Davey Havok On New Blaqk Audio Album: ‘Less Celebratory, a Bit Darker’


Davey Havok is among the hardest-working males in present enterprise, with a staggering inventive output that may't be contained in only one band. He’s finest often called the singer for alt-rock band AFI, but additionally has been concerned in quite a few facet initiatives, together with retro new wave outfit Dreamcar (that includes Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young of No Doubt) and digital act Blaqk Audio, which he shaped with AFI guitarist Jade Puget. Havok can be the writer of two books, Pop Kids and Love Fast Los Angeles. And, in March 2011, he made his Broadway debut within the Green Day musical American Idiot because the character St. Jimmy.

AFI has been steadily lively since forming in 1991, charting eight albums on the Billboard 200, with Decemberunderground reaching No. 1 in 2006. It additionally has logged 5 hits within the prime 5 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart, together with the No. 1 hit “Miss Murder.” AFI’s most up-to-date effort is the five-song EP The Missing Man (Ex Noctem Nacimur), launched in December 2018. 

On March 15, Havok and Puget will launch their fourth album as Blaqk Audio, Only Things We Love (Kobalt Records). The album's first single “The Viles” was launched in January, and the duo will kick off a 15-date tour on March 14 in San Diego.

Calling in to debate his newest musical endeavor, Havok is charmingly blasé, even when his description of Blaqk Audio's origins appears like a temporary historical past lesson in digital music, which the Rochester, N.Y., native might train at a university degree if he needed to.

“Blaqk Audio began as a result of, talking for each Jade and myself, we’ve been followers of digital music since we have been each very, very younger," Havok tells Billboard. "Some of the primary cassettes I owned have been the primary Duran Duran album, Devo’s Freedom of Choice and Men at Work’s Cargo. So new wave was very a lot part of my upbringing. And as a result of I appreciated loads of British synth-pop bands, I obtained into punk after which industrial, the darker facet of synth-pop. That’s after I found Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Einsturzende Neubauten. Eventually, I obtained into big-beat stuff like The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, The Crystal Method, Orbital and Underworld, which remains to be certainly one of my favourite artists."

Once Havok and Jade began desirous about forming a duo that roped of their influences, they landed on the  futurepop style, which he describes as a cross between EBM (digital physique music) and synth-pop, a style that exploded within the late ’90s and early 2000s with bands comparable to VNV Nation, Covenant and Apoptygma Berzerk.

Havok and Puget began writing songs for Blaqk Audio on the flip of the millennium, however when AFI broke into the mainstream with 2003’s Sing the Sorrow, the facet venture needed to be placed on ice, which is why its debut album, CexCells, didn’t arrive till 2007. When requested how AFI followers reacted to it, given the dearth of guitars, the singer is effusive. “AFI had lengthy since developed from being a hardcore band into what we’ve develop into, and our followers are very open to various kinds of music and definitely to listening to various kinds of music out of AFI," he says. "So for them, I don’t assume it was surprising in any respect to listen to Jade and I doing Blaqk Audio. Given their participation and help, I believe it was very a lot appreciated.”

Like its predecessors, Only Things We Love is an uncanny aural collage of electronica and ’80s synth-pop, because of Puget’s ear for hooks and manufacturing, and Havok’s mellifluous voice. Listeners of a sure age will immediately acknowledge a sound harking back to such beloved synth pop bands as Ultravox, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres within the Dark, Japan and Erasure. Havok considers the set to be “much less celebratory and a bit darker than earlier releases. I’m talking lyrically in that regard. Musically, it has loads of high-energy dance and extra dreamlike midtempo, cooler moments, however it's a bit darker, and that’s one thing that simply got here with none aware directive.”

He says the identical holds true for the lyrics for “The Viles.” Musically, Havok thinks the tune “is the closest factor to a pure EDM monitor that we’ve ever launched … That style by no means actually had nice illustration with us. More so for us, it’s futurepop, synth-pop or bizarre different electro-pop stuff that we do: I've a tough time defining us. But this file has all of that, plus you get ‘The Viles.’ That actually speaks as a spot of escape for the marginalized, if you'll. For those that actually embrace the darkish facet of artwork and discover sanctuary within the margins and in one another, that’s the place ‘The Viles’ is coming from.”

Havok has been drawn to “the darkish facet” in most of, if not all, his musical actions. AFI, Dreamcar and Blaqk Audio showcase his lyrical affinity for that particular place out of the sunshine. “I acknowledge that about myself,” he says. “It’s tough for me to get away from. I want I might write from a special perspective, but it surely’s very pure for me to come back from a spot that's usually perceived because the darkish facet of philosophy, consciousness or creation. I’ve tried. I actually envy these individuals who can write good pop songs which have common attraction as a result of I discover that almost all of what I create and who I'm to be very alienating,” he says with amusing. “But I come from an trustworthy place, and people sentiments inevitably come out in an trustworthy kind.”

Perhaps Havok is glad in his darkness. He's definitely happy with The Missing Man (he calls the title monitor his favourite tune on the EP) and teases that there’s extra to come back. “We’re within the technique of writing an AFI full-length album, as a result of the EP was meant to be launched earlier than our final tour, and when it was launched on the finish of final yr, we solely performed three exhibits round it,” he says.

Meanwhile, Havok says that on its upcoming tour, Blaqk Audio intends to carry out many songs from its catalog that it hasn’t performed dwell earlier than. “It appears that we’re in good condition to do that. Jade is working very diligently to have variations within the set," he says. "Traditionally, once we tour, we will actually solely play the identical set each evening as a result of it’s programmed with the lights, and you'll’t do something on the fly. So it’s simply the 2 of us, like Pet Shop Boys, Erasure or VNV Nation. Our exhibits are enjoyable. Unfortunately, we don’t have the funds of any of these teams, so it’ll be as much as me to only ‘Broadway.'"

Blaqk Audio’s Only Things We Love tour dates:

March 14 -- San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park

March 15 -- Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom

March 16 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Regent Theater

March 19 -- San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

March 20 -- Portland, OR @ Star Theater

March 21 -- Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile

March 23 -- Salt Lake City, UT @ The Urban Lounge

March 24 -- Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater

March 26 -- Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

March 27 -- Detroit, MI @ El Club

March 29 -- Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall

March 30 -- Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts

Apr. 1 -- New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

Apr. 2 -- Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Apr. three -- Washington, D.C. @ U Street Music Hall