With an absolute massive thrash metal presence at Bloodstock Festival this year, we had the opportunity to speak to vocalist David Sanchez and Nick Schendzielos of new-wave thrashers HAVOK regarding their politically aware Conformicide record and the subsequent world tour that they are still yet to finish. Along side this, there’s also so crazy tour stories regarding women who like to re-enact their favourite scenes from Night of The Living Dead and some talk of time travel…
How does it feel to be playing Bloodstock?
David: Feels good, crowd was awesome.
What had you heard about Bloodstock prior to playing here?
David: Well we heard that it’s the best metal festival in the UK.
What happened during your set? You guys got cut short, were you having too much fun?
Nick: No, I think we just tried to play too many songs! It was either gonna be that we finished that last and we just tried to sneak that one in there, but I think it’s important to leave people in that state of wanting…especially if we start playing a song and then stop.
David: Yeah, I’m down for always finishing our sets like that. ‘Hey here’s one more guys, ah, shit they cut us off!’
Nick: Now next time you have to come see us!
HAVOK have quite a prominent and intricate bass sound and that’s impressive for a thrash band going at 200mph, is it fun to write music with such groove?
Nick: I mean it’s fun for me, to fucking have that, to be able to play bass, it’s sweet man. Dave’s a big fan of bass guitar and that’s a big reason I’m in the band I think, and it’s fucking sweet. You know we talk about this a bunch, and Dave goes into this thing where we talk about y’know, with classical music, some of the stuff that really has the power to evoke a response in people, you have to have more than one or two harmony lines going. So getting that third harmony line out really extends the level of expression you can make with the music, and so that’s why I think its cool to have the opportunity to mix in with these guys.
David: Add real bass lines, don’t just have the guitar riff playing on the bass.
Do you think politics has a place within a genre like thrash metal?
David: Yeah of course, I think it has to be there.
David: Because nobody else is saying much.
Do you think HAVOK have to be a mouth piece at this point in time?
David: Yeah, because the shit that we’re singing about is stuff that I think about on a daily basis, and if I sing about the devil, or sing about other shit I don’t care about, I don’t know, I feel like I’d be missing out on a chance to speak my mind.
David: There’s a giant list on my phone of topics..
Of things that make you pissed off…
David: Yeah, yeah! Pretty much, and Conformicide has ten of those things.
The album opens with the song F.P.C., would you care to elaborate on that?
David: It’s pretty self-explanatory but politically correct language, if you follow the chain of dominoes as they go down, the ultimate goal of political correctness is to end free speech, to make it not okay to say things. Once free speech collapses then all of free society collapses. It’s the number one thing, you need that.
How was the writing for Conformicide?
Nick: It was a very thorough process, I think lyrically the words kinda poured right outta Dave. The world around us is giving us constant inspiration for that kinda stuff.
Nick: Infinite inspiration. Musically it was a pretty smooth process, Dave had a tonne of stuff written, Reece [Scruggs, guitar] had a tonne of stuff written, they’d come down to the practise space and have everything laid out. Bass-wise, Dave and I would bounce ideas off each other, Dave already had stuff written, it was really fun, it was a smooth process.
HAVOK did a huge world tour off the back of Conformicide, how was that?
Nick: We’re still in it! We still have to get to Asia, Australia, try to hit Africa, maybe hit Alaska and Hawaii, try to really make the world, um, adjective come true with that one. We’ve got maybe another six months of touring to hit all of those crazy spots but the rest of the stuff we’ve done so far has been fucking great. The European headliner with WARBRINGER and GOROD and EXMORTUS, great response on that and then state stuff has been good with the SUICIDAL TENDENCIES thing, we have OVERKILL coming up next, OVERKILL and CROWBAR and our buddies in BLACK FAST, and then of course METALLICA and GOJIRA tour is gonna be massive, looking forward to that.
David: Yeah, we’re also playing with IRON MAIDEN and OZZY OSBOURNE and, uh, MOTORHEAD…
Are there any crazy party stories? Being on a world tour there must be something…?
Nick: Uh, yeah, okay, so we were at Vinnie Paul’s club in Texas, in Dallas, it’s called The Club House. Randomly enough this crazy chick starts trying to hang out, and she seems cool enough and then progressively got crazier and crazier until at the end she was literally crawling into the Uber that we called to try and get away from her, it was like Night of The Living Dead, she was crawling into the sun roof…
David: Reaching in like a zombie, like she was very, very violent.
Nick: The Uber drive was just like ‘FUCK’ trying to get away from her.
David: Yeah, at first the driver was like ‘you can only have four people in the car, you call another car’ and then this chick started jumping on his hood and reaching into the sun roof and he was like ‘no no, get in, lets go’ like fuck it, lets get outta here.
So when HAVOK finish the world tour will you jump right into writing a new record?
David: Probably around middle of next year is when we’ll stop touring, so we’ll record the new album then.
Nick: Yeah, there’s already songs written. When we go into that writing process time there will be ‘down time’, when you’re not necessarily having rigid practise structures but will have time to sit at home and right riffs, send it in the mail. Record it on a cassette tape, send it back to 1985, call up fucking Doc, get the flux capacitor raging. Probably go watch some HBO before they had Tony Soprano, because that’s when HBO was really at it’s peak, in the late 80s. I think so, it’s back when the HBO theme song was at it’s best.
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