Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
I recently saw the thrash metal band Havoc live and after seeing them live I sent band member David Sanchez a interview to fill out and it is below. Anybody into old school thrash metal is urged to pick the band's new release "Time's Up", which is out now and is easily one of the best releases of the year hands down:
MC: Let's get the typical question out of the way. How did the band form and what is the current line up? Did any of the members come from other bands?
DS: I started the band with a drummer that I met in high school. The lineup was full when we got a lead guitarist and bassist. We played our first show in 2004. HAVOK has gone through a few lineup changes, but the one we have now is stronger than the rest. Everyone in the band has played in other bands, but the most noteworthy would be Reece playing with Dying Fetus and Pete playing with Ravage.
MC: I know this release you have coming out is not your 1st. What is your 1st release and is that release still available?
DS: The first full length album was “Burn”. It came out in 2009 and is still available via Candlelight Records.
MC: You guys are from Colorado. I have never been there, is there a big metal scene out there and is there many places for underground bands to play?
DS: Denver has a huge music scene! There are lots of metal bands out there and quite a few spots to play. The Mile High City is really on the rise, as far as music goes.
MC: How did you end up on Candlelight Records and are you worried that Candlelight won't promote the band in the way you need to be promoted cause they don't have many thrash bands on the label?
DS: We sent demos and press kits to every metal label we could think of and Candlelight was the first to respond. We also had another label interested in us, but in the end we went with Candlelight. I don’t think it hurts us in any way to be one of the only thrash bands on the label. If anything, I think it helps us because then we don’t have any competition from labelmates.
MC: I know your only a few days into tour, but how are things going for you so far and what is it like traveling across America?
DS: Things are going well so far. Everyone on this tour gets along and all the bands are cool, so it’s a good time. We’ve toured the United States so many times now, but every time it is a blast. We always get to run into old friends and meet lots of cool new people. Plus, who doesn't love sleeping in a van in Walmart parking lots?!
MC: So what sort of music were you into when you were younger and how did you come to discover the underground?
DS: When I was really young, I was just a casual music listener, I wasn't passionate about it. That all changed when I was in 5th grade. That was when I discovered Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, AC/DC, Testament, Exodus, etc. Ever since then, I've been hooked. I can't live without music in my day.
MC: What were some of the 1st bands that you liked and are you still fans of those bands these days?
DS: Hell yeah! Most of the bands I got into first are still my favorites. I was mostly exposed to thrash metal when I first started getting into metal, so it will always be my favorite thing. All the awesome guitar riffs were what inspired me to actually pick up a guitar and learn how to play. I NEED riffs! Without riffs, a metal song just isn't a METAL song.
MC: How did the recording of this new record go? Was there any difficult things that went on in the studio or was everything pretty smooth sailing?
DS: The recording was fun! Pretty smooth sailing. All of the actual tracking took only about 2 weeks. Since it was all tracked at my studio, it was nice to work at our own pace and not worry about a clock and paying for studio time.
MC: How do you plan on promoting this record besides this tour you are on?
DS:We will be touring all year in support of “Time Is Up”. The plan is to keep touring until we feel like we need to write another album, so expect to see us on the road!
MC: I know you have a My Space Page. Do you have any other websites and are you a fan of social networking sites such as Facebook, or do you really not like them much, but they are a evil necessity in today's music business.
DS:We recently launched our official website, www.HAVOKband.com. Facebook is a great way to connect with the fans, and I really like that about it. It’s really cool when you write to a band and they actually respond, so we try to respond to everything on our Facebook page. We don’t want to be that band that’s impossible to talk to or contact.
MC: I saw that you did 2 Slayer covers in your set. Is there any other cover tunes that you break out from time to time?
DS:We don’t always do covers, but when the atmosphere in the show calls for it, we unleash the Slayer tunes. In the past, we have busted out Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Minor Threat, and some other stuff. Covers are always fun.
MC: How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard of it?
DS:I would say it’s super fast, tight, riff-heavy, metal.
MC: How does a song come about? Do you have to be in a certain mood or frame of mind to write one? DS:Does the whole band get involved or is it one or 2 members and where is the weirdest place you can think of where a song idea or riff popped into your head?
DS: Most of the songs on this album came about from the stockpile of riffs I have saved on my laptop. I will write riffs and then try to piece them together with other riffs that seem fitting. I wrote most of this album because with the lineup changes, it was difficult to write as a full band. When I had a decent song, I would show it to Jesse and Pete and ask them for opinions and ideas. Most of the songs were written this way. Since Reece joined the band after the music was all recorded, he wrote the solos. The next album is sure to be more eclectic from having a full lineup again. It’s funny that you mentioned the weird places to come up with ideas because a lot of my vocal melody ideas and song structure ideas come to me in the shower. I don’t know why, but most of the time, when I’m in the shower, I come up with good ideas for music.
MC: Have you ever gone to any of the Las Vegas casinos and if you have how was the experience?
DS: I have yet to go to a Vegas casino, but I have been to the Black Jack tables in Reno. Let’s put it this way, I got way ahead and then started betting too high. Ha!
MC: What is there to do for fun out in Colorado?
DS:There are lots of things to do. I keep myself entertained with music and comedy, but in Colorado we have lots of outdoors activities and tons of events to go to. It’s a good city for anyone that likes music, sports, or outdoors.
MC: About how much time in any given week is spent doing band related things? Do all or any of you guys work regular jobs so to speak?
DS:Most of my time is spent doing band related things, but when I’m not touring, I mix bands at venues. We tour so much that it’s hard to hold down a “regular” job.
MC: What are the short term and long term goals for the band?
DS: Short term; tour, tour, tour! Long term, we would like to be able to pay the bills by touring. We all know it’s not going to be easy, but we’re willing to work hard as hell to make it happen. It’s now or never, you know what I mean?
MC: Do all 4 band members get along pretty well and how long have you known each other?
DS: We all get along pretty well. Every once in a while, we get on each other’s nerves, but I think that’s only natural seeing as how we’re all cooped up in a van together all day, every day. I’ve casually known Jesse for like 5 years, but he’s been in the band now for 2 years. I’ve known Pete now for about a year and we met Reece in September of 2010.
MC: Do you like or listen to any other styles of music besides metal?
DS: Hell yeah! I love classic rock. I think the rock bands that were popular back in the day are so much cooler than a lot of today’s popular rock bands. I also love listening to jazz, funk, old-school hip hop, and classical. I’m also really into some experimental/progressive bands like Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Primus, and the like.
MC: What was the 1st concert that you saw and what was your favorite concert that you saw?
DS:The first real concert I saw was The Eagles, and the first metal concert was Scorpions, Whitesnake, and Dokken. I have been to so many great shows, but I think the 2 bands that every metalhead needs to see before they’re dead are Iron Maiden and GWAR.
MC: How did you come up with the name of the band and was any other names considered?
DS: A lot of other names were considered, but the word “havoc” came up and I thought I could make a cool logo for the band if the “c” got changed to a “k”. After sketching up a logo for the band, it was settled, HAVOK was the name. The main reason being: the logo looks cool!
MC: Do you think fanzines and webzines are still an important part of the underground?
DS: Of course! They wouldn’t exist if people didn’t ever read them. Also, just imagine if there weren’t any underground publications and it was only the major magazines, a lot of awesome bands wouldn’t get discovered!
MC: Would you like to see your releases come out on vinyl?
DS: Hell yeah I would! I want to have our stuff released on vinyl eventually. We have talked about it for a while now and would love to make it a reality. I myself don’t collect records, but I would love to have HAVOK albums on wax.
MC: Describe a typical Havok fan?
DS: We don’t really have a “typical” type of fan. Our usual fans are anywhere from 13-45 years old, so that says a lot. We don’t just appeal to one kind of demographic, and that’s the way I’d like to keep it! We’re not trying to appease one crowd or another, we’re just making the music that we want to make and if people dig it, that’s fucking great! I can’t see us changing our sound just to try to appeal to a certain type of listener. Simply put… Even though thrash is hot right now, we’re not doing it because it’s the thing to do right now. Fast and heavy metal is just what we do.
MC: What in your eyes makes a great song?
DS: There are a lot of things that can make a great song, but a perfect song, at least to me, would have: technicality, catchiness, heavy riffs that make you feel something, memorable vocal lines, smart lyrics, interesting bass lines and a ripping guitar solo. When all of those things come together, it’s a beautiful form of art. Just listen to “Sweating Bullets” from Megadeth. To me, that’s pretty much a perfectly written song.
MC: Do you have any unreleased material that might see the light of day one day and do you think your a good live band?
DS: I think we excel live because there is a lot more energy that comes with a live show. You can always go onto YouTube and watch bands’ live sets, but it’s just not the same as being there, in person. We do have some random stuff that’s unreleased and I’m not sure if it will ever come out, because most of that stuff is just random pieces of music, not entire songs.
MC: What do you think of sites like You Tube and are any videos of you up there?
DS: Like I said, YouTube is great and all, but it’s just not the same as going to live shows. It is really awesome for seeing music videos though! There are tons of videos of us on YouTube. Too many to count…
MC: Thrash metal had a little bit of a comeback a couple years back do you think thrash metal will still sort of remain underground or will it pop back up and rear its ugly again soon?
DS: I think that some of the bands that came out of this “thrash revival” will still be around 10 years from now, but most of them will fade away. Look at Nu-Metal, it faded away, but there are still bands from that movement going strong.
MC: Do you feel there are too many bands out nowadays making it harder for kids to separate the good from the bad ones?
DS: Yes. There are so many bands these days that it’s hard to get anyone to listen to you, if they haven’t already heard of you. Everyone and their mother is “in a band”, so when you say, “Hey, check out my band, you might like it!” nobody really cares. I can’t blame ‘em though. There’s a lot of crap out there.
MC: Plug any websites you have.
MC: Any last words, it was great seeing you live and meeting the band and horns up for the interview, the floor is yours.
DS: Thanks for having me on. I would encourage anyone reading to go pick up “Time Is Up” on March 29 because it has something that any metalhead could get into. I think it’s an album that any musician can dig. I won’t say any more about the album because the music speaks for itself. We’ll see you all on the road and when we do, it’s time to rage!