AFI are back in black

AFI are on tour. Credit: BWR
AFI are on tour.
Credit: BWR

Since the release of their major label debut “Sing the Sorrow” 10 years ago, AFI have solidified themselves as a band that can blend a variety of musical genres at once. Just as their look has evolved over the years, so has their music. “A good analysis would be that we’re blending the pure rock feel of ‘Crash Love’ with the electronic elements of ‘Decemberunderground,’” says singer Davey Havok when asked about their upcoming album “Burials.”

“It’s a musically ambitious record. It’s certainly the most layered record we’ve done since ‘Decemberunderground,’ and it’s actually gone beyond that,” he says.

“I Hope You Suffer,” the first single off of “Burials,” seems to have a more brutal sound than anything from “Crash Love.” Does the whole record follow suit?
I’d say the tone and sentiment of the record is brutal throughout. “I Hope You Suffer” really represents the majority of it. There’s more yelling in tone on the record than in practice.

I understand that it took you only six weeks to record “Burials.”
Yeah, it was the quickest recording we’ve done since “The Art of Drowning,” which took about the same. It was tense and pressurized. We had to get so much done in such a short amount of time. We stayed focused and managed to do it, and I’m really happy with the way it sounds. But would I have liked to have more time? Yes. There were a few other songs that I would have liked to track and record.

I’ve heard that you typically write upwards of 100 songs before selecting the best ones for the record. How many songs did you guys write and demo this time around before picking the best 13?
I can’t say exactly how many we wrote and demoed out this time around, but I feel it was upwards of 60 songs. I really loved a lot of them too. One song we wrote was actually one of my all-time favorites, but it didn’t make the cut. So there was a lot of material out there that will never be heard, but that’s just the way it goes.

With so many bands doing 10-year anniversary tours, did the idea of a “Sing the Sorrow” tour ever come up?
No, I don’t think it’s anything any of us would like to do. I don’t really like those tours or find them genuine. It would especially be hard with that record. Going out and touring on a record that was our biggest mainstream success would seem distasteful.

How important do you find the theatrical element of your live performance and how it engages your fans?
Production is a great thing to have if you have that kind of luxury. Whether or not it’s important depends on what kind of band you are. I feel like it can accent what we’re doing, but I wouldn’t call it important. As we grew and we had the luxury of furthering the aesthetic of the music on stage with production, we took that opportunity. But for us, it’s always been about the music first. I react to the music we’re playing, and the crowd tends to react as well.

You’ve launched a few clothing lines over the past few years. Any fall fashion tips?
I’m a vegan and don’t wear wool, and fall is a very wool-heavy season. … But there’s lots of great vegan stuff out there. Joshua Katcher just created a line of off-the-rack suits for men that I’m very excited for.


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