As we walk through the Manchester Apollo several hours after our interview with Trivium's Matt Heafy one thing's blatantly clear - 2006 may be the year of metal with Trivium flying the flag for the US and Bullet For My Valentine for the UK while the likes of Iron Maiden and Metallica make glorious returns to form, but the lack of scenesters at tonight's gig tell a tale where metal still isn't cool yet. The fans, kinda Frodo meets denim and leather, mosh furiously throughout oblivious to the fact that this 2006. Designer Magazine caught up with Heafy to discuss their rapid ascendance in the UK and how the next albums going political

Q: This is the first show that the stage has actually been big enough to do the full show on the UK tour isn't it?
A: Yeah, with the full amp stacks. We still use a lot of shit wherever we go. Everything's been an upgrade on this tour. It's crazy. I think this date has been upgraded twice now. It couldn't be better for us playing sold out shows every night and I couldn't even judge which has been the best crowd because it's been the same every night. In a different way it's great every single night.

Q: Trivium for many people are the biggest overnight success story of the past twelve months. Despite the fact you've been gigging away in the underground for years there was just this moment where it went from a handful of people knowing about Trivium to hundreds of thousands
A: We've only been going for 9 months in this country at least and it's ridiculous. We've been going since the beginning of 2000. A few months ago we played at the Academy 3, a 350 seater, and now we're selling out a 3500 seater. I don't even think it's the internet or anything like that. I just think it's the right songs at the right time.

Q: We're normally used to watching bands from the front of the stage, but when we were watching you in the soundcheck before the venues don't look that big from stage level
A: It does look smaller when you're on stage and more so when it's empty, but when the venues fill up they look gigantic. I don't think you do get used to walking out on stage to that each night, but we don't get shocked or nervous. It's what we've always wanted.

When we do the Maiden tour later in the year the size of the shows gonna be about the size of this one in terms of production. We like ot make things as big as possible so next time we're back on a headline tour over here it's gonna be way bigger.

Q: You're going back to where it all started for you in a few months - Download Festival
A: Download was where it first started for us over here I think. We played to about 40,000 in the morning and this time we're playing alongside Metallica so it will probably be 60-70,000. Each month it's just been going up and up and up for us. I love doing the big shows for us, they're f*cking awesome, but it's good to get back and do the smaller shows once in a while.

Q: I guess 2006 is the year of metal with Metallica and Iron Maiden being back on form
A: And we've played or playing with both of them. If it wasn't for Metallica or Maiden I wouldn't be here right now. I've met Bruce Dickinson before and he was a really cool guy. I was just listening to Metallica and Pantera, those were the first bands I got into properly, but before then it was just sh*tty radio rock and pop punk because that's all you could hear. The scene where we were in Orlando was just nu-metal and pop punk when we started and now it's just emo and hardcore like everywhere else. Just this constant stream of sh*t. There were a couple of cool bands that stood out like us and it did give us a determination to succeed, definitely so.

Q: Why do you think that metal is coming back again in a big way, not just the veterans but newer bands like yourself rather than the emo's?
A: Emo's still here. We've just been doing what we've been doing since we started and i'm not sure if real metals back yet. I'm not sure if the other bands are real metal to be honest, we just did what we did and then all these other bands came up around us.

I don't really care what else is going on at the moment because I don't listen to new music at all. We've got a couple of bands that are friends like God Forbid and Bullet For My Valentine but apart from them we don't care. They're different, but I like the Darkness for what they do cos I like Queen, but they're not that huge in America.

Q: When it comes to metal people often think of the imagery or the haircuts or the live shows before the songs, but how do the songs come together for Trivium
A: I write the songs first, a lot of it myself or a couple of us, and then I write the lyrics to the music. I write what's important to me and a lot of the last album was about overcoming life's obstacles, whereas the never one's looking to be about more positive ways we can change global important issues.

It's pretty impossible to write on the road but I want to tackle some more political issues about race and gender and discrimination - global issues and how we can try and be better people. It's gonna be political in a personal sense rather than political in a political sense. Musically it's still gonna be the band, but it's a logical progression from what we've done before.

Just the type of band we are you're not going to see any great musical leaps, just gradually as the albums go on we become better musicians and better songwriters hopefully. Each album we do is the best we could do at the time so we don't look back and think how we could have done each one better.

Q: What's the typical Trivium audience member then?
A: There's a lot of young kids and I guess they're into us because we're young too and there's a lot of girls at our shows as well which is good because it means it's not just all dudes. Just everyone really. The older people are there because they recognize the style.

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride

Trivium's "Ascendancy" is out now on Roadrunner Records
The band play Download Festival and return to the UK for dates with Iron Maiden
For more info on Trivium

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