Matt Heafy

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Matt Heafy
Trivium - Reload Festival 2017 10.jpg
Heafy at Reload Festival 2017
Background information
Birth nameMatthew Kiichi Heafy
Born (1986-01-26) January 26, 1986 (age 33)
Iwakuni, Japan
Origin Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Genres Heavy metal, technical death metal
Years active1998–present
Labels Roadrunner, Lifeforce
Associated acts

Matthew Kiichi Heafy (born January 26, 1986) [1] is a Japanese American musician best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist [2] for the American heavy metal band Trivium. Heafy is also the lead vocalist for the band Capharnaum, along with Trivium's former producer Jason Suecof. He is also an avid gamer and practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Heafy streams daily on his Twitch channel matthewkheafy playing video games, doing guitar clinics, vocal warm ups and showcasing his Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. [3]

Japanese Americans ethnic group

Japanese Americans are Americans who are fully or partially of Japanese descent, especially those who identify with that ancestry, along with their cultural characteristics. Japanese Americans were among the three largest Asian American ethnic communities during the 20th century; but, according to the 2000 census, they have declined in number to constitute the sixth largest Asian American group at around 1.4 million, including those of partial ancestry. According to the 2010 census, the largest Japanese American communities were found in California with 272,528, Hawaii with 185,502, New York with 37,780, Washington with 35,008, Illinois with 17,542, and Ohio with 16,995. Southern California has the largest Japanese American population in North America and the city of Torrance holds the densest Japanese American population in the 48 contiguous states.

Guitarist person who plays the guitar

A guitarist is a person who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of guitar family instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar by singing or playing the harmonica.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.


Early life

Heafy was born in Iwakuni, Japan to a Japanese mother and an American father. His father, formerly a member of the United States Marine Corps, is half Irish and half German. [4] Although Heafy was born in Japan, he lived there for only one year. He does not speak Japanese fluently; however, he has mastered some of the basic phrases and uses them when he performs in Japan. [5] His family then moved to Orlando, Florida, where he currently resides. Heafy attended Lake Brantley High School. He completed his senior year while also touring in Europe, and graduated in 2004. [6] [7] During those years, Heafy used to live a straight edge lifestyle. [8] Heafy also has a younger sister who does covers of video game music on her YouTube channel.

Iwakuni City in Chūgoku, Japan

Iwakuni is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

United States Marine Corps Amphibious warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

Orlando, Florida City in Central Florida

Orlando is a city in the U.S. state of Florida and the county seat of Orange County. Located in Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,509,831, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released in July 2017. These figures make it the 23rd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States, and the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida. As of 2015, Orlando had an estimated city-proper population of 280,257, making it the 73rd-largest city in the United States, the fourth-largest city in Florida, and the state's largest inland city.

Heafy learned to play the tenor saxophone in years leading up to becoming more serious on guitar at the age of eleven. At that period he was mostly listening to pop punk bands and even auditioned for a local one called "Freshly Squeezed" by playing the Blink-182 song Dammit. However, following his audition, he never got a follow-up call back. He also cites being introduced to heavy metal by his classmate, David, who gave him a copy of Metallica's self-titled album. [9] [10]

Tenor saxophone type of saxophone

The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor and the alto are the two most commonly used saxophones. The tenor is pitched in the key of B (while the Alto is pitched in the key of E), and written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F key have a range from A2 to E5 (concert) and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone. People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists", "tenor sax players", or "saxophonists".

Blink-182 American rock band

Blink-182 is an American rock band formed in Poway, California in 1992. Since 2015, the lineup of the band has consisted of bass guitarist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker, and guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. Founded by Hoppus, guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, and drummer Scott Raynor, the band emerged from the Southern California punk scene of the early 1990s and first gained notoriety for high-energy live shows and irreverent lyrical toilet humor.

Dammit 1997 single by Blink-182

"Dammit" is a song by American rock band Blink-182, released on September 23, 1997 as the second single from the group's second studio album, Dude Ranch (1997). Written by bassist Mark Hoppus, the song concerns maturity and growing older. It was written about a fictional breakup and the difficulty of seeing a former partner with another.

Heafy does not know formal music theory and was almost completely self-taught. He does know how to read sheet music, but can only apply it on the saxophone. However, in 2015, he started taking formal training for the guitar. [11]

"Self-taught for quite a bit of it, did lessons on and off for maybe two or three years, but I do not know anything formal music on guitar. I do on saxophone though…but that doesn't help me on guitar." [10]

Heafy still often uses the same first Gibson Les Paul he got from his father, but only in studio settings. For live performances he uses his signature Epiphone Les Paul that is modeled off of his Gibson. [12]

Gibson Les Paul Solid body electric guitar

The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1952. The Les Paul was designed by Gibson president Ted McCarty, factory manager John Huis and their team, with some input from, and endorsement by, guitarist Les Paul. Its typical design features a solid mahogany body with a carved maple top and a single cutaway, a mahogany set-in neck with a rosewood fretboard, two pickups with independent volume and tone controls, and a stoptail bridge, although variants exist.

Epiphone Les Paul

The Epiphone Les Paul is a solid body guitar line produced by Epiphone as a more modestly priced version of the famous Gibson Les Paul. Epiphone is a subsidiary of Gibson Guitar Corporation and manufactures the Les Paul model and other budget models at a lower cost in Asia.

Music career

Heafy performing in 2008. Trivium live 2008.11.12.jpg
Heafy performing in 2008.

Heafy, following his guitar performance at the school's talent show, was asked to try out for Trivium by the band's original singer Brad Lewter. Originally, he was accepted as lead guitarist, despite being only 12 years old (other members were 15-16 at that time). Lewter, however, quit the band in less than a month due to creative differences over the band's future musical direction. The drummer Travis Smith persuaded Heafy to do vocals, even though Heafy himself was unsure of his singing voice at that time. The band started looking for an external singer to fill in the position but had trouble finding a suitable candidate. Eventually, Heafy agreed to become a full-time lead singer for Trivium also keeping the position of lead guitarist for the band. He taught himself growling and screaming, especially doing so during the band's early years. However, he admitted using the techniques incorrectly most of his career, which ultimately caused severe damage to his vocal chords in the years leading up to the band's performance at Rock on the Range in 2014, where he blew his voice on stage. That same year, he started taking vocal lessons from coach Ron Anderson following advice from M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold. In 2016, Heafy returned to performing unclean vocals live with the same frequency as he did before his injury, citing Anderson's lessons as a source of help and improvement. [13] He claims that the new technique is actually easier than normal talking.

With the release of Trivium's 4th album, Shogun , Heafy greatly expanded his vocal range; from very melodic singing to hardcore screams. In 2011 Trivium's fifth studio album In Waves was released with a 'greater emphasis on songs rather than skill,' with the album featuring the full range of Heafy's vocal talents with some songs being entirely composed of screaming and others with no screaming at all, and many songs that fused the two as with previous records.

In Trivium, Heafy sometimes shares lead guitar duties with Corey Beaulieu, although he is responsible for recording the rhythm tracks on the albums.

Heafy performing live. Matt Heafy4775.jpg
Heafy performing live.

After Ember to Inferno, Heafy played in the post-hardcore genre, releasing one song titled "Head on Collision with a Rosebush Catching Fire" under the name Tomorrow Is Monday. [14]

Roadrunner United

In 2005, Roadrunner Records released Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions to celebrate the label's 25th anniversary. Four "team captains" were chosen: Joey Jordison (Slipknot, Murderdolls, Scar the Martyr), Robb Flynn (Machine Head), and Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) as well as Heafy. [15] Heafy also wrote the lyrics and sang the lead vocals to "The End," captained by Dino Cazares. He and bandmate/guitarist Corey Beaulieu recorded the song "In the Fire" as well, featuring singer King Diamond, bassist Mike D'Antonio, and drummer Dave Chavarri. He also wrote and played guitar on the tracks "Dawn of a Golden Age", "I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)" and "Blood and Flames," also contributing vocals to the latter.

Other appearances

Heafy won the Metal Hammer "Golden God" award in 2006. [16]

Also in 2006, he sang one song, "Blind", for Korn at the Download Festival when Korn's lead vocalist Jonathan Davis fell ill. [17]

Heafy—along with several other metal artists—makes guest appearances in the music videos for "Aesthetics of Hate" by Machine Head, released March 27, 2007, "All I Want" by A Day to Remember, released January 7, 2011, and "Moving On" by Asking Alexandria, released September 12, 2014.

In 2014 Heafy contributed to DragonForce's sixth studio album titled Maximum Overload. He performed backing vocals in three of the album's ten tracks: "The Game", "Defenders" and "No More".

In 2015 Heafy contributed to the metal supergroup album Metal Allegiance . He provided lead vocals and additional guitars on the track "Destination: Nowhere". He also contributed on guitar for the track "Triangulum I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction".

In 2016, Heafy appeared on Arktis by fellow musician Ihsahn.



Heafy has been endorsing Gibson since Summer 2009, but before he endorsed Dean after he and Corey Beaulieu were both given Dean Razorback prototypes in 2006. In 2008 his signature model, an ML shape with a graphic of the Japanese Rising Sun, was released. He stopped using Deans in 2009 after some disagreements. In summer 2009 Gibson made him a custom 7 string Explorer, which later became a production model but only available in black right-handed models.

In 2013, Epiphone released his artist signature model Les Paul in both 6 and 7 string versions. He had previously been seen playing his signature models on the Dream Theater "A Dramatic Turn of Events Tour". [18] In 2017, Epiphone released a new signature model called "SnØfall", which drew inspiration from Trivium's 2015 album Silence in the Snow . This model is available in 6 and 7 string configurations and features an exclusive custom Alpine White finish along with white Phenolic fret board.

Personal life

On January 10, 2010, Heafy married Ashley Howard in Orlando, Florida. [19] The wedding was attended by their close friends and family. On September 15, 2018, the couple announced they were expecting twins. [20] On November 11, 2018 Ashley gave birth to daughter Mia Kiyomi and son Akira Hiro.


Tomorrow Is Monday

Related Research Articles

<i>Ascendancy</i> (album) 2005 studio album by Trivium

Ascendancy is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Trivium; it was released on March 15, 2005 by Roadrunner Records.

<i>Ember to Inferno</i> 2003 studio album by Trivium

Ember to Inferno is the debut studio album from American heavy metal band Trivium. It was released on October 14, 2003 on Lifeforce Records.

Trivium (band) American metal band

Trivium is an American heavy metal band from Orlando, Florida, formed in 1999. After getting signed to Roadrunner Records in 2004, the band has released eight studio albums and over twenty singles. Their latest album, The Sin and the Sentence, was released on October 20, 2017. The band has sold over one million albums worldwide.

<i>The Crusade</i> (album) 2006 studio album by Trivium

The Crusade is the third studio album by heavy metal band Trivium. Released on October 10, 2006 through Roadrunner Records. It is considered a drastic change from their previous album Ascendancy by some critics.

Corey Beaulieu Lead guitarist of Trivium

Corey King Beaulieu is the lead / rhythm guitarist, of American heavy metal band Trivium. He also performs lead and backing screaming vocals for the band at live shows.

Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr 2005 single by Trivium

"Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr" is a song by heavy metal band Trivium. It appears on their 2005 album Ascendancy and was released as the album's second single in the same year. Metal Hammer named it "one of the decade’s biggest metal anthems".

Brent Hinds American musician

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"Like Light to the Flies" is a song by heavy metal band Trivium and is the first single and music video from their 2005 album, Ascendancy. The band originally considered using the song "Ember to Inferno" as their first single but changed their minds after recording this song. "Like Light" was released in January 2005, and features a mix of screaming and singing. The song contains two guitar solos which are meshed into one longer solo, with a small interlude in the middle. The Music video featured the original member & bass player Brent Young and the version used in the video is the demo version, not the album version, but the demo found previously on the MTV compilation album MTV2 Headbanger's Ball: Volume 2.

A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation single

"A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation", often referred to as "Gunshot", is a song by American heavy metal band Trivium. Written by Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu, both of whom perform vocals and guitars on the track, it was featured on the band's second studio album Ascendancy in 2005. The song was also released as a promotional single in May 2005, with an accompanying music video following in September. "Gunshot" is often cited as one of the band's most popular songs, and has been performed at live shows consistently since its release.

Dean Razorback

The Dean Razorback is an electric guitar made by Dean Guitars. It is a variation of the Dean ML, and was designed by Dimebag Darrell, guitarist for the bands Pantera and Damageplan. The Razorback was at first a USA only model, but was subsequently sold as an import model.

<i>Shogun</i> (Trivium album) 2008 studio album by Trivium

Shogunlisten  is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Trivium. The album was released worldwide on various dates between September 23 and October 1, 2008 through Roadrunner Records. It is their last release to feature original drummer Travis Smith. Work on the album is noted to have begun with producer Nick Raskulinecz in October 2007, with the band stating that they chose not to work with Jason Suecof again as they wanted to explore new ideas.

<i>In Waves</i> 2011 studio album by Trivium

In Waves is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Trivium, released worldwide on various dates August 2, 2011 and August 9, 2011 through Roadrunner Records.

In Waves (song) Trivium song

"In Waves" is the first single from American heavy metal band Trivium's fifth studio album by the same name. This song was released on May 21, 2011. It is the first single to feature drummer Nick Augusto, and it has a different sound than Trivium's previous singles. It reached 31 on the UK Rock Chart.

Built to Fall single by Trivium

"Built to Fall" is the second single of American heavy metal band Trivium's fifth studio album, In Waves. This song was released on August 16, 2011. It is the second single to feature drummer Nick Augusto. The album featured a sound closer to Ascendancy than The Crusade and Shogun and features a more metalcore sound than thrash metal. It reached 31 on the UK Rock Chart.

<i>Vengeance Falls</i> 2013 studio album by Trivium

Vengeance Falls is the sixth studio album by American heavy metal band Trivium, released October 10, 2013 in Japan, October 14 in UK, and October 15 in US via Roadrunner Records. It is the second and last album to feature second drummer Nick Augusto before he had departed from the band in May 2014.

<i>Silence in the Snow</i> 2015 studio album by Trivium

Silence in the Snow is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Trivium. It was released on October 2, 2015. It is the first and only album to feature third drummer Mat Madiro, who joined the band in May 2014 and before he had departed from the band in December 2015. It is the band's only album to date to not feature any harsh vocals. Michael "Elvis" Baskette was hired as the producer whom the band had met while recording In Waves album back in 2011.

Until the World Goes Cold

"Until the World Goes Cold" is a song by American heavy metal band Trivium, appearing on the band's seventh studio album Silence in the Snow. The song was released as the album's third single on August 26, 2015.

<i>The Sin and the Sentence</i> 2017 studio album by Trivium

The Sin and the Sentence is the eighth studio album by American heavy metal band Trivium. It was released on October 20, 2017. The album is the first to feature fifth drummer Alex Bent, who replaced drummer Paul Wandtke. With the release of the album's title track, this album would also mark the return of frontman Matt Heafy's screaming vocals since the band's 2011 album In Waves, which were completely absent from the band's previous album Silence in the Snow due to an injury which caused Heafy to blow out his voice.


  1. Matt Heafy biography Archived January 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "TRIVIUM Frontman Matt Heafy - "IN FLAMES Played A Huge Role In My Rhythm Guitar Playing; The Jester Race And Whoracle Were Two Of The Most Influential Records Ever Made"" . Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  4. Blabbermouth (14 December 2012). "TRIVIUM Frontman talks U.S. Politics, Band's Next Studio Album (Video)" . Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. Perez, Omar (2004-12-08). "Music: Collapsing The Masses". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
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  8. Meisenkaiser (February 23, 2004). "Interview: 2004-02-23 Trivium". (in German). Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017. [...] Die High-School-Party-Szene interessiert mich nicht. Ich bin straight-edge. Keine Drogen, keine Probleme, keine Verbrechen. Musik ist alles. (The high school party scene does not interest me. I'm straight-edge. No drugs, no problems, no crimes. Music is everything.)
  9. Trivium (14 October 2013). "Trivium - Vengeance Falls Documentary (Part 1)" . Retrieved 18 January 2018 via YouTube.
  10. 1 2 "Gear Nerd- Guitars With Matt Heafy (Trivium) - Roadrunner Records Uk". 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
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  14. "Tomorrow is Monday — Free listening, videos, concerts, stats and photos at". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
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  16. "Golden God Award citation". Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  17. "Korn: Frontman Hospitalized, Band Plays With Various Vocalists". Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  18. 1 2 3 "Ltd. Ed. Matthew K. Heafy Epiphone Les Paul Custom". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  19. "Matt Heafy Gets Married". Archived from the original on 2010-01-31.
  20. "Somehow... there are four people in this photo".
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