Trivium frontman Matt Heafy, along with being the guitarist and frontman in a successful metal band, husband and dad of twins, to those who may not know is also a very successful streamer on the Twitch streaming viewing platform. With Trivium’s new album, What The Dead Men Say, set for release next month, we recently had the chance to catch up with Matt to talk about the album and things for the band in general. But before we got onto that, with the recent Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak, we wanted to talk streaming, something that’s become ever more important to bands in the current worldwide lock down. From his personal practice routines to how it’s helped the Heafy’s as a family, here is Matt on the world of streaming and Twitch in particular:
You and Paolo (Gregoletto, Trivium bassist) have been very good in trying to give advice to people (particularly in relation to whats going on with Coronavirus), particularly in other bands who are perhaps looking to try out what you’ve been doing very successfully with the streaming shows, based on your experience with the way you’ve built up your equipment and your rig over the last couple of years. Do you think you’d be able to suggest a basic equipment guide for what people would need to get started streaming? As in start with X Y Z and then add certain items later on?
Matt: Absolutely and it’s nice that you ask about that because I’m actually going to be doing a call with Twitch headquarters in the next couple of days on how to do all these things. You can see my main rig on my YouTube channel at the moment (@MatthewKHeafy on YouTube). It has my stream rig of how to really take it intensively using a head, a cab, microphones, a mac being fed into a PC with with four cameras, really intensive rig. So yes, I still need to make the ones for people who want to use a VST, or using an amp suite or using a Kemper. We need to get on that soon because they’ve told me they’ve been absolutely swamped, having non stop messages from musicians asking what the hell do I do to get started?! Because it is very difficult! I had to figure this entire streaming rig out myself. It took a long time but finally I’m at the place where I can explain it.
When you first started using Twitch, you started with the gaming side of it. At what point did you think about expanding into the music side as well?
Matt: I started with gaming first, PS4 with the webcam, not really understanding the culture of the Twitch chat. I would have anywhere between 5 to 30 people maybe watching for 30 minutes, and I gradually started growing it a bit. I befriended these two guys, Brandon and John from Twitch, they invited me to Twitch HQ and they lent me a live streaming backpack that we started streaming the shows on, this was on the Arch Enemy / Trivium tour maybe two and a half years ago. So I absolutely loved streaming the shows. Then later on I was having more conversations with Brandon and John on a future visit to San Francisco, I was saying to them I wish I could stream more but I was saying I have to practice one to three to maybe even four hours a day to keep my conditioning up for touring. So Brandon looks at me and just goes “why don’t you stream that?”. I was like no-one wants to watch me do my vocal exercises! Their response was very much “you’d be surprised”.
So at that moment, Twitch became a second job for me, in a very good way. It became another place that I get to play the music I wrote for Trivium fans, and it also became a pretty lucrative second source of income for me and my family. Especially having twins now with all the diapers and baby food and all the costs that go with that. What has been amazing is that the Twitch streaming has actually paid for us to be able to have a nanny with us while myself and my wife both work from home. Literally I’m here doing album promo right now, she’s sat working at her desk, but we can still be here at home with the kids while we have someone look after them as well. It would cost about the same to have twins in daycare so we figured why not just have them at the house while we can be at the house too.
That must give you and your wife a wonderful work / life balance.
Matt: Absolutely. I’ve only missed out on three months of their (the twins) life and I’ve physically been there 24/7 the rest of the time. We didn’t plan the touring particularly around the kids, it’s just the way it timed out, and now we’ve just lost an Asian tour because of this pandemic, which obviously means more time at home and luckily my Twitch is set and good to go. What’s really important if you want to grow a Twitch channel is it’s not just doing one thing once in awhile. It’s creating a consistent schedule. Especially right now when everyone is home. Band guys, if you want to start a Twitch, you have to be consistent. It’s got to be at least four to five times a week, even up to seven days a week. At least one up to four hours a day. And then you build a community from there. It’s not going to be for everybody but some people are going to love it. I love it, I love being able to get in that other layer with my fans and get in there and get to know who they are.
Just a couple of days after we spoke with Matt on all things Twitch and streaming, the magic of Twitter connected fellow metal icon Devin Townsend to Matt, as Devin was looking to start streaming on Twitch, with a very positive outcome:
You can follow Matt’s Twitch channel on this link. The new Trivium album, What The Dead Men Say, will be released on the 24th of April 2020 through Roadrunner Records. Pre-order the album in a variety of ways on the following link.
The last time Trivium visited the UK was for their triumphant appearance at last year’s Download Festival. A review of their performance as part of that day is available to read now. Further updates from the Trivium camp, including a further feature with Matt Heafy and a review of What The Dead Men Say will be available in the coming weeks.