I caught up with Havok’s singer, David Sanchez before their show at The Underworld in Camden Town. As a huge fan of Havok, it was very hard to contain my excitement of meeting such a talented artist. I started the interview by congratulating David on the success of the new album Conformicide.
I proceed to ask what it was like for him being back in the studio after four years. He responded by saying “It was cool, it was the first time going to a different place to record. In the past I produced all our records and all the engineering and recording. This was the first time I was not responsible for all that stuff so, for me it was nice. All I had to do was record my parts right and yell well”.
We shared a laugh and then I asked what his influences were behind the new album. “They're very diverse”, he said while stroking the long beard. “Obviously the old school metal stuff is still an influence. Like thrash and death metal and classic rock and all that stuff. But also a lot of funk and jazz and classical music, and also punk rock and progressive music like fusion jazz and stuff like that”.
I went on to ask what his favourite tracks were from the new album Conformicide. “I honestly like all – there’s not a single song on the record I don’t like. If I had to pick a favourite… Man that’s really tough”. He was thinking hard, so I mentioned that my favourite track from the album was "Wake Up". He responded by saying “Yeah I really like the lyrics in that song a lot”. I then asked if they were performing that track in the show. “No, no we’ll play a lot of songs from the new record but not that one”. I then went on to talk about how much I enjoyed reviewing the new album and that I was very excited to see it live. He smiled and said “Yeah, we all like it”.
I continued to ask what his plans were for the rest of 2017. “ We are going to do another US tour in July, and then we’ll come back to Europe in August, to do festivals. And then we’ll go back to the US again..”. I interrupted by asking if they were playing at Bloodstock Open Air. “I don’t think we’re doing Bloodstock, we haven’t gotten an offer for it. But there’s still time”.
I then asked what his favourite Havok album was. Without hesitation he responded with “This one, Conformicide. It’s my favourite one”. I then told him how Time is Up is my favourite album, as it was the first one by them I listened to and saw live. “I love that record too, this one is more diverse and it’s got more flavours in it. So who are his influences, metal and otherwise... “Honestly more than anything I probably listen to funk. I listen to a lot of old seventies funk and early eighties stuff”. I asked if he liked singer Rick James. “Yeah I love Rick James, I also really like Earth, Wind and Fire, Ohio Players, Pleasure and Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, all that kinda stuff”. I then asked if Havok as a band had any big metal influences. “Obviously old Metallica is a big influence, as far as metal goes, the big ones. For the most recent record I’d say, as far as metal goes I’ve been listening to a lot of Death, Blood Red Throne, Angel Witch, Merciful Fate… I think that’s the majority of my metal listening’s”.
So the tour, how has that been so far I ask. “So far so good, we’ve only done a few shows and this is show number four. And I think it’s gonna be insane in there because it normally is. Every time we play The Underworld it’s a mad house”. I continued to ask if they liked performing in the UK. “Yeah. People have been turning up really for this last run, it gets better every time we come here. It’s our goal to leave brain matter all over the place”.
I went on to ask what he’s listening to at the moment and if there were any up and coming bands he really liked. “Current bands, I really like Power Trip and Gojira. Lately, we were just listening last night to Aldi Menola and Oingo Boingo and some other like weird bands like Stratosphere and Farmers Market and Panzerballett. And we listened to a bunch of funk like James Brown and Funkadelic stuff like that”.
Running out of time I encourage any last words from David. “Yeah, I encourage people to continue to support music and go see live bands, it’s the only thing that keeps bands going, because nobodies making any money off record sales anymore. The only way bands are able to make a living is from touring”. I asked if he made any money from music platforms such as Spotify. “Barely, I think to make like $1000 you have to get like four million plays. It’s crazy. It’s all touring, touring is best way to support bands, and buy their t-shirts and stuff. And also be sceptical, have a sceptical mind and question everything, because in the world we live in, everything is spoon fed to you, and people need to pull their heads out their ass and wake up. So have a sceptical mind and encourage people to do the same. And be nice to each other. Try to leave the world a little bit nicer than the way you found it and we’ll be okay”.
It was truly amazing to chat to such an honest and genuine artist. I encourage everyone to go and listen to the new Havok album Conformicide.