So, right before the 4th of July break I got a chance to speak one-on-one with David Sanchez, singer/guitarist from Havok. I’m actually sitting down with all the guys soon here in Dallas at Three Links, but I was glad to have a chance to talk to him about the new album, and the upcoming U.S. tour. He was very unassuming, and pretty laid-back for a guy who has unleashed Hell on not one, but three records in a row!
Amps: So, David. First of all, I love this new album, Unnatural Selection. I think it’s even better than the last one. What changed with you guys? Was there a stylistic shift?
David: Wow, thanks. We really put a lot of work into this one. It was a conscious effort to put some more mid-tempo, groovy, slamming songs on there so that we could give our live set more of a roller coaster effect with peaks and valleys. Because Time Is Up is just a brutal, in your face, fast speed assault, and we wanted to change it up a bit.
(I mention that “It Is True”, one of the mid-tempo tunes, is my favorite song on the record.)
David: (Obviously surprised by this) Really? Wow! Thanks again!
Amps: Seems like you have more of a vocal range on this one, too.
David: On Time Is Up I kind of bypassed melody for the most part and just went for aggression. On this album we wanted to put more melody in the songs, because the songs demanded it. What you see is what you get.
Amps: I also noticed the playing on this record: The riffs, the solos, the drums! Man alive, you guys really took it to another level on this one. Did everybody feel that it was time to step up and REALLY push themselves? Because that’s what it sounds like.
David: Oh, cool! Thanks! Yeah, everyone was into giving the songs what they needed as opposed to satisfying their own ego and I think it worked out well for everybody, because we all still have really cool parts to play, and it’s what the song was begging for, and I think that everyone got showcased really well.
Amps: Did you set out to write songs that were a commentary on the state of our union, or did it just happen that way?
David: Well, a lot of people have declared this album politically-charged, but in my opinion it’s really just the first couple songs that come out of the gate swinging’. The opening song, “I Am the State”, the original ideas were about the fall of the Roman Empire but there are a lot of parallels between what went on there and what is going on here now, and people have really taken it and applied it to today, which is fine. I like the lyrics to be open to interpretation to the listener. As far as “Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death”, I think the lyrics in that song are something everyone can grasp and kind of get behind because I’m sure that most people have felt that way, or similar to the lyrics in that song.
Amps: Looking forward to the tour?
Absolutely. We are road warriors. We are on the road all the time. It’s our favorite thing to do. Me personally, I’d rather be on the road anywhere in the world than sitting on my ass at home doing nothing.
Amps: What are some of your favorite places to visit on the road?
David: We just got back from Colombia, which was amazing! Puerto Rico is always really great, and there are about 20 cities in the U.S. where you know it’s gonna be a great show, and the crowd is a little crazier than most.
Amps: I was talking to Zetro from Hatriot yesterday, and he said he would love to tour with you guys. He also said he thinks you guys are great. When I asked him what he thought of some of the younger bands, his response was, “I love Havok. What those guys are doin’ is fuckin’ awesome!” His exact words.
David: That is fucking great! He’s one of my favorite singers!
Amps: Out of the four of you, who is the jokester of the group?
David: We all try to joke around because without laughing on the road, it’s just unbearable.
Amps: What do you do when NOT melting faces in Havok?
David: I listen to music all the time. But aside from that I like to read, go hiking, and get out in nature. It’s good therapy to go out and be in the elements.
Amps: What are you listening to these days?
David: I’ve been listening to a lot of Antonio Vivaldi, Johan Sebastian Bach, Oingo Boingo, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Zappa. I’ve got pretty eclectic taste.
Amps: You sure do. You know, Zetro said that Unnatural Selection needs to be in the running for Thrash Album of the Year, and I couldn’t agree more.
David: I just can’t believe it. Thank you so much. Hopefully we get out with them (Hatriot). I’ve heard their record and it’s awesome!
Amps: Anything you’d like to say to the Havok fans out there reading this?
David: I’d just like to say thanks to anybody who’s bought a CD or a shirt or a patch or told their friends about us or came to a show. Because without those people we wouldn’t exist. And to everyone in general, support music and think for yourself, because the world will be a better place if you do both of those things.
Amps: David, thanks so much for taking the time out to do this, and I look forward to the in-person with you guys on July 25 at Three Links.
David: Sure thing, we’ll see you in Dallas!
Guys, I CANNOT wait for this Havok show in two weeks! And if you’re looking for some kickass thrash metal, pick up Time Is Up, Burn, and their newest CD, Unnatural Selection. You’ll thank me.