love with it. I watched the rest of the Lynch movies. From watching Antichrist, I could tell Lars von Trier was obviously influenced by Lynch in the way Lynch can say so much with just a slow pan in on something or some creepy noise. I love that these directors and films make you feel something different than you normally expect to feel when you go to see a movie. When someone buys a ticket to a movie, they expect to see cool action scenes, get pumped up, be a little bummed out, or laugh. These films showed me something I didn't understand. I tried to look up interviews with Lynch and understand them. I'd see that he intentionally never explains what anything means or you're supposed to take out of it. I love that about him. I loved the fact no one knew what he was trying to say because he wanted to keep that mystery. I wanted people to be creative themselves when they see his work. He was the big inspiration in terms of me not explaining what anything is on this record. People can come up with their own interpretations.
By the same token, Christopher Nolan can wrap a deeper message inside of a big budget commercial film.
Exactly! I feel like that's Trivium's role. If we were going to fit anywhere, it needed to be that middle ground. We still incorporate the art and mystery and leave room for interpretation, but we're also interpretable enough for people who simply want to listen to us on a surface level. Some people just want to rock out to us. They don't really care what the songs are about or what the visuals are. It's still there for them. You can just enjoy the music, you can just enjoy the visuals, or you can enjoy both. It's the same thing I feel Lost did. Lost was a show that was very brainy, but at the same time it had enough mainstream in it where it could capture both sides and bring everyone to the middle ground. Of the four biggest inspirations on this record—David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Lars Von Trier, and Paul Thomas Anderson—Nolan is the one who can hit that middle ground very well.
What have you been reading lately?
Around when Shogun came out and before I started getting into film, I was really into graphic novels, especially from Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, and Frank Miller. Preacher ended up being my favorite. The only writer I read nowadays is Anthony Bourdain. Rough Cuts and Kitchen Confidential are probably my favorites. He inspired in a different kind of way. He got me into cooking and taking food very seriously. I also started writing about food. I actually have a food blog now here! I've been doing food photography and writing about food and my experiences on the road. I'm taking it from a different angle. With Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain showed the cooking world for what it really is. It's a lot more like the touring world in terms of the people inside of it. They're not these pristine clean chefs. They're rough and tough drinkers, smokers, and drug dudes, at times. He shows the reality of everything involved. My wife is also a great cook. We cook together at home a lot. She got me into cocktails. I'm really into the pre-Prohibition era cocktails right now. My mom is a fantastic cook. She opened my mind about food. I like to be influenced by everything. I'll give anything a try and see if I like it from there.
Have you heard In Waves yet?