How do you think the appreciation can return?
Well I think the idea is recognition. I think we’ve reached a point where conceptually the idea of desiring something that’s beyond the surface isn’t there as the generations continue and that notion passes down. Basically that need for recognition is gone. So just recognizing that there is a benefit to appreciating, creating, supporting something that really has apparent value and really have a meaning in perspective, a passion to it as oppose to just for commodity and fame.
Also the vocals are very dramatic at times. I look at Green Day who just had a musical based on their American Idiot record, could you see AFI being translated to the stage?
I am a huge fan of theaters and musicals so if something like that ever happened, I think I would be thrilled and honored to have it translated to stage. I go to shows and I grew up with musicals so to have it translated that way would be fabulous.
I’m a huge fan of the movie Heathers, so I have to ask what’s the meaning behind the song ‘Veronica Sawyer Smokes?’
Well lyrically, it touches on a misconception and a slight obsession. I thought the title really worked with that and lyrically represented that sort of mindset, where you have Veronica Sawyer in the film and she’s infallible and she’s murdered. That’s the message I was trying to confront and I enjoy the film, so it’s part an homage.
Now, writing this album was a little different because you and Jade live in different cities.
Yes, we began in November and I would fly back and forth from L.A. every week and I’d be down there for another week and we’d write for hours a day. Then I’d come home for a couple of days and then return and we did that for about nine months. In that period of time when he and I would have a group of songs, somewhere between five and seven that we thought were worthy of actually calling the guys and converging with them to work them out, we would. Whichever of those really shone above the rest we’d keep and go back to the drawing board and that was the process for about nine months.
Did you guys write when you weren’t together?
No, we really didn’t write very much when we weren’t together. I mean with the exception of when we finished working on the structure of the song, I would go home, which was the hotel room, with that structure and melody and then I’d write the lyrics that night. But beyond that, we don’t write much separately. Come to think of it, there were a handful of riffs that Jade would show up with that he’d already written. Actually, ‘Veronica Sawyer Smokes’ was one of the songs where he had that whole first riff written. It really flowed and had that laid back riff and from there it just flowed and it ended up being one of my favorite songs off the record.
You guys released a lot of B-sides along with the album. How did you decide what would and wouldn’t make the album?
It’s a long process, we spent a long time deciding what song would actually make the cut to record and then thereafter make the cut to be on the album. It’s a process of succession and democratic voting and really a matter of deciding what songs that we feel would best represent the whole record.
Do you feel with all the online musical outlets that the industry has become more about individual songs and lost appreciation of the album as a whole?
Oh absolutely, I really appreciate albums as an entire piece of work and now, well, culturally people only want one song, it’s sad. The value on music is a casualty of time, like people pushing to have that value and I don’t mean that in monetary value, but an inherit value in music just isn’t there for people. So conceptually an album ‘Does anybody really have an appeal for?’ But the people who grew up listening to records very much appreciate them, but the people who didn’t…
I read that you and Jade are sitting on a Blaqk Audio album. I know Crash Love comes first, but are you antsy to get the music out there?
Yes, very much so. We finished it over a year ago, but as you point out we have to focus on Crash Love and getting it out. But once we’re finished with Crash Love, because we were just speaking how kind of the record is becoming more and more obsolete, who knows how we’ll release the record. In the end, I just want people to hear the music, so that’s one good thing about forcing you to have B-sides for sales reasons because it’s music that I’m really happy with and excited about does get released. There are songs off of Decemberunderground that were my favorite songs that didn’t make that connection with the record. There’s one that still hasn’t been heard yet, but someday I’m sure.
Catch AFI at the Electric Factory in Philly on Nov. 12 and at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC on Nov. 13. For more visit afireinside.net.