Earlier this month I caught up with HAVOK guitarist and vocalist David Sanchez. We here at A&GS are massive fans of the band, with several team members seeing them live on multiple occasions. In fact, I’ll be at their show in Philly tomorrow night at Voltage Lounge. So of course I couldn’t wait to reconnect with David and see what’s what. Check it:
Amps: It really seems like HAVOK can’t sit still. Every time I turn around you’re touring. And this package with JUNGLE ROT and EXTINCTION A.D. is sweet!
David: Yeah, this will be fun for sure. We’re coming your way on July 30 in Philly. Will we see you there?
Amps: Oh, I’ll be there. I caught your headliner at Voltage last year then saw you supporting OVERKILL in Easton, PA. I’ve said it before, but HAVOK is one of the hardest-working bands out there. You do whatever it takes to get your music in people’s faces and I love it!
David: Yeah it’s a rarity, for sure. Probably because it’s a difficult job. Touring seems easy because people don’t know what goes on. But it’s a very exhausting life to live.
Amps: So what else is going on in HAVOK-Land?
David: We were just in South and Central America for about three and a half weeks. We just got home and are about to head back out on this run. After that, we’re gonna take a break to write a new record. And we won’t go out again till that’s recorded, mixed, and mastered.
Amps: This will be my seventh HAVOK show, and I’m so stoked for it.
David: After we take this break, we won’t go back out till summertime next year. We have to get a record done, and there’s no point in going out until at least a single has come out; something for people to chew on.
Amps: You’re here right around payday, too. My credit card will be screaming!
David: (Laughs) we got some really cool merch for this run, too. We try to change up the artwork on our t-shirts so it’s not just the same old stuff.
Amps: What’s in your CD player or iPod right now?
David: Lately I’ve been listening to this band called Lespecial. They’re a proggy, funky, heavy band. And they’re only three guys, they have really cool guitar harmonies, and when I saw them live recently they pulled it off so nicely. It’s really cool to see them sound like the record in a live setting.
Amps: How long a set are you doing? And what should the uninitiated expect on this run?
David: Roughly an hour and ten minutes. We’re gonna be busting out some stuff that we’ve only played on one U.S. tour before. The main thing is that we get to play a longer set. Honestly since Conformicide came out we’ve been mostly supporting other bands. So this will be people’s last chance to see a full-on proper HAVOK set for maybe a year. The coolest part for me is that we’re getting a rare headliner, and we get to break a sweat. Because when you only do 30 minutes or so, you’re just getting into it and it’s over, you know?
Amps: Do you have any ideas in the can, or anything you’ve laid down? Or are you waiting till after the break to even think about that?
David: We’ve got a giant stockpile of riffs ready to go. A lot of it at this point is the arranging, figuring out which riffs go together, be that similar tempos, vibes, or whatever. We don’t have any full songs written yet, but in the back of my mind I’ve got skeletons of four or five.
Amps: You ever do any writing while on the road, or is it too distracting with the day-to-day?
David: It’s really hard to write on the road. Our schedule is crazy. And it’s not like we have a tour bus with a lounge and studio in the back (laughs). So most of our productive writing time happens at home. Every once in a while on tour we might get an idea for a riff and record it onto our cellphones, but that’s the extent of it.
Amps: What books, movies, or podcasts are getting it done for you right now?
David: Currently I am reading a book called Food of the Gods: The Search For the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution by Terence McKenna. It’s about the evolution and origins of human civilization and drug use in all of its forms. He’s basically positing the idea that humans got to be such an evolved species by feasting on psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin has been proven recently to massively increase brain power and neuroplasticity, and connect the brain in ways that otherwise would never happen. So he thinks that we’re descendants of apes who tripped balls on mushrooms! It’s a really interesting book.
As far as podcasts I listen to The Joe Rogan Experience and Bill Burr’s podcast pretty regularly.
Amps: As someone who’s been following the band for years it makes me so happy to see your success.
David: Thanks man. Every year seems to get better than the last, so as long as that trend continues I think we’ll be alright.
Amps: Plus, as long as you have Pete “Eight Arms” Webber back there behind the kit it’s always gonna be great! He is such an insane beast live and it still floors me.
David: (Laughs) yeah, it’s nice having an octopus on drums! No matter how fast he’s going he also hits really hard.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the HAVOK fans out there in the world?
David: Come check us out on this tour. It’s gonna be the last time you see us for a long time. We’re gonna do a lot of stuff from this new record and it’s gonna be really fun. We’ve got two great bands with us in JUNGLE ROT and EXTINCTION A.D., and we’ve got some killer merch that we’re bringing with us this time. We’re normally supporting other bands, so this is a rare opportunity to see a full set.
It’s always a pleasure speaking with David or any of the boys from HAVOK. They’ve always been very gracious and very nice to us here at A&GS. The fact that they’re one of THE best Thrash Metal bands on the market that absolutely slays live doesn’t hurt, either. There are only about six shows remaining on this U.S. tour. You can find dates HERE. I cannot recommend catching them live enough!!