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David Sanchez - Vocals and guitar for Havok

Date: 1/25/11
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. I enjoyed Havok’s debut "Burn", but the new album "Time Is Up" is definitely a few steps forward, more technical and the songs are just written better. It shows Havok are ready to play with the big boys. What has contributed to the band improving as songwriters and players?

DAVID: Well when we were on tour with Primal Fear in the U.S. we were only a three piece which was a little awkward. But recently we got a new guitar player, Reece Scruggs, and we will be hitting the road again as a quartet. We were always a two guitar band, unfortunately our guitarist bailed the day before that Primal Fear tour started, so I kinda just learned the solos and got through that tour. Now, with two guitars back in the band, and a new drummer Pete Webber, those guys definitely have added something to the sound, but as far as the songwriting goes I wrote the majority of them on "Time Is Up". Some of the better songs on "Burn" were a hint as to where we were going with this album, so after it came out I was still demoing new songs. But now after "Burn" I have become much more focused on the songwriting aspect of the songs, the musical end. Even when we are listening to the radio and a pop song comes on I’m listening to the arrangement, key changes, the bridge, verse, chorus, so I think that has a lot to do with these songs on "Time Is Up". These are more streamlined and to the point, catchy and memorable. They flow much better.

2. "Time Is Up" shows Havok knows how to write a great 80s style thrash song. What bands from the 80s, and 90s, influenced Havok’s style?

DAVID: The obvious, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Overkill, Testament, Anthrax, Exodus, Sepultura, all the good stuff. Vio-Lence, Forbidden, some of the lesser known names. But I also take influence from other bands, there are moments on the album where its classic rock influenced where I was going for a Rush, or Boston, or Kansas feel. If you sit down and listen to the album and what is not quote Metal, you can totally pick out where they are. I mean this album is not full on thrash all the time because that would get real stale real fast. That’s what separates Megadeth from Vio-Lence, they don’t just do Metal to the bone all the time. The influences are definitely varied on "Time Is Up", there’s tons of flat bass on the album too so obviously it’s not a direct Slayer/Metallica tribute type thing. And on ‘D.O.A.’ those twin guitar leads gives it that Iron Maiden feel. I really tried to put different ideas into the songs to make each have its moments where you can hear a little Megadeth, then Slayer, and the next part is Sepultura, then the next part sounds like Death, I try to take a little bit of every great band and put it into Havok. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but also of course I’m not trying to write music that is rehashed stereotypical Metal.

3. Who writes the music and the lyrics?

DAVID: I did write most of the music, demoing it in my house, recording the riffs, programming drums to it, writing the bass, piecing the songs together. Then eventually I had 6-7 songs which I brought to the band to see what they thought. We tweaked everything, took parts out, the majority was me but the band definitely contributed to the overall outcome and sound. As far as lyrics I wrote them all.

4. So Havok was always a two guitar band and then were a three piece just for the road?

DAVID: Yeah we were only a three piece for one tour, that was just a fluke.

5. What has been the best tour Havok has been part of?

DAVID: That Primal Fear one was great. We were well taken care of, those dudes were real cool, and we got to see Primal Fear every night. They are so good live, so tight live. That, as of now, goes down as the coolest tour we’ve been part of.

6. Shooting any promo videos for "Time Is Up"?

DAVID: Yeah. We are gonna have some video shot soon, not sure what song yet. We would like to do one for ‘No Amnesty’.

7. Any idea of Havok’s touring plans in 2011?

DAVID: As of right now we are going out with Malevolent Creation in February and March. After that the album will drop and we will be touring the rest of the year but not sure with who.

8. Which of your peers from the younger generation do you like and are friendly with?

DAVID: We are friends with a lot of bands but to name a few Bonded By Blood, Lazarus A.D., Vektor from Phoenix, Revocation are sick. We get along with pretty much anybody but as far as our peers we are somewhat of a tight knit community being all thrash bands we know each other. I don’t know of any feuds (yet), haha, its cool to have that bond with everybody. Its like a Heavy Metal fraternity.

9. There are several songs from "Time Is Up" I think would be great for the live set; ‘Prepare For Attack’, ‘Fatal Intervention’, ‘No Amnesty’, ‘Covering Fire’, ‘Killing Tendencies’, and the title track. Your thoughts?

DAVID: Most of those we are doing, eventually I’d like to do the album start to finish if it does well. Look how well that paid off for Megadeth and "Rust In Peace", everyone knows the album and likes all the songs, so Megadeth gave em what they want. If the album is well received and the fans want it I’d totally been down for playing the whole thing. I’m not sure if we will get them hammered out for this tour with Malevolent Creation but we will be doing ‘Covering Fire’ and ‘Prepare For Attack’ sometime this year. But I don’t see any song out of the question to do live.

10. Name 5 classic thrash songs Havok would like to cover?

DAVID: O man, the list could go on and on. This is the David Snachez list not the whole band because everyone else is gonna have their favorites. Megadeth’s ‘Chosen Ones’, Sepultura ‘Arise’, we’ve covered Anthrax’s ‘Caught In A Mosh’ before live, at our live shows now we cover Slayer’s ‘Postmortem/Raining Blood’ and that we do at almost every show. It’s fun for the audience. I’d like to do Pantera’s ‘Shattered’. O man, I’d like to have more time to think about this...Overkill’s ‘Powersurge’. Don’t know if you know this band, Uncle Slam, it had the bass player from Suicidal Tendencies in it, and he started this band and they are beyond awesome, I’d like to cover one of their songs.

11. Any plans to do a cover album?

DAVID: No not yet but we would like to some day. But it won’t be all thrash songs, we would do some weird stuff no one would expect us to play.

12. Keep in touch with the fans through Myspace and Facebook?

DAVID: Yeah we do. We aren’t one of those bands who won’t talk to ya at a show or respond to emails, we like talking to everybody.

13. How has the response been from the critics and fans? Have you received any positive feedback or support from some of the bigger bands who have influenced you?

DAVID: Yeah we definitely made some headway since our first album but I think this album will really catapult us even further because "Time Is Up" is such a step forward. We’ve done pretty well for ourselves as far as contacts and knowing people, getting recognition from other bands. James Murphy, from Death/Testament, he mastered the album. When I was at NAMM in California I ran into Rob Caggiano from Anthrax and he said "dude, I want that new album", and that was so cool because I look up to guys like that and to know they know me and the band is mind-blowing. We’ve met some really awesome people along the way and I don’t see us regressing in any way. And just to clear something up, some info in the press release about “Time Is Up” is incorrect, I produced the album, Pete Rutcho mixed the album and he did a great job, and James Murphy mastered it. Some information online is incorrect.

Official website: http://havokband.com


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