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AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget Talk ‘Burials’ Album, ‘I Hope You Suffer’ + Fall 2013 Tour

Republic Records

AFI are back on the scene in a big way with two stellar singles already released off their upcoming  ’Burials’ album, which arrives Oct. 22. The new disc has already yielded the darkly delicious track ‘I Hope You Suffer,’ as well as the lively follow-up ’17 Crimes.’ Loudwire recently had a chance to speak with AFI frontman Davey Havok and guitarist Jade Puget about the new album, as well as the band’s upcoming fall tour. Check out the interview below:

Did you guys have a mindset of what you wanted to accomplish when going into this album?

Jade Puget: We didn’t … We never do and we didn’t this time. It was definitely more emotion based, what [Davey] was going through emotionally sort of kicked the whole record off and really caused us to start writing in the first place. And from there, that in a lot of ways, me being the person who writes the music, I was influenced by that and he was influenced by what I was writing and we built on that.

So Davey, Jade just mentioned that you were going through certain emotions at the beginning of the writing process. Can you talk a little about that? The new songs do feel a little darker and more personal.

Davey Havok: Yeah, the record is a very personal record. It’s a very chaotic record, the tone and the sentiments of chaos and of anxiety and panic and collapse and betrayal and despair really were very prominent in my life at the time. Still, to a respect, as we were writing, those naturally came out in the creation process. Musically what we were doing really helped to enfold those feelings and what resulted is many, many songs — and ‘Burials’ is the final product of that.

Are you ever hesitant to bare your personal emotions in your song lyrics?

Davey Havok: You know Jade mentioned this to me while we were writing saying, “Are you sure you want to do this?” and I said, “Yeah I don’t have anything else. This is it. This is all I’ve got.” There’s no hesitation and I knew what I was doing at the time and I knew what was to come of it and the best case scenario really speaking and … it’s uncomfortable but I knew it would be and I’m ok with that I can accept that.

Obviously in the last few years you guys added Blaqk Audio to the realm of what you’re doing. Does one project inform the other at all or are do you put it aside once you return to AFI?

Davey Havok: They’re fairly divided.

Jade Puget: Especially with this record because at least where we started off with the AFI record it was so gritty … and Blaqk Audio is so clean, you know, just by nature of what it is and it just has such a different [feel]. For me I guess as a songwriter it’s so different. And where [Davey] was coming from emotionally with this record, I just can’t imagine that bleeding out into Blaqk Audio. I don’t think you want to go and say I want to continue to sing about this because…

Davey Havok: …No absolutely not, I think with Blaqk Audio — you know, we’re going to record a new Blaqk Audio record and we’re going to record it as soon as we’re done with the ‘Burials’ full length and I think I’m going to have to consciously not be redundant at this point and I won’t be. And it won’t be as difficult when we start writing because Blaqk Audio music is such a different thing. They’re so distinct and the music which Jade creates always directs me and it will send me somewhere else.

One of the fun things for AFI fans over the last few months is all of these cryptic videos you guys have been putting out there. There’s such a cinematic quality to these clips. Is that maybe going to turn into something larger at some point?

Davey Havok: I’d love to — I mean the directors were hoping to compile them and conjoin them in some way, which would be pretty phenomenal. As it stands now, I think they will just remain on the website for people’s enjoyment.

Speaking of videos, you recently released a music video for the single ‘I Hope You Suffer.’ Can you talk a little about the video and the song itself?

Davey Havok: The video was directed by Surround, the two brothers who created the videos, the vignettes, you were talking about earlier. And we really wanted that video to have continuity with those vignettes … while having it being a performance video, which is kind of difficult task to achieve but I think they achieved it i’m really really happy with that video. We shot it in a day at Highland Park. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

The song is a song that Jade had the majority of the body of music written when he came and sat down with me and I read the top line to the verse and we just weren’t happy with the chorus and we kept putting it aside and coming back to it and altering the chorus. Jade would go home sometimes and three weeks later he’d come back and be like, “Oh, I worked on the chorus again” and there’s almost this new part and we we ended up where we were at but it took us awhile for us to realize that song…

Jade Puget: You can tell when listen to the song. I mean it’s not as apparent now, but the chorus is very like a rock chorus — big guitars, drums, and the verse is all layers likes cinematic percussion and the piano and the brass … The two parts are kind of disparate, but now they work together very well and I think that dynamic is what makes that song.

You guys obviously work hard on each track. Have you gotten to the point where you both are very much in sync with each other when you are putting together a song?

Davey Havok: Yeah, and you have to be at that point really for most the songs we write. We’re always in sync really sometimes when we suspect something’s there or if one of us suspects something’s there we’ll re-evaluate we’ll pause, we’ll go back, and we’ll see. It’s really rare for us…

Jade Puget: The way we did this which was so great — we had a mic and we would sit there and I’d play back the music and he would come up with a melody and I’d record him on it and we’d sit there and listen back to it and if I didn’t feel like the melody was there or if he wasn’t feel it, like that’s just not it, let’s do it again. So you could hear [Davey] in the context of the music and you could envision what the song could be like as a finished product. So it was very helpful. It wasn’t just hoping this melody is good.

Davey Havok: Yeah, and it really streamlined our writing process in a way that we had never been able to do before. For years and years and years it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to waste a wild amount of time on something that we write and decide is good and then we dedicate all this time to working out and performing it and after spending days on something or maybe even weeks on something … one live performance of it and we immediately know that that sucks … So we were able to cut that process or streamline that process to avoid that entirely.

You have a fall tour coming up. Would you mind sharing the connection to your support acts?

Davey Havok: I’m most familiar with Coming, who are an L.A. band who I’ve seen many times and I was initially friends with AJ, the drummer, who’s a straight edge hardcore kid from Idaho who’s also a model and a great drummer. I met the other boys Billy and Dustin through him and I started going to see their shows. And they’re great. They’re just a really authentic sounding no wave band. First time I saw them I’m like, “The singer’s got a mustache … What is he doing?” [laughter] but then when he got up onstage you feel like you’re at CBGBs in the ’70s and you’re watching this art noise. It’s really cool it’s very very visceral and it harkens to Teenage Jesus and Mars and it’s really fun and I was really excited that they wanted to join us. And actually we share management with Touché Amore and so we have connections with them through that.

Do you get to choose who tours with you?

Davey Havok: Sometimes, I guess at this very point, yes [laughs]. It is nice we really really like to bring groups that we like on the road. It’s always my hope to do that and it’s clear that whatever year it is and we play, the fans of AFI come and they look at the bands that we bring as having our stamp of approval on them and there’s been a couple cases that that’s been embarrassing to me because they’re presented with something [laughts] that’s not always the case, but the majority of the time it has been the case and because that is the case I feel it is our responsibility to present them with something of worth. So it’s nice to have the opportunity to do so.

You’re going to be playing the Riot Fest? What a great lineup is that?

Davey Havok: I could not be more excited to share a stage with the Replacements. I just want to play one song and step aside to just watch Paul [Westerberg] and Tommy {Stinson]. Who knew? I mean what a thrill, it’s just something I never thought was, I thought it was not possible at all. It’s really exciting to share the stage with them. I think Rocket for the Crypt is playing. I think I saw the lineup for the festivals. I mean it’s just all over the place. Is Iggy Pop playing one of them or did I make that up?

I think he’s playing Denver.

Jade Puget: Oh, we’re playing Denver too.

Davey Havok: I hope we get to play the same day as Iggy.

Our thanks to AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget for the interview. The band’s new album, ‘Burials,’ arrives in stores Oct. 22 and can be pre-ordered here. Meanwhile, AFI’s fall tour launches Sept. 12 in Minneapolis. Check out the dates below:

See AFI's Fall 2013 Tour Dates

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