First of all, AFI was the band of the year 1999. With their fourth album ‘Black Sails in the Sunset’ they proved that they have their own sound: the perfect mix between punkrock and hardcore. We had an interview with the singer, Davey Havok, over phone. Unfortunately our recorder was broken, so I had to write it down, so maybe some things are missing.
HITWONDER: How are you guys doing?
DAVEY: Fine really, we are now recording the new album which should be out somewhere this fall. But we are fine, thanks.
HITWONDER: First some questions about ‘Black Sails in the Sunset’. This album is definitely the most complete AFI album. I mean, the sound is great, the songs are very varied and actually the whole album kinda reminds of an opera, it sounds like one entire piece. What do you think about the album yourself?
DAVEY: It is a complement. I am most happy with it because we put a lot of time and work in that album. For me it is also the best album yet. It is more mature and it sounds, like you said, like a whole piece.
HITWONDER: Take a song like ‘God Called in Sick Today’. How do you start to make such a masterpiece?
DAVEY: Thanks again! Well, just like most of our songs: Jade and I sit in our room and we just jam a bit. If we find a good melody, we use it.
HITWONDER: What do good lyrics have to consist of?
DAVEY: I write the lyrics myself, so I hope to put some ideas behind them. A lot of the lyrics that I write, are about people who stand alone. They have to know who they are and what they are doing. They have to feel good in relations with other people. Most of the songs are indirectly about me.
HITWONDER: On the website of Nitro I read that ‘The prayers position’ is frequently played on the radio. Is that correct?
DAVEY: No, actually that was on a local radio, on a radioshow on Wednesday evening. In that show they play a lot of indie music. They also played ‘Fall Children’ of the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ EP.
HITWONDER: Several punk- and hardcorebands sign on a bigger recordlabel. Often people call them commercial and even fake. What do you think about this?
DAVEY: I don’t believe in that crap. Every band has got its own vision and values. I don’t care, if the music is good, then it is OK for me.
HITWONDER: Would you consider an offer from Roadrunner?
DAVEY: euh… I don’t know. Probably we would not take the offer.
HITWONDER: Why not?
DAVEY: Well, the problem is that if you sign on a major label, you have to sell a lot of CD’s. It is a business and I don’t have a problem with that. But if you don’t sell enough, you’re off the label and it is very hard to go back to the indie circuit.
HITWONDER: And what if the offer came from Columbia? (cfr. The recordlabel of The Offspring, the band of Nitro boss Dexter Holland)
DAVEY: laughter That makes it a bit harder. We would consider that offer, because of the fact that ‘The Offspring’ is on Columbia.
HITWONDER: So how is the relation with Nitro Records?
DAVEY: We like Nitro a lot. They were the ones that gave us a chance. They do a lot for us and they have a good distribution. We just signed a new contract for two more albums.
HITWONDER: You’re in the studio at the moment. Can you compare the new songs with those of ‘Black sails in the Sunset’?
DAVEY: Yeah, they’re kinda equal to the songs of ‘Black Sails’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’. They are hard, heavy and dynamic. Everyone who liked ‘Black Sails’, should like the new one too.
HITWONDER: You’ll be coming to Europe soon on the Flying High tour with SOIA, No Fun At All and Molotov. What do you expect of that tour?
DAVEY: We are really excited to play with SOIA. We toured with them in the US and they have a great fanbase. So we hope lots of those people come to our show to and buy the album.
HITWONDER: When can we expect you in Flanders?
DAVEY: Maybe after the new album we come to Europe again. Maybe alone, but maybe with another band. We’ll see.
HITWONDER: What is your all time favorite AFI song and why?
DAVEY: That must be ‘God called in sick today’. It gives me a good feeling. It is heavy and powerful and is based on a strong melody. I can also use my voice on a different way.
HITWONDER: What keeps you busy beside the band?
DAVEY: I think all my time goes to the band. We tour 6 to 8 months a year, otherwise we write new songs.
HITWONDER: Any hobbies then?
DAVEY: Watching movies and going to the gym.
HITWONDER: Which movies do you like?
DAVEY: Especially those films of Tim Burton, like ‘The legends of Sleepy Hollow’, ‘Edward scissors hands’ and ‘Beetlejuice’.
HITWONDER: I thought you would like ‘Sleepy Hollow’. I went to see that movie and afterwards I said to myself: AFI should have written music for that movie.
DAVEY: Yeah, thank you. Maybe because it is in vein of the ‘Sleepy Hallow’ EP.
HITWONDER: I read in an interview that you get up in the evening and go to sleep in the morning. Do you still do that?
DAVEY: Normally I do that, but now we are recording, so I had to renew my schedule. Now I live a normal life.
HITWONDER: So what do you do when you’re up at night?
DAVEY: Sit in my room laughter read books and walk around downtown.
HITWONDER: Downtown? Isn’t that dangerous?
DAVEY: For girls it is pretty dangerous, because now and then some asshole rapes a girl. But I live in a safe neighborhood, so for a guy it’s not that bad.
HITWONDER: Yeah, and you work out in the gym!
DAVEY: Yeah! laughter
HITWONDER: Then some pairs to end. Which one would you choose? Piercing or tattoo?
DAVEY: Tattoo, because I got more tattoos than piercings.
HITWONDER: AFI or Misfits?
DAVEY: Misfits, but only the older stuff. In my opinion Glenn Danzig was a better songwriter.
HITWONDER: God or devil?
DAVEY: Can I go in between? Laughter
HITWONDER: Any closing comments?
DAVEY: Thank you for the interview and thanks to everyone who reads this!
HITWONDER: Thanks to you too!
Interview by : Hit Wonder – Ivo Goossens