“Matt was pre-internet in the way he launched his career, releasing records, playing shows, and signing to a label,” observes Jared. “I’m post-internet in the way I launched my career by using YouTube, Facebook, and all of these other video apps. It’s interesting to see the crossover though. Matt has done everything traditionally. At the same time, he embraced new technologies instead of shutting them out. By doing this together, we get to be in both worlds. The EP was recorded in a raw and real manner. So it has a different element. It would be cool to show everyone it doesn’t matter if you’re a guitarist from Instagram or you’re in a big band, you can do things together. At the end of the day, the goal is simple—we’re just trying to write good songs and create some cool shit.”
“Streaming actually helped me improve as a singer and as a guitarist, because I’m practicing all day in front of people,” exclaims Matt. “The culture is very regimented. However, I’ve always had that mentality, because my mom is Japanese and my dad was a marine. Now, it’s a combination of three things: streaming, training, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Those practices made me better at what I do and prepared me to jump into something new. I took a very different approach to DINES x HEAFY. It all came very organically without any planning.”
Tracking out of his Washington studio, Jared provided the foundation of the music with guitars, bass, and drums in place. During the Global Pandemic, Matt recorded vocals and a handful of guitar solos at home in Florida, while Will Putney [Fit For An Autopsy] handled the mix back in New Jersey. The sound pushed Heafy down a new path.
“The lyrics are very significant and important to me,” Matt admits. “It’s the first set of lyrics I had written coming out of leaving a tour, putting my dog down, watching one of kids sent to the ICU right after birth, and looking at the current state of society. The words came from all of these emotions and a very strange time in my life. I was glad I could capture that moment. That’s the theme.”
“I felt a boost of inspiration to write some hard rock,” Jared elaborates. “Matt wanted to say some things he hadn’t said or had a chance to say. He really went for it.”
Speaking of, the single “Dear Anxiety” details a maelstrom of mental health struggles with a thrash-y palm-muted gallop punctuated by a fret-burning lead and Heafy’s intense growls, “I can’t be happy for you, because I’m not happy with myself.” Meanwhile, the clean refrain haunts and hypnotizes as he pleads to anxiety itself, “Please set me free.”
“When people see me doing my thing, I generally seem happy and adjusted,” Heafy says. “It takes a lot to be that way though. I have a standing bi-weekly appointment with my therapist and need to do so many things to feel adjusted. The song is me addressing anxiety as an actual thing. It’s my main enemy. It causes my sadness, anger, and fear. It can ruin my day, outlook, or make me physically sick. ‘Dear Anxiety’ explains how I spiral out sometimes.”
During “Dying at the Sight of Rain,” a hulking groove and airtight leads converge on a cataclysmically catchy chorus, and “We Lost It All” builds towards a stadium-size hook and head-spinning fretwork. “The whole process brought out all of these dark emotions, anger, and rage,” he goes on. “I was able to get all of it out.”
Then, there’s “Can We Turn Back Yesterday.” Skyscraping solos give way to incisive and infectious riffing before exploding on a bold chant.
“It’s very direct in terms of how I’ve seen the world over the past few years,” Matt reveals. “It comes from a first-person perspective. It’s about how humanity treats humanity, and it’s not right. The lack and loss of empathy really inspired it.”
With forward-thinking vision, DINES x HEAFY represents an earth-shattering union between metal and the internet. In addition to co-founding and fronting GRAMMY® Award-nominated Trivium, Heafy distinguishes himself as a force on Twitch with 186K followers and dynamic social media presence with 354K Instagram followers. As a solo artist, he has racked up millions of streams on “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” and “My Mother Told Me” and teamed up with DragonForce, Ihsahn, and Ice Nine Kills for collaborations. Simultaneously, Dines has redefined the very idea of a guitar hero online. His YouTube channel boasts a staggering 2.88 million subscribers and 680 million views and counting. He also has collaborated with everyone from Post Malone to Breaking Benjamin.
In the end, DINES x HEAFY push everything forward with a positive goal.
“I’d love it if people get an escape and some happiness out of the EP,” Jared leaves off. “If we can put any positivity out there in the world, there would be nothing better. Maybe you walk away from the record and feel a little inspired.”