:: Interview with Havok
Interview with Havok
Over the past few years, thrash has roared back into the metal world’s collective conscious with a force not felt since the glorious 1980s. Many aspects of the culture—from sewn jean jacket patches and aviator sunglasses to speed picking, solos and circle pits—have risen from the grave seemingly dug by grunge, nu metal and metalcore.
Denver, Colorado’s Havok hasn’t produced as many albums or toured to the extent as as peers Evile and Municipal Waste, but the group is turning heads, nonetheless. Havok’s 2009 Candlelight Records debut “Burn” is a blizzard of speed picking, double bass and eagle screams. It paints a target upon its listener's head and fires away with heavy metal artillery
. It is the bridge between now and 1985.
On March 29, 2011, Havok will release its second full-length recording “Time is Up.” Although not as raw as its predecessor, “Time is Up” is considerably faster, meaner and more technical. After twice witnessing the live debut of this material, I can honestly say their fans agree.
Having finished a U.S. tour with Florida death metal legends, Malevolent Creation
, the group landed in Austin, Texas again to showcase the material to the city’s annual South By Southwest festival (SXSW). Singer/guitarist David Sanchez spoke with Metal Ship about these shows and their upcoming album. Bombs away!
Metalship : What’s going on with your tour life right now?
David Sanchez: We just finished a tour with Malevolent Creation
. We are here at SXSW. Then, we go shoot a music video, the album comes out, and then we’ll be touring again in April.
Metalship : Tell our readers about the music video.
We’re going to shoot it somewhere in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I don’t know much more than that. We are going to shoot a video for “Covering Fire.”
Metalship : Is this your first appearance at SXSW?
This is our first time here. It’s awesome! I played here before with a band I was filling in for, but I’ve never been to the fest. Havok has never been here. It’s good to finally get to out.
Metalship : I’ve heard you guys had a band before Havok.
I wasn’t in a band before Havok, but I filled in for a band very early on in Havok’s career.
Metalship : I’ve been listening to the new album for a couple of months. A lot of other people haven’t heard it because it hasn’t been released in the States. What do you think people will say about “Time is Up” compared to the first one?
I think the new album is about 2,000 times better than the first one. Hopefully, people will agree. I think it will catch on as soon as it comes out and people start hearing it.
Metalship : “Time is Up” has a better production than “Burn,” which sounded raw. Were you going for a raw sound with the first record or was that just what you were given?
It just kind of happened that way. We didn’t intentionally make it sound raw. This new one was mixed by a different guy, which had a lot to do with it. Pete Rutcho mixed it. He also mixed Revocation and Bury Your Dead. Also, James Murphy (Testament
) mastered it. It sounds pretty good.
Metalship : Did you get to work with James Murphy or was that all done through mail and over the phone?
We did it over the phone. I produced the album at my house, and then sent it out to Pete Rutcho to mix it.
Metalship : Do you record all your material in your house?
Yep. Maybe a year after the band started, I started buying recording gear.
Metalship : A lot of new school thrash bands have started stepping out and going into new directions. This album seems to stick with the thrash. Are you trying to keep it real with thrash?
Trying to keep it real. That’s what we do. I’m a guitar player, so I like to play fucking riffs, and thrash metal has more riffs than any other type of metal I can find, so that’s what I want to play. Thrash metal is just metal with more guitar riffs and it’s fast. I’m not trying to be the most thrash band out there, but by default, I like to write guitar riffs, which always come out as thrash metal. That’s the way it goes!
Metalship : Please tell our readers about some of the lyrical content of some of the songs on this album.
I don’t have a favorite song. I dig the whole thing all the way through. Lyrically, it’s pretty diverse. None of the songs are about the same stuff. There is a song about warfare—the typical metal topics. Then, there is a song about people that talk shit on the Internet. There is a song about terrorists. There is a song about liars and cheaters. There is a song about drunk driving. There are a bunch of different topics throughout the whole thing. It’s not a one-trick pony, kill-kill, die-die album.
Metalship : Is it a good party album?
, we party to it. I think it will be a good album to get drunk and rage to.
Metalship : Havok is a young band. Thrash was really big in the ‘80s and peaked in the early ‘90s. What was your introduction to metal and thrash?
…then I looked up online every band that I could find that was similar to Metallica
. I got into Exodus
. That’s how it happened.
Metalship : Tell our readers about developing your voice. You have a raspy voice like Mille Petrozza of Kreator. Did you cruise around, jamming that shit and practicing to it?
I don’t know…It’s just pissed-off me because the vocals need to fit. It sucks when you hear a band with super heavy music and the vocals are totally fucking weak, so the music is angry, so the vocals sound angry.
Metalship : Were you unloved as a child?
Nope, (smiles) angry music makes me happy. All metal heads understand exactly what that means.
Metalship : I noticed on the first record that you had different voices. For instance, you sound a bit like Chuck Billy on ‘Identity Theft.’ You had more of a clean roar on that track, but this one seems more directed to your raspy voice and Tom Araya-like screams. Are you settling into your vocals?
I wouldn’t necessarily say settling into them because I don’t want to pigeon hole us. I don’t want to be seen as a band that only does vocals a certain way. There is less melody in the vocals on this album as there was on the first. That’s not something that will definitely stay that way. I think the vocals on this album just fit like that. There is a time and place for melody, but most of the songs on this new album are about pounding your face in!
Metalship : Where does Havok go from here?
We are going on a headline run in April. After that, we have a couple of tours coming up, but I can’t say what they are yet because they aren’t totally locked in. We’ll have more to talk about (concerning tours) in a couple of months.
added by Darren Cowan, on March 25, 2011 for Metalship