Trivium's Matt Heafy talks Twitch and Japanese black metal on The Downbeat

The return of The Downbeat with Craig Reynolds came roaring back with an at length discussion with Trivium frontman, Matt Heafy.

After taking some time away from the microphone, Reynolds confided with Heafy that the pandemic would dominate every conversation in his music podcast and having to relive the constant uncertainty began to take its toll.

It seems only fitting that Reynolds' first guest back is someone that has navigated this unprecedented time so successfully. Well before the world shut down, Heafy had spent years cultivating a following by streaming on his Twitch channel. He goes onto explain that while there was an engaged, active audience prior to the world hitting pause, it was only then that people really began to tune in the way they are now.

For context, Heafy's Twitch has amassed more than 6 million views.

Heafy would further explain that while many artists are now turning to the platform to connect and engage with their fans, the build-up is no different then starting a band hitting the road in a van. Especially diligent about his Twitch, Heafy has spent that last four years broadcasting at least five times a week, seven days a week when on tour. It's that kind of commitment that not only speaks volumes of his work ethic, but asserts just why he is regarded as such a pioneer of the platform.

Detailing how streaming is at the core of Trivium's future, Hefty would explain how their recent investment in an airplane hangar is the first phase of developing a central location to stream shows and host events - a proper Trivium headquarters.

Taking a big financial risk on their ambitious A Light Or A Distant Mirror pay-per-view production, Heafy discussed how the band needed to create a visual spectacle to differentiate this show from every other show the band has streamed religiously for four years. The success of this event would also either help pave the way for the future for the band, or cause an incredible set back given the investment needed to pull off such a production.

A Light Or A Distant Mirror would ultimately earn critical praise for it's impeccable production value and would tally more than 12,000 paid viewers, seeking the bar for what a successful streaming event could be. Financially, the show was also how the band has been able to double down on their streaming aspirations in acquiring the airplane hangar as a sort of broadcast base for all things Trivium and more.

While streaming dominated most of the discussion, Heafy and Reynolds did get to the black metal side project that has been 10 years in the making with with Ihshan of Emperor. IBARAkI is the evolution of the ongoing collaboration between Heafy and Ihsahn.

Incorporating Japanese culture and Shintoism into the narrative at the core of the record, Hefty discussed how Ihsahn has really pushed him to think outside the confines of traditional black metal and to channel the rebellion that initially forged the sound. Confiding that he was struggling to write the lyrics for the songs, it was only once the focus of the project shifted to exploring Japanese mythology that creativity really began to bloom.

From Twitch to tattoos, streaming and Shintoism, the conversation is never dull if Matt Heafy is involved. Watch the complete interview on The Downbeat with Craig Reynolds featuring Trivium frontman Matt Heafy below.