Interview with Davey Havok of AFI: Conspicuous Composition

Yet another reincarnation of AFI has been revealed on their new album, Crash Love. Completely showcasing the talent that has fully matured over the band’s almost 20 years of being, it echoes their earlier aesthetics of punk rock. Those touches of electronica found on previous album, Decemberunderground, and all over side project of singer Davey Havok and guitarist Jade Puget, Blaqk Audio, are on pause as they favored a more traditional rock vibe.

A rare occurrence happened recently for Havok, Puget, bassist Hunter Burgan and drummer Adam Carson, when they had to cancel a performance due to a short hospital stay for Havok. Claiming he was quite a mess, he assures he is much better now and dove into talking about the new record and voices his feelings on a dying appreciation.

For the new album you and Jade have commented on it being a ‘timeless’ piece. What would you say makes this a timeless sounding work?

I can’t say that this is certainly a timeless piece—that can only be told by time and by people. For me, I struggle with that comment, it’s hard to say what pressed that upon me exactly. I feel that this could be something that has relevance now as well as in the future. When I think back about previous albums, I feel there are some songs that have that quality, but never an album in its entirety.

Were there pressures from the success that Decemberunderground had with the mainstream like MTV that you create something similar or were you already leaning towards a more rock sound?

I think neither of those things. We sit down and the pressures that we feel are from ourselves. The pressure that we are putting on ourselves is to create something that we are happy with and we feel is a departure and a form of growth from what we’ve done in the past. As far as the rock direction, it wasn’t a conscious decision; it very naturally came about when we sat down and started writing after the Decemberunderground tour. It’s what came out of us and our inclination to insert a lot of the heavy electronica that we had on Decemberunderground, really wasn’t there and our desire for the songs that we were working on that have that more straightforward rock vibe were stronger.

I hear so many bands cite AFI as inspiration, so where do you guys look towards?

We, musically, have taken inspiration from many different places, but when we do so, it’s very non-specific. We don’t sit down and say it’s going to be our straightforward rock record so we’re going to listen to all these rock bands and take inspiration from them. Really the most inspiration that we get is from one another. Lyrically, I take inspiration from my interactions with people I know, my interaction with strangers, my observations with culture.

Lyrics were different on this album that they didn’t mainly focus on internal topics, but rather looked out on society?

Really, the majority of the record touches on the declining culture that we’re experiencing right now and the collapse of our culture and the overwhelming lack of desire for substance in art or substance in culture in any form that we are experiencing now.

Intentional or not, I hear a lot of concern in your voice on particular songs. What most concerns you about society today?

Well I think that my main concern is that there is a market lack of desire for quote-unquote art that people are creating and appreciating. I think because there’s a lack of desire for that, which translates to the creation and elevation of art that then thereby lack substance because there’s no desire for it, there’s no appreciation for it. It self-perpetuates a world in which the hollow, the vapid and the greedy are elevated and revered. That bothers me because art is so important whether it’s design, fine art, film, fashion, things that are important to the world. It’s what makes me want to wake up in the morning, it drives me.