Interview: Davey Havok Returns To The ‘Darkness’ For AFI’s New Album ‘Burials’
Davey Havok isn’t happy.
The frontman is disappointed by the tone of his band AFI‘s latest album, Burials, which is once again dark and gloomy. But Havok– born David Marchand– isn’t disappointed in the songs that make up his band’s recently released record. He actually thinks this one is lusher, more layered than their previous release, Crash Love, which came out four years ago and, to him, is a real “straightforward, rock record.”
No, Havok is upset with himself, frustrated that he couldn’t pull away from the darkness long enough to write an album that didn’t focus solely on his personal pain.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to make it personal,” Havok told Radio.com a few weeks before the album was released. Which is certainly a good thing, being that Havok has made a living out of venting.
He tends to keep things vague and rarely talks about his actual personal life. But even so, fans take to the message boards on a daily basis to try and crack Havok’s code. They want to figure out what is bothering him, but more often than not, the fans just end up sharing their own stories of how the songs helped them get through the rough times.
“I’m disappointed that I was forced to return to that expected darkness that I feel is something, at this point, that has just been revisited so many times by us and by me that it’s becoming trite and expected,” Havok said. “It would be more gratifying to me in a way to have something else. But I didn’t have anything else.”
He added: “I can only be honest in what I create and that’s all I had.”
Havok doesn’t get into detail of what exactly was going on in his life right before he started working on Burials, but he does describe the album as “upsetting.” Not only for himself, but for those listeners who find some kind of personal connection to the music.
Havok and the rest of the band—drummer Adam Carson, bassist Hunter Burgan and guitarist, Jade Puget, who takes care of the instrumentation—worked on the album in the Hollywood Hills. “It was very much hunched over in a dark room,” Havok said. “It was not glamorous.”
The guys spent a year in that room, writing every day for hours and hours on end, sometimes they didn’t even bother to turn on the lights. Most of the lyrics, Havok says, were written in a stream of consciousness and in the end they came up with nearly 70 songs that they whittled down to the 13 that now appear on the record. He says the room itself played a big part in the sound of the album.
“It would have been a completely different record had we not had the ability to write in the way that we did,” Havok explained. “And had we not had that environment to facilitate our creation.”
The extra time spent working the record helped save certain songs that needed a little extra love and care like the closing track “A Face Beneath the Waves,” which happens to be Havok’s favorite, and “I Hope You Suffer,” a song the band revisited multiple times in hopes to find the right mood that would really give it that extra punch.