Over the last few years, one of the most busy and biggest growing metal bands as far as reputation has been Havok. These guys have proven, right from the start, to be one of the most motivated and hardworking bands on the planet. They seem to be doing one of two things at every moment for the last 3 years...touring or recording. These new band creates what has to be considered the freshest dose of Bay Area Thrash throwback music the metal scene has seen in quite some time. There are other bands that have come along with them (Warbringer, Lazarus AD, Municipal Waste), but Havok is the only one that has seemingly stayed busy every step of the way and gained its share of attention.
At PITRIFF, we forwarded some questions to Havok lead man David Sanchez a few months ago to talk about their new album TIME IS UP as well as their touring with Sepultura and Death Angel. Proving they are busier than us, Sanchez wasn't able to get them back to us until after they had moved on from that tour to their latest run of Europe with 3 Inches Of Blood. No matter though, as Sanchez is one of the best and most forthcoming guys in all of heavy metal today. Here's the transcript of our e-conversation:
PITRIFF - TIME IS UP seems like the next step for the band. It's the same style as you've been doing to date, but the production and the songwriting was much stronger. What changed with the production this time out?
DAVID SANCHEZ (DS) - A big focus was put on streamlining the songs and making sure that every track had special moments. The album was written during a transitional period for the band: during lineup changes, so most of the music was written without a drummer or lead guitarist.
PITRIFF - Most people consider thrash to be a bit simple lyrically, but you seem to write with a bit more focus than most of the new age thrash bands. Do you write based on ideas you have, things you read, or just about imaginary situations?
DS - All of the above! I write songs about anything that I think would be cool to write about. The lyrics on "Time Is Up" cover a lot of different territory.
PITRIFF - You guys have quickly raised up past a large collection of thrash bands that all emerged about 5 years ago. What is it about Havok that you think has elevated the band past a lot of your contemporaries?
DS - I think it all starts with writing good music. Without good songs, what do you have? We also tour our asses off, so that has something to do with it as well.
PITRIFF - Obviously, you are going out on tour with two legendary bands this time with Sepultura and Death Angel. Are you excited about touring with these bands, or is it a bit intimidating to play in front of bands that have such historic backgrounds?
DS - It's not intimidating, it's an honor!
PITRIFF - Death Angel seems like a more direct influence on your sound than Sepultura. Talk about the influence they have had on your sound, as well as all the other bands that made up the original Bay Area thrash scene.
DS - Bay area thrash totally influenced the original sound of the band, and still totally does. When I first started learning how to play guitar, I learned how to play a lot of riffs from Metallica, Exodus, Megadeth, Testament, etc.
PITRIFF - I understand there is an EP coming soon from the band. What can you tell us about that?
DS - The new EP is called "Point Of No Return" and it has 4 tracks. 2 new originals, a cover of Sepultura's "Arise", and a cover of "Postmortem/Raining Blood" from Slayer.
PITRIFF - While they are a great label, Candlelight seems a somewhat odd place for Havok to call home. How has the label done for you?
DS - They have treated us pretty well. They put out our records and advertise – that's their job.
PITRIFF - A kid can only afford one thing or the other. You can only choose one. The kid can download your album illegally, but buy a ticket and come to a show, or they can download the album legally, but not afford to come out to a show. Which do you prefer they do and why?
DS - I would prefer they just get our music for free and support the band in other ways. Coming to shows and buying merch helps us out a lot more than buying CDs.
PITRIFF - What's next for Havok following the Sepultura tour?
DS - We're currently in Europe touring with 3 Inches of Blood, Goatwhore, and Angelus Apatrida.
PITRIFF - In three words or less, describe the band Stryper.
DS - God botherers.