HAVOK – David Sanchez is a young, confident and yes, cocky vocalist/guitarist for HAVOK. These characteristics of David make me admire him all the more. Oh, to be young and fronting a rapidly rising Thrash Metal band like HAVOK, while bestowing a take charge attitude of failure is not an option, is all stuff of Metal fantasy for this elder Metalhead! I’m jealous. David Sanchez is the kind of interview that allows me to walk away and root for him and his band HAVOK as they take no prisoners while reaching for the sky.
After such an engaging interview with David, I found myself asking the question: what is there not to like about him? After listening to HAVOK’S 2009 debut album “Burn” along with their new Thrash offering “Time Is Up”, I ponder: what is there not to like about this band? At the time of this interview, HAVOK was getting ready to unleash their Thrash Metal attack on the “United Hate Across America Tour” in support of their upcoming sophomore album – “Time Is Up”, releasing on March 29th, 2011 on Candlelight Records. Here is what David Sanchez had to say:
HRH: “Time Is Up” is like opening a can of Thrash Metal whoop ass. How difficult is it to write ten songs that are all equally intense? Or is it not difficult for you?
DAVID: It’s a walk in the park! (laughs) Thanks for the kind words. It’s not easy to write all the songs like this. It does take a long time to hammer out all the details. Honestly, I feel there isn’t one song on “Time Is Up” where you can hit the skip button.
HRH: I won’t disagree there.
DAVID: Halsey Caust. She did our “Burn” album cover and we hired her again. This album cover is pretty awesome! We were super psyched about the way it looks! This is real artwork, it’s not photographs that are all slapped together in photoshop. Halsey put a brush to the canvas and made this album cover the old fashioned way.
HRH: She created this album cover the old school way.
DAVID: Yeah, she did!
HRH: “Scumbag In Disguise” rips and tears! Is this song about anyone you personally had to deal with or is it an all-encompassing tribute to scumbags?
DAVID: This song was inspired particularly by one person, yet it relates to a lot of people. It’s a song about people that talk shit on the internet about you, then, when you see them in person they’re nice to your face. They’re scumbags in disguise!
HRH: Are you guys pumped up for the “United Hate Across America Tour”? Your touring with some intense bands.
DAVID: Hell yeah! That”s gonna be awesome.
HRH: Describe the feeling that you and the band had, when Candlelight Records came knocking on your Thrash Metal door?
DAVID: It was incredibly exciting! We’re a band from Colorado, where bands don’t get signed from too often. This solidified the validation for the band. When a label like Candlelight wants to sign your band, you’re obviously doing something right! We always kept true to our sound and stood out from the crowd.
HRH: Colorado Thrash Metal. Is it the high altitude and air quality that makes Havok play such kick ass and refreshing Thrash?
DAVID: (laughs) No, I don’t think it’s that. We’re young and have something to prove, this drives me to do my very best. Eventually Megadeth, Slayer and the older bands have to all retire. These guys are all in their fifties now. Eventually, these bands that people look up to won’t exist anymore. I want Havok to be the next Slayer or Megadeth. I want to wipe the floor with everyone else and say we are the band!
HRH: I guess that’s the way you have to think.
DAVID: It’s a competitive business and I have to have this attitude to succeed and make Havok rise to the top.
HRH: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be number one.
DAVID: I like to mention with Colorado not having many bands from here, usually the bands are from L.A., San Francisco, New York or Austin, all the music cities. Denver is not a music city and we’re trying to change that!
HRH: How did Havok arrive at their old school or traditional, if you will, Thrash Metal sound?
DAVID: We wanted to make Heavy Metal that’s really tight, riff heavy and fast. When we first started out, nobody else was doing Metal with cool riffs, double bass and fast drums. Now, it’s the cool thing to do. We get lumped in with other bands being labeled trendy, that it’s the thing to do. We were playing this type of Metal well before a lot of these other bands were. That Thrash revival label doesn’t make much sense to me. There are a handful of bands today where fifteen years from now, will still be around and we’re one of them.
DAVID: Yeah! I just don’t understand though, why people won’t listen to Thrash because they were born in 1988 instead of 1965.
HRH: Hey, I was born in 1966 and I love Thrash Metal!
DAVID: See that! That’s what I mean!
HRH: Besides Havok, what Thrash band is the greatest ever and why?
DAVID: Aw, man, the greatest ever and why? There will always be a place in my heart for Metallica. Their first four albums are untouchable! Those albums can’t be beat! James Hetfield and his rhythm guitar is extremely tight on those albums. That intro on “Master Of Puppets” is so locked in, it sounds like one guitar take and it’s really four. Metallica is a legendary Thrash Metal band. This is the band that got me into music in the first place.
HRH: You obviously have Thrash Metal influences. What music influence be it a band, musician or genre do you have that would probably shock your fans?
DAVID: There are some parts on “Time Is Up” that are directly inspired by Boston, Rush and Kansas. If you sit and listen intently to this record, you might pick out their influences. It’s amazing, the song structures and ideas that Classic Rock had back in the day! You just can’t beat what Classic Rock accomplished back in the seventies and early eighties. There would be a weird bridge or odd time signatures in songs back then and bands would play the exact same thing on every instrument!
HRH: What moment in your life triggered you to take music seriously?
DAVID: It’s when I started playing guitar and taking lessons. Two to three months of being okay at guitar, I said alright, I can actually do this! One and a half years later I started a band called Havok and writing songs. I punched the accelerator and took off from there!
HRH: Wow David, it all came together fast!
DAVID: Yeah! I have too many ideas, way too much going on in my head for anyone to tell me what to write! I’m glad everything is happening on our terms and nobody has us answering to them. We’re not making any crappy butt Rock songs! I wouldn’t be happy if anyone told me to make it more commercial. I think I would give them the middle finger and I would walk out. If you’re not making music that’s making you happy, you shouldn’t be making music.
HRH: Who will be the “Big Four” from your generation?
DAVID: I get asked that question all the time! I don’t think there will be a big four, that’s too small a number. A big handful, we’ll see. You just can’t narrow it down to four. I have a bunch of bands I listen to, the one’s that really stand out for me are Skeletonwitch, Municipal Waste, Warbringer, Evile and Revocation.
HRH: Those are some heavy duty Thrash bands, David.
DAVID: Those bands have a pretty strong backing now, I don’t see them stopping anytime soon. These are the bands I see still around in fifteen years or more. Now, that isn’t in no way my trying to undercut other bands I listen to though.
HRH: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
DAVID: I’d like to tell everyone to go pick up our album “Time Is Up” on March 29th! Anybody who plays will love the heavy bass, the riffs and double bass drums! For every album you guys buy, I’ll be able to go to my local Taco Bell and buy half of a burrito! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) That’s why touring is so key.
DAVID: Yeah, even with touring, we’re still not rich! (laughs)