After it caused the cancellation of 10 shows earlier this month, Davey Havok’s voice will have plenty of time to get back in shape. AFI have no plans to make up the canceled dates or to follow up their current hit single, “Silver and Cold.” Instead, they’ll hole up to work on their next album.
“We’re on our third single now,” guitarist Jade Puget said. “A lot of bands only have one. Having four would be like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something, and I don’t think we’re quite there. We’re more than happy that we had three that did well. I would have never thought that would have happened in the first place.”
Puget and Havok won’t exactly be staring at a blank slate as they begin work on their seventh album, the follow-up to last year’s Sing the Sorrow. Having been on the road nearly every day since the album dropped last March, the band has already written a handful of tunes. But the songwriting begins in earnest now, a process that somewhat resembles the first kiss that leads to a long-term affair. “I love writing songs,” Puget said. “I do it anyway, on the road throughout the year, but actually to be working on a new record is great. Especially at the beginning, when you don’t really know what it’s going to be like. That’s the most exciting part.”
With more than 840,000 copies sold, Sing the Sorrow is AFI’s most successful album of their 13 years together; it’s also the first to be released on a major label. So the quartet is obviously feeling pressure to create an album that lives up that success, although the group is now on Interscope (following the dissolution of its former label DreamWorks).
“There’s always pressure,” Puget said. “Regardless of how many copies Sing the Sorrow sold, we’re always under pressure to make our new record better than the last one.
“So there’s that pressure, but as far as external pressure, where we feel like we have to perform a certain way in order to sell a certain amount of copies… If you start writing from that perspective, that’s really the downfall; ‘This song needs to be the first single, so this part needs to sound like this or else it won’t get played.’ You just have to write what you hope will sound good, and hope that it performs well, too.”
AFI aim to hit the studio toward the end of summer, though neither a start date nor a producer have been selected. Havok and Puget will also work on Blaqk Audio, their electronic side project, whenever the mood strikes. Without forcing any square pegs into round holes, they’re allowing the songs for each project to develop naturally, a process that worked for their last go-around.
“Girl’s Not Gray,” Sing the Sorrow’s biggest hit, was written after the “official” songwriting period was over. Puget said he penned the tune in Toronto a day before the rest of the band joined him in the studio.
“Just because we have a lot of stuff doesn’t mean that we want to rush it,” he said. “We’ve been more prolific than ever, and we’re really excited about it. It’s all coming out really good.”