Metal band Havok was in CT, playing a show in Stafford Springs. I got the opportunity to interview the lead vocalist, David Sanchez, met me outside the venue and we attempted to find a relatively quiet spot outside to go to and chat.
I asked him how touring’s been, and he replied, “It’s been really good..” and was promptly interrupted by loud motorcycles on the street. We walked a little further from the street and continued. “Even starting the first day, we hung out with those guys on their bus and drank and bullshitted and it’s been stress-free and everyone on the whole tour is really cool..[when playing new stuff] the reception’s been good. When we play the new stuff live, people start gnarly pits. That’s a good sign.”
Havok started in 2004- the biggest change Sanchez’s seen? “Less people buy music than they did ten years ago. More people go to shows now, though.” And his favourite part of playing live is “Just making people happy. Seeing people with the angry metal blood boiling in their bodies. Just seeing people get fucking nutty. I like it.”
“Metal doesn’t mean the same thing that it did before..metal is constantly evolving,” David remarks. “My opinion of heavy metal is what’s considered ‘old school’.. nowadays it’s all breakdowns and blast-beats. To me, that’s not heavy metal. That shit’s trendy. It’s not musical.”
“[To stay relevant] We’ll just keep touring so people can see us live, and they’ll hopefully go home with sore necks..and keep writing cool riffs. That’s the long and skinny of it. Riffs or die. That’s how we’ll stay relevant. Cos not a lot of heavy metal bands are playing fuckin’ cool riffs these days, which is unfortunate because to me, that’s what heavy metal’s all about.”
Some of his non-musical influences include authors Carl Sagan and Sam Harris. They “inspired a lot of lyrics on the new album.”
Metallica’s “Black Album” was the first album he ever bought- they were the band that got him into music. “I wouldn’t love all the different things that I do right now and I definitely wouldn’t be standing here talking to you right now if it wasn’t for them.”
Though showing a bit of a softer side at times on their latest record, “Unnatural Selection”, Sanchez claims that “We’ll never have like, ballads, or ‘ooh baby’s or shit like that. Havok’s always gonna be heavy. It’s what we do and that’s what people expect and that’s what the whole fucking point of starting this band was- to deliver heavy, rad shit cos I wasn’t hearing anybody doing that when I started it.”
In three words, he describes himself first as, “charming, devilishly handsome,” as a joke, and comes back with, “regular dude…..man”. And this regular dude isn’t afraid to admit that he has Devo, Oingo Boingo, and Talking Heads in his iTunes library.
David Sanchez of Havok is all about freakin’ sweet riffs, making metal as heavy and honest as possible, and just remaining true to what Havok does best- make people start gnarly pits and fall in love with metal. That’s certainly what they’ll continue to do, and they’re some of the best at it.
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